Randy Brecker's debut album features the trumpeter leading two distinct all-star small groups, each with younger brother Michael (who was only 19 when this was recorded) on tenor sax, Larry Coryell on guitar, and Hal Galper on piano. The tunes alternate between jazz-rock (a style the Brecker Brothers were later to successfully exploit) and modern mainstream jazz. There are the customary fades, popular at the time, and a light, though constant, beat throughout that makes the music both accessible and even danceable, an impressive feat considering that virtually all the tunes are originals. The Brecker Brothers exhibit a command of their horns and a maturity that was to serve them well for many years. The recording has weathered the years well, in part because even the fusion pieces never lose their focus, nor do they compromise artistry for popular fads.
Criminally overlooked by academics, critics and purists who refuse to listening to anything outside of conventional jazz vernacular, Andy Bey's delivery on Experience and Judgment goes beyond anything he previously committed to tape, revealing a spiritual side that's punched up and supported by a jazz-funk ensemble. The album's opener "Celestial Blues" finds Bey delivering lines that wouldn't be out of place on Bill Withers records from this era, and the remainder of the album sounds similar to the works of such contemporaries as Roy Ayers and Gil Scott-Heron. It's soul soothing music that's been played with great reverence by the rare soul and funk community for years and rightly so, as Bey captures the essence of the soul world brilliantly, and fuses it into something that is uniquely his own.
Contacted by phone at his home just south of San Francisco, Chester Thompson is quick in his response to a question about a record he made in three hours on a Sunday afternoon fifty years ago, Powerhouse. 'I was a young man, and it was an opportunity to show people that I could play a Hammond B-3 organ.' Little did Thompson know then that he was showing people who would place him on an unexpected career path into the whirlwind of pop music.
No, Anne Pacéo is not a "jazz drummer" like the others. Nothing surprising then that her fourth album is also … different? With Circles, stylistic borders fade, received ideas crumble and creativity turbines at full throttle! Between songs and instrumental thrusts, telluric rhythms and libertarian breaths, these Circles unfold an organic groove, poetic and inspired. Solidly anchored in the current jazz scene but always eager for "other" collaborations, as was the case with Jeanne Added, Mélissa Laveaux and China Mose, Anne Paceo surrounded herself here with singer Leila Martial, saxophonist Emile Parisien and Tony Paeleman for keyboards. The drummer says it herself, this opus was designed differently. "Circles is the culmination of a long-term success over the last four years..
Working a bright, innovative corner of Latin jazz and drawing on Jamaican, Afro-Cuban, Venezuelan, and Peruvian rhythms to create a hybrid mosaic (as the title suggests), the loose, rotating collective that is the Caribbean Jazz Project manages to be many things at once, including a dance band with a hard bop sensibility, and at times the ensemble comes close to being a new age chillout orchestra. Whatever label they wear, CJP have a bright, infectious sound, led by vibraphonist Dave Samuels' bubbling and watery tones and, on three tracks here, the amazing talking steel drums of Andy Narell. Violinist Christian Howes guests on Samuels' "Slow Dance," giving it a wonderfully eerie and wheezing feel.
They are young. Already large. And the head crowned with laurels many (first price RéZZo Focal Jazz à Vienne and Jazz Springboard La Defense in particular). But this time, the case escalates to Uptake who published his first album So Far So Good at Jazz Village. Bursting with energy and groove, this quartet from the Lyon scene is already a master in the art of interplay, the accomplice way to circulate and combine all the music in freedom … A four Bastien Brison piano and Rhodes, Pierre Gibbe on bass, trombone and Robinson Khoury Paul Bern on drums built a repertoire consisting essentially of compositions they say influenced the new generation of American musicians like Jason Lindner, Robert Glasper or Robin Eubanks.
Because the Jazz Crusaders in the early '70s dropped the "Jazz" from their name and later in the decade veered much closer to R&B and pop music than they had earlier, it is easy to forget just how strong a jazz group they were in the 1960s. This CD reissues one of their rarer sessions, augmenting the original seven-song LP program (highlighted by "Blues Up Tight," "Doin' That Thing," and "Milestones") with previously unissued versions of "'Round Midnight" and John Coltrane's "Some Other Blues." The Jazz Crusaders (comprised of tenor saxophonist Wilton Felder, trombonist Wayne Henderson, pianist Joe Sample, drummer Stix Hooper, and, during this period, bassist Leroy Vinnegar) are heard in prime form.
This album was released on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the North Sea Jazz Festival. It contains live recordings of John Patitucci, Spyro Gyra, Russ Freeman & The Rippingtons, B.B. King, Chick Corea, Robben Ford and Gary Burton. All songs were recorded live during various editions of this festival.