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.

Blind Lemon Jazz - After Hours - Ofeh Music

From the opening track to the final melodic flourish, “After Hours”, the new album from Blind Lemon Jazz, featuring the songs of James Byfield, delivers an exotic and creatively unique ride through the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s era of the great American Songbook, in a set of stylistically diverse, and thematically rich, original jazz compositions. Known primarily for his award winning career as a Blues and Americana singer/ songwriter/ producer, James Byfield (aka Blind Lemon Pledge) has gained a reputation for his ability to write in a variety of genres with skill, creativity and authenticity. MUSICIANS: James Byfield / Blind Lemon Pledge – Composition, Arrangements, Production, Guitar, Vocal; Marisa Malvino – Vocals; Ben Flint – Keyboards, Arrangements; Peter Grenell – Bass; Joe Kelner – Drums.

FOG (Brian Melvin) - Tri Sessions Vol 2 - Yama Records

FOG releases there new music The TRI Sessions Vol 2. Following Volume One- Brian Melvin- Jeff Chimenti- Brad Buethe and Peter Barshay deliver a beautiful and warm selection of music. FOG has been playing together for over 20 years and you can hear this in the groups playing. Recorded at Bob Weir’s TRI studio and mixed and mastered by Peeter Salmela in Tallinn Estonia. FOG displays all the creative aspects of wonderful tunes along with incredible improvisation. FOG is happy to now share this music with you.

Dave Zinno Unisphere - Stories Told - Whaling City Sound

Picking up where the enrapturing “River of January” left off, Dave Zinno Unisphere’s follow-up, “Stories Told,” further explores the wild and beautiful jungle of jazz, more specifically, the Brazilian/Latin tributary: electric, funky, passionate and rhythmic. Zinno here is partnered with Unisphere co-founder Mike Tucker, Eric “Benny” Bloom, Tim Ray and drummer/percussionist Rafael Barata. The recording is a passionate ode to the band’s multicultural vision. The set kicks off with “Neurótico,” by J.T. Meirelles, a samba jazz gem that sets the tone perfectly. There’s a sweet rendition of Lennon-McCartney’s “Michelle,” arranged by pianist Ray; “Tá,” a rhythmically dynamic fusion of neo-Latin styles; and the powerful “Requiem,” composed by Mike Tucker in his father’s memory, which was heartfelt for all of the players. “Stories Told” is, as it should be, a melting pot of pure jazz excitement, performed with verve and executed with inspiration. If you liked “River of January,” a recording with broad appeal and accessibility even considering Unisphere’s gorgeous intricacies, you’ll surely appreciate hearing these Stories.

Greg Abate - Gratitude: Stagedoor Live @ The Z - Whaling City Sound

On his fourth recording with the Tim Ray Trio, all on Whaling City Sound, Greg Abate and friends search for and find the true essence of jazz. With no formal rehearsals, and subsequently, no overdubs, mulligans, and redos, the band captures its performance in truth, in full, and in the moment. With the seasoned support of Tim Ray (piano), John Lockwood (bass) and Mark Walker (drums), Abate and his various horns (alto, tenor and baritone saxes, as well as ute) cruise through a slate of mainly originals, along with Joe Henderson’s “Inner Urge” and Roland Kirk’s “Serenade to a Cuckoo,” done here on tenor sax rather than the customary flute. Tim Ray and the trio add their surprising version of Fats Waller’s “Jitterbug Waltz.” Abate is one of jazz’s pure, natural talents, with energy, imagination and technique. The crowd must have really enjoyed this session because the sound, recorded and mixed by John Mailloux, is superb and the performances creative and exhilarating.

Larry Fuller - Overjoyed ft. Hassan Shakur & Lewis Nash - Capri Records

A masterful pianist whose soulful artistry and ability to emotionally connect with his audiences match his striking technical expertise – learned his craft the old fashioned way: on the bandstand. Honing his impressive talents with four giants of mainstream jazz: the legendary bassist Ray Brown, famed vocalist Ernestine Anderson, drum giant Jeff Hamilton, and acclaimed guitarist and vocalist John Pizzarelli, Fuller developed a personal style both relentlessly swinging and outwardly expressive. On his new release, Overjoyed, Fuller translates that invaluable experience into a deeply personal statement of jubilation directly communicated through rhythmically charged, yet sensitively inflected, improvisation. Melding in harmony with the bassist Hassan Shakur and drummer Lewis Nash, Fuller and his gifted compatriots inject soul and cheer into the Great American Songbook, Jazz, Blues, and Pop standards as well as companionable originals.

Melissa Aldana - Visions - Motema

On her first jazz quartet Visions, award-winning saxophonist Melissa Aldana connects her work to the legacy of Latina artists who have come before her, creating a pathway for her own expression. Inspired by the life and works of Frida Kahlo, Aldana creates a parallel between her experiences as a female saxophone player in a male-dominated community, and Kahlo’s experiences as a female visual artist working to assert herself in a landscape dominated by men. On her first jazz quartet recording, Aldana adds a new dimension to her sound, resulting in a transformative movement of expression and self-identity. Aldana is one of the brightest light saxophonist/composer/leaders of her generation. Her album Visions, inspired by the artist Frida Kahlow is her first in the quartet format, and is a work of exquisite beauty and depth.

Tom Culver - Tom Culver at Dukes Place - The Songs of Duke Ellington - Cafe Pacific Records

With Duke’s Place, Tom Culver capitalizes on the interpretive skills he’s been honing behind the microphone for decades, blending sophistication, humor, tenderness and happy-go-lucky charms into one irresistible package. Teaming up with Mark Winkler, the sought-after producer, lyricist, and singer regularly found collaborating with a who’s who of vocal elites, Culver bottles the very magic that’s been wowing audiences. While Duke’s Place is only Culver’s fifth album, it reflects a lifetime’s worth of experience. “He’s got a great sense of swing, a beautiful voice, and, like Tony Bennett, an almost palpable love of singing,” shares Winkler. All of that comes through clear as day with this captivating exploration of Ellington’s work.