Swedish band GIN LADY was formed in early 2011, around the same time that the majority of the members of this new band were free of obligations as their former band Black Bonzo decided to take a break….
Altoist Phil Woods took a rare vacation from playing with his regular group to collaborate with pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist George Mraz and drummer Kenny Washington on this fine straight-ahead quartet date. The 13 selections are fairly concise (clocking in between 3-7 minutes apiece) and most of the material (other than "Canadian Sunset," "Yours Is My Heart Alone," "Blue and Sentimental" and Bill Evans' classic "Waltz for Debby") consists of either obscurities or recent originals. A special bonus is that Woods plays his appealing clarinet on three numbers. Highlights include "Charles Christopher" (a tribute to Charlie Parker), "Butter" and Hal Galper's "Just Us."
Sergio Mendes spent the '70s straying very far from his Brazilian roots. The Sergio Mendes album from 1975 is very much in the smooth soul/quiet storm bag and Magic Lady from 1979 is a straight disco record. Neither of the records are the disasters you might have already pegged them as. Sergio Mendes is actually a small pleasure and Magic Lady, while overly smooth, isn't an embarrassment. The best part about Sergio Mendes is the sweetly harmonizing vocals of Bonnie Bowden and Sondra Catton and the laid-back groove that percolates throughout the album. The songs are all covers. Some like the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun" or Donny Hathaway's "Someday We'll All Be Free" have interesting arrangements, while some like Stevie Wonder's "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)" have hackneyed or meandering arrangements…
Reissue with the latest remastering and the original cover artwork. Comes with a description written in Japanese. Janice Lakers is a singer we only know from this one album – but she's a hip vocalist with a very compelling style – one that's very much in the best mode of some of the cooler American jazz singers of the late 70s! The song choices are great – some hipper jazz standards – and she's got a way of opening up with the lyrics that's far different than older vocal modes of the 50s – instead nearer to the territory of artists like Janet Lawson or Judy Roberts. Backing is by a hip trio with Debbie Poryes on piano – who really open up with their own sense of presence on the record, too – and titles include "Waltz For Debby", "Like A Lover", "Falling Grace", "Rainbow Lady", "In Your Own Sweet Way", and a nicely grooving take on "Moondance".
This reissue features cardboard sleeve jacket (gatefold sleeve). Jimi Hendrix, taken to the territory of funky Hammond jazz – thanks to a trio that features Lonnie Smith on organ and John Abercrombie on guitar! Abercrombie's lines aren't nearly as freaky and fuzzy as Jimi's, but the groove here is a really nice change – one that almost digs into the inherently soulful elements of Hendrix's music, then turns it further into a vehicle for jazz-based exploration! Marvin Smitty Smith is in drums – and titles include "Third Stone From The Sun", "Foxy Lady", "Castles Made Of Sand/Star Spangled Banner", and "Jimi Meets Miles".