Monday, August 23, 2010

A new Jam in town!

"New Jazz Jam" with Evan Stone @ Steamers
Every Sunday! Singers also welcome!Steamers Jazz Club and Cafe
138 W. Commonwealth Ave
Fullerton, CA 92832

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

R.I.P.: Herman Leonard

Herman Leonard Dies at 87; His Photos Visualized Jazz
Published: August 17, 2010

Herman Leonard, an internationally renowned photographer whose haunting, noirish images of postwar jazz life became widely known only in the late 1980s, died on Saturday in Los Angeles. He was 87.

A resident of Pasadena, Calif., Mr. Leonard died after a short illness, said Geraldine Baum, the director of Herman Leonard Photography.

Mr. Leonard never set out to document the birth of bebop, though he wound up doing just that. He was simply a young jazz lover whose camera gave him entree into the many New York clubs — the Royal Roost, Birdland, Bop City — whose cover charges he could not afford.

Shot in New York between 1948 and 1956 and afterward in Paris, Mr. Leonard’s work was long known only to jazz buffs. More recently, it has enjoyed a renaissance, collected in books and exhibited worldwide.

“He was a master of jazz, except his instrument was a camera,” K. Heather Pinson, the author of “The Jazz Image” (University Press of Mississippi, 2010), a study of Mr. Leonard’s work, said on Tuesday. “His photographs are probably the single best visual representation of what jazz sounds like.”

Spare and stylized, Mr. Leonard’s work captured a world of shadow, silver and smoke: dark interiors, gleaming microphones and, threading through it all, cigarette smoke that leaped and twined as if it were an incarnation of the music itself.

The artists he shot were titans or soon to be, so renowned that each can be conjured with a single name: Ella, Duke, Dizzy, Billie, Miles, Frank. Carefully lighted and meticulously printed, Mr. Leonard’s photos retained the quality of candids, catching his subjects in moments of powerful intimacy.

One of his best-known portrays Ella Fitzgerald, singing in Paris in 1960, eyes closed in fierce concentration, a rivulet of sweat coursing down her cheek. Another shows Frank Sinatra from behind in lonely silhouette. In a third, a still life, the subject is absent altogether: it depicts sheet music, a Coke bottle, a smoldering cigarette and a porkpie hat hanging atop a saxophone case — the implied, unmistakable essence of Lester Young.

By day, Mr. Leonard was a freelance commercial photographer. By night, he haunted the clubs, whose owners admitted him in exchange for marquee publicity stills. He sold occasional pictures, for $10 apiece, to magazines like Down Beat.

But there was little market for jazz photos then. He put his negatives into a box and forgot about them for nearly 30 years.

Herman Leonard was born on March 6, 1923, in Allentown, Pa., and began taking pictures as a boy. In 1947, after wartime service in Burma, he received a bachelor of fine arts in photography from Ohio University. He worked in Ottawa with the distinguished portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh before opening a studio in New York in 1948.

His visual style was born of necessity: where most photographers would illuminate a club’s confines with half a dozen lights, Mr. Leonard could afford only two. The result, with backlighting piercing inky blackness, lends his work the quality of moonlight.

Mr. Leonard, who shot with a Speed Graphic, was a master printer. Using an old trick of darkroom alchemy, he soaked unexposed film in mercury to enhance its speed in low light. He astonished pharmacists by ordering thermometers in bulk.

After moving to Paris in 1956, Mr. Leonard worked as a fashion photographer. He later moved to the Spanish island of Ibiza, and it was there, in the 1980s, that he pulled from under his bed the box of negatives.

His book “The Eye of Jazz” was published in France in 1985; in 1988, a show of his jazz photos at a London gallery ignited worldwide interest.

Mr. Leonard was married and divorced three times. He is survived by four children — Mikael, from his relationship with Attika ben-Dridi; Valerie, from his marriage to Jacqueline Fauvreau; and Shana and David, from his marriage to Elisabeth Braunlich — and six grandchildren.

Returning to the United States in the late 1980s, Mr. Leonard eventually settled in New Orleans. Then in 2005, Hurricane Katrina flooded his home and destroyed more than 8,000 jazz prints. His negatives were spared: by the time the storm hit, they had been removed to a vault on a high floor of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art there.

A project to digitize and archive the negatives is almost finished, ensuring that Mr. Leonard’s jazz photos will be available for generations. Meanwhile, they can be seen in books like “The Eye of Jazz,” published in English by Viking in 1989; and “Jazz,” to be published in November by Bloomsbury USA.

His work seems destined to endure, colleagues say, for its ability to distill its subjects’ very souls.
“Herman would just catch the moment,” Tony Bennett, a longtime friend, said on Monday. “If he photographed Erroll Garner, that was Erroll Garner; that was his whole spirit.”

A version of this article appeared in print on August 18, 2010, on page A17 of the New York edition.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Daniel Wolff News

Daniel's Brazilian tour with string quartet will start next week, as part of the Funarte Classical Music Circuit Prize. The group will perform works by Brazilian composers throughout the country. In October, a special performance is scheduled at the Studio Clio, in which composer Gaudencio Thiago de Mello will take part.

Daniel's Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra will be performed on September 30th by Lucia Morelenbaum in Rio (with the Grota Orchestra conducted by N Pessanha) and by Diego Grendene on October 17th in Porto Alegre (with Tiago Flores and the ULBRA Chamber Orchestra). Still in October, a new orchestral arrangement by Daniel will be premiered by Fernanda Takai and Nico Nicolaiewsky with the ULBRA Orchestra.

The show Beatles em Concerto, in which Daniel performs his arrangements of Beatles' songs with Ayres Potthoff (flute) and Rodrigo Alquati (cello) continues with sold-out performances at the Studio Clio, in Porto Alegre. The next performance will take place on September 11th.

Monday, August 16, 2010

CD of the Week - "Copernicus: Nothing Exists"

CD of the Week
Copernicus: "Nothing Exists" (Nevermore) 1984/2010

After releasing the critically acclaimed Copernicus' album disappearance in June 2009, nevermore Inc in association with MoonJune Records is releasing for the first time on the cd, COPERNICUS’ debut album "Nothing Exists."

Perhaps the most fitting way to describe Copernicus is as a performance poet. Even though he (originally named Joseph Smalkowski) plays keyboards, Copernicus refuses to be categorised as a musician. Despite often having inhabited the alternative New York rock'n'roll scene, his music also exudes strong elements of jazz, classical and the avant garde. Even though Copernicus' preferred recording strategy is that of improvisation, his epic pieces tend to revolve around themes, riffs and repeated clusters, moving along a clearly linear pathway.

The booming delivery and abstract texts evoke the spirit of classic beat generation poetry, but the Copernicus stance goes back even further to the theatrical confrontations of the Dada movement. He's always preferred the improvisatory approach, even though each poem's grist might be prepared in advance, their rhythms and content might be disassembled in the moment.
Copernicus has always been fiercely independent, since he first started recording in this manner, back at the dawn of the 1980s. He organizes the recording sessions, sculpts the assembled band, oversees the album artwork and releases each disc on his own Nevermore, Inc. label. 1985 brought "Nothing Exists," which emphatically laid out the themes of his subsequent work. A burst of creativity led to the swift succession of "Victim Of The Sky" (1987), "Deeper" (1989) and "Null" (1990). Often, Copernicus would perform with large-scale ensembles, but in 1991 he initiated the practice of giving completely solo performances, revealing his declamations in a stripped, confrontational space. He views himself as a conduit for abstract ideas and philosophical notions. Copernicus decided that his particular marriage of music and narrative was the best way to communicate his thoughts and concepts to a receptive audience.

He released "No Borderline" in 1993, but there was to be a longer gap before 2001's "Immediate Eternity" which moved in a completely different direction as its creator was spending increasing amounts of time in Ecuador, where the Spanish version of the album "La Eternidad Inmediata" was released the same year. The album is followed by 2005 releases of "Immediate Eternity II," "Die Sofortige Ewigkeit II" (in German), "L'Eternite Immediate II" (in French) and "La eternidad inmediata II" (in Spanish). Copernicus was evolving after having spent three years penning his book, also called "Immediate Eternity."

He linked up with Los Nomadas from Guayaquil, the country's biggest city, and his music moved temporarily more towards the zone of jazz-rock fusion. Now, with disappearance, Copernicus has made a return to the old established methods, refining them into what is probably his key distillation of an ongoing obsession with the freedom and beauty of nothingness.

1. I Wont Hurt You
2. Blood
3. I Know What I Think
4. Quasimodo
5. Let Me Rest
6. Nagasaki
7. Atomic Nevermore

COPERNICUS poetry, lead vocals;
PIERCE TURNER musical director, keyboards, vocals ;
LARRY KIRWAN electric guitar, keyboards, vocals;
JEFFREY LAD flute, keyboards, effects;
STEVE MENASCHE marimba, percussion;
FRED PARCELLS affected trombone;
PADDY HIGGINS bodhran, floor toms;
ANDY LEAHY violin, vocals;
FIONNGHUALA flute, vocals;
JIMMY ZHIVAGO guitar, piano;
FRED CHALENOR bass guitar.

All lyrics by Copernicus. All the vocals of Copernicus created by Copernicus.
Executive production by Joseph Smalkowski.
All rights reserved. (C) Nevermore, Inc. 1984, 2010. (P) Nevermore, Inc. (Ski Music Division) 1984, 2010.
Originally recorded at RCA Studios, New York, N.Y., 1984.
Engineers: Ron Bacchiocchi, Andy Heermans, Michael Theodore.
Digitally remastered at Masterdisk, New York, N.Y. from the original recording tapes.

Copernicus’s website:
"This album is dedicated to Emily Glen. Special thanks to Marcela Smalkowski without whom the original LP and also this remastered version would not be possible, and to Leonardo Pavkovic whose inspiration led to this remastered release." - Copernicus

Video Clips: watch Copernicus on his YouTube page

Album Profile:
It was 1984, and Copernicus was making the transition from being a performance poet to declaiming in front of a full-scale band of musicians. He'd started to play with the saxophonist Melody Peach, in poetry circles, and around the New York City rock club scene. Then, Copernicus witnessed Larry Kirwan and Pierce Turner (both of them multi-instrumentalists) in an East Village joint. He suggested an immediate collaborative piece, and from this point the threesome went on to make up a performing nucleus. Copernicus would mostly appear below 14th Street, the Downtown home of all crucial art in NYC. He'd be found at Max's Kansas City, CBGB, Speakeasy, Mudd Club and Kenny's Castaways, making his intense pronouncements in front of a fluctuating cabal of improvisers. There was talk of recording an album, but Pierce Turner had a clear view of rejecting some run-down semi-professional operation. So, they went into the slick midtown RCA studios with fifteen musicians, spontaneously laying down the tracks that were to shape Nothing Exists.

"All of the Copernicus albums are really a documentation of the evolution of the artist as he confronts the quantum world," says Copernicus. "Nothing Exists established the foundation for all of the albums to come. Poor 1984 Copernicus, barely crawling out alone from the world of illusion with unsteady feet struggles to say what he thinks. In the first piece, apparently a normal love song, he injects the word Nevermore. We wonder, what is he talking about? Nevermore? What is that? He is putting his listeners on notice that possibly there is more of this Nevermore stuff to come. But he sets up his argument just with the mention of a Nevermore buried inside a love song."

I Won't Hurt You revolves around a whistling synthesiser figure, with a talkative bassline, as Turner repeats the chorus in the background. It's a deceptively poppy opener, calmly spreading a soft foundation for the confrontation that follows. Already, by the second track, Blood, matters are taking a more sinister turn as Fionnghuala Leahy's sweet-voiced background refrain is foregrounded by the increasingly agitated Copernicus, as reverberation pours thickly over his cries of "Blood!", bombastic drum crashes swirling in a dubbed-up ocean.

"In Blood, he talks about 'the kiss that could never be'," Copernicus continues. "The kiss symbolises life itself and here he is, getting more explicit in declaring that life does not exist. In the first line, he calls the sea the 'mother of the dream'. The entire piece is saying that it is the ignorance of 'nothing exists' that causes all of the war in the human world. He is coming out with his philosophy in a stronger way."

As I Know What I Think unspools, Copernicus is magnifying the intensity against a razoring guitar riff. "He is establishing his independence of thought from the world around him stating that he does not think like everybody else. He thinks for himself and he knows what his ideas have to say, and he is almost violent about it, challenging whomever."

Another aggressive riff backbones Quasimodo, as spectral church organ swirls emerge from a clanking roboticism. "Here we have the basic theme of all of his philosophy," Copernicus remembers. "He kills death in this piece. This is all we have in nevermore: the ability to be spontaneous in a truthful way. The uniqueness and courage and noble qualities of Quasimodo have given him the strength to be different and Copernicus compares his own struggle to the struggle of Quasimodo. And then he concludes with his 'nothing song' and a place where the 'barbarians will never conquer this Rome'. Nothingness cannot be conquered..."

In Let Me Rest, Copernicus has searched every environment of the globe, and after years of questing, he is exhausted. Violin and organ inject a heavy aura of mournfulness. "Driven by my own blank paper," he intones. "Driven into its own need to be felt and warmed." The ensemble comes to a halt, as Copernicus rants in front of bare piano shards. Then the players gradually return, making repeated crescendos as Copernicus muses on his own inertia. This is the spectacular centrepiece of the album, sprawling over eleven highly charged minutes. "Let me rest. Rest in the sand. Rest in the mud. Rest in the worst bug-ridden bed that I can find."

For Nagasaki, Copernicus has risen upright again, passionately frothing. The band is careening between Duane Eddy guitar twanging and Hawkwind analogue synthesiser eruptions. "This is the full declaration," says Copernicus. "He finishes the piece implying that by understanding the quantum world, you can get in harmony with reality and find inner peace and harmony."
The closing Atomic Nevermore is almost a return to performance poetry, with the band carefully building up their skeletal activity. "He bluntly and clearly sets out the rules of the 'nothing' struggle, and paints a future where all of humanity will realise the quantum world, and will adapt their daily activities to the reality of the quantum because 'living in illusion is an error and the cause of all human suffering'. No symbolism here. He talks about how humanity can move to the next level and the 'end of the illusionary human world'. Just step 'into atomic nevermore'..."
- Martin Longley

Saturday, August 14, 2010

R.I.P.: Abbey Lincoln

Spiritual Events next week in the LA

For Full Details:;

* Working with Spirit Guides
* Experience Whole Body Vibration Technology
* FREE Reiki Circle
* Lunchtime Labyrinth Walk
* Akashic Records & Soul Journey Study Group
For Full Details:;

* Victorian Seance Group
* Ongoing Dialogues on the Mystic’s Journey
* Dream Interpretation
* Group Channeling Circle
* Animal Communication Workshop
* Intuitive Development Using Pendulums
* Energy Managment for everyday life
* Intro to Tarot
* Workshop w/ Ila Sender
* Handwriting Analysis Workshop w/ Del Duncan, C.Ht.
* Workshop w/ James Wanless "Fool to Fortune: The Great Adventure!"
* Book Circle w/ Gloria Ginn & the Eckankar Center
* Paranormal Training Classes
For Full Details:;

* Past Life / Hypnotherapy Circle
For Full Details:;

* Meditation & Spiritual Circle

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Elaine Miles live @ Steamers, tonite!

Steamers Jazz Club and Cafe
138 W. Commonwealth Ave
Fullerton, CA 92832

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Denise Donatelli back @ Charlie O's, tomorrow night

This Wednesday, August 4th, from 8:00pm to Midnight, jazz vocalist Denise Donatelli will be back at Charlie O's (one of our favorite places in California, with great menu, full bar & a cozy atmosphere) backed by Otmaro Ruiz (piano), Chris Colangelo (bass) & the legendary Roy McCurdy (drums) of Cannonball Adderley-fame. Don't miss!

Charlie O's Jazz Bar and Grill
13725 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91401
Ph: (818) 994.3058

DVD of the Month - "Gerry Mulligan, Paul Desmond & Dave Brubeck"

DVD of the Month
Gerry Mulligan, Paul Desmond & The Dave Brubeck Trio: "Live in Berlin" (Standing Ovation) 2010

These great soloists are backed by two other jazz masters, Jack Six (bass) & Alan Dawson (drums), in this unbelievable concert filmed at Berliner Philharmonie on November 4, 1972.
93 minutes of musical miracles, with nice audio & video quality. Buy it immediately!

DVD Box Set of the Month - "Mochilla Presents Timeless"

DVD Box Set of the Month
Mochilla Presents Timeless: Mulatu / A Suite for Ma Dukes / Verocai (Ultra-Vybe Japan) 2010

After the U.S. release, now comes the Japanese version of this amazing concert series.
For more details, please check:

これまで『Keepintime』、『Brasilintime』などジャンルと世代を超えたアーティストの繋がりを掘り下げた映像作品をリリースしてきた映像作家B+とEric Colemanによる<Mochilla>からの最新作は、彼らが主催し、ロサンゼルスで開催されたヒップホップに影響を与えてきたアーティスト、プロデューサーをフィーチャーしたコンサートTimlessの映像。エチオピアン・ジャズの祖:Mulatu Astatke、06年に他界した伝説的プロデューサーJ Dilla、<Ubiquity>傘下<Luv N Haight>からの再発で一躍脚光を浴びたブラジルの伝説的コンポーザーArthur Verocai。いまや伝説として語り次がれる3つの奇跡的コンサート映像を収録。

01. Mulatu Astatke Live Performance (2009.02.01)
「Timelss」記念すべき第一弾は<Strut>からのリリースで話題のエチオピアン・ジャズの祖、Mulatu Astatke。Bennie Maupin、Azar Lawrence、Phil RanelinらLAのベテラン・ジャズ・ミュージシャンも参加した大所帯のフル・オーケストラを率い、自身のクラシックから新曲までを披露した伝説のライブ。

02. Miguel Artwood - Ferguson & Calors Nino - Suite For Ma Duke (2009.02.22)
「Timeless」第二弾は、惜しまれつつも3年前に亡くなったヒップホップ天才プロデューサー、J Dillaに捧げたコンサート。Build An Arkとしても活躍するCarlos Ninoと作曲家/アレンジャーのMiguel Atwood - Fergusonを中心に60人を越えるフル・オーケストラ、Bilala、Dwele、Amp Fiddler、Shafiq Husayn(Sa-Ra)、Illa J、Talib Kweli、Pos(De La Soul)らも参加。誰もが涙した伝説のライブ。

03. Arthur Verocai Live Performance (2009.03.15)
「Timeless」第三弾は、60年代後半から音楽活動を行い、Ivan Lins、Elis Regina、Jorge Ben諸作を手がけたブラジル人コンポーザー/アレンジャー、Arthur Verocai。30人を越えるフル・オーケストラを従えて、<Ubiquity>傘下の復刻専門レーベル<Luv N Haight>から再発された傑作アルバム『Arthur Verocai』収録の名曲をはじめ、会場に詰め掛けたオーディエンスを痺れさせた伝説のライブ。

* 73分/日本語字幕なし/モノクロ/ライブ映像・音源(ダウンロード可)/スライドショウ/特典映像

CD Reissue of the Month - "Esther Phillips: Capricorn Princess"

CD Reissue of the Month
Esther Phillips: "Capricorn Princess" (Kudu/Reel Music) 1977/2010

Original album produced by Creed Taylor
Reissue supervided by Paul Williams
Recorded & mixed by Rudy Van Gelder
Remastered by Bill Lacey

The last album recorded by the underrated & unmistakable vocal stylist Esther Phillips for Creed Taylor's Kudu label (a subsidiary of CTI Records), "Capricorn Princess" was reissued on June 15 in the USA by Reel Music, Inc., under license from Sony Entertainment. The detailed booklet includes complete data, list of musicians, and a new 12-page text by LA-based writer A. Scott Galloway, who interviewed people like arranger David Matthwes, pianist Mike Abene, composer Ronnie Walker (co-author of "Magic's In The Aier"), music journalist David Nathan, bassist Stanley Banks (the musical director for Esther's touring band in the early '70s, before his long stint with George Benson) and CTI's P.R. (public relations) during the '70s Simon Doe. Rene Schumacher's original album design is reproduced too.

The loud digital mastering quality (engineered by Bill Lacey at Digital Sound & Picture, in NY, after Vic Anesini transferred everything from the 2-track anolog mixed masters) is not perfect, though. The sound is clean and transparent in most of the tracks, specially on the ballads "I Haven't Got Anything Better To Do," "Candy" (which includes an unbelievable spoken intro) and "A Beautiful Friendship," but the disco-oriented tunes received heavy compression, to the point that the opening track, "Magic's In The Air," sounds dull and very noisy, with a terrible drum sound. Anyway, an essential CD for all CTI/Kudu collectors and Esther's fans.

After the recent European CD reissue of Kathy McCord's debut album (till now released only once on CD in Japan, back in 1999, and longtime out-of-print), another vocal gem of the CTI catalog re-appears on CD format: "Capricorn Princess," the last of seven LPs recorded by extraordinary singer Esther Phillips (1935-1984) for CTI's subsidiary Kudu label. The small Reel Music label licensed it from Sony Music, which controls, in the USA & Europe, the Kudu catalog from the 70s. LA-based writer A. Scott Galloway, who previously annotated the digital reissue of Esther's "Alone Again, Naturally" (also on Reel Music) provided the liner notes.

He could have written a book. Esther was a peculiar character and there were many behind-the-scenes facts before & during the very expensive recording sessions that took place at two different studios (Mediasound in New York, Rudy Van Gelder in New Jersey) between May and September, 1976. It's a massive set, a melting pot of jazz, r&b, pop, funk and disco, including potential dancefloor hits and haunting ballads such as "I Haven't Got Anything Better To Do," previously covered by Stanley Turrentine for CTI on "Salt Song." Released in 1977, "Capricorn Princess" made the Billboard charts in three lists, peaking at #23 among the "Jazz Albums," #40 in the "R&B Albums" and #150 in the "Billboard 200 Pop Albums."

All tunes were arranged by CTI's in-house arranger at that time, Mr. David Matthews, except "Candy" by Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis. As usual, producer Creed Taylor assembled an all-star supporting cast, which included the heavyweights often associated with CTI (Joe Farrell, Eric Gale, Ralph MacDonald, Don Grolnick, Steve Gadd, Anthony Jackson, Andy Newmark, John Tropea) as well as some other faces not so familiar to CTI's fans (Barry Miles, Jeff Berlin, Bobby Lyle, Barry Rogers etc). Not to mention that Brecker Brothers, Sam Burtis, Ronnie Cuber, Jon Faddis are found playing together on the horn section. And Bill Evans' former bassist Chuck Israels plays arco bass as a member of the string section!

However, nothing could be more unexpected than the presences of two young artists that Creed had just signed to the CTI cast. And since Creed always followed the formula "a sideman one day, a leader the next," he invited electric violinist John Blair (the creator of the "vitar" instrument) and Allan Holdsworth to the proceedings. Nobody ever could have imagined to listen to the British guitar hero in an Esther Phillips album!!! But his appearance was quite discreet, playing pedal steel guitar on Janis Ian's "Boy, I Really Tied One On," one of the disco-numbers chosen to be released as a single. It is not a coincidence that both Esther and Allan had started to record their albums ("Capricorn Princess" and "Velvet Darkness," respectively) on that same May of 1976 at the same Van Gelder Studio.

On its turn, John Blair shines on both "I Haven't Got Anything Better To Do" and "A Beautiful Friendship" (doing a very "economic" solo on the top of a large string section), a song that Esther tried to record in 1971 on her CTI debut, "From A Whisper To A Scream," but had been deleted by Creed during the mix sessions. But, when Didier Deutsch produced the first CD reissue of that album, in 1988, he was able to access the access the original tapes and added four previously unreleased tracks that had been left out of the LP. "A Beautiful Friendship" was among them, but in a completely different arrangement from the one heard on "Capricorn Princess."

Curiously, however, despite the many expectations and plans that Creed had for John Blair and Allan Holdsworth, they only recorded one album each for CTI (Blair's album was "We Belong Together" that came out in 1977). Blair did another sideman appearance for Creed, on Lalo Schifrin's "Towering Tocatta," but Holdsworth only guested on Esther's "Capricorn Princess." Besides "Boy, I Really Tied One On," another groovy highlight is Trevor Lawrence's "Higher and Higher," propelled by the tight rhythm section (Don Grolnick on Hohner clavinet, Jeff Berlin's pumping bass, Andy Newmark on drums and John Tropea on guitar), with Joe Farrell doing the flute solo.

It's not a secret that Phillips was adept at singing blues, early R&B, gritty soul, and jazz. Her voice had an idiosyncratic, nasal quality that often earned comparisons to Nina Simone, although she herself counted Dinah Washington as a chief inspiration. On her turn, Aretha Franklin always idolized Esther and mentioned her as a big inspiration. Phillips' career began when she was very young, under the artistic name Little Esther, and by some accounts she was already battling drug addiction during her teenage years; whenever her problems took root, the lasting impact on her health claimed her life before the age of 50. And, IMHO, she reached her artistic heyday under the aegis of Creed Taylor during her Kudu years.

Here's the "Capricorn Princess" tracklist:
1. Magic's in the air
2. I haven't got anything better to do
3. Boy, I really tied one on
4. Candy
5. Beautiful friendship
6. Higher and higher
7. All the way down
8. Dream

For more details and pics, please check:

Monday, August 2, 2010

CD Compilation of the Month - "The Best Is Yet To Come"

CD Compilation of the Month
"Pirouet Jazz Compilation Vol. I - The Best Is Yet To Come" (Pirouet)

A collection culled from 10 acclaimed releases (there are 2 tracks from drummer Bill Stewart's "Incandescence" album) by the Munich-based label Pirouet Records, featuring tracks by Bill Carrothers, Marc Copland, Tim Hagans, Pablo Held, Achim Kaufmann, John Ruocco, John Schröder, Bill Stewart, Lee Konitz, Walter Lang and the label head Jason Seizer.

The sidemen list is equally impressive, including Gary Peacock, Billy Hart, John Taylor, Riccardo Del Fra, Drew Gress, Kevin Hays, Larry Goldings, Jim Black and many others.

1. Tim Hagans: "See You Again"
2. Pablo Held: "Forest Of Oblivion"
3. Bill Stewart: "Toad"
4. Walter Lang & Lee Konitz: "Way Too Early"
5. Marc Copland feat. John Abercrombie: "River Bend"
6. John Ruocco: "Kuk Kuk"
7. Bill Carrothers: "Home Row"
8. Achim Kaufmann: "Stanley Park"
9. Jason Seizer: "Time Being"
10. John Schröder: "Mood 1697"
11. Bill Steawrt: "See Ya"

Vocal CD of the Month - "Linda Ciofalo: Dancing With Johnny"

Vocal CD of the Month
Linda Ciofalo: "Dancing with Johnny" (Lucky Jazz) 2010

Rating: *****
A very pleasant surprise, full of surprises thanks to the creative arrangements (by pianist John DiMartino and Linda herself) and, of course, the lovely vocal & instrumental performances.
On this self-produced release, Ciofalo is backed by Grammy winner - and a current member of the CTI All Stars 2010 Band - Brian Lynch on trumpet, John DiMartino (piano), John Benitez (bass), Ernesto Simpson (drums), Little Johnny Rivero (percussion), Paul Meyers (nylon string guitar), Chieli Minucci (electric guitar) and Joel Frahm (tenor & soprano saxophones).

A Johnny Mercer Songbook -- showcasing the lyricist's genius with such diverse partners as Victor Schertzinger, Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, Hoagy Carmichael, Henry Mancini, Robert Emmett Dolan, Gordon Jenkins, Ralph Burns, Woody Herman & Rube Bloom -- couldn't go wrong in terms of repertoire, but what makes this CD really so special is the fresh appeal of each & every track, with Linda Ciofalo's bell-clear beautiful voice shining throughout the 52-minute program of 13 tunes, all recorded in a single session, on October 20, 2009 in NY.

My personal favorite tracks are the exciting latin-tinged scores of "Tangerine" (on which the intoxicating percussion work of Little Johnny Rivero, combining congas & timbales, sounds like a meeting of Mongo Santamaria with Tito Puente) and "That Old Black Magic," both also featuring Lynch (undoubtedly one of the Top 5 trumpeters in the contemporary jazz scene) and Frahm.

But there are many other highlights, such as the Diana Krall-like sensual approach to "Talk To Me Baby" (done as a slow bossa nova, with Paul Meyers, a veteran of Thiago de Mello's Amazon band, playing acoustic guitar a la Joao Gilberto) and the up-tempo bossa take of "Day In, Day Out," again embellished by Meyers' syncopated guitar beat.

The magnificent "Early Autumn" becomes a quasi-bolero, "Skylark" receives a bluesy feel with Minucci evoking memories of the late Eric Gale, and "P.S. I Love You" (a song that Diana Krall has been singing on her current "Quiet Nights" tour and plans to record on her next album) appears here with Rivero adding bongos to add a soft latin spice to this sumptuous Gordon Jenkins ballad. Pure delight!

For additional infos and pics, please check:

CD of the Month - "Hermeto Pascoal & Aline Morena: Bodas de Latão"

CD of the Month
Hermeto Pascoal & Aline Morena: "Bodas de Latão" (HPAM) 2010

Hermeto is the greatest genius of universal music. And Aline's privileged voice is another "instrument" on Hermeto's very personal "orchestra." Both are tremendous multi-instrumentalists, here performing piano, keyboards, several kinds of acoustic guitars & other string-instruments (from "viola caipira" to "cavaquinho"), melodica, drums, percussion, flutes etc. Thus, here's our Universal CD of the Month, engineered by Beto Japa, and ingeniously packaged in a unique tin cover by graphic designer Adriana Alegria, with plenty of pics by Rudi & Zana Bodanese.

Their pairing started new chapters in both their private and musical lives, with this second "duo CD" being the latest samples of the high creative levels reached by these soul-mates.
The entire project is superb, but my personal favorite tracks are "Nenhum Talvez" (aka "Nem Um Talvez," originally recorded by Miles Davis with Hermeto in 1970's "Live Evil," later re-arranged by Hermeto himself for Robertinho de Recife's long-forgotten masterpiece "Robertinho No Passo," and now beautifully recreated with Portuguese lyrics added by Aline), "Casa di Xaquér," "Capivara," "Túnel" (previously heard on Airto's and Sivuca's albums from the '70s), "Terra Brasil," and a haunting performance of Astor Piazzolla's "Años de Soledad," the only song on the project not composed by Hermeto or Aline either. There are also 2 bonus "audio-video" tracks, filmed in a river and in a farm in the State of Paraná (Brazil), where the full project was conceived & recorded: "Garrote" (featuring Aline's unbelievavle tapping) and "O Ovo" (yes, that "old" song from the Quarteto Novo days, now with fantastic lyrics).
One of the best albums of 2010!The CD is already available here in the USA through the DustyGroove store, and you can order it on-line via the link below:

That's what DG says about the album:
An amazing little record from Hermeto Pascoal and Aline Morena – even better than their last album together, with a sparkling spirit that grabs us right from the very first note! Aline seems to have breathed a new sort of life into Hermeto – and has given his music a sense of joy that we haven't heard in quite a long time – that soaring, buoyant, almost effervescent energy that came from his unique blend of jazz modes and Brazilian rhythms! Aline sings on most numbers – usually scatting in this cool instrumentalist way – and the other instrumentation is pure Pascoal all the way through. Titles include "Terra Brasil", "Bem Coladinho", "Casinha Do Olho D'Agua", "Capivara", "Casa Di Xaquer", "Futricando Na Rua", "Viagem Do Subconsciente", and "Nenhum Talvez" – and CD features 2 bonus multimedia tracks, too!

"Scene Playbill" - August 2010

"MM Jazz" - August 2010

COVER: Sting

"Jazz People" - August 2010

COVER: Tierney Sutton

R.I.P.: "Swing Journal"

Official info: "Swing Journal suspended publication for an undetermined period after the July issue. Meanwhile, we have to continue to search for ideal Jazz journalism and for new Jazz tide in order to revive our magazine. Lastly, we would like to say how grateful we are to all our readers of Swing Journal over the years."

"DownBeat" - August 2010

Joe Lovano -- Saxophonist and bandleader Joe Lovano celebrates three big victories in DownBeat's 58th Annual Critics Poll: Jazz Artist of the Year, Jazz Group of the Year and Tenor Saxophonist of the Year. DB talked to the reedman about the success of his highly acclaimed young ensemble Us5 as well as his recovery from injuries sustained while on tour late last year.

Muhal Richard Abrams -- DB welcomes the revolutionary avant-garde composer and improviser into the DownBeat Hall of Fame.

Keith Jarrett -- The Pianist of the Year is an international concert star whose fans come from jazz, classical and pop backgrounds to hear a man who shuns trends and gimmicks.

Darcy James Argue -- This New York-based ringleader and his Secret Society are Rising Stars on the international Big Band scene, according to the critics, and judging by the success of last year's CD Infernal Machines.

Vijay Iyer -- The pianist and trio leader has turned a lot of heads lately with his unconventional approach to jazz repertoire and his tasteful command of the instrument.

58th Annual Critics Poll -- Complete results in over 60 categories.

Dan Weiss (drums)
Jason Adasciewicz (vibes)
Pharez Whitted (trumpet)
Whitney James (vocal)

BLINDFOLD TEST -- Shemekia Copeland

Miles Davis art exhibit opens in Montreal
New documentary/CD pays tribute to Arif Mardin (Nunoise Records)
European Scene
Caught: Vocalist Theo Bleckman starts new Kate Bush project at New York's Joe's Pub; Abyssinian Baptist Choir performs with Italian jazz musicians in Harlem; Gilmore Keyboard Festival

Master Class: Dr. JB Dyas on Learning Tunes, Part 2
Transcription: Slide Hampton's trombone solo on "My Blues"
Jazz On Campus: Jazzschool in Berkeley, CA launches jazz & blues camp for girls

Bill Charlap/Renee Rosnes, Double Portrait (Blue Note)
Lee Konitz & Minsarah, New Quartet Live At The Village Vanguard (enja)
One For All, Incorrigible (Jazz Legacy Productions)
Dr. Lonnie Smith, Spiral (Palmetto)

CD Reviews
Avishai Cohen, Aurora (EMI)
Vertical Voices, The Music of Maria Schneider (ArtistShare)
Martin Taylor's Spirit of Django, Last Train To Hauteville (The Guitar Label)
David Binney, Aliso (Criss Cross)
The Claudia Quintet, Royal Toast (Cuneiform)
Matt Marantz, Offering (self)
Ernesto Cervini Quartet, Little Black Bird (Anzic)
Keith Jarret/Charlie Haden, Jasmine (ECM)
Vince Guaraldi, Peanuts Portraits (Concord)
Ken Peplowski, Noir Blue (Capri)
Ralph Towner/Paolo Fresu, Chiaroscuro (ECM)
Jaroslav Jakubovic, Coincidence (VMM Records)
Sandro Dominelli, The Alvo Sessions (self)
Dan Moretti, Tres Muse (Foundation Jazz Records)

Christine Wodrascka/Ramon Lopez, Momentos (Leo Records)
Nicola Negrini/Achille Succi/Phillipe Garcia/Antonio Della Marina, Materiale (Leo)
John Wolf Brennan, The Speed Of Dark (Leo Records)
Joe Maneri/Masashi Harada, Pinerskol (Leo Records)
Lull, The Zipper (Leo Records)
Superimpose, Talk Talk (Leo Records)
Anthony Braxton/Joelle Leandre, Duo (Leo Records)
Ivo Perlman, Mind Games (Leo Records)

Janiva Magness, Devil Is An Angel Too (Alligator)
Beth McKee, I'm That Way (Swampgirl)
Cee Cee James, Low Down Where The Snakes Crawl (FWG)
Mia Vermillion, Alone Together With The Blues (Vermillion Music)
Laurie Morvan Band, Fire It Up! (Screaming Lizard)
Christine Ohlman, The Deep End (Horizon)
Debbie Davies, Holdin' Court (VizzTone)
Pat Pepin, In It For The Long Haul (self)
Shakura S'Aida, Brown Sugar (Ruf)
Meredith Borden-Willlie McBlind, Bad Thing (FreeNote)
Karen Carroll, Talk To The Hand (Delmark)

Wilson Pickett, Funky Midnight Mover Box Set (Rhino)

Stan Getz, Kenny Barron, People Time: The Complete Recordings (Sunnyside)

DVD Reviews
Mika Yoshida, Marimba Madness (Big Round)
Panos Vassilopoulos, Acoustic Sessions (self-release)
Jean Michel Pilc, A Portrait (Living Jazz Archive)
Hiromi, Live In Concert (Telarc)

Book Review
Nat Hentoff, At The Jazz Band Ball (University of California Press)