Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

The Jazz All Stars: Le Coq Records Presents the Jazz All Stars Vol. 2 (Le Coq)

A review of the follow-up to the record label's first "all star" release

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.
The Jazz All Stars: Le Coq Records Presents the Jazz All Stars Vol. 2
The cover of Le Coq Records Presents the Jazz All Stars Vol. 2

The year-old label Le Coq Records launched with a “Jazz All Stars” compilation that, true to its somewhat generic name, included a formidable assemblage of high-visibility participants, among them bassist John Patitucci, pianist Bill Cunliffe, and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (they later released a trio album for the label), as well as pianist John Beasley, trumpeter Terell Stafford, and others. This follow-up maintains the concept and much of the personnel, while expanding the range.

If the goal of these samplers is to attract an audience that favors variety and open-mindedness, it succeeds—there’s plenty of zigzagging in style and temperament within these nine tracks. A Cunliffe original, “Whatever You Say,” opens the proceedings. A ripping, postbop-rooted jam, it’s anchored by Patitucci’s bass and Marcus Gilmore’s enthusiastic drumming, with saxophonists Chris Potter and Bob Sheppard, and Michael Dease’s trombone, providing much of the melody and muscle. A lustrous guitar solo from Jake Langley late in the game wraps it up and leads into the intricately arranged “Witches,” which gives Rick Margitza’s tenor saxophone a featured spot alongside the returning Cunliffe and Langley.

Other key performers include guitarists Russell Malone and Paul Jackson Jr., and bassist Ben Williams, all showcased on “Beasley’s Blues,” and Jon Cowherd, who brings his Rhodes to Cunliffe’s “Around the Corner.” While there’s more emphasis on original composition this time around—the majority contributed by Cunliffe—one standard, Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach’s “Yesterdays,” provides another highlight. It’s one of two vocal numbers spotlighting Andy James, who’s already released one title for the label as a leader and shared another set with Patitucci; a second solo album’s due in March. She’s a talented, dynamic young stylist, one to watch as Le Coq continues to develop its roster.

Learn more about Le Coq Records Presents: The Jazz All Stars Vol. 2 on Amazon & Apple Music!

Jeff Tamarkin

Jeff Tamarkin on social media

Jeff Tamarkin is the former editor of Goldmine, CMJ, Relix, and Global Rhythm. As a writer he has contributed to the New York Daily News, JazzTimes, Boston Phoenix, Harp, Mojo, Newsday, Billboard, and many other publications. He is the author of the book Got a Revolution: The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane and has contributed to The Guinness Companion to Popular Music, All Music Guide, and several other encyclopedias. He has also served as a consultant to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, NARAS, National Geographic Online, and Music Club Records.