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Bryan Shaw: Night Owl

Trumpeter Bryan Shaw delivers a confident sound filled with melodic low-register work. His imaginative ballad work is reminiscent of Bunny Berigan and Bix Beiderbecke, while his fiery individualism reflects Roy Eldridge and Ruby Braff. Shaw’s core band has the lustrous Dan Barrett on trombone plus some arrangements, innovative Brian Ogilvie on clarinet and tenor sax, … Read More “Bryan Shaw: Night Owl”

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Bob Stewart/Hank Jones: Take Two

Bob Stewart’s silky and soothing baritone gives saloon singers a good name-crooner. His approach is straightforward and without distracting gimmicks; he just sings pretty songs so expressively that each lyrical message is well communicated. His vocal warmth fills 14 tracks, from slow-burning ballads like “Skylark” to the up-tempo “Secret Love.” Stewart is working with a … Read More “Bob Stewart/Hank Jones: Take Two”

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Jazz Composers Alliance Saxophone Quartet: I’m Me and You’re Not: The Music of Darrell Katz

This is the third album from the Boston-based Jazz Composers Alliance Saxophone Quartet, and it’s an ear-burner. Jazz is all about creativity and continual evolution, and both elements are here in abundance. Without a rhythm section, the reedsmen produce a groove via well-constructed interplay and well-controlled dynamics. The music ranges from Jimi Hendrix’s “Belly Button … Read More “Jazz Composers Alliance Saxophone Quartet: I’m Me and You’re Not: The Music of Darrell Katz”

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Gene Harris: Alley Cats

Pianist Gene Harris again lays down soulful, bluesy, funky grooves on his 21st album for Concord. Recorded live at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley in Seattle, the aggregation includes saxophonists Ernie Watts and Red Holloway, and organist Jack McDuff working new magic on familiar charts. Standout tracks feature Harris’ dynamic gospel-funk form on “Put It Where You … Read More “Gene Harris: Alley Cats”

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Michael Feinstein/Maynard Ferguson Big Band: Big City Rhythms

Feinstein and Ferguson-what an unexpected combination, but it mostly works. Vocalist-pianist Michael Feinstein is known for performing Broadway hits and The Great American Songbook (he was Ira Gershwin’s assistant for six years). So this is a new musical dimension, a big band led and amply enriched by Maynard Ferguson’s still-thrilling horns, along with guest trumpeter … Read More “Michael Feinstein/Maynard Ferguson Big Band: Big City Rhythms”

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John Sheridan: John Sheridan, Solo Piano: They Can’t Take That Away From Me

Pianist John Sheridan, known for his work with the Jim Cullen Jazz Band of San Antonio, plays solo for the fifth in the Arbors Piano Series. Playing 15 songs by Berlin, Cahn, Ellington, Gershwin, Morton, Waller and others, Sheridan is lithe, lively and extremely versatile. He delivers swinging, loping stride segments on “How Ya Baby” … Read More “John Sheridan: John Sheridan, Solo Piano: They Can’t Take That Away From Me”

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John Sheridan and His Dream Band: Dream Band, Make Me Dream Some More

For his “Dream Band,” Sheridan arranges a swinging sentimental journey of 17 dream-theme songs, inviting both individual and aggregate invention. There’s fluent interaction between Randy Reinhart playing cornet, trumpet and trombone, Dan Barrett doubling on trumpet and trombone, and multi-reedsmen Brian Ogilvie and Ron Hockett. Rebecca Kilgore contributes five sweetly sassy vocals, excelling on Johnny … Read More “John Sheridan and His Dream Band: Dream Band, Make Me Dream Some More”

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John Patitucci: Imprint

Bassist John Patitucci, best-known for his 10 years with Chick Corea, employs both acoustic and electric for this merging of post-bop modern and Latin jazz. All 10 Patitucci originals relate to his belief that each life experience makes a significant impression on the mind and spirit. The title track, which features Patitucci on both basses, … Read More “John Patitucci: Imprint”

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Teri Thornton: I’ll Be Easy to Find

Teri Thornton, winner of the 1998 Thelonious Monk jazz vocals competition, had shown promise in the early ’60s, but went on a 30-year hiatus. During that time, she began writing charts that demonstrate her sassy, spunky style. “Salty Mama,” “Feels Good,” and the blatantly autobiographical “Knee Deep (In the Blues)” should become her signature songs. … Read More “Teri Thornton: I’ll Be Easy to Find”

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Dakota Staton: A Packet of Love Letters

Dakota Staton has been heard for nearly four decades on concert stages and albums. Her no-frills, listen-to-the-lyrics delivery re-examines standards such as “More Than You Know,” “The Way You Look Tonight” and “Remember.” She pours her heart into Billie Holiday’s “Trav’lin’ Light,” gets funky for “You’d Better Love Me,” and resuscitates the pop hit “What … Read More “Dakota Staton: A Packet of Love Letters”

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Terry Gibbs: Hollywood Swing

A stellar sextet led by vibraphonist Terry Gibbs delivers a dozen swing tunes recorded in 1978 for the private Jazz A La Carte label, but never before released. Gibbs fuels the all-star session with his contagiously enthusiastic “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” which is still his mantra when leading his current Dream Band. The colossal sound of … Read More “Terry Gibbs: Hollywood Swing”

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Diane Schuur: Music Is My Life

Diane Schuur performs with poise and panache, sparked by her trademark octave-leaping embellishments on this album dedicated to Frank Sinatra. Oddly, she sings only a few of his hits, her warmly rich voice perfect for “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” “I Only Have Eyes for You” and “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To.” The … Read More “Diane Schuur: Music Is My Life”

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Dan St. Marseille: Departure

Tenor saxophonist Dan St. Marseille says he named this album Departure because it deffers from his previous releases. Known for his cool-school outings, he makes a credible conversion here to minor-flavored modal jazz. St. Marseille delivers Wayne Shorter’s “Pinocchio” with fervent intensity, then shifts to a lushly lyrical reading of Tadd Dameron’s “If You Could … Read More “Dan St. Marseille: Departure”

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Dave Frishberg: By Himself

Dave Frishberg goes out alone on this one, unleashing his acerbic vocal wit on only four tracks, the remaining 10 filled with high-level solo piano. Frishberg fans can’t be faulted for loving the lyrics to “Can’t Take You Nowhere,” “I Want to Be a Sideman,” “Saratoga Hunch” and “I Could Care Less,” the cliche-filled sequel … Read More “Dave Frishberg: By Himself”

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Lena Horne: Being Myself

At 81, Lena Horne’s voice has retained its wonderful clarity and abundant expression. She seems to sound better in every outing, and these 10 tracks underscore that conviction. Her distinctive style is most evident on the ballads, “As Long as I Live,” “Autumn in New York,” “Imagination,” “Willow Weep for Me” and “How Long Has … Read More “Lena Horne: Being Myself”

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Ramsey Lewis: Dance of the Soul

Ramsey Lewis has created a bounty of fresh Latin-influenced soul charts of exceptional variety. Again playing only acoustic concert grand piano, his approach is more mainstream than the contemporary tone of his previous issue, Between the Keys. The title track, featuring Michael Logan on electric keyboards and Henry Johnson on guitar, is full of inventive … Read More “Ramsey Lewis: Dance of the Soul”

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Sonny Stitt: Made for Each Other

These bebop saxophone reissues were produced in Chicago by Robert Koester in conjunction with longtime club owner Joe Segal. Alto and tenor giant Sonny Stitt always could burn a bebop riff like his idol, Charlie Parker. In this 1968 studio session, Stitt is in perfect sync with ever-grooving organist Don Patterson and tasty drummer Billy … Read More “Sonny Stitt: Made for Each Other”

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New York Voices: New York Voices Sing The Songs of Paul Simon

New York Voices have won fans and fame via fluidly chromatic treatments of jazz standards such as “All Blues” and “‘Round Midnight.” This is the “new” New York Voices, the original quintet now a foursome minus Sara Krieger and Caprice Fox, plus Lauren Kinhan. But the sound that won a Grammy hasn’t diminished as the … Read More “New York Voices: New York Voices Sing The Songs of Paul Simon”

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Stan Kenton: Tunes and Topics

Although there is no ghost band playing the Stan Kenton sound, the legend and legacy of 37 years’ work is being kept alive via sporadic releases of ’70s concerts by Tantara Productions. The indie label’s fourth issue features two CDs of music with a bonus of a fascinating interview with Kenton on two separate CDs. … Read More “Stan Kenton: Tunes and Topics”

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Louie Bellson’s Magic 7: Air Bellson

Louie Bellson’s vigor and flair prove to be undiminished on this mix of blues, bossa nova, ballad and waltz tempos. A hand-picked septet is captivating and classy on 13 swinging originals penned by the 72-year-old drum legend. The album opens with “Air Jordan,” a tribute to the Chicago Bulls’ star that showcases Pete Christlieb’s strong … Read More “Louie Bellson’s Magic 7: Air Bellson”

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Jack Jones: New Jack Swing

Vintage vocalist Jack Jones obviously has been observing Tony Bennett and listening to Frank Sinatra. Therefore this Jack-attack has nothing to do with his often-maligned Love Boat persona. Jones knows how to take a good, strong chart and deliver it unplugged with straight-ahead swingability. Jones leaves no genre unsung as he takes on Sting’s “Every … Read More “Jack Jones: New Jack Swing”

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Dianne Reeves: The Grand Encounter

When riveting Dianne Reeves assembles three generations of colleagues, the result is more than grand, it’s grandiose. The music is deep-rooted jazz, swung by such greats as trumpeters Harry “Sweets” Edison and Clark Terry, trombonist Al Grey, reedsmen James Moody, Phil Woods and Bobby Watson, with Toots Thielemans on harmonica and a rhythm section of … Read More “Dianne Reeves: The Grand Encounter”

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David Sanborn: Songs from the Night Before

Fans of David Sanborn’s alto sax sound will welcome his 14th solo issue of urban pop-jazz compositions that fit well with the smooth-jazz idiom prevalent on radio today. He collaborated with producer-pianist Ricky Peterson to write most of the songs. But rather than hire a band immediately, the pair first added drum loops to Peterson’s … Read More “David Sanborn: Songs from the Night Before”

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