‘Tiger Tail’ Is A Mostly Positive Start For Evan Drybread’s Career

Courtesy: Jazz Promo Services

This past May, Evan Drybread (yes, that really is his name) released his new album, Tiger Tail independently.  The jazz saxophonist’s eight-song record is a mostly successful offering that listeners will find worth hearing in part because of its featured arrangements.  They will be discussed shortly.  While the musical content that makes up the record’s body is important to its presentation, the lack of any background on the songs in the packaging detracts from the album to a point.  This will be discussed a little later.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Tiger Tail becomes another welcome addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.

Tiger Tail, the new album from Evan Drybread, is an engaging and enjoyable new offering from the young jazz saxophonist.  The 41-minute record’s appeal comes in large part through its featured musical arrangements.  From one to the next, the arrangements offer a respectable amount of diversity.  The record opens with a smooth swinging bop type composition.  That is exemplified through the chord changes and the occasional chromatic approaches to the runs that Drybread presents.  Trumpeter Mark Buselli’s solo here also adds to that sense of bop, what with the complexity of his run. 

‘High Priestess,’ which immediately follows, is completely unlike its predecessor, showing that diversity a little more.  The use of what sounds like a soprano saxophone against the drums, an electric bass, and keyboards gives the song a distinct modern fusion approach a la Herbie Hancock.  That funky, driving arrangement, what with its complex polyrhythmic patterns played by drummer Kenny Phelps and the saxophone work by Drybread alongside the noted work on the bass and keyboard makes the song so immersive and unique.  It is another wonderful, unique addition to the album that displays the diversity in the album’s musical content. 

Later in the album’s run, Drybread changes things up quite notably again in ‘Atlantic Mirror.’  The song is a simple composition that features Drybread on the soprano saxophone alongside Christopher Pitts on piano.  At times, Drybread’s performance lends itself to comparison to works from the likes of Kenny G. However, the addition of Pitts’ performance gives the opus its own identity; an identity that is so immersive throughout and that will keep listeners fully engaged from beginning to end.  It is yet another example of what makes the album’s musical content so important to its presentation.  When it and the other songs examined here are considered along with the likes of the Afro-Cuban-tinged ‘The Downey Wives,’ the uber funky Woodruff Place Town Hall,’ the classically tinged closer that is ‘Waltse’ and the record’s two remaining songs, the diversity in the arrangements becomes fully clear.  That clarity makes clear why the record’s overall musical content is so important to its presentation.  It forms a strong foundation for the album’s presentation.

While the musical content that makes up Tiger Tail’s body is unquestionably important to the record’s presentation, the lack of any background on the songs anywhere in the packaging weakens that foundation to a point.  The background on the songs was provided to the media through a press release about the album’s release, but that only goes so far.  If in fact the consumer copies of the album do not contain any background information then yes, that definitely detracts from the enjoyment.  That is because (as this critic has noted so many times), instrumental music needs some point of reference, that starting point.  Not having it only allows for a surface level appreciation for said music.  To that end, the apparent lack of any background on the songs anywhere in the packaging is not enough to make the album a failure, but at the same time, it certainly did not help the record’s presentation, either.

Knowing that the lack of any background on the songs is not enough to doom Drybread’s new album, there is still one more positive to note.  That positive is the record’s production.  As already noted, the arrangements that make up the album’s body are diverse throughout the album.  That means that a special amount of attention had to have been paid to each composition.  That attention was meant to ensure each song’s best general effect paid off in each work.  From the more subtle tones of ‘The Queen of Cups’ to the more upbeat vibe of ‘Tiger Tail’ to the relaxed vibes of ‘The Downey Wives’ and more, the record’s production brings out the best of each composition.  The result is a positive general effect throughout the record that shows the time and effort that went into the production paid off in each work.  The result is that the production proves just as pivotal to the album as the songs themselves.  When the positive of the production is considered along with that of the songs’ diversity, the pairing gives audiences plenty of reason to take in this record at least occasionally.

Tiger Tail, the new album from Evan Drybread, is an interesting presentation that every jazz fan will find worth hearing.  That is due in large part to its featured arrangements.  The arrangements are diverse throughout, giving listeners reason in itself to hear the album.  The lack of background on the songs in the packaging detracts from the overall listening experience but is not enough to make the album a failure.  The record’s production works with its songs to rounds out its most important elements and makes the album’s general effect positive in its own right.  Each item examined is important in its own right to the whole of the record’s presentation.  All things considered they make Tiger Tail another welcome addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.

Tiger Tail is available now.  More information on the album is available online at https://evandrybread.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

‘Why Go?’ Will Have Plenty Of Audiences Asking ‘Why Not?’

Courtesy: Jazz Promo Services

Independent jazz artist Allen Austin-Bishop released his new album, Why Go? Friday independently. His third album and fourth studio record overall, the 14-song presentation is an intriguing addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.  That is due in large part to its featured songs, which will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical content featured throughout the album works with the record’s musical arrangements to make for at least a little more engagement and entertainment and will be examined a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered they make Why Go! a unique addition to this year’s field of new jazz and overall albums. 

Why Go? is an interesting new offering from independent musician and performer Allen Austin-Bishop.  The record’s interest comes in large part through its featured musical content.  The musical content featured in this record is so important to examine because while the record is being marketed as a jazz presentation, the content is largely anything but jazz.  The only real pure jazz presentation featured in the record comes late in its run in the form of his cover of Billie Holliday’s beloved classic, ‘Good Morning Heartache.”  The melancholy composition, which is grounded in Austin-Bishop’s vocals and the even more gentle piano line is so rich in its simplicity.  Austin-Bishop need not put much effort into his vocal delivery to make it so rich.  It really serves as the record’s highest point.  Other than that one moment, and the very poppy neo-folk styling of ‘Ring of Keys’ the majority of this record’s musical content is composed of arrangements that fuse his soul and jazz leanings together into one for a whole that will appeal to a very specific audience base.  The whole makes the album overall worth hearing at least once.

While the musical arrangements featured in this record make for a stable foundation for its presentation, the lyrical content that accompanies those arrangements will make for their own engagement and entertainment for the noted audiences.  The lyrical themes featured throughout the record largely center on the matter of relationships, love gained, and love lost.  That includes the cover of ‘Good Morning Heartache.’  The only exception to that rule in this case comes late in the record’s run in the form of ‘Pass Me By.’  This song, though very jazzy and bluesy in its musical presentation, it comes across more as a sort of religious-themed presentation.  It is a fun presentation in both aspects that is just as certain to entertain and engage audiences.  When it and the rest of the quite familiar themes are considered together, the whole makes the record’s overall lyrical content just as appealing in whole as the record’s musical content.  The two sides together ensure the noted audiences’ engagement even more.

The content that makes up the body of Why Go? does plenty to ensure audiences’ engagement and entertainment from the record’s opening to its end.  It is just part of what makes the album appealing to the noted audiences.  The sequencing of that content adds to the appeal in its own right.  The laid back vibes of the record’s opener, ‘Do I Wanna Know’ starts the record off in a smooth fashion that incorporates some soul and hip-hop together for a work that is anything but jazz.  The album’s relaxed mood continues on in the very next song, ‘Buffalo Ghost’ and the album’s title track.  Things eventually pick up slightly in ‘You Get My love,’ but minimally at most.  The smooth, relaxed energy exuded by the record’s first group of songs continues even in this case.  Austin-Bishop keeps that mood moving even as things change again in ‘Memories,’ which comes just before the record’s midpoint.  From there on through to the record’s end, the album’s energy remains relatively stable, ensuring listeners are left with a positive mood by the time the album ends.  This even as the songs’ arrangements change in their stylistic approach.  Simply put, it is clear in listening through the album that the sequencing of this record’s content ensures that the record’s songs present a positive general effect through that stable energy.  When the positive general effect resulting from the record’s sequencing is considered with that of the album’s overall content, the whole makes Why Go? a record that will leave plenty of audiences asking about the album, ‘Why not?’

Why Go?, the latest studio recording from Allen Austin-Bishop, is a presentation that will appeal to a specific audience group.  That is due in part to its musical content.  While it is being marketed as a jazz album, the record’s musical content is largely anything but.  Rather, there is more soul and hip-hop leaning in this record than jazz.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, either.  It just means that said content will appeal widely to fans of said genres.  The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical arrangements makes for its own engagement because it is so familiar, and in turn accessible to the noted audiences.  The sequencing of that content rounds out its most important elements.  That is because it ensures the album’s energy remains stable throughout its body.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the record’s presentation.  All things considered they make the album a record that will have the noted audiences asking ‘Why not?’

Why Go? is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of Allen Austin-Bishop’s latest news at https://www.facebook.com/allen/austinbishop.

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

Stilwell’s New Record Is A Positive Addition To 2022’s Field Of New Covers Sets

Courtesy: Jazz Promo Services

Jazz singer Laura Stilwell released her new record this week.  The record, a covers compilation titled Out Of A Dream, was released independently Tuesday.  The eight-song record will appeal to a wide range of audiences, as it lifts from a variety of acts.  That is proven right from the outset of the 34-minute record in the form of Stilwell’s cover of ‘Day In, Day Out.’  This performance will be discussed shortly.  Stilwell’s take of ‘Don’t Be That Way’ is another notable addition to the record and will be examined a little later.  ‘A Time For Love,’ the album’s closer, is yet another notable addition to the collection and will also be examined later.  Each song noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the record.  When they are considered along with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole makes the set another covers collection that is worth hearing at least once.

You Stepped Out Of A Dream is an enjoyable new addition to this year’s field of new covers collection.  Even being a covers set, it is a presentation that most jazz fans will find worth hearing at least once.  The record’s opener, a cover of ‘Day In, Day Out’ is just one way in which this is proven.  Originally composed jointly by Johnny Mercer and Rube Bloom in 1939, the song has gone on to become a standard in the American songbook.  It has been recorded by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, and Mel Torme just to name a few notable singers.  Even the likes of Bing Crosby, Artie Shaw, and Tony Bennett have recorded the song, showing even more, its reach.  Stilwell gives the song its own interesting identity, opting for the intimacy of a quartet instead of, say, the big band style approach taken by Artie Shaw and his orchestra and Johnny Mathis and his fellow musicians, as well as so many other performers and acts.  The simplicity of Stilwell’s vocals alongside the performance of Tommy James on piano, and Perry Thoorsell on bass gives the song the familiar big band swing that so many other acts have used for the song.  The thing is that the group does so within its own confines of its instrumentation.  James’ runs make for great solo moments while Thoorsell and drummer Ron Steen expertly compliment his work.  The energy that the group exudes makes this rendition just as much kick as any big band rendition of the song past and present while still staying as true as possible to its source material.  It is just one of the songs that makes the record worth hearing.  The collective’s update of ‘Don’t Be That Way’ is just as worth examining.

Originally jointly composed by Benny Goodman, Mitchell Parish, and Edgar Sampson in 1938, the song is an upbeat composition that would have easily gotten audiences on the dance floor with its blend of horns and woodwinds.  The group’s big band composition is toned down by Stilwell and her fellow performers here while still staying mostly true to its source material.  Instead of going the full nines here, Stilwell and company opt once again for a more intimate approach, with Stilwell leading the way.  The richness and warmth of Goodman’s clarinet line, performed here by Dave Evans gives the arrangement a certain heart that itself still harkens back to some of Goodman’s more intimate compositions.  It is like opening a time capsule from that era and hearing the music playing from so many ages ago.  James’ work on the piano and that of bassist Dennis Caiazza and Steen offer just the right amount of accent to the intimate arrangement.  The whole makes the arrangement an interesting new take on yet another work that is part of the American songbook.  Additionally, it is just one more way in which the record proves itself worth hearing at least once.  The group’s take on ‘A Time For Love’ is yet another example of what makes the collection engaging and entertaining.

Originally composed by Johnny Mandel and Paul Francis Webster in 1966 for the movie, An American Dream, the song has been re-imagined by a wide range of acts, such as Matt Monro, Stan Getz, and Bill Evans just to name a few notable performers.  Even Tony Bennett has crafted his own take on the classic composition.  The rendition that Stilwell and company present in this record is closely akin to those of Evans and Bennett, what with its gentle, flowing piano line and even more subtle rhythm section alongside Stilwell’s warm vocal timbre.  The whole makes this song a perfect piece for any couple’s most romantic moments and just as enjoyable as any other more well-known jazz artist’s take on the song.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole makes the compilation in whole fully engaging and entertaining.

Out Of A Dream is a successful new offering from jazz singer Laura Stilwell. The set proves itself interesting through each one of its featured covers.  The songs examined here do their own part to support the noted statement.  When they are considered along with the rest of the record’s works, the whole makes the record overall a positive addition to this year’s field of new covers collections.

Out Of A Dream is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of Laura Stilwell’s latest news at:

Website: https://laurastilwelljazz.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Laura-Stilwell-Music-1043055092383445

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.  

Courtney Freed’s New Album Shows Throughout It Was Worth The Wait

Courtesy: Jazz Promo Services

More than a dozen years after the release of her then latest album, Happy Little Bluebird: The Music of Harold Arlen, singer Courtney Freed returned this week with her new album, Big Crazy Love.  Released independently, Freed’s new album will appeal to a wide range of audiences through its blend of originals and covers.  ‘Ancient History,’ one of the album’s early entries, is among the most notable of the record’s originals.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Lilac Wine,’ which comes late in the album’s 41-minute run time, is among the most notable of the album’s featured covers.  It will be examined a little later.  ‘There’s A Mornin’ Coming,’ which opens the album, is yet another of the album’s notable originals.  It will also be examined later.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album overall a strong new offering from Freed.

Big Crazy Love, the latest album from jazz singer Courtney Freed, is an enjoyable new offering from the up-and-coming vocalist.  Its blend of originals and covers makes that clear.  Among the most notable of the originals is ‘Ancient History.’  The song stands out in part because of its musical arrangement.  The arrangement is a wonderfully light composition that is driven by the work of guitarist Hamody Hindi.  Hindi’s subtle picking lends itself to comparison to the work of Wes Montgomery.  Meanwhile, Freed’s own vocals, with their delivery style and sound, lend themselves to comparison to Diana Krall.  Kyle Owens’ gentle time keeping and Josh Gilbert’s equally subtle accents on the saxophone add even more to the arrangement’s enjoyment.  The whole of the musicians’ work makes the arrangement reason in itself that the song stands out.  The arrangement stands out even more when it pairs with the song’s lyrical content, which finds Freed singing about a relationship that is at that point where the couple has gotten too comfortable and forgotten the flame that once burned so bright.

Freed subject asks in the song’s lead verse, “Are we ancient history/Are we past our prime/Have we become the thing we always said we’d never be/Are we out of time/Have we crossed the line/Have we crossed the line…Have we orchestrated our demise/Are we out of time?”  From there she continues, “Are we young/Are we old/Is our story all but told/Did we miss the boat and cannot float/Are we dust/Or are we gold?”  Again, this is not a story of a relationship at it’s end, but at that crucial moment when a couple discusses whether the flame is still there.  That Freed broached the topic in such a light, almost playful fashion here instead of the more serious tone she and her fellow musicians could have taken is a change of pace that plenty of listeners will find refreshing.  That is considering the typical heaviness and seriousness of such a topic.  The whole sort of throws back to the playful approach of George Gershwin’s timeless 1937 hit, ‘Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off.’  To that end, the whole of the song does plenty to show why it and the album deserve to be heard.

Another notable addition to Freed’s new album comes in the form of the cover song ‘Lilac Wine.’  Originally composed by James Shelton in 1950, it was made popular by Hope Foye in the short-lived musical, “Dance Me a Song.”  Being unable to find the original through any online outlet, it is difficult to make a comparison between the original song and Freed’s rendition.  What can be said of Freed’s take on the song is that her take is deeply emotional and does so well evoking the emotion of someone who is intentionally getting lost in the bottle after being dumped by a romantic interest.  What feels like a two-movement song opens with a deeply emotional movement backed so powerfully by its string arrangement.  The use of the cello alongside the piano and Freed’s vocals paints a rich picture of someone at a dimly lit bar, bottle in hand, head on the bar.  As the song progresses into its “second movement” the sadness is still there, but the subject’s mood alters slightly, perhaps being lightened by the alcohol.  Again, the instrumentation, paired with Freed’s vocals are to credit with making the song so engaging.  All things considered here, this rendition is well worth hearing, especially when compared to the countless other takes on the song performed by so many of Freed’s more well-known counterparts (E.g. Nina Simone, Jeff Buckley, Eartha Kitt, etc.).  It is just one more example of what the album has to offer.

Going back to Freed’s originals, ‘There’s a Mornin’ Coming,’ which opens the album, is another notable original here.  This song’s arrangement is so much unlike everything else featured in Freed’s new album.  Instead of the jazz leanings that are so present throughout the album, this song’s arrangement blends elements of soul and neo-folk for a completely unique composition.  Listeners can even argue that there is a touch of gospel in the mix, too.  Some might call it a stretch, but Freed’s vocals here are actually ever so slightly comparable to those of Joni Mitchell.  That is evidenced through a close examination of the warmth in her sound and the richness therein, too.  All things considered, the arrangement makes the song a great start to the album and an equally strong first impression to Freed for those who may be new to her and her work. The energy in the arrangement pairs with the song’s lyrical content to make for even more interest in this case.

The lyrical content featured in this song seems to deliver a message of hope and determination as Freed sings, “There’s a morning coming for you.”  She notes at one point in the song, “Spare me the story of your sad, sheltered youth/Spare me the saga of your hidden truth…The song’s lyrics are difficult to decipher from here sans lyrics to reference.  That aside, the message remains clear here.  It delivers that message of hope, reminding listeners that things will get better and to look forward, not back.  That message, along with the arrangement’s equally positive energy, makes the song in whole yet another example of how much Big Crazy Love has to offer audiences.  When the engagement and entertainment ensured by this song, the others examined here and the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes the album overall a welcome new addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.

Courtney Freed’s new album, Big Crazy Love, is a strong new offering from the up-and-coming jazz singer.  That is proven through its musical and lyrical content alike.  All three of the songs examined here make that clear.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes the album a positive new offering from Freed that will appeal to a wide range of audiences. 

Big Crazy Love is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of Courtney Freed’s latest news at:

Website: https://courtneyfreedmusic.com

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

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.  

James Gaiters’ Soul Revival’s New Covers Set Is A Unique Presentation

Courtesy: Jazz Promo Services

Covers records are a dime a dozen.  It is really hard to find a covers record that really stands out because there are so many out there.  That is not to say that there are no worthwhile covers collections out there.  There are some interesting sets out there that are worth hearing at least once.  Jazz drummer James Gaiters’ new covers collection, Understanding Reimagined is one of those that is worth hearing at least once.  The six-song record is of note in part because of its general approach, which will be discussed shortly.  The performances from Gaiters and his band mates are just as notable as the group’s approach to the record.  They will be discussed a little later.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be addressed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the set’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the record a unique jazz record that stands out among the never-ending sea of covers collections.

James Gaiters’ new covers collection, Understanding Reimagined, which was released Tuesday, is a unique addition to this year’s field of records in said genre.  His third album as a band leader, it stands out in part because of its general approach.  It is a covers collection, but it is not just that.  It is a covers collection of a record that itself was a covers collection.  Speaking more specifically, the record is an updated take on John Patton’s 1968 covers collection, Understanding.  Gaiters and his fellow musicians – Edwin Bayard (tenor saxophone), Kevin Turner (guitar), and Robert Mason (Hammond organ) – take on all of the songs that Patton and his fellow musicians took on that original album.  The songs in question are ‘Ding Dong’ (Harold Alexander), ‘Soul Man’ (Isaac Hayes, Dave Porter), ‘Alfie’s Theme’ (Sonny Rollins), ‘Chitlins Con Carne’ (Kenny Burrell), ‘Understanding’ (Sam Gary, Mark Nash), and ‘Congo Chant’ (John Patton).  So even in the case of Patton’s own song, it is the only original that Patton included in his collection.  The other five songs featured in that record were covers.  In other words, Gaithers and company have walked in Patton and company’s footsteps here, which is intriguing in itself.  Audiences are getting here, covers of songs covered on a record released more than 50 years ago.  It would have been one thing to revisit a record of originals, but to revisit a collection of covers and re-imagine those covers themselves is a unique approach that in itself makes the record worth hearing at least once.

The fact that Gaiters and company decided to cover a collection of covers for this new record makes it stand out among its counterparts in this year’s field of covers sets.  That goes without saying.  That is just one part of what makes the record worth hearing.  The group’s performances herein make for their own interest.  The performance put on by Gaiters and company is a complete reworked take of Burrell’s original work and even of the cover performed by Patton and company.  Whereas Patton and company’s take on the song is an upbeat, bouncy, almost funk-infused take on the song, Gaiters and his fellow musicians strive to stay closer to Burrell’s original.  The relaxed mood established in the original is there, but in the case of Gaiters and company’s take, they relax things even more.  The simplistic approach, incorporating gentle brush strokes on the snare and the Hammond organ alongside a decidedly subdued saxophone line takes the song in a completely different direction.  Listeners will get images of the old, smoky night clubs of Chicago from days long gone as they listen to this bluesy number.  By comparison, Burrel and company’s original is lighter, even with its bluesy approach.  The saxophone line is much more prominent in that case, as are the drums.  So while Gaiters and company work to stay true to the source material, they still give the song their own unique update that does still stay as true as possible to the original.

On another note, Gaiters and company stay closer to Patton and company in the updated take of ‘Soul Man.’ Patton and his fellow musicians crafted a song that is more soulful and funky than the original from Hayes and Porter.  That song, which went on to even bigger fame thanks to the likes of Sam & Dave, and James Brown, was more soul and R&B-infused.  So again, audiences get in this cover of a cover, a work that develops its own identity that is closer to the cover than the original but still creates its own engagement and entertainment.

Looking at the updated cover of Patton’s lone original, ‘Congo Chant,’ Gaiters and company stay most true to the source material in this case, right down to the use of the Hammond organ as lead instrument.  Some of the more active runs that the organ uses in the original are replaced in the update with Bayard’s work on the saxophone.  At the same time, the saxophone lines in each song are near mirror images, making for even more enjoyment.  Bayard’s performance adds a nice, funky influence (and even some free jazz) to the arrangement in this case while the organ harkens back to the original song.  The combination of the lines makes the song overall another welcome addition to the record exhibiting the importance of the group’s performances here.  When it is considered along with the other covers examined here and with the record’s other covers, the whole clearly shows the important role of the performances to the collection’s presentation.  They are just one more part of what makes the record worth hearing.  The production of those performances puts the finishing touch to the presentation.

The production that went into Understanding Reimagined is of importance because of its role in the record’s general effect.  From the most reserved moments to the most active passages, the utmost attention is paid to each musician’s performance in terms of the production.  No one musician overpowers his fellow musicians at any point thanks to the production.  Rather, each part compliments the others in each song.  The result is that each composition offers audiences the most impact possible.  When that general effect is taken into account along with the group’s performances and with the very approach taken to the record, the whole makes the collection in whole its own intriguing presentation.

James Gaiters Soul Revival’s new covers collection, Understanding Reimagined is an interesting addition to this year’s field of covers compilations.  Its interest comes in part through its general approach.  The approach taken here is important to examine because Gaiters and company did not just compile a bunch of songs to cover.  Rather, they decided to cover a group of covers from another album released more than half a century ago by another jazz artist and his fellow musicians.  It is rare to say the least for any act to collect a group of covers from another group of covers for a record.  That is reason enough for audiences to check out this set.  The group’s performance adds to the interest here because of its take on the initial covers, and the comparison of those covers to these covers and the originals.  The production of the group’s performances rounds out the most important of the record’s elements.  It ensures each performance receives the utmost attention.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered, they make the collection a unique covers collection that is worth hearing at least once.

Understanding Reimagined is available now.  More information on the collection is available along with all of Gaiters’ latest news at:

Website: https://jamesgaiters.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamesgaiters

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.  

Amos Gillespie Helps Get 2022’s New Jazz Releases Field Off To A Strong Start

Courtesy: Jazz Promo Services

Independent jazz artist Amos Gillespie is scheduled to release his new album, Unstructured Time Friday.  Gillespie will release the nine-song record on his own through CD Baby.  According to information provided about the presentation, its overall theme is that of finding peace “in a loud world.”  The 45-minute work will certainly bring its audiences their own peace.  One of the songs that serves to establish that peace comes early in the album’s run in the form of ‘Like a Blossom.’  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Silence Is Your Own,’ the record’s penultimate entry, is another way in which the record’s overall theme is presented, and well at that.  It will be discussed a little later.  Much the same can be said of ‘Fewer Words,’ another of the album’s entries.  Each of the songs noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Unstructured Time.  All things considered, they make the album in whole a successful new offering from Amos Gillespie and his fellow musicians that any jazz fan will find enjoyable.

Unstructured Time is a positive offering from independent saxophone player Amos Gillespie.  It is a presentation that will appeal to most jazz fans.  That is proven from the record’s opening to its end with songs that at times, lend themselves to comparisons to works from Yellowjackets and at other times, to works from ages long gone.  The whole is a presentation that will bring peace to any listener in a loud and busy world.  That is proven in part in one of the album’s early entries, ‘’Like a Blossom.’  Vocalist Alexandra Olsavksy and guitarist Casey Nielsen lead the way in this gentle, flowing composition.  Their work alongside that of pianist Paul Bedal almost immediately creates a sound and stylistic approach that is comparable to works from Yellowjackets circa 1998, the year when the group released its album, Club Nocturne.  The gentile nature of the composition is so relaxing in itself.  It also serves well to help translate the message in the song’s theme of the delicate and fleeting nature of life.

The message is even pointed out in the song’s final line, which states, “Time is short and fleeting like a blossom.” Understanding this, the rest of the song’s lyrics make more sense.  Olsavsky sings of finding peace because of that fleeing nature in the song’s lead verse, “Fighting fires with hoses from a garden/Driving on a patrol in the desert/Giving time to people/Taking a chance/Cleaning floors and staring in the distance/Closing off all the playgrounds from the children/Turning off all the lights at a fair/Seeing only shadows playing games/Why does normal feel so far away?”  This opening segment comes across as an examination of everything that happened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The patrol cars in the desert could easily be authorities driving streets made empty by federal lockdowns, for instance.  The shadows playing games is right in line with that.  From there, Olsavsky sings about going through the motions, such as “Throwing out the garbage in an alley/Staying late and baking bread at a store/Washing clothes and linens/Making the beds/Taking a breath for a stranger.”  From there, the rumination continues just as deeply before she reminds listeners that “grains of sand are falling in the hour” and that they need to listen “to a little light from within.”  The bigger picture here is that with all of the difficult situations happening in life, it makes a person realize that one should appreciate the everyday things that we do, even if they might be monotonous.  This is just this critic’s interpretation.  Taking this seeming message into account along with the noted general approach taken in the song’s musical arrangement, the whole makes this song such a wonderful addition to the album.  It is just one of the songs that presents the overall theme of finding peace in this world.  ‘Silence Is Your Own’ is another excellent example of the noted theme.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Silence Is Your Own’ is another gentle, flowing work.  Unlike that of ‘Like A Blossom,’ this work is much simpler.  Olsavsky leads the way again.  This time, her impressive vocal talents are paired with Bedal’s work on piano to lead the way.  Drummer Gustavo Cortinas’ subtle cymbal rolls and time keeping adds its own touch to the whole.  All things considered here, the composition conjures thoughts of a quiet countryside on a warm spring morning, the sun slowly rising.  That picture works well with the song’s lyrical theme, which centers on the topic of making time for one’s own self and just relaxing.

Olsavsky most clearly delivers the song’s theme late in the song as she sings, “Find some distance/From all of what makes you who you are/Pack it all up and throw it far/Try to let go/What do you know of yourself?/Find some distance/From all of what tries to name your place/In your face/Let your mind set/Like the winter sun/Spring is near/A gorgeous springtime/Sleeping in for a day/Dreams fly in on a window shade/For now it is alright/Staying out of sight.”  This is a clear translation of the noted theme.  It encourages listeners to take time for themselves, to get away from everything and everyone and to just find that inner peace.  This is all too important a message today, especially what with the increasing focus on one’s mental health.  To that end, it further delivers the record’s overall theme quite well.  What’s more, when this accessible message and delivery thereof is considered along with the song’s equally engaging and entertaining musical arrangement, the whole makes the song that much more enjoyable.  It makes the song yet another example of what makes the album in whole successful.

‘Silence Is Your Own’ is just one more example of what makes Unstructured Time enjoyable.  ‘Fewer Words’ is yet another notable way in which the record’s theme is presented, and its musical arrangement is just part of what helps it deliver that message so well.  The musical arrangement featured in this song is intriguing in what seems like such a contrast in styles.  Cortinas delivers a sort of Dixieland swing style approach through his performance on the drums.  Olsavsky pairs with Gillespie and fellow saxophone player Andy Schlinder to give the song more of a straightforward swing style sound and approach.  Bedal builds on that approach through his performance on the piano, while also adding a bit of a modern jazz swing.  Simply put, there is a lot going on here in this composition, but it still works so well.  Each performer compliments his/her fellow performers, making sure not to overpower one another along the way.  The result is yet another notable musical addition to Unstructured Time.

When that light musical arrangement is paired with the song’s lyrical theme, the whole makes for even more interest.  In the case of the lyrical theme of ‘Fewer Words,’ it is an indictment of sorts, of the news media.  This plays into the album’s bigger overall theme by encouraging listeners to tune out, not give so much credence to all of the media’s words.  Right in the song’s lead verse, Olsavsky mentions the back and forth of the two sides, all of the “he said/she said” and being “confused about where we’re all at.”  These are such true statements delivered in such simple and accessible fashion.  All things considered here, the message of being bothered by the loud nature of the news industry plays directly into the album’s bigger theme of finding peace in a loud world.  The whimsical nature in which it is delivered along with the song’s musical arrangement makes it all the more engaging and entertaining, and in turn shows how it helps make the album in whole successful.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Unstructured Time a wonderful new work from Amos Gillespie and company that any jazz fan will enjoy.

Amos Gillespie’s new album, Unstructured Time, is a strong offering from the up-and-coming jazz saxophonist/composer.  Its success comes through its musical and lyrical content alike.  The songs featured in this recording makes that clear.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes the album a presentation that any jazz fan will appreciate. 

Unstructured Time is scheduled for release Friday.  More information on the album is available along with all of Gillespie’s latest news at:

Website: https://amosgillespie.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amos.gillespie

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.  

Audiences Can “Trust” They Will Enjoy Gerry Eastman Trio’s Latest Album

Courtesy: Jazz Promo Services

Modern, guitar-based jazz is typically very much an acquired taste even among jazz fans.  There is a certain something about it that makes it appealing to a very targeted audience.  However, every now and then a diamond in the rough comes along that breaks the mold of that genre and gives a wider range of audiences something to appreciate.  Jazz guitarist Gerry Eastman’s new record, Trust Me, which was released independently early last month through his Gerry Eastman Trio project, is one of those rare gems.  The hour-long record proves interesting because its are not the typical guitar-based jazz compositions that audiences might expect.  One of the most notable ways in which this is proven comes halfway through the eight-song record’s body in the form of ‘Learn From Your Mistakes.’  This song will be discussed shortly.  Its follow-up, ‘Just a Matter of Time’ does just as much to give listeners something unique and will be examined a little later.  Much the same can be said of ‘Cuban Sunset,’ the record’s finale, as about the other two noted songs.  It will also be examined later.  Each song noted here does its own share to make Trust Me an interesting presentation.  When this trio of arrangements is considered along with the rest of the record’s compositions, the whole makes Trust Me a guitar-based jazz record that is worth hearing at least once.

Gerry Eastman Trio’s recently released new album, Trust Me, is an interesting new offering that most fans of the guitar-based jazz genre will appreciate.  That is because it does not fit so nicely and perfectly in with so many other records in that community.  This is proven in part through the record’s midpoint, ‘Learn From Your Mistakes.’  ‘Learn From Your Mistakes’ does incorporate Eastman’s clearly impressive talents on the guitar, but even the approach that he takes here is not the typical sound that one thinks of when one thinks of the stereotype of the genre.  Rather, he gives the arrangement more of a swing approach that is nice and light, almost bouncy.  Meanwhile organist Greg Lewis adds his own touch to the presentation.  The semi-bluesy sound and stylistic that Lewis adds to the mix makes the arrangement such a surprisingly enjoyable composition.  That and the work of drummer Taru Alexander comes together with, again, Eastman’s work to make the work in whole a wonderful modern jazz work that despite being modern, does such a great job of throwing back to the sounds of the jazz and blues clubs of days gone by.  It is again, a full break from the stereotype of guitar-based jazz and just one example of what makes this record stand out.  Its immediate follow-up, ‘Just a Matter of Time,’ is another notable addition to the album.

‘Just a Matter of Time’ is another nice swinging modern jazz tune.  Eastman takes the slightest of steps back in this composition, it seems, opting to let his band mates get more attention than at other points in the record.  As a matter of fact, as present as Eastman’s swinging guitar line is here, he does not take the proverbial spotlight.  Instead he works alongside Lewis and Alexander to make the trio in whole the star.  The modern sound and stylistic approach is there from beginning to end of the nearly nine-minute opus (it runs approximately eight minutes, 55 seconds in length) still stands nicely apart from so many other guitar-based jazz compositions.  Eastman’s light playing and Alexander’s rich solos and improvising alongside Lewis’ equally full sound on the organ just makes the song so moving in the best way possible.  It is proof that it is possible to make good modern guitar-based jazz without having to sound like say a Pat Metheny or other similar acts.  Moving from there, there is one more song to examine from the album.  It comes in the form of ‘Cuban Sunset.’

‘Cuban Sunset’ is an intriguing work because despite its title, there is no noticeable Latin or even Afro-Latin percussion incorporated into the mix.  However, Alexander’s work behind the kit and Lewis’ work on the organ really works so well here to give the song its even remotely Latin sound and feel.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, either.  That the song hints at something Latin but only subtly really plants that sound is so nice.  It seems like the Latin genre in jazz is so overly infused with acts and music, so to have that change of pace per se while still having some Latin spice is so nice.  It is yet another example of how this record shows its strength as a guitar-based jazz presentation.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Trust Me a presentation that stands out among this year’s field of new guitar-based jazz offerings.  It is a presentation in that genre that proves itself well worth hearing.

Gerry Eastman Trio’s recently released album, Trust Me is a nice change of pace among this year’s new guitar-based jazz albums.  Its success comes through most of its arrangements, which work hard to avoid the stereotypical guitar jazz sound.  Each of the arrangements featured here do well in that approach, too.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s works, the whole makes Trust Me a presentation that audiences can trust they will enjoy.  More information on the album and on Gerry Eastman is available at:

Website: https://jazzpromoservices.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jazzpromo

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.