Ambeon is a Dutch progressive metal act, a project consisting mainly of multi-instrumentalist composer Arjen Anthony Lucassen (Ayreon, Star One, Guilt Machine) and Astrid van der Veen, very talented young female vocalist. The act's first and only album to date, "Fate of a Dreamer", was recorded in 2001, when van der Veen was just 14 years old. Ambeon's atmospheric sound draws from a wide variety of influences, including Celtic, gothic and progressive music. The songs on "Fate of a Dreamer" are mostly composed of different remixed pieces of songs from Ayreon albums, whereas the lyrics are original, written by van der Veen…
For his third ECM release as a leader, Chris Potter presents a new acoustic quartet that naturally blends melodic rhapsody with rhythmic muscle. The group includes superlative musicians well known to followers of ECM’s many recordings from New York over the past decade: keyboardist David Virelles, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Marcus Gilmore, who each shine in addition to the leader on multiple horns. The Dreamer Is the Dream features Potter on tenor saxophone the instrument that has made him one of the most admired players of his generation in the striking opener “Heart in Hand” and such album highlights as “Yasodhara,” as well as on soprano sax (“Memory and Desire”) and bass clarinet (the title track).
Kenny Rankin sings like Chet Baker would have if Baker had had a voice. His tone is high (Rankin's speaking voice is actually fairly low) and he has a subtle, cool style. It is a bit of a surprise, but Rankin (whose previous output has been in pop music) is actually a fine jazz singer. He always sticks to the lyrics when performing veteran standards (there is no scatting), but changes many of the notes, even during the melody statements, and he is definitely improvising. Rankin's concept is kind of strange ("At Last" and "The Very Thought of You" are radically changed) but successful and he has a strong and likable voice. An all-star acoustic trio (consisting of pianist Mike Wofford, bassist Brian Bromberg, and drummer Roy McCurdy) backs the singer on most of the tracks, Tom Scott (on tenor and alto) and trombonist Bill Watrous add melodic bop solos to three songs apiece, "It Had to Be You" is taken as a romping duet with pianist Alan Broadbent, and the remarkable singer Sue Raney interacts with Rankin on "I've Got a Crush on You." This surprising CD is highly recommended.
"William Aura creates some of the dreamiest relaxation music this side of heaven". Since the late 70's he has been internationally recognized for his soothing New Age music. He resides in Ojai, CA and is a leader in his research of sound environments for healing and transformation. For William, music is the path to inner balance.
On the debut album from New York New School vocalist Jose James, he makes a move toward a new era of jazz vocals. While jazz elements have been making their way into underground hip-hop for years, James turns the other direction. He sings contemporary jazz with a strong sense of respect for the classics, but quietly puts hip-hop instrumentation behind his vocals, and multi-tracks himself for accentuation. James is in the midst of creating an entirely modern approach to jazz singing here over a set of originals with a few covers thrown in (the highlight being Rahsaan Roland Kirk's "Spirits Up Above").