Thursday, January 31, 2013

Seth Greenberg Quartet & Gina Saputo live @ the Nakano Theater, in Torrance, CA

The Seth Greenberg Quartet will be performing a special two-night tribute (Friday and Saturday February 8th and 9th) to the music of Billie Holiday, featuring one of our favorite jazz vocalists, Gina Saputo. The quartet includes saxophonist Dennis Mitcheltree, bassist Eric Sittner and drummer Ramon Banda.

Both performances begin at 7:30pm @ the Nakano Theater (3330 Civic Center Drive, Torrance, CA, 90503); dinner is available at the theater prior to the concert at 6:30pm. Tickets have been selling quickly, so purchasing them sooner than later is high recommended. Call either 310-781-7171 or visit for tickets and more information. Hope to se u there!

Live CD of the Month - "CTI All Stars: Sky Dive 1973"

Live CD of the Month
CTI All Stars: "Sky Dive 1973" (CTI) 2012

Featuring: Johnny Hammond (Fender Rhodes electric piano, Hammond B-3 organ), Ron Carter (acoustic bass), Jack DeJohnette (drums), Airto Moreira (percussion & vocals), George Benson (electric guitar), Hubert Laws (flute & piccolo), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet & flugelhorn) and Stanley Turrentine (tenor sax). Although listed on the front cover, Bob James didn't play at that concert.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

EP of the Month - "Bob James: Westchester Lady / Night Crawler"

12" EP of the Month Bob James:
"Westchester Lady / Night Crawler" (CTI/Juno) 2013

What a repress! Bob James is, without argument, one of the most sampled gents in the game. It's so easy to see why... He's one of the most adored musicians in the acid-jazz/dancefloor jazz scene, revered by rappers and producers of the hip-hop generation. His deft ability to compose and arrange groove anthems leaves him in a league of his own. "Westchester Lady" is immediately recognised as the spring board for Adam F's "Circles" and its lush orchestral crescendo and sudden switch in phrase and key. Having been plundered by the likes of Supernatural, Demigodz, Guru and many more, "Night Crawler" is equally as distinguished. A jazz boogie anthem for the heads, if you've not got this in your collection now is your chance!

Arranged & Conducted by Bob James
Produced by Creed Taylor & Bob James (although the label of Side B credits Creed Taylor as producer, "Night Crawler" was produced by Bob James for the Tappan Zee album "Heads" and recorded on September 8th, 1977)
Engineered by Rudy Van Gelder & Joe Jorgensen ("Night Crawler")

"Westchester Lady" (newly edited version): Bob James (Fender Rhodes electric piano, synths), Will Lee (electric bass), Harvey Mason (drums), Ralph MacDonald (percussion), Eric Gale & Hugh McCracken (guitars), Jon Faddis, John Frosk, Lew Soloff & Marvin Stamm (trumpet), Wayne Andre (trombone), Dave Bargeron (bass trombone & tuba), Dave Taylor (bass trombone), Grover Washington, Jr. (tenor sax), Eddie Daniels (tenor sax, flute), Jerry Dodgion & Hubert Laws (flute), Frederick Buldrini, Harry Cykman, Lewis Eley, Max Ellen, Emanuel Green, Harold Kohon, David Nadien & Matthew Raimondi (violin), Alfred Brown & Manny Vardi (viola), Charles McCracken & Alan Shulman (cello)
"Night Crawler": Bob James (Fender Rhodes electric piano, Oberheim Polyphonic synthesizer), Ed Walsh (synth programming), Gary King (electric bass), Andy Newmark (drums), Ralph MacDonald (percussion), David Sanborn (alto sax), Eric Gale (electric guitar), Randy Brecker, Marvin Stamm, Lew Soloff, Jon Faddis & John Frosk (trumpet & flugel), Wayne Andre & Tom Mitchell (trombone), David Taylor (bass trombone), Jim Buffington, Brooks Tillotson & Peter Gordon (French horns)

Box Set of the Month - "Charles Mingus: The Complete Columbia & RCA Albums"

Jazz Box Set of the Month (10-CD set) 
Charles Mingus: "The Complete Columbia & RCA Albums" (Sony) 2012 

Compilation of the Month - "Patti Austin: End Of A Rainbow - The CTI Masters"

Compilation of the Month
Patti Austin: "End Of A Rainbow - The CTI Masters" (CTI/SoulMusic) 2013

Although reissued on CD format nothing less than seven times in Japan, between 1987 and 2010, this is the first time that "End Of A Rainbow" appears on CD outside Asia. This European issue includes all tracks from Patti's debut solo album for CTI, "End Of A Rainbow" (arranged by David Matthews), plus eight more tracks from Patti's other albums for Creed Taylor: "Havana Candy", "I Just Want To Know", "We're In Love", "I Need Somebody", "Lost In The Stars", "Body Language", "Another Nail For My Heart", and "I Want You Tonight".

Sessions from the original "End Of A Rainbow" album were produced by Creed Taylor for CTI Records (original catalog # CTI 5001), and recorded @ Mediasound Studios (NYC, NY) by Joe Jorgensen & Alan Varner, and @ Van Gelder Studios (Englewood Cliffs, NJ) by Rudy Van Gelder between April and June, 1976. All vocals recorded @ Van Gelder Studio by Rudy Van Gelder (June, 1976)

Cover Photo: Pete Turner
Bonus tracks produced by Creed Taylor and Dave Grusin

Personnel on the "End Of A Rainbow" album: Richard Tee (acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes, clavinet), Barry Miles (synths), Mike Abene (ac. piano), Eric Gale (electric guitar), Steve Khan (acoustic guitar with steel strings), Will Lee, Chuck Rainey & Jeff Berlin (electric bass), Steve Gadd & Andy Newmark (drums), Ralph MacDonald (percussion), Joe Farrell & Michael Brecker (tenor sax), Ronnie Cuber (baritone sax), Randy Brecker (trumpet), Vivian Cherry, Frank Floyd, Gwen Guthrie, Zachary Sanders (background vocals), Gloria Agostini (harp), Harry Cykman, Max Ellen, Barry Finclair, Paul Gershman, Harry Glickman, Emanuel Green, Harold Kohon, Harry Lookofsky, Guy Lumia, Joe Malin, David Nadien, Max Pollikoff, Matthew Raimondi & Richard Sortomme (violin), Alfred Brown, Ted Israel & Manny Vardi (viola), Charles McCracken & Alan Shulman (cello), Chuck Israels (arco bass)

DVD of the Month - "Raul de Souza"

DVD of the Month
Raul de Souza: "O Universo Musical de Raul de Souza" (Sesc) 2012

Special Guests: Altamiro Carrilho (flute, unfortunately on his last live performance), João Donato (acoustic piano) & Hector Costita (tenor sax)

Twofer CD of the Month - "Keith Jarrett: Mysteries/Shades"

Twofer CD Reissue of the Month
Keith Jarrett: "Mysteries/Shades" (Impulse!) 1976

Original albums produced by Esmond Edwards
"Impulse! 2-on-1" series produced by Matthias Künnecke & Douglas Payne

Featuring: Keith Jarrett (acoustic piano, Pakistani flute, wood drums, percussion), Charlie Haden (acoustic bass), Paul Motian (drums, percussion), Guilherme Franco (percussion) and Dewey Redman (tenor sax, tambourine, maracas, Chinese musette)

R&B CD Reissue of the Month - "Juicy: It Takes Two"

R&B CD Reissue of the Month
Juicy: "It Takes Two" (Private I/Funkytown Grooves) 1985/2012

Produced by Eumir Deodato for Kenya Music
Engineered by Mallory Earl @ Duplex Sound Studios (Tribeca, NY)
Featuring: Jerry Barnes & Katreese Barnes (all instruments)

This first CD reissue in the U.S. of "It Takes Two" -- Juicy's second album for Joe Isgro's Private I label, then distributed by Columbia and now owned by Sony Music -- comes out by the independent company Funkytown Grooves, under license from Sony.

It's a terrific expanded edition which includes, besides the eight tracks from the original LP version, five remixes previously available only on EPs. They are: "Sugar Free" (Deo/Super Dance Mix), "Nobody But You" (Deo-Remix), "Bad Boy" (Dub-Mix), "Sugar Free" (Deo/Radio Remix) and "Nobody But You" (Deo-Dub). The latter was remixed by Eumir Deodato's longtime collaborator (and a former member of the Platinum Hook group) Kevin Jasper, using the nickname DJ KJ.

"Sugar Free" peaked at #13 on the Billboard "Black Singles" chart and #45 on the UK Pop chart, while "Nobody But You" reached #59 on the "R&B" chart.

"Spread The Love," the "It Takes Two" follow-up album, is also being reissued by Funkytown Grooves.

Jazz CD Reissue of the Month - "Duke Pearson: It Could Only Happen With You"

Jazz CD Reissue of the Month
Duke Pearson: "It Could Only Happen With You" (Blue Note/EMI Toshiba) 1970/2012

Produced, Arranged & Conducted by Duke Pearson
Recorded & Mixed by Rudy Van Gelder @ Van Gelder Studio (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey) on April 10, 1970, except "Emily," recorded on March 13, 1970
Cover Art: Bob Cato
Photos: Allen Matthews

Featuring: Duke Pearson (acoustic piano & Fender Rhodes electric piano), Flora Purim (vocals on "Gira, Girou", "Stormy" and "Só Tinha de Ser Com Você"), Hermeto Pascoal (all C-flute solos, acoustic guitar on "Stormy" & acoustic bass on "Lost in the Stars"), Theo de Barros (acoustic guitar on all tunes, except "Hermeto," on which he plays acoustic bass), Bob Cranshaw (acoustic & electric bass in the other songs), Mickey Roker (drums), Jerry Dodgion (C-flute on "Emily"), Al Gibbons (alto flute & alto sax), Burt Collins & Joe Shepley (trumpets) and Kenny Rupp (trombone)

Vocal CD of the Month - "Denise Donatelli: Soul Shadows"

Vocal Jazz CD of the Month
Denise Donatelli: "Soul Shadows" (Savant) 2012

Produced by Geoffrey Keezer & Carlos Y. del Rosario
Musical Direction: Geoffrey Keezer
Executive Producers: Robbie Davis & Denise Donatelli
Recording Engineers: Carlos Y. del Rosario, Tim Garland, Talley Sherwood, Aaron Field & Sean Swinney
Mixed, Edited & Mastered by Carlos Y. del Rosario @ Visual Rhythm Recording Studios (Alhambra, CA)
Photos: Lori Stoll

Featuring: Denise Donatelli (vocals), Geoffrey Keezer (acoustic piano), Carlitos del Puerto (acoustic & electric bass), Alex Acuña, Walter Rodriguez & Nicholas Stoup (percussion), Peter Sprague (acoustic & electric guitars), Ramon Stagnaro (acoustic guitar), Steve Huffsteter (trumpet), Andy Martin (trombone), Tim Garland (soprano sax), Sarah Thornblade & Songa Lee (violins), Alma Lisa Fernandez & Matt Funes (violas), Susan Wulff (arco bass), Yutaka Yokokura (background vocals), Peter Eldridge (vocal arrangement of "Postcards and Messages")

Instrumental CD of the Month - "Till Brönner"

Instrumental Jazz CD of the Month
Till Brönner: "Till Brönner" (Verve) 2012

Till Brönner, the brilliant German jazz trumpeter who remains ignored by U.S. audiences and press despite a hugely successful career in Europe, has a new self-titled album coming out today in Europe. The project, inspired by Creed Taylor's legendary CTI label, including some lush string orchestrations a la Claus Ogerman/Don Sebesky by the brilliant LA-based arranger Nan Schwartz, is also a heartfelt tribute to Till's idol Freddie Hubbard, who reached the apex of his career at CTI. Curiously, since Till Brönner records for Verve Germany, the album cover includes the logo of that famous label, another company that Taylor popularized (during the '60s, before the CTI era).

The repertoire includes Brönner's "F.F.H. (For Freddie Hubbard)" and renditions of such Hubbard's tunes as "Little Sunflower" (which the late trumpeter recorded for CTI as a sideman on Milt Jackson's masterpiece, "Sunflower") and "Gibraltar" (originally recorded by tenor sax master Stanley Turrentine on "Salt Song," and later revisited by Hubbard himself on some live dates).

There are also hauting takes on the gorgeous ballads "Once Upon A Summertime" (the first tune ever composed by ever Michel Legrand, back in 1954, under the original title "La Valse des Lilas", and a definitive proof that the French maestro is a genius!) and "Lazy Afternoon," recorded for CTI by Jackie & Roy on "Time & Love", but covered by Hubbard, some years later, for the best album of his Columbia years, "The Love Connection."

Till always loved both songs, and previously recorded "Once Upon A Summertime" in another superb project, "Love Is What Stays," which he produced (and Nan Schwartz arranged) for Mark Murphy in 2007.

When I first saw the tracklist of Till's new album, I said to myself: "what do he and Nan think they can do once again with this ballad?" Now I know the answer and can assure you: the best vocal version ever of "Once Upon A Summertime" is on Mark Murphy's CD; and the best instrumental ever is on Till's new CD.

"Till Brönner" is available in three different issues: CD, vinyl LP, and in this highly recommended 2-set limited deluxe CD edition, with the following tracklist:

CD 1:
01:Will Of Nature (5:17)
02:F.F.H. (6:45)
03:Return To The Fold (6:18)
04:Gibraltar (4:01)
05:Pegasus (4:11)
06:Red Street (4:45)
07:Three Days of the Condor (6:13)
08:Lazy Afternoon (7:07)
09:Wacky Wes (5:27)
10:The Gate (6:13)
11:Half Story (5:51)
12:Once Upon A Summertime (5:33)
(all tracks by Till Brönner, except #4 by Freddie Hubbard, #5 by Larry Goldings, #7 by Dave Grusin, #8 by Jerome Moross/John Latouche, #12 by Michel Legrand/Eddie Barclay/Eddy Marnay/Johnny Mercer)

CD 2:
01:Till's Blues [Brönner](4:01)
02:Body & Soul [Green/Eyton/Heyman/Sour] (1:59)
03:Little Sunflower (Live) [Hubbard] (14:39)

CD 1
Till Brönner (trumpet & flugelhorn, brass and woodwind arrangements)
Magnus Lindgren (tenor saxophone, flute, bass clarinet, brass and woodwind arrangements)
Roberto Di Gioia (Fender Rhodes, analog synthesizers)
Jasper Soffers (Fender Rhodes - #8,12)
Bruno Müller (guitars - #7,9)
Albert Johnson (electric bass)
Christian von Kaphengst (electric bass - #8,12)
Matteo Scrimali (drums)
Wolfgang Haffner (drums - #8,12)
Roland Peil (percussion)
Liam Mario (percussion - #11)
Tilmann Dehnhard (flutes - #9-12)
Nan Schwartz (string arrangements, conductor - #2,3, 9-12)
Stefan Pintev, Rodrigo Reichel, Boris Bachmann, Rukandra Klein, Juliane Merse, Alexandra Psareva,Maja Hunziker, Veronika Passin & Alexander Affanasiev (violin)
Erik Wenbo Ku & Thomas Depen (viola)
Alexander Bagrintsev & Sebastian Gaede (cello)

CD 2
Till Brönner (all instruments - #1, flugelhorn -#2, trumpet - #3)
Jasper Soffers (keyboards - #3)
Johan Leijonhufvud (guitar - #3)
Dieter Ilg (acoustic bass - #3)
Martijn Vink (drums - #3)