Five for the Road is an occasional look at the compact discs and / or downloads that have been in my car recently – some new, some old …
TERRY BOZZIO – SIMPLE MOMENTS SERIES (2017): Terry Bozzio is a drum legend from his work with Frank Zappa, and a pop legend for his work with Missing Persons. Actually, as Simple Moments Series shows, he’s just a legend. His composition “Beck” from the album of the same name smokes with attitude and fire. Close your eyes, and you’d think Jeff Beck and Tony Hymas were in the room – but it’s actually a solo recording. “Midnight Waltz,” a piano composition, shows Bozzio’s versatility as a composer and musician. The man is amazing, as this compilation demonstrates.
DAVID GILMORE – TRANSITIONS (2017): David Gilmore’s entry in this Five for the Road follows his stellar 2015 release Energies of Change, and he’s more energized than ever. Transitions, the guitarist’s Criss Cross debut, is influenced by many of the jazz greats Gilmore has admired. His New York based quartet shines on Toots Thielman’s “Bluesette,” as well as two original David Gilmore compositions. This is jazz guitar and arranging of the highest order.
STEVE KHAN – BACKLOG (2016): Speaking of a living guitar legend, Steve Khan returns with a gorgeous mix of Latin tinged covers and infectious arrangements for a powerhouse band. Khan, a noted writer, breathes new life into songs by Thelonious Monk (“Criss Cross”) and his father Sammy Cahn (“Our Town,” which was co-written with Jimmy Van Heusen). An always a tasteful and provocative guitarist, Steve Khan leads a band including Randy Brecker, Marc Quinines and Bob Mintzer through a wonderful and worldly musical journey which captivates the listener.
BEN PATTERSON – VITAL FREQUENCIES (2017):: This looks to be another great year for great trombone led projects. (Check out Nick Finzer’s Hear and Now.) Patterson, the lead trombonist and musical director at Airmen of Note, knows how to arrange big band music. Vital Frequencies is also a great avenue for his warm, inviting tone, as well as another opportunity to hear special guest Chris Potter weave his magic. This album should not be overlooked.
JOSE JAMES – LOVE IN A TIME OF MADNESS (2017): I loved the last two albums Jose James released. In fact, they both made my year-end Top 10 list for their respective years. I was profoundly disappointed, however, on initial listen to Love in a Time of Madness. Perhaps I was expecting soulful beauty of While You Were Sleeping from 2014 or the unbridled passion of 2015’s Yesterday I Had the Blues. Instead, Love in a Time of Madness provides a thoroughly modern R&B production. While the warmth of his prior releases is missing, what remains on this final Five for the Road entry is James’ wondrously unstated vocals and his undeniable song craft. The single “Always There” shows just that.
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