Kevin Cerovich’s New LP Is A Unique Addition To 2022’s Field OF New Independent Albums

Courtesy: CVJ Records

Kevin Cerovich has made quiet the career for himself over the years performing and recording with the Airmen of Note, a division of the U.S. Air Force Jazz Band.  Now Friday, the award-winning musician and composer will take a step out on his own Friday in his new album, Aging Millenial.  Set for release through CVJ Records, the 12-song release is a unique offering from Cerovich.  That is because of the diversity of the arrangements that make up the 44-minute presentation’s body.  From beginning to end, the album features compositions that lean heavily in the jazz direction at times, in a more hip-hop/funk direction at others, and even some pop, believe it or not.  Among the most notable of the record’s jazz entries comes early in the record’s run in the form of ‘Groove Merchant.’  This song will be discussed shortly.  ‘Slow Boat Reprise’ is among the most notable of the record’s hip-hop entries.  It will be examined a little later.  In terms of the more pop-centric work, the simply titled ‘Till’ is the most notable entry.  It will also be examined later.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and along with the likes of ‘Friday Afternoon,’ ‘Kill The Lights and Floor It’ and ‘Transatlantic Folk Piece,’ which closes the album, and the rest of the record’s entries, the whole becomes an unsuspecting success of a record.  It unquestionably deserves a spot among the best of this year’s top new independent albums.

Aging Millenial, the new forthcoming album from musician/composer Kevin Cerovich is a unique record that every music lover should hear at least once.  The diverse range of sounds and styles presented throughout the album makes that clear.  From jazz to hip-hop to pop and even something in-between, the record offers music for so many listeners, including the early jazz entry, ‘Groove Merchant.’  This song harkens back to the big band sounds of the 1950s and 60s with its horns and subtle but still rich bass line.  Listeners familiar with that sound and style will immediately think of great songs from the bands that backed the Rat Pack.  Audiences can just as much hear works from the likes of Count Basie and company.  It is such an enjoyable, immersive composition.  The subtle time keeping and the expert production here blends everything so perfectly throughout its nearly five-minute run time.  The solo, which comes from what sounds like a muted trombone, adds its own welcome touch to the mix.  It is not too flashy, giving just enough kick to the whole to make it its own enjoyable moment, even as brief as it is.  The overall opus is such a rich composition that is such an enjoyable work.  No question it is among the most notable of the album’s jazz offerings.

On the hip-hop side of things, ‘Slow Boat Reprise’ is among the most notable of those offerings.  The song is a companion piece to the song ‘Slow Boat’ which immediately precedes its presentation.  The steady, driving beat and the use of the low brass (tubas, trombones) and what sounds like a keyboard, makes the composition a perfect music bed for any old school hip-hop composition.  Audiences who are familiar with the works that actually involved the use of emcees and turntablists will really appreciate this work.  Interestingly enough, considering that the album’s title is ‘Aging Millenial,’ there really have not been many hip-hop acts of the sort around for a while.  The last great such act was Jurassic 5.  The way in which Cerovich throws in a vintage jazz approach and sound at the very end to mix things up gives the song a unique final statement that listeners will certainly remember, too.  The whole here makes the song overall yet another notable addition to Aging Millenial that further shows what makes the album stand out so much.

‘Till’ which comes almost halfway through the album, is yet another notable addition to the album.  This song is a full-on pop style composition.  The immediate comparison that comes to mind through the guitar-centric composition is to works from the likes of Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson.  It is one of only two songs featured in the album that features lyrics alongside the musical content.  The theme here is a simple love song.  It is sung from the vantage point of a person who loves being with his or her romantic interest.  He/she sings about how much he/she loves just watching that person sleep, just being with that person every day.  It is a light, happy composition that will appeal to so many listeners.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album overall a standout addition to this year’s field of new independent albums that everyone should hear at least once.

Aging Millenial, the new forthcoming album from musician/composer Kevin Cerovich, is a unique record that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.  That is proven throughout the course of the record’s nearly 45-minute run time.  The songs examined here make that clear.  When they are considered along with the other equally diverse range of compositions featured in the record, the whole makes Aging Millenial one of the best of this year’s new independent albums.

Aging Millenial is scheduled for release Friday through CVJ Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of Cerovich’s latest news at:

Website: https://kevincerovich.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kevincerovich

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KevinCerovich

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United States Air Force Jazz Band Airmen Of Note Serve Successfully Again With ‘The 2022 Jazz Heritage Series’

United States Air Force/Dr. Jazz Operations

April, for those who might not know, is Jazz Appreciation Month. One of the great true American forms of music, jazz transcends generations and cultural boundaries. As part of the celebration of the month, The United States Air Force Band Airmen of Note has released its 2022 Jazz Heritage Series recording. Featuring performances this year from guest musicians Sean Jones, Ted Nash, and Diane Schur, the recording is a fully immersive, engaging and entertaining presentation that any jazz and big band fan will fully enjoy. Each guest musician gets three songs here. There is also one song on which the trio come together to perform with the bigger group, and one song performed by the Airmen of Note. Among the most notable of the songs featuring Jones is ‘Into The Sun.’ It will be examined shortly. ‘Tones For Joan’s Bones,’ which features Nash as the guest musician, is a prime example of how much he brings to the overall presentation. It will be discussed a little later. The trio’s performance of the timeless classic ‘Besame Mucho’ is yet another example of what this year’s Jazz Heritage Series has to offer. When the noted performances are considered along with the others featured in this record, the whole makes The 2022 Jazz Heritage Series one more of the best of this year’s new jazz albums.

The United States Air Force Band Airmen of Note’s 2022 Jazz Heritage Series presentation is another successful offering from the group. That is due to the arrangements featured throughout the record. One of the most notable of the performances comes from guest trumpet player Sean Jones in the song, ‘Into The Sun.’ While Jones serves as the guest musician in this song, it is not him, but saxophonist Senior Master Sgt. Grant Langford who really is the star. Langford’s chops as he blows through his solo are on full display, giving the song so much fire. Meanwhile, the building energy that Jones brings to the song through his performance adds its own share of engagement and entertainment. At times, the staccato style playing and at others more legato in nature, Jones’ performance brings so much brightness to the mix. Of course the pair’s fellow musicians here cannot be ignored. Technical Sgt. Ben Thomas deserves his own praise as he provides such a rich low end to the arrangement. Master Sgt. David McDonald also brings some spice to the mix with his subtle fills and solid time keeping. The horns also add their own positive element to the whole. The whole gives the arrangement in this case such an infectious groove that when combined with the group’s big band sound, makes for even more enjoyment. It all comes together to make the song just one example of what makes this latest collection from the United States Air Force Jazz Band Airmen of Note so enjoyable. It is just one of the most enjoyable moments from the recording, too. The group’s performance of ‘Tones For Joan’s Bones,’ which features a guest appearance from saxophonist Ted Nash, is another standout moment in the record.

The collective’s performance of ‘Tones For Joan’s Bones’ stands out right from the intro with its steady drum beat and pairing of the flute and horns. The presentation in those opening bars conjures thoughts of Duke Ellington’s timeless classic, ‘Caravan.’ From there, the song progresses in its own unique fashion going from reserved and contemplative to much more classic swing. Nash shines in his John Coletrane-esque performance here while Technical Sgt. Chris Ziemba joins with Thomas and McDonald to make for a solid rhythm section performance. The group’s performance against the more big band sounds from the horns makes for such a unique contrast that works surprisingly well. Master Sgt. Kevin Cerovich cannot be ignored here either, as he works his way through his trombone solo. The richness that his performance brings to the whole makes the song all the more engaging and entertaining. The difference between this performance of the song and that of its source material (the Chick Corea original) is notable, but at the same time, it is clear that the group strives to stay as close as possible to the source material, making for even more appeal. It is just one more example of why this latest offering from the Airmen of Note is enjoyable. The collective performance of ‘Besame Mucho’ from Nash, Jones, and fellow guest performer Diane Schuur is yet another standout addition to the recording.

The trio’s performance of ‘Besame Mucho’ alongside the Airmen of Note because of how starkly it stands out from other covers of the Consuelo Velazquez work and from the original. Schuur’s vocal delivery is so rich and powerful and so controlled at the same time. The point/counterpoint from Nash and Jones alongside Thomas and McDonald’s work on bass and drums makes their collective performances just as enjoyable as those as Schuur and the rest of the organization. It makes for a wonderful final accent to the recording and yet another enjoyable entry in the overall presentation. When it is considered along with the other performances examined here and with the rest of the featured songs and performances, the whole makes The 2022 Jazz Heritage Series another completely successful offering from the Airmen of Note and the United State Air Force Jazz Band.

The United States Air Force Jazz Band Airmen of Note’s 2022 Jazz Heritage Series presentation is another fully engaging and entertaining offering from the group. From start to end, it offers so much for audiences to appreciate in each featured performance. Each of the songs examined make the clear. When the songs examined are considered along with the rest of the recording’s featured performances, the whole makes this latest offering from the group another of the year’s top new jazz albums.

More information on the 2022 Jazz Herittage Series is available along with all of the latest news from the United States Air Force Jazz Band Airmen of Note at:

Website: https://www.music.af.mil/Bands/The-United-States-Air-Force-Band/Ensembles/Airmen-of-Note/fbclid/IwAR2F6lxsZMzXFfwUTxYeUt-iEER2TYyPppFXK2qI0l-ePqbQoVKvjcB2D6w/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AirmenofNote

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Ben Patterson Makes A Good “Push” For A Spot Among 2021’s Top New Jazz Records With His Latest LP

Courtesy: Origin Records

The year that was 2020 was a pivotal period for trombonist and jazz artist Ben Patterson.  That is because he saw so much change in his own career throughout the year.  After more than two decades as a member of the United States Air Force Band’s Airmen of Note (as well as its lead trombonist and musical director), Patterson stepped down from the positions and left the organization.  Then in March, the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down.  That ended any plans he had for rest and recreation in the form of travel.  Rather than let himself get down, Patterson instead made lemonade (so to speak) and crafted a number of songs, which ended up becoming the body of his new solo record, Push The Limits.  Those songs were recorded in September alongside Patterson’s fellow musicians Shawn Purcell (guitar), Chris Ziemba (keyboards, guitar), Paul Henry (bass), Todd Harrison (drums, percussion), and Dani Cortaza (guitar). Released March 19 through Origin Records, the 10-song record is an aptly titled presentation.  That is because the arrangements in question really do push the limits.  They will be discussed shortly.  While the musical content featured throughout the album makes for plenty of engagement and entertainment, the record’s presentation does have one misstep, that being the lack of any background information about the songs in the liner notes. This will be discussed a little later.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the album an overall presentation that any jazz fan will enjoy.

Ben Patterson’s new album, Push The Limits is a presentation that will easily appeal to most jazz audiences.  That is due in part to the musical arrangements featured throughout the 74-minute record.  The arrangements take listeners in a wide range of directions from start to end.  The whole thing opens in rather energetic fashion in its title track.  The song presents listeners with a sort of bebop approach in the early portion of its 10 minute-plus run time.  As the song progresses though, the addition of the full-on improve approach from the guitar (or is it keyboards?  They sound so similar that it is difficult to tell) takes the arrangement in a more free jazz style approach.  The two styles are polar opposites, yet somehow work so well together here.  The eventual blending of the two styles late in the song makes for even more engagement and entertainment.  By the time the song is over, audiences will not have even realized they sat through more than 10 minutes of music in this case. 

‘Hope,’ which serves as the album’s midpoint, is completely different from ‘Push The Limits’ in terms of its style and sound.  In this case, audiences get something more along the lines of a cool jazz type work.  It is such a simple, relaxed work, yet is just as certain to fully engage and entertain listeners.  Patterson takes the lead here with his slow, gentle performance on the trombone.  The relaxed feel and sound exhibited by his performance and Harison’s even more subtle backing does well to help illustrate what the group must have been trying to translate here.  The positive mindset that it establishes really does translate what one thinks and feels in getting that sense of hope in difficult times.  It is that simple, gentle clarity of mind.  The group in whole achieves its goal while also showing even more the diversity in the album’s musical content.

‘Road Trip,’ the album’s penultimate entry, is yet another example of the diversity exhibited throughout the record.  This time out, Patterson and company have opted for a more Afro-Latin-tinged sound from the 1960s and 70s.  That vintage sound is especially exhibited through Ziemba’s performance on the keyboard.  The sound and style that Ziemba presents in his solo lends itself easily to comparisons to works from the late, great composer Vince Guaraldi.  The guitar work does just as much to conjure those thoughts and sounds of so much vintage lounge style jazz.  That lounge style and sound, opposite the arrangement’s more Afro-Latin approach and sound makes for quite the interesting dichotomy.  That is meant in the most positive fashion possible.  The whole shows in its own way, the diversity exhibited throughout this record from song to song and even within songs.  When this composition and the others examined here are considered along with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole leaves no doubt as to the importance of that musical content.  For all of the engagement and entertainment that the record’s musical diversity ensures, the record is not perfect.  Its lack of any real background on the songs in the liner notes detracts at least somewhat from the album’s presentation.

The liner notes featured with Patterson’s new album lack any real background on the record’s songs’ inspirations.  The only song that gets any real attention is its title track.  Patterson explains in this case that the song is a reflection of his determination to get past his occasional writer’s block, in terms of composing songs.  He points out that when he hits those walls, he becomes determined to “push the limits,” thus the song’s title and energy.  Other than this explanation, there really is nothing in the way of that background information.  It is not enough to make the album a failure by any means, but being that instrumental jazz is so different from vocal jazz and from mainstream music, it helps to have that background information so as to help increase understanding of and appreciation for the arrangements.  Again, the general lack of any real background is not enough to doom the album.  It just would have been nice to have had that added information and thus, understanding and appreciation for the album in whole.  Keeping this in mind, there is still one more item to note here, in terms of the album’s positives.  That item is the album’s production.

As has already been noted, the musical content featured throughout this album is diverse.  It changes from song to song and even within the course of the songs themselves.  That means that a lot of time and attention had to go into balancing dynamics, instruments’ presence, and even more minute items.  Whether in a slower moment, such as that in ‘Easter Waltz’ and ‘Hope’ or in a more active tune, such as ‘Fear is the Mindkiller’ or even something that exhibits reserved and energetic feelings all in one – such as in ‘Almost There’ – every composition required its own share of attention.  The work to balance all of the noted elements paid off, as each song offers the utmost impact regardless of the intended result of the performers’ work.  That is a tribute to the work put in behind the glass just as much as in front of the boards.  Keeping that in mind, the production pays off just as much as the songs themselves to make this record mostly a successful presentation that most jazz fans will enjoy.

Ben Patterson’s new album, Push The Limits is an aptly titled presentation that lives up to its title.  That is proven in part through its featured arrangements.  The arrangements are so diverse within themselves and from one to the next.  They push the limits of what audiences expect from jazz records.  While the record’s musical diversity does plenty to make the record appealing, the lack of any real background information on the songs undeniably detracts from the record’s appeal.  It does not make the album a failure, but certainly would have enhanced the listening experience had it been there.  Moving on from there, the record’s production rounds out its most important elements.  That is because the production was responsible for assembling and balancing all of the performances with each song, bringing out the best of each work.  That painstaking effort paid off, too.  Whether in the more subtle, laid back moments or the more energetic moments, or even moments that have both moods within themselves, the utmost attention was paid to every minute detail.  The result is that the album proves appealing just as much for its sound as for its content.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, the album proves itself to be a presentation that most jazz fans will find engaging and entertaining.  Push the Limits is available now through Origin Records.

More information on Push the Limits is available along with all of Ben Patterson’s latest news at https://benpattersonjazz.com.  

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

USAF Band Airmen Of Note’s New Live Recording Succeeds With Flying Colors

Courtesy: Dr.Jazz Operations

The United States Air Force Band’s premiere jazz organization, the Airmen of Note, have been entertaining audiences nationwide for more than 70 years with their performances.  Part of the group’s effort to entertain audiences is its long-running Jazz Heritage Series.  Now in its 31st year, the series, the series is one of so many live shows negatively impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  Luckily, the organization was able to perform live last year before the pandemic forced all live entertainment to halt.  That performance, held in April 2020 in Washington, D.C., was recorded for the group’s annual Jazz Heritage Series release, and was released last month, to media outlets nationwide in the form of the 2021 Jazz Heritage Series.  The recording, which is not available for sale, proves itself enjoyable from start to end in part through its featured performances.  They will be discussed shortly.  The recording’s production adds its own touch to its presentation and will be addressed a little later.  The sequencing of the songs in this presentation rounds out its most important elements.  When it is considered alongside the record’s other noted items, the whole makes this recording another welcome addition to the Airmen of Note’s ongoing Jazz Heritage Series recordings.

The USAF Band Airmen of Note’s 2021 edition of its Jazz Heritage Series recordings is a presentation that any jazz aficionado will enjoy.  That is proven in part through its featured performances.  The performances, which are split into two separate programs, feature guest appearances by special guest musicians, jazz guitarist Peter Bernstein and saxophonist Chris Potter.  A third musician, pianist/singer Diane Schuur was going to take part in the 2020 performance, but according to information provided about the concert, COVID-19 restrictions prevented her from taking part in the 2020 concert.  Potter and Bernstein are each established musicians, with extensive catalogs of their own.  Each brought a portion of his catalog to perform along with the Airmen of Note.  Potter and company’s performance of ‘Exclamation’ – which is featured in Potter’s 2019 album, Circuits – is just one example of how the featured songs and performances prove their importance.  The song is a frenetic composition to say the very least.  Its performance here takes a song that was already interesting enough on record and improves on it even more.  Potter’s own staccato playing here, alongside the heavy low-end from the tuba and TSgt. Chris Ziemba’s subtle performance on keyboard adds even more to the overall impact here.  The control that all involved display here is incredible to say the least.  That is especially the case as the eight-minute-plus opus reaches its climax in its closing bars.  That Potter and his fellow musicians are able to maintain control and not step all over each other in all of the frenetic energy is a statement to the focus displayed by each individual.  Considering that an exclamation is defined as a strong statement of sorts, one can only imagine this is what an exclamation would sound like if it was a musical work.  It is just one example of what makes the recording’s songs and related performances so important to its presentation.  ‘Jive Coffee’ and its related performance is another example of that importance.

‘Jive Coffee,’ originally featured in Bernstein’s 1994 album Signs of Life is a much more relaxed tune in comparison to Potter’s ‘Exclamation.’  That is the case even with the big band approach here.  The original studio rendition does have a big band backing.  However, the composition has something more of a kick in this presentation.  There is more energy in other words.  MSgt. Tedd Baker’s work on the tenor sax shines here, especially when he gets his time leading the group.  MSgt. David McDonald meanwhile adds just the right amount of flash and flare with the cymbal crashes.  At the same time, his time keeping throughout the song is solid, even as he adds in his own fills here and there.  His work, that of Baker, Bernstein and all others here make the performance in whole its own unique presentation as well as the song.  It is yet another example of what makes this latest Jazz Heritage Series performance so enjoyable.  The group’s performance of ‘The Source’ is one more example of what makes this feature’s songs and performances stand out.

Originally featured in Potter’s 2001 album, Gratitude, this song is a light, modern jazz composition that finds Potter in the lead.  It is a much more controlled work than ‘Exclamation,’ but still boasts its own energy.  Some of Potter’s runs in this song could be easily equated to so much free jazz.  The addition of the subtle piano line and the way in which the song builds as it progresses makes it even more enjoyable.   Between this song and performance, the others examined here and the others that flesh out the presentation, the songs and performances overall prove their importance.  They are just a portion of what makes this recording so enjoyable.  The recording’s production adds its own level of appeal to the presentation.

The production of the 2021 Jazz Heritage Series recording is important to note because of the fact that it is a live recording.  The production proved successful as it balanced expertly, all of the musicians’ parts.  Considering the size and openness of the concert hall, the sound was certain to go everywhere, but thanks to wise placement of microphone and balance in the sound level, audiences are treated to a concert experience that gives them the best seat in the house.  That is because even with the balance, audiences still get just enough of the airy sound from the performers as well as in the audience’s applause.  Again, all of that in mind, listeners get the best seat in the house.  The impact of the production really fully immerses listeners into the concert, making for even more appeal.  The songs’ sequencing puts the final touch to the presentation.

The sequencing of the songs and performances is important to note because it presents the April 2020 concert exactly as it was presented to the audiences who attended the concert.  The show was divided into two separate sets, as previously noted.  So audiences who get their hands on this record will get the same concert experience.  What’s more, the balance in the songs’ energies is balanced expertly here.  From song to song and even within the songs, the energies rise and fall just enough throughout to keep things interesting.  The result is that this recording will appeal to audiences just as much for its aesthetic aspect as for its content.  Keeping that in mind, the combination of the sequencing, the content, and its production makes this presentation a completely engaging and entertaining recording.

The United States Air Force Band Airmen of Note’s latest entry in its Jazz Heritage Series is another welcome addition to that series of releases.  That is due in part to the feature’s songs and their performances.  The songs are mostly originals originally recorded by the featured guest musicians in this concert.  The performances of those songs are themselves fully engaging and entertaining.  The production that went into the concert recording adds its own appeal.  It leaves audiences truly feel as if they are there at the concert in person.  The recording’s sequencing builds on the experience ensured through the recording’s production.  It presents the concert from beginning to end as it was presented last April.  What’s more, it balances the energy in each set expertly from beginning to end.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, the recording proves itself deserving of a spot among the best of this year’s top new live CDs.  More information on the 2021 Jazz Heritage Series recording is available along with all of the latest news from the USAF Band and Airmen of Note at:

Website: https://www.usaband.af.mil

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AirForceBands

Twitter: https://twitter.com/USairforce

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.