Thursday, September 30, 2004

Chris Botti's On Fire

Not literally, of course, but the trumpeter's new Columbia CD When I Fall in Love soared to No. 1 most-downloaded on iTunes Jazz on the day it was released; currently When I Fall in Love is's No. 12 best-selling release in any genre. Botti will play "Someone to Watch Over Me" with full orchestra at the Noble Prize Ceremonies in Oslo, Norway, which will be telecast worldwide Dec. 10 and hosted by Tom Cruise and Oprah Winfrey. Watch for a front-page story about Botti in the Los Angeles Times' Calendar section this Saturday, Oct. 2.

Lalah Hathaway is Poised to 'Outrun The Sky'

Much of the inspiration for the love songs on the album is autobiographical, and because some of her friends were also facing challenges in their own personal relationships, Lalah had ample opportunity to mine information, which formed the foundation of the album and which served to add another dimension to her songwriting skills.

The album also includes Lalah's interpretation of the CD's sole cover, Luther Vandross' "Forever, For Always, For Love." Originally produced by Rex Rideout for the all-star GRP concept project 'Forever, For Always, For Luther,' a salute to the ailing music giant who has been sidelined by a stoke.

The Manhattan Transfer: Vibrate

A collection of performances showcasing understated yet impressive technique, the Transfer's trademark vocal harmonies and much emotion and enjoyment, Vibrate displays restraint, maturity, and not a little charm. While it may lack the zing to appeal to the contemporary, youth-driven market, those looking for assured and heartfelt singing backed up by an imaginative approach and decades of experience will find that the Manhattan Transfer are still very much the real deal.

Monk on Monk: A Father-Son Jazz Legacy

T.S. Monk, jazz drummer and son of legendary jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk, talks to NPR's Tony Cox about his latest projects -- including the new CD he recorded with his jazz septet, Higher Ground. He's also been at work on a new two-disc CD and DVD package of some of his father's previously unreleased live recordings, Monk 'Round the World. [NPR}

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Legendary New York Radio Personality Scott Muni Dies

Clear Channel's WAXQ/New York confirmed the passing last night of one of radio's pioneering personalities following complications from a stroke Muni had suffered last year. Affectionately known as "Scottso" and "The Professor," Muni was one of the original WMCA/New York "Good Guys" and went on to have a long New York radio career that included stints at WABC, WOR-FM and, most notably, at groundbreaking rocker WNEW, where he spent 31 years of his career as both PD and on-air personality. Since 1998 Muni had hosted noon-1pm daily at Classic Rock WAXQ. He was 74.

Cornel West: Debates as Jazz

The Tavis Smiley Show, September 29, 2004 · While some pundits are using boxing analogies to the first presidential debate, commentator Cornel West sees it more in terms of jazz.

[NPR audio interview]

Jazz Pianist Eddie Palmieri Offers Hot 'Ritmo Caliente'

Latin jazz pianist and bandleader Eddie Palmieri chats with NPR's Tony Cox about his long career, his most recent album, Ritmo Caliente, and why he wanted to play the piano.

[NPR audio interview]

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Chaquico is on track with smooth jazz CD

Chaquico, once second gun in the Jefferson Starship guitar stable, is an emotive, inventive and effortlessly melodic lead guitarist.

"Midnight Moon"
Craig Chaquico (Higher Octave Records)

This album will land with a thunk in the "Smooth Jazz" rack -- the title is a kind of inside joke among jazz musicians, for whom things don't start cookin' until after midnight -- and it showcases his keen sense of tone as well.

Chaquico is an instrument aficionado and uses dozens of different guitars here.

As smooth jazz goes, the record is a shining example. It gallops along on cheerfully complex polyrhythms and odd time signatures, while Chaquico's signature fingering floats and stings overhead, creating what melody there is. Fans of this sound will embrace this record.

Others, however, used to tunes with structure and dynamics and emotion, will classify this disc as the sort of thing you listen to while on hold. There's so little sense of dynamics here that the tunes could easily be looped and repeat endlessly. Even home runs have to return to earth.
[Burl Burlingame]

CDs to dominate for years over Net downloads

The compact disc has at least another five years as the most popular music format before online downloads chip away at its dominance, a new study said Tuesday. [CNNmoney]

Monday, September 27, 2004

New Releases for Sept 28, 2004

Craig Chaquico, Midnight Noon (Higher Octave/Narada)
Greg Adams, Firefly (215 Records)
Manhattan Transfer, Vibrate (Telarc)
Hiroshima Spirit Of The Season (Heads Up)
Yellowjackets, Peace Round (Heads Up)
Chris Botti, When I Fall In Love (Sony)
George Collichio, George Collichio (Kezia)
Queen Latifa, The Dana Owens Album (Vector)

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Rap, Jazz Mingling More Than Ever

This summer, Hidden Beach Recordings released the third installment in its popular Unwrapped series -- instrumental versions of rap/hip-hop hits by contemporary jazz artists. Jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove and his RH Factor teamed with Common, Q-Tip, D'Angelo and others for the critically acclaimed "Hard Groove." Its sequel, "Strength EP," comes out Sept. 28. [Reuters]

Friday, September 24, 2004

Scofield Stays Out in Front With His Trio

For 25 years the guitarist John Scofield has cooked enough comfortable permutations of jazz-funk, jazz-rock and the long, spacious grooves of jam-band music to reheat for the rest of his career. So his decision to scale back to a working trio with the bassist Steve Swallow and the drummer Bill Stewart seemed honest and challenging as well as a return to some older ground. (He made several trio albums with Mr. Swallow in the early 1980's.) [NY Times]

Alice Coltrane: 'Translinear Light'

If jazz legend John Coltrane has disciples -- musical or otherwise -- chief among them would be his widow, Alice Coltrane.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Kenny Barron Quintet 'Images'

The focal point of the album, the eighteen-minute title track which closes the album, indicates just how broad his scope is. An extended composition that traverses a number of movements, this may be Barron’s magnum opus; a remarkable piece that has one convinced that they are listening to a player/writer of a much younger vintage, it demonstrates just how influential Barron has been to more than one generation of artist. Sophisticated and elegant, thoughtful and moving, it is the perfect blend of structure and abandon.
[John Kelman

Jazz band is just so good

Because of my smooth soothing sound, several years ago when I was an on-air talent at an urban-jazz radio station, our general manager switched me from the mid-day slot to the "quiet storm" slot.

The "quiet-storm" slot was from 6 to 10 p.m. My job was to use my mellow voice and play the very best "smooth jazz."

At the time -- being a person who was more urban than jazz -- I didn't know jazz could be smooth, then I heard Fourplay play.

Jazz Family Patriarch Marsalis Dies in New Orleans

Ellis Marsalis Sr., patriarch of the family of jazz greats that includes his grandsons Wynton and Branford, died over the weekend at the age of 96, a New Orleans funeral home said on Wednesday.

Marsalis, who took an active role in the civil rights movement, died at an area hospital on Sunday, the funeral home said.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Maysa 'Smooth Sailing'

A return to form for the Incognito lead singer, with her fourth album being one of her strongest. The lead off track the bouncy mid tempo dancer 'Hypnotic Love' will be massive on the radio and in the clubs. The title track is in a similar vein and along with the punchy 'Scat World' featuring Ledisi, and the mid tempo ballad 'All Day Long' and 'Soul Child' produced by Bluey standout on this quality album.

Fattburger - 'Work To Do'

Work to Do captures Fattburger at its peak, serving up timeless body rocking sumptuous grooves, high-energy pressure cooked funky numbers and simmering laid back melodies with percolating rhythmic grooves. Featuring ten tracks, the CD opens with a soulful rendition of the Isley Brother's hit "Work To Do" which will make you want to get out on the dance floor and do the hustle. Fattburger works overtime on this track creating a memorable version with their inventive soloing and spirited percussion breaks. Other highlights include guitarist Evan Marks' down-right gritty and bluesy number "B.D.D.D.," bassist Mark Hunter's Stevie Wonder-like "I'm Just Sayin'" and Carl Evans Jr.'s breezy Bossa-Nova tinged ballad "Rene," featuring Hollis Gentry III on the soprano. Another standout is Fattburger's refreshing take on the Coleman, Wakefield and Wright love song, "100 Ways," popularized by Quincy Jones and James Ingram. Evan Marks' fluid, lyrical and heart-felt guitar sets the mood just right.

Monday, September 20, 2004

New Releases for Sept 21, 2004

Various, Marvin, Teddy & Luther: A Smooth Urban Jazz (Shanachie)
Norman Brown, West Coast Coolin' (Warner Brothers)
Fattburger, Work To Do (Shanachie)
Maysa, Smooth Sailing (Encoded)

Suprisingly Good

The artists I knew would be great -- Jack DeJohnnette, Don Byron, Charlie Hunter, Terence Blanchard and Jackie Greene, among others -- were phenomenal.

But artists I wasn't quite sure what to expect from, and others I knew virtually nothing about ended up being some of my favorites. Like the gorgeous vocals of Luciana Souza and her incredible pianist Ed Simon, and the wild and woolly Boban Markovic & the Serbian Orkestar.
[Monterey Herald]

Friday, September 17, 2004

Pop and Jazz Listings

A selective listing by critics of The Times: New or noteworthy pop and jazz concerts in the New York metropolitan region this weekend. * denotes a highly recommended concert.

Bob Baldwin Joins Tama Broadcasting

Keyboardist Bob Baldwin has entered into a relationship with Tama Broadcasting as Smooth Jazz MD/Consultant/air personality. Among his responsibilities, Baldwin will host the weekday afternoon drive program on Tama's Smooth Jazz outlets, WJSJ & WSJF/Jacksonville, as well as WSSJ/Savannah, GA. He will also consult the stations in the selection of music and assist with coordination of live concert events throughout northeast Florida and southeast Georgia, as well as other promotional projects. []

Diana Krall's Benefit Concert

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Verve artist Diana Krall and her sister Michelle Wigmore to honor their mother, Adella Krall, who passed away from incurable blood cancer earlier this year. The group reached out to KKSF/San Francisco, which promoted on the air a benefit concert held Sept. 11. KKSF also did ticket giveaways and featured it on the station's website and in its e-mail newsletter. KKSF PD Michael Erikson told R&R that the room where the concert was held at the Four Seasons Hotel was full and "the setting was spectacular." Erikson continues, "Diana did a very intimate performance with only her on piano and her bass player. She did not perform any songs from her latest album, but rather did a whole set of standards. The audience loved it." []

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Piano legend McPartland: Cool jazz still hot

Marian McPartland, host of NPR's 'Piano Jazz,' will discuss the show and perform at this year's Monterey Jazz Festival.Marian McPartland, the legendary jazz pianist and host of National Public Radio's "Piano Jazz," returns this year to the Monterey Jazz Festival. She'll perform, and she'll also join panel discussions with musicians such as Clark Terry and Bill Charlap and jazz enthusiast Clint Eastwood. [CNN}

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Mindi Abair - Come as You Are

With her sophomore release on GRP, Come as You Are, Abair has again collaborated with producer/co-writer Matthew Hager and is poised to top herself with a line-up of scintillating new tunes and Hager’s sophisticated pop production. Abair continues to distinguish herself with superior songwriting, together with Hager and her other writing partners. Come as You Are is a collection of compelling pop songs with potent and gratifying hooks.

Don Grusin In Musical Residency

In support of his new CD project, The Hang (Sovereign Artists), Don Grusin will play in residency at L.A.'s Jazz Bakery, appearing Monday nights for the next six weeks. Noted musicians will play with renowned keyboardist, composer, arranger, producer and creative catalyst Grusin, including drummer/percussionist Walfredo Reyes, Jr.; bassist Rene Camacho; guitarist Wayne Johnson; violinist Charlie Bishart; and vocalist Natalie Rene. Featured guest artists during the six-week residency include Dori Caymmi, Phil Perry, Marilyn Scott, Katisse Buckingham, Brian Bromberg, Eric Marienthal, Luis Conte and Lee Ritenour.

Jazz Giants Spyro Gyra to Hit Bulgarian Stage

US jazz veterans Spyro Gyra arrived in Bulgaria for a live performance Thursday.Bulgarian music fans are looking forward to a live gig by Spyro Gyra, one of the most prolific and successful bands of the jazz scene.

The Americans will perform at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia on Thursday.

The band was founded in the early 70s, and have recently celebrated their 20th album release.

Spyro Gyra combine jazz with elements of pop music, R&B and funk. Their music has been influential in the development of smooth jazz.
[Sofia News Agency]

JazzHopefuls, Trying for the Sound of Success

Even the most ambitious jazz instrumentalists seem to find limits for their audience. Singers can have a much broader appeal. Norah Jones, whose two albums have sold more than 12 million copies combined since 2002, proved that a singer with at least a basis in jazz can give audiences something they didn't necessarily know they wanted.
[NY Times]

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Koz Takes Friends On Holiday Trek

As has become a tradition, saxophonist Dave Koz will gather several of his friends to hit the road on his eighth annual Smooth Jazz Christmas Tour. Kicking off in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving Day holiday, the tour will also feature guitarist Norman Brown, keyboardist Brian Culbertson and vocalist Brenda Russell.

New Releases - AMG

Mindi Abair Come as You Are GRP
Eric Alexander Dead Center High Note
Lynne Arriale Trio Come Together Motema Music
Ed Calle Ed Calle Plays Sanatana Universal Latino
Frankie Carle & His Orchestra Piano Style Of/Play for Me Collectables
Peter Cincotti On the Moon Concord
Collective Hallucination Peripheral Moment Orchard
Stanley Cowell Questions and Answers Absord Japan
Paquito D'Rivera 40 Years of Cuban Jam Session Universal Latino
Duke Ellington Duke: The Columbia Years 1927-1962 Sony
Bill Evans California Here I Come Verve
Don Friedman My Favorite Things 441
Dizzy Gillespie Salt Peanuts Just a Memory
Great Trio Someday My Prince Will Come Sony
Johnny Griffin Bush Dance Galaxy
Don Grusin Hang Sovereign Artists
Herbie Hancock Herbie Hancock Box Sony
Roy Haynes Quiet Fire Galaxy
Joe Henderson Joe Henderson Quintet at the Lighthouse Milestone
Giovanni Hidalgo Villa Hidalgo Universal Latino
Earl Hines Have You Ever Felt That Way? 1929-1933 Frog
Freddie Hubbard High Blues Pressure Collectables
Ahmad Jamal Chamber Music of the New GRP
Bob James Sign of the Times [Japan Bonus Track] JVC Japan
Bob James Three [Japan Bonus Track] JVC Japan
Dick Jurgens Ance Date/At the Aragon Ballroom Collectables
Ramsey Lewis Another Voyage GRP
Ove Lind/Bengt Hallberg/Arne Domnerus Improviserat! Phontastic
Ulf Linde : 1946-52 Phontastic
Chuck Mangione Best of Chuck Mangione [Sony] Sony
Herbie Mann Common Ground Collectables
Branford Marsalis Eternal Marsalis Music
Billy May Big Band In Concert: Mayhem! Hindsight
Brad Mehldau Live in Tokyo Nonesuch
Glenn Miller Masterpieces Dutton Vocalion
Thelonious Monk Columbia Years: '62-'68 Sony
Ray Noble & Al Bowlly HMV Sessions, Vol. 9 Dutton Vocalion
Ray Noble & Al Bowlly Rarities and U.S. Recordings, Vol. 10 Dutton Vocalion
Jimmy Norman Little Pieces Wildflower
Othello & The Hipknotics Classic Japanese Import
Houston Person To Etta With Love High Note
Oscar Peterson Portrait of Frank Sinatra Verve
Flip Phillips & Woody Herman Smooth as Silk Hindsight
Seis del Solar Alternate Roots Universal Latino
Jimmy Smith Boss Verve
Clark Terry/Jeff Lindberg & The Chicago Orchestra Porgy and Bess A440 Music Group
Various Artists Breaking Out of New Orleans 1922-1929 JSP
Various Artists Colors of Latin : Música Romántica Concord Various Artists Moods: Sounds of Autumn Concord
Various Artists Little Dictionary of Classical Fremeaux & Associes
Various Artists Playboy Smooth Playboy
Von Schlippenbach's Globe Unity Orchestra Hamburg 74 Atavistic
Jeff "Tain" Watts Quintet Detained at the Blue Note Half Note
George Wein Wein, Women and Song Collectables
Bob Wilber Original Wilber Phontastic
Alicia Wiley Alicia Wiley Utr Music Group
Matt Wilson's Arts and Crafts Wake Up! (To What's Happening) Palmetto

Steve Oliver - 3D

Several up-tempo numbers are contained on this project including the outstanding Wings of Spring. This song will make you smile as Oliver’s vocalese gives lift to an energized guitar melody. The upbeat percussion soars as the piano (Schuman) dances its way through this number. Chips & Salsa, the piquant-flavored, first radio single off the disc, smacks with staccatoed guitar stylings, strong piano lines and spiced-up percussion. Infused with a zesty hook, it’ll keep you craving more! Oh Yeah, continues the vibe with world music gusto and then In the Shade of Cool, Oliver casts the hue of electric guitar and reminds me of the Larry Carlton sound.
D. J. Fazio

Monday, September 13, 2004

Brad Mehldau 'Live in Tokyo'

As Mr. Mehldau's trio has tightened, his solo piano performances have broadened, slowed down, become more dramatic. On the solo concert issued as "Live in Tokyo," his 11th album and first on Nonesuch, he plays tunes familiar to anyone who has seen his trio a few times in the last decade: Thelonious Monk's "Monk's Dream," Nick Drake's "River Man," Radiohead's "Paranoid Android." But everything here, including an imperious "Someone to Watch Over Me," has much greater weight.

At his best Mr. Mehldau plays with time: not through contrivances of meter, but through a bilevel rhythmic feeling, in which the basic pulse of a song remains stately and the ornament on top freely accelerates and slows down. He is also an odd combination of trance inducer and straightforward song player. In "Monk's Dream" he works up to hammered chords and clashing harmonies at gathering volume, getting close to Cecil Taylor's language. But he never wants to get too far from the governing tune, and he tends to lodge his boldest experiments sometimes a little too neatly inside the well-outlined middle section of each song. He is a deep improviser, but easy to follow.
[NY Times]

Branford Marsalis 'Eternal'

Beautifully recorded, its performances full of concentration, "Eternal" (Marsalis Music) is a record of ballads by a saxophonist who has historically been much more impressive at fast, hard, dense music, a kind of boxing-ring jazz.

These days jazz musicians reflexively put together well-balanced CD's: there is a tacit consensus that jazz audiences are not perverse enough to want only one prolonged mood for an hour. But by programming seven ballads in a row, most of them fairly long, and switching between soprano and tenor saxophone, Mr. Marsalis gambles something and wins. It is his best record since "The Dark Keys" of 1996.

Slow tempos energize the group inwardly: this quartet's pianist, Joey Calderazzo, finds traction in montuno vamps; the drummer, Jeff Watts, plays the subtlest brush rhythms on "Dinner for One Please, James," recorded by Nat King Cole in the 1950's, and "Gloomy Sunday," made famous by Billie Holiday; and on Mr. Marsalis's "Eternal,'' he plays quiet essays on the cymbals that fall in and out of regularly stated time.

Mr. Marsalis, for his part, forgoes his cutting humor and musical slang; he lays back in a style informed by John Coltrane, but perhaps even more by Ben Webster: notes are plump, and long breaths become a greater part of the music.
[NY Times]

New Releases for Sept 14, 2004

Mindi Abair, Come As You Are (9/14)
Ramsey Lewis, Another Voyage (GRP, 9/14)
Brad Mehldau, Live In Toyko (Nonesuch, 9/14)
Tim Bowman, This Is What I Hear (Liquid 8, 9/14)
Don Grusin, The Hang (Sovereign Artists, 9/14)
Chuck Mangione, The Best Of Chuck Mangione (Legacy, 9/14)
Grant Geissman, There And Back Again (9/14)
Playboy Jazz (Koz, Benson, Boney, Braun, more), In A Smooth Groove (Playboy Jazz, 9/14)

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Jazz Guitarist Frisell Samples Vinyl for New Set

Now he has tossed up a new curve ball. "Unspeakable," released Aug. 24, is a thoroughly entertaining album of dance-friendly, sample-steeped songs. Produced by Hal Willner, who mans the turntables and triggers the samples, the CD is Frisell's 19th for Nonesuch Records.

After a series of quieter releases, Frisell gets funky yet atmospheric here and even revisits the rock snarl of earlier albums, especially on the soul-infused "White Fang." He enlists 858 Strings -- the trio of Jenny Scheinman (violin), Eyvind Kang (viola) and Hank Roberts (cello) -- as guest performers. [Reuters]

Friday, September 10, 2004

Stacey Kent: A Shift in the Balance Between a Singer and Musicians

The more gently Ms. Kent's voice is caressed, the better she sounds, and on a good night, the standards she chooses slide from her lips like wonderful personal stories confided with the joy of a singer who believes in happy endings. Some of my most memorable nightclub evenings have been spent in the company of Ms. Kent and her husband, the tenor saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, as her sly, flirtatious singing and his subdued, murmuring horn share intimate pillow talk that recalls the glory days of bossa nova. [NY Times]

Smooth jazz hits the right note

They weren't too familiar with the musician, but they knew his song. When David Benoit's rendition of Linus and Lucy leapt from the keyboard, about 200 kids danced in their seats. Some even stood up. The Charlie Brown anthem bridged culture, ethnicity and a generation gap. [Sun-Sentinel]

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Some CDs worth listening to:

Click on the title bar for a great article by Brian Soergel at about some very worthwhile CDs as he says; "by artists not named Boney, Mindi and Kenny".

Mindi Abair Invites You to 'Come As You Are' With New GRP Release

The album gets off to a quick start with the uptempo title track, showcasing Abair's already distinctive saxophone tone and overall sound. The next track, "Shine," is a deeply-grooving number that makes you tap your feet and nod your head without even knowing it. Another funky tune is the down-and-dirty, "Sticks and Stones."

"Come As You Are" is the much-anticipated follow-up to Mindi's hugely popular GRP Records debut, "It Just Happens That Way." The album launched the groundbreaking #1 hit single "Lucy's" and has sold over 100,000 copies so far.

New chapter begins in online piracy wars

On the agenda: a bipartisan bill proposed earlier this summer that aims to hold liable the companies that provide either the file-sharing service or device used for illegal downloads of music or movies, effectively shifting the blame from individuals.

"People are really stirred up about this," said Art Brodsky, a spokesman for Public Knowledge, a consumer advocacy group that strongly opposes the legislation, dubbed the Induce Act.
[CNN- Money]

Fever pitch for mobile entertainment market

Seeded by the success of Apple's iPod and online store iTunes, joggers, cyclists and drivers the world-over now consume entire CD collections and downloaded tunes on pocket-held devices. [CNN]

Write a check, poof it's gone!

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Free Firewood!

A surprising amount of damage in this area, well below the eye of hurricane Frances. Here's a 13 year old 35 foot black olive tree at rest. I never liked it, but I didn't want to have to blow $400 just on removing it this way. We're just extremely grateful for such minor losses.

Chris Botti Chill Show Debuts

Chris BottiChris Botti Chill Show Debuts
Let's Chill With Chris Botti has its first airing on Saturday, Sept. 4. You can listen to it on San Diego radio stations KiFM, which will stream it live.

Let's Chill With Chris Botti, the new syndicated radio show hosted by Chris Botti, will air in six markets beginning this Saturday, Sept. 4. The two-hour show begins in six cities in the United States: Dallas; Atlanta; San Diego; Las Vegas; Dayton, Ohio; and Reno.

KOAI, Dallas - 8-10 p.m.
WJZZ, Atlanta - 10 p.m.-midnight
KIFM, San Diego - 10 p.m.-midnight
KOAS, Las Vegas - 8-10 p.m.
WDSJ, Dayton - 8-10 p.m.
WJZS, Reno - 10-midnight

You can also listen via the Internet on KiFM ( in San Diego, which will stream live audio. The show will air in San Diego every Saturday evening, beginning September 4, from 10 p.m. to midnight Pacific time.
[Information by Brian Soergel]

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Latin Grammys, Best Latin Jazz Album

Chucho Valdes, New Conceptions is full of exciting possibilities for the quartet Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés has been developing ever since he took a break from his highly successful big band, Irakere. Beginning with Bele Bele en La Habana (1998), the quartet forged a unique sound encompassing the full spectrum of jazz from swing to bop to free forms, with arrangements mostly based on traditional Afro-Cuban rhythms. The group deepened its approach with the Grammy-nominated Briyumba Palo Congo (1999), and was then captured Live at the Village Vanguard, which took the Latin Jazz Grammy for 2000.

New Releases - 9-7-2004

Anita Baker, My Everything (Blue Note)
Daryl Stuermer, Retrofit (Urban Island)
Robert Monteleone, Just Having Fun (MIL)
Medeski Martin & Wood, End Of The World Party (Blue Note)
Kim Pensyl, Solo Sketches
Jane Monheit, Taking A Chance On Love

All that jazz too much

I hope the crowd at the Molson Amphitheatre last night knew about Morrison's new jazz stylings before they bought their tickets -- because the 59-year-old Irish singer didn't give them much else.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Jazz Fest on high note with legends tribute

Of all the challenges presented by the Chicago Jazz Festival during its 26-year run in Grant Park, the greatest may be blowing out all the candles that will be lit at this year's event in honor of the centennial years of three legends: Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins and Fats Waller, all of whom will be saluted by veteran players with a special understanding of their gifts. The tributes will be the icing on what looks to be the best fest in years.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Ray Charles' final album released posthumously

Much like Charles' career, "Genius Loves Company" spans soul, rock 'n' roll, R&B, country, jazz and blues -- and includes such guest stars as Norah Jones, Diana Krall and Johnny Mathis as well as King.

"Some of the songs I have been playing for years. Some were all-time favorites of mine that I'd never recorded. Others were songs by artists that I really liked," Charles said before his death.