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Julian Lage is a tremendously talented acoustic guitarist and by all accounts a polite, mild mannered kind of guy. Though this might not be the whole story. The cover picture of his album is of twenty used matches, which is thought to refer to his worries of becoming burnt-out after being hailed as a child prodigy then burdened with the lofty expectations of his admirers.
The first track on the latest recording from Joey DeFrancesco is what you might expect from the organ expert and swinging veteran. "Inner Being" is a graceful, upbeat tune that layers DeFrancesco's organ colors with both Sammy Figueroa's percussion and the organic drumming of veteran Billy Hart. The passages of the composition in which the organ plays in melodic sync with the soprano saxophone of Troy Roberts (the native of Perth, Australia who has made New York his home in recent years) are lovely, launching an engaging set of solos...
Julian Lage is the winner of the Paul Acket Award 2019. This prize is granted annually by the festival and presented to an artist deserving wider recognition for their extraordinary musicianship.
The New Orleans drummer produces jazz with its own distinct character on his new album. Critic Kevin Whitehead says Perpetual Optimism is marked by Riley's upbeat nature and attention to detail.
Cyrille Aimée, whose initial experience with singing Sondheim came only six years ago during a series of City Center performances in New York, has taken a fresh look at this music, setting it in new and exciting arrangements.
The first track on the latest recording from Joey DeFrancesco is what you might expect from the organ expert and swinging veteran. "Inner Being" is a graceful, upbeat tune that layers DeFrancesco's organ colors with both Sammy Figueroa's percussion and the organic drumming of veteran Billy Hart. The passages of the composition in which the organ plays in melodic sync with the soprano saxophone of Troy Roberts (the native of Perth, Australia who has made New York his home in recent years) are lovely, launching an engaging set of solos. If the whole album were like this, well, it would be a beautiful slice of what DeFrancesco has been offering listeners for many years: Hammond B3 playing for a new century. Tasty. Lovely.
Joey DeFrancesco has stretched himself regularly throughout the course of thirty-plus albums. Just since Project Freedom(Mack Avenue, 2017) he's collaborated very productively for two albums with the Irish soulman Van Morrison—You're Driving Me Crazy (Sony Legacy, 2018) and The Prophet Speaks(Caroline, 2018). And, on In The Key of the Universe, the organist/trumpeter reaffirms his connection with jazz history through fruitful work with estimable musicians including saxophonist Pharoah Sanders and drummer Billy Hart.
DeFrancesco himself sounds effortless as he applies a light touch in play on "Inner Being," but that approach extends to the collective, incorporating the solid rhythmic presence of percussionist Sammy Figueroa. "Vibrations in Blue" is suitably atmospheric, but the ensemble swings nonetheless: on this record, metaphysics are no less important than the earthy side of life. Accordingly, the droning of sitar for the intro and outro of that latter cut resides right next to the high-stepping excursion that is "Awake and Blissed; " as with its surrounding tracks, the musicians are so fully engaged the visceral impact of this music equals the cerebral.
Valdes’ Jazz Batá was considered a departure into the avant garde when he made it in 1972. That trio recording was a preview of advances to come from the great Cuban pianist and composer. Nearly half a century later, the followup finds him as adventurous as ever, heading a quartet that concentrates on mastery of the batá tradition of West Africa, long a major component of Cuban music. In their rhythmic power and harmonic acuity, Valdes’ piano solos throughout are riveting, none moreso than his work on “Ochún,” a Haitian merengue that recalls Chucho’s father Bebo because of the elder Valdéz’s close association with Haiti.
Kenny Garrett is a Grammy award winning saxophonist originally from Detroit Michigan who started his career at the young age of 18 years old as a touring member of Duke Ellington band. He has had a legendary career which included being a member of the Miles Davis band for over five years, a Grammy-winning record and numerous with Chic Corea in 2010 and numerous recordings with many household names in the jazz world! His impressive solo career and numerous Down Beat readers poll awards have cemented his legacy as one of the greats!
Often, the term prodigy is applied with minimal context. In the case of jazz pianist Christian Sands, it is appropriate. He has studied piano since the age of four and began composing at five years old. By ten, he was performing. After years of formal music education, he became a protege of Dr. Billy Taylor. Like his mentor, Sands is devoted to playing and music education. His initial break came when he sat in with Christian McBride’s big band (Inside Straight) at the Village Vanguard. He became a member of McBride’s celebrated trio and played on the Grammy-nominated 2013 release, Out Here. Additionally he has worked with Oscar Peterson, Gary Burton, Geri Allen, Randy Brecker, Terrance Blanchard, Dianne Reeves, Russell Malone and Patti Austin to name a few. His debut on Mack Records, Reach and Reach Further established Sands as an upcoming important recording talent.
Paul and Alex Gemignani, a father-and-son conductor-singer duo, kibbitz about their long-running engagement with the composer in “the house that ‘Gypsy’ built.”
Here is what magically happens when you cross spiritual soul-jazz with bluesy soul-jazz.
For his latest album, Joey DeFrancesco chose to name it In the Key of the Universe, which is a very Pharoah Sanders type of title. Perhaps that’s because the iconic saxophonist himself is on this record: the de facto heir to the legacy of Jimmy Smith features the de facto heir to late-period John Coltrane mysticism.