Ann Hampton Callaway Blues In The Night (2006 Telarc) Your emotions will fall from your eyes when the first spin takes off into your heart from the vocals of Ann Hampton Callaway and her Blues in the Night. Excellence in the "blues feel" is as simple as I can script it. With a tearful sax in the background guided by the others, Callaway’s voice and execution bleeds the lives of many. Callaway’s sultry and heart felt tones range from brassy to bashful as this disk unfolds emotional complexity. Skat is done with fire in the execution as "Lover Come Back To Me" makes her bold attempts at it very respectful. Grab a dry and dirty Bombay, sit back and allow "Stormy Weather" to take you where you have been afraid to venture in the past. This disk is hot and divinely stimulating!
Geri Allen Timeless Portraits and Dreams (2006 Telarc) Geri Allen continues off a banner year with what I feel is another monumental leap forward as her new release comes forth Timeless Portraits and Dreams. Strict and vibrant keyboard arrangements captures the soul of the pieces performed. In the performance of "Well Done" the added vocal of Carmen Lundy adds a restful peace to the cut reaching a new dimension. Allen’s finesse and angelic style of the ivory delivers stunning execution. Allen’s talent succeeds in separating her from the standard jazz pianist template molding a special example for the young pianists to strive for. A truly gifted pianist should be in a world unto his or her own while under the influence of composing magic. This Allen has accomplished with over twenty years of pure ivory joy and again this year will please the masses.
Nancy Wilson Turned Into Blue (2006 MCG Jazz) Eloquent style and delivery still embraces any piece Nancy Wilson attempts. Wilson’s new project Turned To Blue seizes a new era in her music. This is as music goes an eclectic array of cuts to grab the attention of most any jazz fan. "Take Love Easy," offers a strong brass flavor, which unleashes Wilson’s vocals into a finely tuned presentation. From poetic verse to a soothing lyric the end result in title cut "Turned To Blue" works well with this marriage of genres. What is interesting is that the message behind the lyrics comes across so well with the Wilson delivery. This project is touching with many facets to be explored and felt. A very nice and as expected classic piece of work!
The Christian Jacob Trio - Contradictions (2006 WilderJazz) Off of a great success with Styne & Mine, the Christian Jacob Trio again flirts with success. Although the jury is still out as to the success level of the new release Contradictions will reach the quality and execution is there. "Even Mice Dance" has that simplistic feel to it which displays the fine art of the keystroke. This cut is a good example of the whole project itself. The romance of Paris, which seems to be a popular topic for jazz projects these days, is symbolized musically with great feel on the cut "Memories Of Paris." Jacob is a talent worth spinning with hours of pure pleasure attached. A classic fine listen for the jazz fan that sways to the keyboard!