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.
Wessell Anderson is a big-toned alto saxophonist of generous spirit and above-average skill, who obviously admires the late Cannonball Adderley a great deal. This album's opening track, "Sunday Souful Supper," comes off as virtual Cannonball, with the equally rotund younger altoist serving heaping portions of red beans and rice, Adderley-style. The record as a whole is a hard-bop (re)hash and well-played.
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.
Although not released until 2000, the tracks on Eartha Kitt's THINKING JAZZ were recorded at a studio session in 1991 and a German live date in September, 1992, towards the end of Kitt's self-imposed European exile. This is one of Kitt's most straightforwardly jazz-oriented albums, with none of her usual pop and cabaret overtones. The five-piece combo playing behind her-clarinet and tenor saxophone plus rhythm section-is tight and economical, and the arrangements give each member room to stretch out without dissolving into extended jams. Kitt's spectacular voice remains front and center throughout, although the instrumental "God Bless the Child" that provides the link between the studio and live material shows that even without her contributions, this would be a swinging album.
My absolute favorite Black Jazz album was Infant Eyes, by pianist Doug Carn and his wife, Jean Carn. The record had a sensual, powerful feel. What made the album a hit were the soulful lyrics the Carns crafted for jazz standards such as Bobby Hutcherson's Little B's Poem, Wayne Shorter's Infant Eyes, John Coltrane's Acknowledgment from A Love Supreme, and Horace Silver's Peace. Doug's arrangements and Jean's searing, passionate vocals gave the album a distinctly 1970s African-American feel.
Jazz Loves Disney was recorded between Paris, London and Los Angeles by a dream cast. It is incredibly coherent, as if all participants had agreed to pay a rightful tribute to the most beautiful and symbolic tunes of Walt Disneys magic world, as if nothing was too good for the stars when they revisited the classics and the sweet childhood memories connected to them. This is the ultimate proof of the impact Disney has had on generations of jazz musicians, including the ones taking part in Jazz Loves Disney.
Chucho Valdes, Cuba's most famous jazz musician, has rebalanced the repertoire of his Afro-Cuban Messengers on Border-Free, mixing its American-jazz agenda (the group's name deliberately references both Valdes' roots and the late Art Blakey's classic soul-bop Jazz Messengers group) with more extended Latin-American input, and some Native American and Andalusian connections, too. Saxophonist Branford Marsalis, guesting on three tracks, is warmly romantic on tenor on the loping Tabu, agile and fluent on the Cuban dance-shuffle Bebo, and mercurial on a soprano-sax break full of north African microtonalisms on the hurtling, horn-hooting finale, Abdel.