Post Tagged with: "Jazz"

Half Notes: Harris Eisenstadt – Canada Day II (2011)

The Toronto-derived drummer, composer and bandleader Harris Eisenstadt was described by The New York Times jazz critic Nate Chinen as taking a “fixer’s approach to music making, looking for ways to fit the pieces together,” and while I agree with the praise he and others have heaped on Eisenstadt, I see the man more as a demolition specialist. For hisRead More

Half Notes: Kurt Elling – The Gate (2011)

Up until the year 2003, I had successfully avoided Kurt Elling. This wasn’t all that hard to do considering that male jazz vocals never really resonated with me. I do own a Coltrane/Hartman record, and of course some Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. Still, only a handful of albums? It does reveal my level of interest — a level thatRead More

Claire Ritter – The Stream of Pearls Project (2011)

There is a sensuous, lush quietude to this recording, which notes on the front that it was “inspired by water.” Ritter’s playing — trickling and ruminative one moment, bubbly and adventurous the next — certainly echoes the theme.

Half Notes: Artie Shaw – More Last Recordings (1993)

Even if he wouldn’t have established so many jazz standards, Artie Shaw would have still been famous for his blaze-of-glory exit.

Half Notes: Chris West, "Where I Got My Groove" (2011)

Where’d saxophonist Chris West get this groove? The undulating downtown streets of New Orleans, of course. Sassy and just plain nasty at times, “Where I Got This Groove” is like a sweat-soaked traipse across that city’s legendary Vieux Carre’. They start with drummer Justin Amaral’s slapping second-line groove, then add Neil Konouchi’s rumbling, gassy tuba, and then finally a winkingRead More

Half Notes: Lisa Hilton – Underground (2011)

The lithe, understated pianist Lisa Hilton has led a dozen dates, and Underground is record no. 13. There’s a nocturnal ambience about her brand of jazz, one she seems to play up with past album titles like Cocktails at Eight…, Jazz After Hours, Midnight in Manhattan and After Dark. Moreover, the credits list on some of her past efforts areRead More

Half Notes: Mia Borders, "Try Me On" (2010)

Dominated by a dreamy wah-wah from guitarist Kyle Sclafani, Mia Borders’ “Try Me On” initially brings to mind all of the big-hat-wearing, too-tall-bootsy joys of 1970s funk. When her lyric, which starts out sexy and tough, gives way to Adam Matasar’s throwback turn on the Fender Rhodes, the lava-lamp lightning is juuuust right. Yet “Try Me On” — found onRead More

Benny Green – Source (2011)

Pianist Benny Green’s aptly titled new release Source can come off as a familiar conversation, since it’s filled with a number of jazz music’s notable voices — most of them, no surprise, key influences on his work.

Half Notes: Youn Sun Nah, "Same Girl" (2011)

You’d think the use of a music box on the title track from an interesting release by Korean jazz singer Youn Sun Nah — “Same Girl” was originally found on Randy Newman’s 1973 recording “Trouble in Paradise” — would imbue it all with this childlike wonder. (Elsewhere, Youn Sun Nah employs a kalimba, and a kazoo.) Instead, her purposeful pace,Read More

Dave Juarez – Round Red Light (2011)

For a musician who has devoted his life since early childhood toward his craft and studied for many years as well as earning his stripes in the bars of the great jazz cities of the world, the release of that first album has to be a feeling of relief, elation and accomplishment.