Bryan Zoran - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection http://jazzreview.com Mon, 22 May 2017 16:18:05 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Future Day by David Finck http://jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/future-day-by-david-finck.html http://jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/future-day-by-david-finck.html Future Day by David Finck
The first track, "I Know," hooks the listener immediately as the bass and drums begin, locked in a groove. They are quickly joined by the pianist and bassist, who state the…
The first track, "I Know," hooks the listener immediately as the bass and drums begin, locked in a groove. They are quickly joined by the pianist and bassist, who state the melody. I really enjoy this composition, written by the pianist on this session, Tom Rainer. Vibist Joe Locke displays great phrasing during his brief solo, as does Mr. Rainer. "New Valley," written by the bandleader, has a bright and optimistic to feel to it. "Nature Boy" features David doing some cool solo work, and includes a few hammer-ons. Joe Locke responds to these funky riffs on his vibes. Bob Sheppard and Jeremy Pelt join the band, on tenor saxophone and trumpet, respectively, for the next track, "Four Flags." They both share strong, but brief solos. Tom does some wonderful things on Roger Davidson’s "Ballad For a Future Day." I also like David’s work with the bow in this track. Wayne Shorter is a great composer and this band pulls off a nice version of "Black Eyes."

I love the next composition, perhaps more than any other on the CD. Written by David, and featuring the horn section, "Look At You" has one of those fun-loving melodies that puts me in a good mood the minute I hear it. Jeremy breaks out the mute to add an interesting twist to the character of the track. Both he and Bob have some wonderful moments on this one. The classic ballad, "For All We Know," features enjoyable solos from Joe (vibes) and Tom (piano). Based on Gershwin’s "But Not for Me," drummer Joe La Barbera contributes "If Not For You," another upbeat, swinging composition. This has a great melody and the bandleader does some nice bass playing on it. Joe Locke’s "Appointment In Orvieto" has a rapid-fire tempo and Tom’s piano flies through the changes. This session is rounded out by Tom Rainer’s "Transparency" and "Firm Roots," a selection penned by Cedar Walton.

Overall, this is a robust collection of straight ahead music. With a solid sense of swing, the musicians carry the torch for those who love their jazz in the pocket. Although only one tune exceeds six minutes, musicians have ample opportunity to show us their chops. Joe La Barbera solos only once on the final track, but makes his presence felt throughout the session. Some fans may wish that these quality musicians stretched out a little bit more, but they won’t be disappointed with the improvisation that they do throw down.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Bryan Zoran) Straight-Ahead - CD Reviews Tue, 24 Jul 2007 01:00:00 -0500
Going To The Ritual by Henry Grimes and Rashied Ali http://jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/free-jazz-avante-garde-cd-reviews/going-to-the-ritual-by-henry-grimes-and-rashied-ali.html http://jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/free-jazz-avante-garde-cd-reviews/going-to-the-ritual-by-henry-grimes-and-rashied-ali.html Henry Grimes and Rashied Ali are Going To The Ritual. Join them on the new release by JazzNewYork Productions.Bassist Henry Grimes has joined drummer Ras…

Henry Grimes and Rashied Ali are Going To The Ritual. Join them on the new release by JazzNewYork Productions.

Bassist Henry Grimes has joined drummer Rashied Ali to create wonderful new music. Going To The Ritual is a symphony of sound. My choice of the word symphony is very deliberate. Despite having only two artists to fill the musical canvas, this is a very full sounding date. They maximize the space they have to work with, bringing out the best in each other’s artistry. Both musicians exhibit a deep strength and focus that carries the music throughout the recording.

The date opens with Ali behind the set, laying down a definitively creative introduction to Hidden Forces Aggregate. His driving percussion work is infused with impressive phrasing and dexterity. His agility is complemented by a clear direction with which to share his musical vision. Ali sets his original piece on its course before Henry enters the picture. Bringing his heavyweight champion bass sound, Henry shows why he is one of the most respected improvisers on the planet. This selection includes some of his work with a bow before giving way to dynamic conversation between him and Ali.

This is followed by Mr. Grimes reciting an original poem entitled Easternal Mysticism. The poem was recently published in his new book of poems, Signs Along the Road. His reading is accompanied by the bow of his bass and Rashied’s drums.

Gone Beyond the Gate, the third track, is a tour de force of free jazz. Henry starts out on bass with melodic runs that seem to search out for, and at the same time provide, meaning, fulfillment, musical nourishment. His playing here feels at times bluesy, at times funky but all the time played with great feeling and sensitivity. This is where Henry adds another element to the session by putting down the bass and picking up the violin. Moving back to the bass, sometimes with the bow, Henry keeps things lively on this 25-minute track. The song closes out pleasantly with Henry and Rashied trading inspired lines.

The final selection "This Must Have Always Happened" features some striking solo work by Rashied, interspersed with another taste of Henry’s violin playing and poetry reading. Near the end of this track, Henry briefly showcases some hauntingly beautiful bow work.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Bryan Zoran) Free Jazz / Avante Garde - CD Reviews Tue, 06 Feb 2007 12:00:00 -0600
The Roy Haynes Trio featuring Danilo Perez & John Patitucci by Roy Haynes Trio http://jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/the-roy-haynes-trio-featuring-danilo-perez-john-patitucci-by-roy-haynes-trio.html http://jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/the-roy-haynes-trio-featuring-danilo-perez-john-patitucci-by-roy-haynes-trio.html Sometimes All-Star bands work, sometimes they don't. On rare occasion, they produce a masterpiece. Tip your hat, Roy Haynes has done it again. As the leader of this All-Sta…
Sometimes All-Star bands work, sometimes they don't. On rare occasion, they produce a masterpiece. Tip your hat, Roy Haynes has done it again. As the leader of this All-Star trio, Haynes propels them to amazing heights. Always searching for and finding creative fountains of youth, Roy will never be dated or stagnant. He is forever in the now and in the know. Although he could easily rest on his laurels, his wanderlust spirit refuses to slow down.

The creative juices are flowing on this recording and with good reason. Hooking up with Danilo Perez and John Patitucci marks the meeting of three great jazz spirits. The rapport between these musicians is astounding. Perez's style and energy, along with his arranging, create the atmosphere and mood of the sessions. Patitucci's bass work is virtuous and intense. Roy's drumming drives and inspires the group.

For all the newness the record exudes, it is a tribute of sorts. The songs are performed for the jazz masters that have crossed paths with the venerable Haynes, songs these masters wrote or performed. Two sets of beautiful music are on one disc. The studio set was recorded in New York, the live set in Haynes' native Boston. There is not a bad number on the entire disc.

Pat Metheny's "Questions and Answer" is a great vehicle for this group. The arrangement is very hip. In fact, the trio's identity is evident as the unique arrangements breath new life into each number. "Folk Song," written by Chick Corea, is another example of how good this group can be.

Moving to the live set, a great rendition of "Sippin' at Bells" is followed by my favorite selection on the disc, "Monk's Bright Mississippi." The trio gets into a serious groove on this track and is obviously having a good time doing it. Perez radiates beauty on the next number, "Prelude to a Kiss." The live set (and the disc) comes to a close with a Roy Haynes arrangement of "Green Chimneys." This one cooks, watch out for Roy!

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Bryan Zoran) Straight-Ahead - CD Reviews Sat, 08 Jan 2000 18:00:00 -0600
DeJohnette Continues to Fly High http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/dejohnette-continues-to-fly-high.html http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/dejohnette-continues-to-fly-high.html How appropriate that the New Year starts off with a week of Jack DeJohnette at Birdland. Jack DeJohnette’s music has always been about starting anew. And like Birdland, he has a proud history. The element of freshness to his sound is the result of him continually searching for something new. This year, his reconfigured group features guitarist David Fiuczynski (Fuze), someone who has gone down his own musical path in pursuit of a unique voice on the guitar. Having been a fan of his from his d
How appropriate that the New Year starts off with a week of Jack DeJohnette at Birdland. Jack DeJohnette’s music has always been about starting anew. And like Birdland, he has a proud history. The element of freshness to his sound is the result of him continually searching for something new.

This year, his reconfigured group features guitarist David Fiuczynski (Fuze), someone who has gone down his own musical path in pursuit of a unique voice on the guitar. Having been a fan of his from his days with the Screaming Headless Torsos, I was excited to hear what he would bring to the group. He plays a double-neck, one with seven strings and the other with twelve. Most of his chord work is on the lower neck with seven strings, but his solos make use of both necks.

Rudresh Mahanthappha is an alto saxophonist I have kept my ears on since the release of the fantastic double-record Miles from India. He mixes musical elements from his Indian background with the jazz lexicon to create his own style.

The addition of these two musicians says a lot about the leader, Jack DeJohnette. For Jack, music is an exploration, a living, and breathing, ever-evolving journey. His long history of playing music with musicians from all over the world is well-documented and is one of the traits that makes him so intriguing and relevant after all these years. That and being one of the best drummers to sit behind a kit, period. From his early recordings, like the DeJohnette Complex, with his signature melodica, he was never afraid to forge his own musical identity.

This band is just the next chapter in this evolution. Rounded out by George Colligan on keyboard and acoustic piano, and long time collaborator, Jerome Harris, on electric and acoustic bass guitar, this is one group that is worth sticking with for awhile.

Opening up with One for Dolphy, this great composition, naturally, featured Rudresh taking the lead and the first solo, with Jack providing noteworthy accents. George was on the keyboard and Jerome was laying down funky bass lines on the acoustic bass guitar, not the standup variety.

With the groove firmly established, Fuze took an extended solo, again with Jack adding the spices only he has in his cupboard. Finally Jack soloed. His soloing parallels how he puts musicians together, always seemingly driven by a striving for what has not yet come before, and always interesting. The melody was played in double time on the way out, so fast yet so clear and succinct, it had peoples’ heads turning, looking at each other as if to say "wow".

Soulful Ballad, a tune off of Jack’s latest CD, Music We Are, began with an introduction by George on the acoustic piano. Jack played the melody, fittingly enough, on the melodica. My friend said this tune made them feel like they were in Paris. Fuze took the first solo, much of it on the 12-string portion of his guitar with what sounded like a flanger pedal. Rudresh, George and Jerome all took tasty solos before the final head.

Another tune from Music We Are, entitled African Tango, was probably my favorite tune of the evening. After a wicked solo from Jack to open it up, Rudresh repeated a one-note riff before he and Fuze went into the melody. Fuze’s solo was nice. I loved the interplay of the bass and guitar during this guitar solo. Jerome laid down some absolutely fabulous bass lines that complemented a rippin’ solo from Fuze. Then Rudresh soloed. At this point, everyone locked in and was going off. As with the first tune, the band seemed to be peeking during Rudresh’s solo. After a brief call and response between Rudresh and Fuze, George, who was back on the keyboard for this one, offered up some nice soloing as well, during which Jack propelled deeper and deeper into the groove. This tune was straight smokin’.

During the next selection, Blue, the band was really tight (in a good way) during Rudresh’s solo, and then opened up for a totally different feel during Fuze’s guitar solo, creating what could best be described as soundscapes with Fuze’s creative use of the whammy bar. Although he used a Yamaha keyboard, George had a B-3 Hammond sound on this one. The last selection, Ahmad the Terrible, was noteworthy for several reasons. One was the sitar-like sound George had on his keyboard. The other was a unique solo by Jerome Harris that began with just his voice, moved to bass and vocals, and finally just bass. Great stuff.

I like the rapport between these musicians. It will only get better over time. Here’s to hoping that there are many more opportunities for these musicians to play together and audiences to experience their unique sound.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Bryan Zoran) Concert Reviews Sat, 29 Jan 2011 09:41:49 -0600
New Music from Harvie S http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/new-music-from-harvie-s.html http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/new-music-from-harvie-s.html Long recognized as one of the premiere bass players of his era, Harvie S is also an accomplished composer. His most recent release on the Zoho label, Funky Cha, is testament to his prowess in this regard. However, his most recent live performance at the magnificent Kitano Hotel featured brand new material composed over the previous year. After opening the set with a rumba- infused Rhythm-a-ning, Harvie and his group shared six fresh compositions with a captive audience. Their take on the Monk
Long recognized as one of the premiere bass players of his era, Harvie S is also an accomplished composer. His most recent release on the Zoho label, Funky Cha, is testament to his prowess in this regard. However, his most recent live performance at the magnificent Kitano Hotel featured brand new material composed over the previous year.

After opening the set with a rumba- infused Rhythm-a-ning, Harvie and his group shared six fresh compositions with a captive audience. Their take on the Monk classic featured some nice spice, especially from drummer William Beaver Bausch. The trio, which included Daniel Kelly on piano, worked both the bluesy and dissonant aspects of this classic until the fiery close.

Mark Turner, the special guest on soprano and tenor saxophones, joined the unit for all of the original material. Many of the tunes were so fresh they were still untitled. The arrangements were solid and far from cliché. The melody of the first was engaging and complemented by intense harmonies. Daniel Kelly moved from seemingly classical influences to deep bluesy runs. At its essence, this selection was a heavy duty, take no prisoners piece. The seasoned practitioners had no problem pushing the boundaries of sound.

The next original was my favorite of the evening. After an introspective introduction, Harvie’s bass solo exemplify his sincere passion and inimitable voice on his instrument. Mark had a terrific tone on tenor and the full sound of the group was reminiscent of the classic Coltrane quartet. Overall, what I appreciated most was the complex movement of the piece. It had many different twists and turns but a common thread throughout. The feeling was understated, with a pursuance or a searching for something new. The rapport between piano and bass and, toward the end of the composition, bass and drums, was inspiring. This tune has the potential to be a suite or the framework for a full album.

Harvie wrote the next song, entitled Sizzle, only a week before this performance. Written with Mark in mind, this selection featured a trio without the piano. This instrumentation allowed Mark to groove, ala Odean Pope, improvising on a great melody and the interplay offered by Harvie’s walking bass line. Faythe, written for Harvie’s late cousin, began with William’s mallets and an almost eerie sound from the piano. Combined with Harvie’s bow work, it made for a unique beginning that lead into a nice head. After a wicked bass solo and a heightened rhythmic complexity, Mark soared through with a certain ease. He was followed by a piano solo, where the group sat out and allowed Daniel to do some unbelievable work heretofore unheard.

Truth and Beauty had a joyful, uplifting undercurrent. Again, Daniel’s piano playing stood out. The final selection was untitled and featured Mark on the soprano sax. His playing is not flashy but rather exhibits considerable substance.

The new repertoire, and the addition of Mark Turner, is yet another direction for the eclectic Harvie S. Keep your ears and eyes open for more gigs from this band. Hopefully, a recording date is in the works.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Bryan Zoran) Concert Reviews Sat, 29 Jan 2011 09:40:19 -0600
Music Legend Continues His Legacy http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/music-legend-continues-his-legacy.html http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/music-legend-continues-his-legacy.html At ninety-two years of age, Les Paul continues to play to a packed house every Monday night at the Iridium in New York City. Locals and tourists line up on Broadway to a get a glimpse of the Wizard from Waukesha. A Wisconsin native myself, I am particularly proud of his many accomplishments. His impact on the history and future of music is well-documented. A member of the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the N

At ninety-two years of age, Les Paul continues to play to a packed house every Monday night at the Iridium in New York City. Locals and tourists line up on Broadway to a get a glimpse of the Wizard from Waukesha. A Wisconsin native myself, I am particularly proud of his many accomplishments. His impact on the history and future of music is well-documented. A member of the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame, there is no stone that he has left unturned, blazing new ground throughout his illustrious career. Les is the subject of a recent feature length documentary. The film is titled Chasing Sound: Les Paul at 90 and will be broadcast on PBS during the month of July.

As for this early July evening at the Iridium, Les proved why he is a showman. Casually taking a seat and addressing the crowd, he quickly went into a few of the classic cuts that fans associate with him. He began with Why Do I Love You?, then All of Me and Up a Lazy River. Les and the members of his band aspire to and achieve a high standard. The fact that Les has been playing a weekly gig at the Iridium for the last twenty years is a testament to both this high standard and his groups’ remarkable level of consistency.

Having been on the stage for all these years, Les knows how to work a crowd. Although the music is important, it is more than just the music that defines Les and his group. He is the ultimate entertainer, a comedian and a leader, as well as a musician. Despite having the facility of only two of his fingers on his left hand, he could easily entertain the crowd by simply featuring his sweet guitar sounds on any number of his extensive library of tunes. However, Les is there to have fun and wants to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves.

Like any good leader, Les knows how to feature the members of his group. Starting with the virtuoso pianist, John Colianni, Les remarked how amazing it was the pianist could play so many different styles of music. While John played a tune from the silent movie era, Les, ever the comedian, described the different scenes we might see to go along with the music. Next he featured Nicki Parrott and her bluesy bass chops. She also is a very good singer. This was apparent on a number she wrote on a plane for Les she simply called Les’ song. Finally, Lou Pallo’s guitar playing and singing were on display during Embraceable You. Violinist Aaron Weinstein joined the group for several numbers, including Somebody Loves Me and In a Sentimental Mood. The group also ripped off a version of Blue Skies that went into double time during the second verse, showing that Les still has speed to burn. Tennessee Waltz and a funky version of Sweet Georgia Brown rounded out the set.

Still playing after all these years, Les Paul is living proof that jazz is good medicine. Jazz keeps us in good spirits and Les’ spirit is particularly stirring/inspirational. Join him for a Monday night at the Iridium and he will surely lift yours.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Bryan Zoran) Concert Reviews Sat, 29 Jan 2011 09:39:45 -0600
VISION FESTIVAL XII http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/vision-festival-xii.html http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/vision-festival-xii.html The 12th Annual Vision Festival took place from Tuesday, June 19 thru Sunday June 24th, 2007 and featured a smörgåsbord of the world’s greatest improvisers. As inspiring as it is unique, the festival showcases artists who have built their reputations courageously on their own terms. To celebrate all of these visionaries under one roof is a testament to the spirit and strength of the festival and its organizers. The venue, the beautiful Angel Orensanz Foundation on the Lo

The 12th Annual Vision Festival took place from Tuesday, June 19 thru Sunday June 24th, 2007 and featured a smörgåsbord of the world’s greatest improvisers. As inspiring as it is unique, the festival showcases artists who have built their reputations courageously on their own terms. To celebrate all of these visionaries under one roof is a testament to the spirit and strength of the festival and its organizers. The venue, the beautiful Angel Orensanz Foundation on the Lower East Side, enriched the overall experience for musicians and audiences alike.

The opening invocation featured William Parker, Hamid Drake and Patricia Nicholson. It set the tone for the festival. Patricia led the trio with a brief, meditative chant expressing a communal, infinite joy that served as an artistic launch pad. The World Premiere of William Parker’s "Double Sunrise Over Neptune" followed. This piece had several movements. The contrast between the horns and strings was quite nice. It was my first chance to hear bassist Shayna Dulberger and her playing was consistently excellent. Despite fourteen other musicians around her, I kept finding my ears drawn to her playing.

Gerald Cleaver and Hamid Drake were both behind drum kits. Their different styles fit well together. Noteworthy solos featured Lewis Barnes on trumpet, Dave Sewelson on baritone saxophone, Shiau-Shu Yu on cello and Brahim Fribgane on oud. Joe Morris started on banjo and moved to guitar, where his interaction with violinist Jason Kao Hwang was electrifying. However, the beauty of this piece was not defined so much by the individual soloists but rather by the collective sound of the group. Credit writer and leader William Parker for bringing together this eclectic mix of musicians and constructing the musical canvas for them to create this masterpiece.

Fieldwork, featuring Vijay Iyer on piano, took the stage next. This reflective trio was led by Iyer’s introspective melodies and Tyshawn Sorey’s rock-solid drumming. Steve Lehman rounded out the group, emanating great sounds from his alto saxophone, at times sounding like a violin, at times like a flute.

Keyboardist Cooper-Moore made things interesting. He started off his group’s artistic offerings with some spoken word/poetry, breaking down the word jazz. This was a powerful set with powerful artists. Drummer Chad Talyor is an excellent musician. The same can be said for Darius Jones on alto saxophone and Nioka Workman on cello. This heavy, soulful music was complemented by Marlies Yearby’s edgy, interpretive dance.

Rounding out opening night was a fantastic set by Spiritual Unity, a group which features Chad Taylor, Henry Grimes on bass, Marc Ribot on guitar and Roy Campbell on trumpet. Working from the Albert Ayler songbook, the soloists soared. This quartet operates on an extremely high level. The stellar communication and synergy between them is a rare treat.

Fast forward to Saturday evening. The opening set by Ganelin Trio Priority pushed the envelope. Eddie Gale All-Star Band followed. I have wanted to see Eddie Gale for a long time and was not disappointed. His muted trumpet set the tone for the meditative opening number titled Prayer to the World. Love’s All was the next piece. This is just a wonderful tune. It has a killer melody and gave an opportunity for the group to shine. Take Time to Feel, a ballad, and Hi-tech Emergency rounded out the set. The former featured William Parker’s bow work in conversation with Kidd Jordan. The latter was a frantic number highlighted by Alvin Fielder’s drum solo. Eddie Gale has a commanding musical presence, which makes him a great leader. He gets terrific tones from his instrument. Prince Lasha and Kidd Jordan are exceptional improvisers who helped make this the most powerful and musically satisfying set of the evening. Pianist Valerie Mih is a skillful soloist and provided nice comping behind the other improvisers. Dancer Particia Nicholson was an added bonus to this artistic venture.

Rob Brown’s (alto saxophone) Quartet was solid. Drummer Guillermo E. Brown provided the ambient, industrial sound of the second number, which was distinctive and enjoyable. Lewis Barnes (trumpet) and Todd Nicholson (bass) dipped into the creative stratosphere as featured soloists. Todd Nicholson was also a part of the next group, the Walt Dickey Trio, and sounded better and better the more he played. Walt Dickey is an excellent improviser on the drums. However, Sabir Mateen stole the spotlight in this trio. He played with great depth and feeling on five different instruments; alto and soprano saxophones, alto clarinet, clarinet and flute.

Amiri and Amina Baraka’s Blue Ark closed out the evening using standards as a vehicle for their poetry, including work by Miles and Monk. Amina began with several pieces of powerful poetry. Vocalist Dwight West sang a song for Coltrane before giving way to the finale, Amiri’s reading of his response to the New Jersey governor‘s demand that he resign as the state’s Poet Laureate. A great way to end a great evening.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Bryan Zoran) Concert Reviews Sat, 29 Jan 2011 09:39:45 -0600
Fusion Night http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/fusion-night.html http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/fusion-night.html Allan Holdsworth has long been respected as one of the fusion guitar greats. His performance on this date did nothing to tarnish that well-earned reputation. The set started out with several mellow tunes, focusing heavily on the synthesizer-infused guitar sound Holdsworth is known for. The intricate chords found in many of his compositions did not go unnoticed. One fan yelled out, "it takes me years to play one of your chords." To which Holdsworth rep

Allan Holdsworth has long been respected as one of the fusion guitar greats. His performance on this date did nothing to tarnish that well-earned reputation. The set started out with several mellow tunes, focusing heavily on the synthesizer-infused guitar sound Holdsworth is known for.

The intricate chords found in many of his compositions did not go unnoticed. One fan yelled out, "it takes me years to play one of your chords." To which Holdsworth replied, "maybe you need to go to the pub more often, practice Irish yoga," which elicited a chuckle from the crowd. One thing I noticed about Allan is the humble way which he goes about his business. The unassuming look on his face after an amazing solo or the modest smile following a stunning version of one of his songs endears him to his fans.

Selections performed by the trio included The Fifth, Fred, and Water on the Brain. The version of Fred was heavy and rocked the house. I was very pleased when the group played the title track from I.O.U. This is one of my personal favorite Holdsworth compositions and this rendition was phenomenal.

Jimmy Johnson (bass) and Chad Wackerman (drums) are top notch musicians. They make the musicians around them sound better. In addition, they are well-versed in the Allan Holdsworth library. These two facts were apparent as the trio engaged in a musical dialogue throughout the entire set. Both Johnson and Wackerman threw down excellent solos. However, they did their best work in support of each other and their leader. For those of you who enjoy fusion, definitely venture out to see this trio when the opportunity presents itself.

The Mahavishnu Project opened the evening of guitar-centric jazz fusion. With meticulous precision the group performed various Mahavishnu classics, including Meeting of the Spirits, Sanctuary and Dance of Maya. A highlight of their set was a song they have been getting a lot of requests for titled Open Country Joy. A wonderful composition, it is no surprise fans have been asking to hear it and the group pulled it off, did it justice. A talented vocalist joined the group for pleasant versions of If I Could See and Earthship.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Bryan Zoran) Concert Reviews Sat, 29 Jan 2011 09:39:44 -0600
Brazilian Star Shines http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/brazilian-star-shines.html http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/brazilian-star-shines.html This is the second October in a row that Blue Note jazz club has had the great fortune of booking Milton Nascimento for a week-long engagement in New York City. A friend of mine who grew up in Sao Paulo tells me that Milton plays in front of huge crowds in Brazil (and around the world) so the opportunity to see him in this setting is rare blessing. Having had the pleasure of seeing him at the Blue Note last year, I certainly knew I was in for a treat. Milton is one of those

This is the second October in a row that Blue Note jazz club has had the great fortune of booking Milton Nascimento for a week-long engagement in New York City. A friend of mine who grew up in Sao Paulo tells me that Milton plays in front of huge crowds in Brazil (and around the world) so the opportunity to see him in this setting is rare blessing. Having had the pleasure of seeing him at the Blue Note last year, I certainly knew I was in for a treat. Milton is one of those unique performers that radiate brilliance. Take one look at him and his charisma is unmistakable. The Brazilian rhythms he plays on his guitar are enchanting and when he starts to sing it soon becomes clear there is no one on earth that can do what he does.

Joining Milton were Gastao Villeroy on bass, Wilson Lopes on guitars, Kiko Continentino on piano and keyboard and Lincoln Cheib on drums. The piano plays a vital role in helping to set the mood of the music. And mood is very important in Milton’s work. Consequently, Kiko Continentino did an amazing job complementing Milton. He often followed his vocals by playing just the right melody or precipitated changes in the direction or feeling of a song by his subtle approach. Kiko is a talented soloist. Lincoln Cheib is an amazing drummer, a rhythm powerhouse. Villeroy’s bass playing and Lopes’ guitar work gave this group a complete sound. One of Milton’s nephews, who resides in New York, joined the group on piano for one composition.

Thirty years before recording the album Pieta as a tribute to his mother, Milton wrote a song for her that appeared on the Clube da Esquina record. The piece is Lilia and is a great vehicle for improvisation. The groove the band laid down during this song was joyful and extremely tight. Other notable selections included Ponta de Areia, A Felicidade, and Coracao de Estudante, one of my personal favorites.

The song that featured Milton at his best though, in my opinion, was A Lua Girou. He had the crowd repeat one of the verses over and over and the crowd actually had a number of very good singers in it. While we were singing the verse, Milton began to shout and sing in a very forceful, powerful manner, creating an apocalyptic feel that showcased not only his vocal range but, more importantly, his electricity. What a moving performance!

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Bryan Zoran) Concert Reviews Sat, 29 Jan 2011 09:38:54 -0600
Cachao http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/cachao.html http://jazzreview.com/concert-reviews/cachao.html Five-time Grammy award winner, Israel "Cachao" Lopez recently played two nights at the Blue Note in New York City. Leading a ten-piece band, Cachao dazzled the audience with his rhythm and enthusiasm. He was introduced by his daughter and received a warm welcome. The music opened with Cachao’s bow on the bass. Consecutive solos from Kiwzo Fumero on trumpet, Rafael Palau on sax and Fedirico Brito on violin followed Cachao’s brilliant introduction. A most interesting exchange then found Brito and
Five-time Grammy award winner, Israel "Cachao" Lopez recently played two nights at the Blue Note in New York City. Leading a ten-piece band, Cachao dazzled the audience with his rhythm and enthusiasm. He was introduced by his daughter and received a warm welcome. The music opened with Cachao’s bow on the bass. Consecutive solos from Kiwzo Fumero on trumpet, Rafael Palau on sax and Fedirico Brito on violin followed Cachao’s brilliant introduction. A most interesting exchange then found Brito and Cachao simultaneously bouncing their bows off their strings, which Jimmy Delgado parlayed into a timbales explosion.

The second selection, entitled "Redemption," was a joyous, moving piece. Alfredo Valdes, Jr. lit up the piano and the crowd with the first of several great solos. In a unique display of his rhythmic prowess, Cachao began to hit his bass with one hand and strike his strings with his bow in the other hand. This led to a call and response with conga great Richie Flores that culminated in Flores thumping rhythms out on Cachao’s bass and Cachao returning the favor with his bow on Flores’ congas. The vocals of Anthony Columbie and Daniel Palacio (coro) and Brito’s violin work provided a great closing to this wonderful piece of music.

The next track found Rafael Palau on clarinet for a nice change of pace. Jimmy Bosch’s trombone work was colorful on this selection and throughout the evening. His introduction on the next tune led into some great solos featuring Fumero, Palau and Brito. After Cachao’s tasty introduction to the next selection, Bosch again played a pivotal solo. Valdes then took a piano solo and he and Cachao had an engaging musical conversation. The last selection was a traditional Cuban piece that featured the beautiful voices of Columbie and Palacio as well as the sweet sound of Fumero’s trumpet and Flores amazing conga rhythms.

The evening featured a series of excellent arrangements and uplifting, courageous displays of improvisation. Cachao’s bass could have been louder, as the other instruments sometimes drowned it out. At 87 years old, Cachao does not appear to be slowing down. He will be appearing with Andy Garcia at B.B. King’s in NYC on April 25, 2006.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Bryan Zoran) Concert Reviews Sat, 29 Jan 2011 09:38:04 -0600