Pasquale Grasso - Be-Bop - Sony Masterworks

Be-Bop!, Pasquale Grasso’s brilliant new tribute to be-bop pioneers Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker is the Italian-born Grasso’s sixth album for Sony Masterworks. Be-Bop! kicks off in exhilarating fashion with Dizzy’s quintessential composition, “A Night in Tunisia.” Grasso achieves an astonishing balance of technical wizardry and swing, sounding like two guitarists coming out of the gate on the challenging head on top of the syncopated Latin rhythm. Backed by his working trio of bassist Ari Roland and drummer Keith Balla, the trio is in sync through super-up-tempo, challenging fare like “Shaw ‘Nuff,” “Groovin’ High,” “Cheryl,” “Ornithology” and “Be-bop,” whereas they settle into a more relaxed vibe on Monk’s gorgeous ballad “Ruby, My Dear.” Special guest vocalist Samara Joy, who has been collaborating with Pasquale since 2020, appears on one track, the jivey mid-tempo swinger “I’m in a Mess” (originally sung by Joe Carroll on Gillespie’s 1951 album, School Days). “She’s incredibly talented and I’m happy to perform with her night after night,” Grasso said. “We’re having a lot of fun together.”

Dan Olivo - Day By Day - Ava Maria Records

Singer and actor Dan Olivo is a regular on the Southern California jazz scene. For his debut album, Day By Day, Olivo wanted to blend his sophisticated, elegant sound with the feel of a big band recording but performed by a smaller combo. Olivo re-connected with his high school friend, guitarist IAN ROBBINS who is also the writer, producer and musical director for DAY BY DAYTo achieve the big band sound Olivo wanted, Robbins brought on board some of the top players in the Los Angeles area, including bass player LYMAN MEDEIROS, Pianist and Hammond B3 organ player JOE BAGG, Drummer and percussionist KEVIN WINARD, Reedman KYLE O’DONNELL, Trombonist GARRETT SMITH, Trumpeter JAMELLE ADISA and Vocalist RENEE MYARA CIBELLI. Olivo knows how to swing and delivers the lyrics with clear enunciation and a lot of feeling. His training in stagecraft allows him to tell the story of a song directly and honestly, much like the crooners he so admires.

Dave Bass - The Trio vol 2 - Dave Bass Music

Having recorded his many originals with jazz greats like Phil Woods, Ted Nash, Ernie Watts, Ignacio Berroa, Mary Stallings, and Karrin Allyson, Dave now enters the refined world of the piano trio saluting many of the pianists upon whose shoulders he stands, including Bud Powell, Paul Bley, Andrew Hill, and Thelonious Monk. The Dave Bass Trio travels from Bach to Be-Bop to Free Jazz! Dave’s latest recording, The Trio Vol. 2, picks up where its predecessor left off.  Bass notes that Vol.2 elevates everything the Trio did on Vol.1 to a new level. “It’s a deeper, more mature effort by the Trio regarding the three things that made Vol.1 a success:  the wide spectrum of styles, the vibrant 3-way communication, and the unique arrangements of challenging compositions.” On The Trio Vol. 2, they offer up a set of performances that are as tight as if the band had been playing together for decades, while, in truth, they first came together just over three years ago, prior to recording Vol. 1.

TS Monk - Two Continents One Groove - Storyville Records

The T.S. Monk Sextet’s highly anticipated live album with seven songs is characterized by the steady pulse and groove that the world has come to know and love as the “T.S. Monk Sextet Sound”. Two Continents One Groove is out now on Storyville Records. T.S., also known as “Toot”, leads his sextet with an innovative and dynamic approach. Since 1992, the drummer has worked exclusively with his co-players, making the sound of the sextet incredibly tight. When they roll out their arsenal, they soar and swing, and are indeed exciting to hear. In that regard, it might be quite surprising to learn that this is T.S.’s very first live album! “This is my first live recording, ever! It’s daunting and an uncertain kind of product. Most live albums aren’t that good. I’ve been lucky to always have great people working with me.” The seven songs on the album are taken from two performances at two similar jazz rooms over a two-year period; three are from “Harlem’s Jazz Shrines Festival: Jazzmobile presents Minton’s Playhouse” at Ginny’s Supper Club on May 7, 2014, while others were recorded at Marians Jazzroom in Bern, Switzerland on April 24, 2016.

John Stein – Lifeline – Whaling City Sound

With the release of Lifeline, John Stein celebrates a musical career as one of the most diverse jazz guitarists of his generation. Selected highlights from Stein’s varied discography capture his eclectic spirit with his honey-toned guitar effortlessly guiding listeners across several decades of brilliance. After retiring from a longtime career at Berklee College of Music where he held a professorship since 1999, and upon recently contracting a rare autoimmune disease, the esteemed jazz veteran decided to synthesize his remarkable body of recorded work. The recorded output surveyed on this compilation spans more than twenty years, from Stein’s 1999’s Green Street to the most recent recording, 2021’s Serendipity. Throughout this assortment of releases, Stein has been consistently regaled for his expansiveness, turning heads with his emotive, subtle, grooving, and precise stylistic excursions. With dazzling guitar playing, notable contributions from the side musicians, creative arrangements, and compositions that are at once sophisticated and memorable, the full scope of John Stein’s instrumental and compositional prowess is on display on this prodigious, varied, and musically rewarding retrospective.

Mark Christian Miller - Music In The Air - Sliding Jazz Door Productions

Mark Christian Miller, a well-established presence on the West Coast scene releases Music in the Air featuring a first call list of renowned West Coast based musicians; Jamieson Trotter on piano and arrangements, Mike Gurrola on bass, Kevin Winard on drums, Larry Koonse on guitar, and Danny Janklow on alto sax. When Mark Christian Miller sings, he’s talking to you, with the warmth, clarity, and intimacy of a fine conversationalist. Underneath it all is a gentle jazz pulse that makes his singing float on air. He has an effortless rapport with musicians, for he knows how to listen.

Albare – Freedom - Alfi Records

Long before Bob Dylan and Paul Simon hit a societal raw nerve through their protest songs of the 1960s, Jazz had long established itself as arguably the first activist music – becoming the poster child for emancipation and liberty along the way. Such is its power that totalitarian regimes similar as North Korea sought to ban it and jail musicians who ventured into its orbit. At this strange point in our western democratic history, where one by one, our freedoms are being eroded, it is good to remind ourselves of the genesis of Jazz – as an expression of Freedom. In this spirit, we conjure once again the activist roots inherent in the artform, in order to celebrate and protect our hard-won freedoms. We shall never be silenced. Guitars: Albert Dadon aka Albare, Piano: Phil Turcio, Flugelhorn and Trumpet: Randy Brecker, Alto and Tenor sax: Ada Rovatti,  Bass: Phil Rex, Drums: Felix Bloxom.

Tony Hightower – Legacy - Hightower Legacy

Singer/Songwriter Tony Hightower is taking up the mantle to be a bridge that ushers R&B audiences into Jazz…Real Jazz. With years of experience as a musical performer and actor, Atlanta-native Hightower is still just getting started on this benevolent turn in his journey. And he is bringing a lot of young people with him. His sophomore project, Legacy, finds Hightower exploring Jazz vocal stylings from a dazzling prism of angles. The 10-song album moves confidently and assuredly from original compositions such as the soulful scat-laced “All to the Good,” the seductive Brazilian bossa nova of “Rendezvous” and the tender carnal Jarreau-esque love beg “I Need You” to swingin’ covers of Earth, Wind & Fire’s classic Skip Scarborough-penned “Can’t Hide Love,” a mean shuffle boogie groove through Al Green’s “Love and Happiness” and a smoldering upright bass accompanied tiptoe through the 1929 Andy Razaf standard “Gee, Baby, Ain’t I Good To You” made further famous in 1944 by one of Hightower’s greatest and earliest Jazz vocal heroes, Nat “King” Cole.

Clifford Lamb – Blues and Hues NY, NY - Weber Works

With Blues & Hues New York, pianist-composer Clifford Lamb and producer Jeff Weber have added the next destination to their singularly inventive and highly personal musical road trip across America. They’ve packed the tour bus with an A-team of jazz stars from the Big Apple –bassist Christian McBride, trumpeter Jerely Pelt, drummer Carl Allen, and saxophonist Wayne Escoffery – to create a stirring, surprisingly introspective homage to the City that Never Sleeps. “This is an album of reflection,” Lamb explains. But in addition to looking inward, the recording also looks back, to New York in the 1930s, when the elegant geniuses Duke Ellington and George Gershwin were shaping the city and the nation’s music for generations to come. Lamb, whose albums have emphasized themes of social justice, took specific inspiration from Ellington’s monumental 1943 suite, Black, Brown & Beige, which Ellington introduced as “a tone parallel to the history of the American Negro.”

Sylvia Brooks – Signature – Rhombus

Since her captivating debut in 2009, jazz vocalist Sylvia Brooks has displayed a gift for inhabiting different personas, with a subspecialty in film-noir inspired femmes fatale. On this, her fourth album, she embraces the most challenging role of all, defining herself with a set of beautifully crafted original songs. Her evocative lyrics and emotionally direct delivery imbue the music with hard-won authenticity. Whether looking back with wry affection on her walk-on-the-wild-side youth or lamenting a lost love, Brooks brings bracing honesty and poise to the material. Artistically, she is collaborating with Southern California’s most creative accompanists: ace pianists Tom Ranier, Jeff Colella, and Christian Jacob designed beguiling, harmonically rich settings for her incisive lyrics. The stellar rhythm section tandem of drummer Ray Brinker and bassist Trey Henry appear on almost every track. This album marks a quantum leap reflecting years of concentrated effort. “I really worked hard on trying to make the stories deeper and richer,” she says, “each song is really a story within itself.”