Greg Abate - Magic Dance: The Music of Kenny Barron - Whaling City Sound

There’s a beautiful marriage happening with Greg Abate’s Magic Dance: The Music of Kenny Barron. It’s the union between Abate’s multi-instrumental gift of bebop and Kenny Barron’s varied and sublime compositions. Abate and Barron, who, in addition to lending Abate his material, handles keys on this recording session, are soul mates occupying the same lovely musical space. With Barron’s material and Abate’s fresh vision, the two-disc set, recorded over three days at Rudy Van Gelder Studio in New Jersey, is a revelation. Says Abate: “Kenny was kind enough to provide me with music for a range of his tunes, some more well-known than others. The only difficult part was choosing which ones to record.” Abate researched and reworked Barron’s music, inserting his own ideas when appropriate, enhancing his arrangements with multiple sax overdubs, and, when the original was so good, it made sense to leave well enough alone. The project was challenging, multi-dimensional, and immensely gratifying. “I even scored a big band sax section (two altos, two tenors and bari) on ‘Innocence’ and ‘Voyage.’ The other 12 tracks have either one horn or two horns in harmony.”

Jana Herzen - Live - Motéma Music

For fans of jazz/folk/pop crossover longing for the joyful communion of live performances blocked covid-19, this recording of a celebratory concert at Joe’s Pub in New York City in October of 2019, offers a soul-refreshing experience. The show & album features world-renowned veterans CHARNETT MOFFETT (fretless electric bass) and BRIAN JACKSON (piano & keys), with rising artists IRWIN HALL (saxophones, flute, clarinet), and COREY GARCIA (drums).  The presence of the enthusiastic and increasingly enchanted audience elevates the performance to higher dimensions. Produced by Charnett Moffett. Mastered by Alan Silverman. “A reminder of the need of live music to return once again.” The Record-Journal. “Jana Herzen LIVE is a fun and groovy jazzy/pop recording of Herzen’s unique original music that crosses over to many facets of music.” ~Charnett Moffett

Jazz WORMS- Squirmin' - Capri Records

More than 30 years after the release of their acclaimed debut album, Denver-based quintet the Jazz WORMS make their belated return with Squirmin’. Well worth waiting for, the thrilling new session reconvenes all five original WORMS – pianist Andy Weyl, saxophonist Keith Oxman, drummer Paul Romaine, cornetist Ron Miles and bassist Mark Simon – on an invigorating set of all-new material that picks up where the band left off three decades earlier.

The Brianna Thomas Band - Everybody Knows - Breathline

Vocalist, composer, arranger and bandleader Brianna Thomas is proud to announce the release of her sophomore album Everybody Knows produced by Grammy© Winner Brian Bacchus. Showcasing a uniquely soulful and captivating voice, Brianna Thomas presents a book of songs that encapsulates common human experiences and honors the universal truths that “everybody knows.” This collection of reimagined classics alongside some exquisite originals is brought to fruition by The Brianna Thomas Band, a group that embodies a dynamic and rich sound, influenced by the diverse backgrounds and regions each member comes from. This first rate band features the Peoria, Illinois native alongside pianist Conun Pappas (New Orleans, LA), guitarist Marvin Sewell (Chicago, IL), bassist Ryan Berg (Minneapolis, MN), percussionist Fernando Saci (San Paulo, Brazil) and drummer Kyle Poole (Los Angeles, CA). The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Steve Miller (who wrote the liner notes for this album) considers himself Brianna’s mentor. The soulful expression and masterful instrumentation exemplified by Brianna’s ensemble here, resembles that of her father’s band, with whom the vocalist first exhibited her blossoming talents at the age of six.

Jawanza Kobie - Jawanza Kobie Jazz Composer - JKM

Jawanza Kobie brings his incredible composing skills to bear on an array of styles and flavors that showcase his knowledge, skills and his influences which include notable jazz greats from Oscar Peterson and Ramsey Lewis, to Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, along with Rock and Motown legends. All of those influences and more worked their way into his mind and heart, and can be heard on Jawanza Kobie Jazz Composer. Jawanza writes not only straight-ahead Jazz, but also writes convincingly in so many subcategories of Jazz as well. The entire album shows that Jawanza Kobie can write for so many instruments and voices and do it brilliantly. He has always wanted to be known as a composer more than a performer, and this album shows exactly that. As always, Jawanza’s skills and talents give him to ability to express his heart and soul. He is an intelligent man, a kind man, and even if you don’t know him, you will after this album.

Mark Winkler & David Benoit - Old Friends - Cafe Pacific

Singer, lyricist MARK WINKLER and pianist, composer DAVID BENOIT have teamed up to record an album that pays homage to their 37 years of friendship. OLD FRIENDS is a collection of some of the artists’ favorites songs by some of their favorite composers, as well as three original tunes, newly rendered in an affable collaboration by two musicians at the top of their form. OLD FRIENDS is imbued with warmth and camaraderie. Winkler, Benoit, and the rest of the band maintain a light, sensitive touch that has great emotional depth but is never overwrought. Benoit perhaps sums it up the best, “Working with Barbara Brighton and Mark was a highlight for me. I think this is Mark’s best work. He is restrained and heartfelt. He never overdoes it, but always stays true to the melody, respecting the composer but adding his own imprimatur when needed. The song selections are fresh and original, and, I must say, I’m happy with the arrangements. Again. never too much, but elegant and tasteful. You can hear the communication with Mark and me, and it’s superb. This is a result of a certain maturity that only comes with age and a willingness to put the time and effort into the project. This could be a happy result of Covid-19 giving us all the time we needed to make it right. And the results are self-evident.”

Greg Murphy - Cool Water - Whaling City Sound

It is glad tidings indeed that Whaling City Sound announces the release of a new Greg Murphy recording. In fact, the news is almost as joyous as the sound of Murphy’s piano. Cool Water is both heartwarming and exhilarating. Greg’s fingers find delicate and exciting ways of expressing themselves across the keys. It is the sound of a blissful talent given a new lease in both life and career, as well as the opportunity to rediscover his true and glorious gift. The recording opens with the ebullient “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” segues into a chancy take on Steely Dan’s “Green Earrings,” careening through a battery of brisk melodies and beautiful playing, including the astonishing “Cuttin’ Trane’s Corners,” a dark, surprising cover of Wayne Shorter’s “Lost,” and the funk-filled closing celebration, “You Decide.” Featuring Murphy’s bandmates Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums, Eric Wheeler on bass, and a bevy of special guests, Cool Water is just that, long and fresh, a ride with the top down, rife with optimism and full of freedom and discovery. Greg Murphy is clearly glad to be back and playing music again, and we should all be thankful for it.

Albare - Albare Plays Jobim vol.2 - ALFi Records

Guitarist and composer, Albare was born in Morocco and grew up in Israel and France. Although he joined at age 8 the Music Conservatory in his hometown in Israel for 2 years, his musical development was completely self-taught. These days, as Albare has lost his central vision faculties due to an genetic illness, his playing is completely by ear. In 1972 Albare discovered the sound of Jobim while watching Marcel Camus’s cult film, Orpheus Negro. The haunting melodies and unique compositions left a profound impression on the young guitarist and inspired Albare to study and play the melodic style for which he is now known for. After the great success of Albare plays Jobim Volume 1, it only made sense to release a Volume 2!
Special Guests include: Randy Brecker, Nestor Torres, and Antonio Sanchez.

Miles Donahue - Just Passing Thru - Whaling City Sound

Miles Donahue’s latest album, Just Passing Thru is large in scope and beautiful in execution. The absurdly talented player, vibrant on both tenor and soprano saxes, trumpet, and keyboard, shows just how broad his musical wingspan is. It certainly helps that he has an amazing crew behind him. Joe Santerre provides power grooves on electric bass as does Larry Finn on drums. They are joined by percussionist Ricardo Monzon, keyboard player Alain Mallet, and a handful of tracks featuring guitarist Mike Stern. With a vision that includes Crusaders’ style R&B, Weather Report fusion, and lovely, soulful turns, Donahue is masterly and versatile.

Verve Jazz Ensemble - The VJE: Very Live! - LightGroove Media

The Verve Jazz Ensemble releases its first live album, The VJE: Very Live!. What luck! Recorded live in January 2020 – just before the pandemic shut down performances everywhere – The VJE: Very Live! captures the Verve Jazz Ensemble with its core quintet personnel smoking their way through their most popular charts, taken from the VJE’s 6 chart-topping studio albums. Hard bop, originals, swingers, Latin, and inventive, re-imagined standards…all on display, featuring the unmistakably classic VJE sound in this, the band’s first live release. High-energy, powerful, fun, and grooving from track to track, with Josh Feldstein (drums/leader), Jon Blanck (tenor), Tatum Greenblatt (trumpet), Steve Einerson (piano), and Chris DeAngelis (bass). The group’s 7th album is an entertaining mix of original compositions by various members, and both popular and lesser-known jazz classics. “One of our jobs is to find music that is fresh, with melodies we love, and blow the dust off it.”