New York Voices - Reminiscing in Tempo - Origin

After a decade of collaborative, and superlative, releases with large ensembles such as the WDR and Bob Mintzer Big Bands, the New York Voices return to their roots marking their 30th Anniversary with one of the most ambitious, accomplished undertakings in their esteemed catalog. Peter Eldridge, Lauren Kinhan, Darmon Meader & Kim Nazarian worked with revered producer Elliot Scheiner, applying their stamp to standards by Cole Porter & Al Jolson, modern jazz gems from Chick Corea & Fred Hersch, a deeply personal swing-era classic from Duke Ellington, songs by the Beatles & Ivan Lins, and a pair from Cuban classical composer, Ignacio Cervantes. Opening is a tour-de-force rendition of Al Jarreau’s lyrical contribution to Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo à la Turk,” which includes a new vocalese section based off Dave Brubeck’s and Paul Desmond’s original solos, with lyrics by Lauren Kinhan. Reminiscing in Tempo finds the quartet’s individual chops and their collective chemistry to be as powerful as ever, foretelling yet another creative and significant span for this landmark group.

Leon Lee Dorsey -MonkTime - Jazz Avenue 1 Records

It’s been a while since Leon Lee Dorsey released an album under his own name. But with the release of MonkTime, his entrancing new album of Thelonious Monk compositions and a full slate of recording projects in the works, expect to be seeing his name above the title a lot more frequently. It has been more than worth the wait to hear him step back into his own shoes as an artist. MonkTime, a trio effort teaming him with guitarist Greg Skaff and drum legend Mike Clark, is the kind of recording you think Thelonious himself would have liked. DSC Band, as the band is called, captures the brilliance and playful charm of Monk’s music while easing it into new territory with its spare, spatially minded arrangements. “There’s air around all three instruments,” says Dorsey, whose resonant, rounded bass tones both ground the music and lends a lovely lightness of touch. “We wanted to retain the original character of Monk’s music,” he says. “We wanted to present the music in the purest form possible without excessive embellishment to the basic melodic and harmonic framework. We weren’t looking to reinvent the wheel on masterpieces. We wanted to keep the essence of the songs, that timeless commonality they have, while blending in our own spices and flavors.”

Jazzmeia Horn - Love and Liberation – Concord Music Group

In the two years since Jazzmeia Horn bowed with her first album, the GRAMMY Award®-nominated A Social Call, she’s been busy on the road, honing her vocal skills to a finely tuned level, writing songs of personal relevance and social message, and perfecting a fearless approach to improvisation and performance in general. The convergence of this drive and development has resulted in what is sure to be hailed as one of the most courageous recordings of 2019—Love and Liberation—filled with songs of daring musicality, emotional power, and messages of immediate relevancy. Horn chose the title she did for her second album because, “Love and Liberation is a concept and mantra that I use consistently in my everyday life. For me the two go hand in hand and they both describe where I am in my life and career right now. An act of love is an act of liberation, and choosing to liberate—oneself or another—is an act of love.” Love and Liberation, scheduled for release on August 23, 2019 via Concord Jazz, marks a formidable leap forward for Horn as a singer, bandleader and songwriter, the result of an almost non-stop touring schedule that followed the release of her debut album and which benefitted her vocal chops as well as her band sound. “I have evolved,” she says. “It’s like I’m really understanding music in a different way.”

Dave Bass - No Boundaries - Whaling City Sound

The saying goes that everyone’s got a story to tell. But chances are good that few, if any, have the kind of story Dave Bass has. Without resorting to detail, Bass’s rebirth as a jazz musician after decades away from the art is nothing short of astonishing. Having retired from the Office of the Attorney General of California back in 2015, Bass is back at the piano, where he promises to keep the torch burning for classic songs, elegant bebop and beautiful performance. No Boundaries features two-time Grammy winner Ted Nash (flute, alto flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax), five-time Grammy nominee Karrin Allyson (vocals), and two-time Grammy winner Carlos Henriquez (bass). Jerome Jennings is on drums. On the Afro-Cuban tunes, two-time Latin Grammy winner Carlos Caro, Mauricio Herrera, and Miguel Valdes join on bata, conga, bongo and timbales. His third album since his comeback, his second for the acclaimed Whaling City Sound label, is a celebration of gorgeous playing and lovely Latin influence. It’s also a dream come true, not only for Bass who is fulfilling his own lifelong dream, but also for his fans, who have waited a long time to hear this gifted musician-interrupted by injury and another incredibly successful but unrelated career-come into his own.

The Joey Berkley Band - Moving Forward - Mouthpiece Music

Joey Berkley’s latest project finds the tenor welcoming four talented and versatile musicians who are open to a variety of styles. “We did not want the music of this band to be limited,” says Joey, “so we’ve found a happy place where all of our styles and histories come together.” The project, which is comprised of the leader’s originals plus an inventive version of a pop song, begins with “Moving Forward.” Joey describes that song as being about “pushing one’s life into new areas that are positive.” Starting as a brief tenor-drums duet before the full group enters, the performance has a lengthy melody, intense saxophone playing, and a fluent piano solo that is backed by energetic drumming. The tenor-saxophonist is particularly proud of his latest recording. “This is a very accurate representation of who I am musically and it reconnects with my roots. I never take anything for granted because I know that it is a privilege getting to do what I do.” And for listeners, it is a pleasure to hear the results.

Verve Jazz Ensemble - Night Mode - Lightgroove Media

From its beginnings as a proudly straight ahead unit, the Verve Jazz Ensemble has been motivated by a desire to address a common complaint among jazz followers: that too many jazz artists play music to which the mainstream audience can’t relate. As VJE leader Josh Feldstein puts it, his band strives to appeal “to everyone from people in their twenties who know nothing about bebop to people in their ’80s who grew up in the swing era.”
Having raced to the number one spot on the JazzWeek chart with its previous album Connect the Dots, staying in the top 10 slot for nine amazing weeks, the VJE attains maximum liftoff in reaching a wide range of listeners with its new recording, Night Mode.
The group’s 6th album is a heady, entertaining mix of original compositions by various members, jazz classics, and obscure, “under-served” gems of the sort “tune detective-gumshoe” Feldstein specializes in. Who else finds new magic in, much less finds, songs like the bumptious “Drumorello,” which its composer, Joe Morello, played once, on a 1994 Buddy Rich memorial album? Marked by sassy stop time drum soloing, it’s one of the highlights of Night Mode.

Charnett Moffett - Bright New Day - Motema

For Bright New Day, bassist/composer Charnett Moffett’s seventh recording for Motéma Music, the virtuoso musician spearheads a genre-transcendent program that explores a wide range of sound, style, and emotion from the lyrical “Holy Spirit” and uplifting “O My God Elohim” to the urgent funk-rock of “Free the Slaves,” (which features an especially cathartic electric fuzz bass solo by the leader). Included in this potent collection of eight originals are two Ornette Coleman/harmolodic-inspired jams, “Netting” and the exhilarating “Bright New Day,” plus two thoughtful odes to the elements in “Precious Air” and “Waterfalls.” The album represents a continuation in the leader’s explorative body of work, and is uniquely distinguished from Moffett’s prior recordings by featuring him strictly on fretless electric bass guitar. Moffett’s signature soloistic quality is apparent throughout Bright New Day as he unleashes melodies and riffs on the frontline alongside an exceptional new quintet including rising star violinist Scott Tixier and guitarist Jana Herzen. Rounding out the stellar crew is the much in demand drummer Mark Whitfield Jr. and veteran keyboardist Brian Jackson.

Akiko/ Hamilton/ Dechter - Equal Time - Capri Records

Equal Time unites three virtuosos-two rising stars, the organist Akiko Tsuruga and the guitarist Graham Dechter and the acclaimed veteran drummer Jeff Hamilton to form a musical alliance based on a shared passion for swinging and the timeless joys of the classic organ trio. Although these cohorts have worked together before in other ensembles, Equal Time fully captures the camaraderie and musical telepathy that they have developed as a team. Building on the organ-drums-guitar configuration that has been the backbone of the organ trio tradition ever since Jimmy Smith hit the jazz scene in 1956, the Akiko-Hamilton-Dechter unit dedicates itself to the proposition that a compact band can-make that, must-produce a mighty sound.

Laurence Hobgood - Tesseterra - Ubuntu Music

Tesseterra is Laurence’s new program of standards re-woven for jazz trio and string quartet – innovative arrangements of iconic selections ranging from Cole Porter to Sting, Hoagy Carmichael to Paul McCartney, Chopin to Crosby Stills & Nash. Titles as diverse as Wichita Lineman, Blackbird, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, We Shall Overcome – even a Chopin Waltz (Opus 64 no. 2 in C#Minor), all vividly arranged in a style we’re calling “third stream nouveau” – the sound of the string quartet brings a definite classical element to this project, but the central idea is for the trio to shine as a fully functioning jazz trio, weaving improvisatory exploration within the fabric of thoroughly composed orchestrations.

Andy James - Shared Lives - LeCoq Records

“Late in 2018, my sensational musical director, Bill Cunliffe, brought me an original song he wrote entitled “Shared Lives”. It was simply divine, and I began plans to record it at Capitol Records. As the album started to take shape, I realized that it was a great title track. And what better way to enhance this fresh and one-of-a-kind number than to assemble a set of tracks sharing the limelight with some of the world class musicians that I have had the auspicious opportunity to collaborate with over the past couple of years. So, we set off to feature an incredible instrumentalist on each track of the album, sharing our lives in making music.” -Andy James, Vocalist. Over the course of the album, you’ll hear from not only her most prized collaborator, her music director, arranger, and pianist: Grammy Award-winner, and Emmy-nominee Bill Cunliffe. You’ll also hear featured duets with Jake Langlei; Ernie Watts; Rick Margitza; Terell Stafford; the original Chuck Berghofer on my cover of the Nancy Sinatra hit, “these Boots Are Made for Walkin’;” and Brandon Fields.