Steve Turre, Smoke Sessions Records Succeed Through Release Of ‘Generations’

Courtesy: Smoke Sessions Records

Trombonist Steve Turre is, next to Leon Pendarvis, one of the longest-serving members of Saturday Night Live’s current house band lineup, having served with the band since 1985.  It is just one of his claims to fame, though.  He has also released more than 20 records as a band leader himself since the release of his 1987 album, Viewpoint, which was released through Stash Records.  He released his latest album as a band leader Sept. 16 in the form of Generations through Smoke Sessions Records.  The 10-song record, which runs an hour and 10-minutes, is such an enjoyable presentation what with its varied musical arrangements.  That diversity in the record’s musical content will be addressed shortly.  The background on the album and its songs provided in the record’s packaging adds its own share of appeal to the record.  It will be discussed a little later.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this album.  All things considered they make Generations yet another welcome addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.

Generations, the latest album from Steve Turre, is an enjoyable new offering from the veteran trombonist that will appeal widely among jazz audiences.  The record’s appeal comes in large part through its musical content.  From beginning to end of the hour-plus album, the record’s musical content is quite diverse.  Early in the album’s run, audiences get some big band ballroom vibes through the gentle, flowing, ‘Dinner With Duke.’  The richness of Turre’s trombone leads the way here while drummer Orion Turre’s gentle work with the brushes on the snare pairs with Isaiah J. Thompson to create such a rich musical picture.  Audiences can see the lights on the floor, the big band on the side, performing the song as couples slow dance on the fully waxed floor that reflects the light from above. 

The swinging blues approach of ‘Blue Smoke,’ which immediately follows takes audiences in a completely different direction, picking up the album’s energy.  It is such a fun, infectious composition that is led, once again, by Turre on trombone. 

As the album progresses, Turre and company keep the changes coming, turning to the reggae realm in ‘Don D.’  The familiar staccato style work on the guitar and the use of the horns is a toss to so much reggae.  It is sure to appeal to so many audiences in its own right while continuing to show the diversity in the album’s musical content.

Even later in the album’s run, listeners get a touch of some Afro-Latin sound and style in ‘Good People.’  The use of the drums and the horns will take audiences to the streets of Havana on those warm summer nights from the 1960s.  It is its own infectious work whose instrumentation puts the talents of the whole group on full display here.  It is just one more example of the diversity exhibited throughout Generations.  When it and the other songs examined here are considered along with the rest of the album’s compositions, the whole shows even more clearly, the diversity in the album’s primary content.  The result is that said content forms a solid foundation for the album.

The foundation formed through the album’s musical content is strengthened even more through the information provided through the album.  Penned by A. Scott Galloway, the information in question is an in-depth examination of the songs’ backgrounds and how the album came about.  Galloway writes in the liner notes that Turre’s original intent was to craft this record in 2020, but the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic delayed its creation.  It was not until February of this year that Turre and a group of musicians finally managed to record the album in a single day.  If that really is the case, then the rush of getting things done in a single day still resulted in a fully enjoyable presentation.

In regards to the background on the songs, listeners will be interested to learn that ‘Dinner With Duke,’ for instance, was in fact named and created in tribute of sorts to legendary jazz front man Duke Ellington.  Galloway writes here that Ellington played a big role in Turre’s development and that of Galloway.  Galloway even notes Turre’s use of a plunger on the trombone opposite Wallace Roney, Jr.’s work on the trumpet makes for a certain sort of musical conversation.  Audiences really can hear that conversation, too.  It makes for even more interest here.  What’s more, understanding the influence that Ellington had on Galloway, Turre, and his fellow musicians makes for even more appreciation of the song.  That is because audiences can really hear that Ellington influence throughout the song.

Another interesting note that Galloway makes in the liner notes is that of ‘Pharaoh’s Dance.  The name itself conjures thoughts of ancient Egypt, but that could not be farther from the truth.  As Galloway points out, the song is a tribute of sorts to the influence of famed saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders.  It is also an homage to equally respected and revered pianist McCoy Tyner.  Audiences who are familiar with each musician’s work will really hear clearly, their influence.  What’s more, it shows that importance of having background information for any instrumental music.  Song titles can clearly be misleading, and having that background really offers full understanding and appreciation for said work.

Galloway’s discussion on ‘Resistance’ is another interesting way in which the liner notes prove their importance to the album’s presentation.  He cites Turre as saying that the song is a statement piece.  “I wrote ‘Resistance’ around the time of the 2016 election,” he cites Turre as saying. “I’m tired of the negativity, the division, and the lack of compassion…the greed and the selfishness, and the willful ignorance of facts, truth and science.  I don’t resist by hating.  I resist by putting positive energy out there.”  Once more, audiences get more proof of the importance of liner notes here.  Understanding Turre’s comments, the juxtaposition of the tension early in the song against the more positive vibes that are presented through the rest of the song really does well to illustrate his comments.  When this information, the other information noted and the rest of the liner notes, the whole shows without question, the importance of the liner notes featured in this album.

The liner notes that accompany the album’s primary content do plenty to strengthen the album’s presentation.  They are still not all that the album has going for it.  The record’s production rounds out the album’s most important elements.  From one song to the next, the production brings out the best of each ensemble’s work.  The horns and percussion each compliment each other so well, as do the bass lines along with everything else.  The piano line adds its own welcome touch to given songs, too.  Each musician gets a moment in the spotlight in each song and throughout by connection.  The result is that the production creates such a positive general effect throughout the album, ensuring even more, listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  When this aspect is considered along with the album’s primary and secondary content, the whole makes Generations a fully enjoyable new offering from Steve Turre and another welcome addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.

Generations, the new album from Steve Turre, is a successful new offering from the veteran musician.  The record succeeds for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being the record’s primary content.  The musical arrangements that make up the album’s body are diverse and so fun from one to the next.  The background on the songs (and the album’s creation) make for even more engagement and entertainment.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and puts the finishing touch to the presentation.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make the album another welcome addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.

Generations is available now through Smoke Sessions Records.  More information on the album is available along with all of Steve Turre’s latest news at:

Website: https://steveturre.com

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

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.

‘Bluesthetic’ Is A Successful New Offering From Steve Davis

Courtesy: Smoke Sessions Records

Jazz trombonist Steve Davis released his new album, Bluesthetic, Friday through Smoke Sessions Records. His 21st (yes, 21st) record as a bandleader, it came more than three years after the release of his then latest album, Correlations (2019), which was also released through Smoke Sessions Records.  The 10-song record is a presentation that any jazz fan will find enjoyable from beginning to end. One of the songs that serves well to make that clear comes late in the album’s run in the form of ‘They Wore 44.’  This song will be discussed shortly.  ‘Indigo To Azure,’ which comes later, is another example of what makes this record so surprisingly engaging and entertaining.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Silver At Sunrise,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is yet another example of how much Davis’ latest album has to offer.  It will also be discussed later.  Each song noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Bluesthetic one of those rare albums that really has few if any skips and in turn proves itself to be among the best of the year’s new jazz albums.

Bluesthetic, the latest album from Steve Davis, is a strong new offering from the veteran jazz trombonist.  That is proven throughout the course of the record’s 63-minute run time thanks to the various sounds and styles featured in each of its arrangements.  ‘They Wore 44,’ which comes just past the album’s midpoint, is just one of the songs that serves to make that statement clear.  According to the record’s liner notes, the song is a reference to various people with connected with the number 44: Hank Aaron, former President Barack Obama, and even Davis’ own father, who as he writes, wore the number 44 in his own college days.  Additionally, Davis notes that 44 is also a reference to the address of his childhood home, 44 Crary Ave. in Binghamton, NY.  In listening through the nearly nine-minute composition (eight minutes, 20 seconds to be exact), it is tough to make the connection, though the balance of the arrangement’s bluesy and jazz leanings between the bass line and piano does kind of give the composition a vintage sensibility.  That is especially evident in the light vibraphone line and steady time keeping.  The age in which Aaron, Davis’ father and other 44s came up did produce styles and sounds such as that exhibited here.  Even the light guitar performance adds its own touch from that era.  To that end, maybe Davis himself heard similar styles and sounds in his own childhood, and thus, led him to incorporate so much of those influences into this fully immersive, engaging and entertaining work.  The whole makes the song overall its own unique presentation within the album that is certain to engage and entertain audiences just as much as any of the album’s other works.

Speaking of those other works, the album has plenty of other notable entries, not the least of which comes in the form of ‘Indigo To Azure.’  According to Davis’ notes, the song is meant to illustrate the thoughts and emotions that we all go through as we try to navigate life’s more difficult moments in hopes of getting to the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.  What is so interesting is that considering Davis’ explanation of the arrangement and its mood, it is not the melancholy composition that one might expect.  Rather, it presents more of an optimistic mood through Davis’ performance on the trombone.  The subtle use of the piano line and the brushes on the snare and the even more subtle bass line makes the song so appealing in its less is more approach.  It is certain to succeed in Davis’ goal of reflecting the feeling of getting through those more difficult moments in life.  To that end, its distinct stylistic variance and sound in comparison to that of ‘They Wore 44’ and its inspiration collectively make it stand out just as much as reason for audiences to hear this record.  It is certainly not the last of the album’s other notable entries.  ‘Silver At Sunrise,’ which comes much earlier in the album’s run, is yet another of those notable entries.

‘Silver At Sunrise’ is as different from the other songs examined here as they are from one another and from the album’s other songs.  In the case of this composition, the jazz leaning is clearly there, led by its piano line.  Davis comes in to add more flare very quickly, though.  The truly interesting thing here is that while Davis makes no mention of Taio Cruz, Davis’ trombone line here continuously throws back to Cruz’s hit 2020 single, ‘Dynamite.’  His line and the equally funky guitar line here add even more to the song’s distinct identity.  Interestingly enough, the whole is meant to be a musical tribute to jazz pianist Horace Silver and the Hartford, Connecticut jazz community.  Even with that being the case, the song in whole stands just as distinctly apart from the other songs featured in the album and from the songs examined here.  At the same time, it also proves just as unique in its sound, style and inspiration as those other works.  Keeping that in mind, it is one more clear example of what makes Bluesthetic such an enjoyable work.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s works, the whole of that content makes clear why Bluesthetic is a fully engaging and entertaining work.

Steve Davis’ latest album, Bluesthetic, is a strong new offering from the veteran jazz trombonist.  That is proven throughout the album in each of its various musical arrangements, whose styles and sounds boast their own unique identity.  The songs examined here make that clear.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s works, the whole makes the album overall one more of the year’s top new jazz albums.

Bluesthetic is available now.  More information on the record is available along with all of Steve Davis’ latest news at:

Website: https://stevedavismusic.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1278637312

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.

Jazz Trio’s Latest LP Is A Successful Addition To 2022’s New Jazz Albums Field

Courtesy: Smoke Sessions Records

Jazz trio Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein, and Bill Stewart is scheduled to release its new album, Perpetual Pendulum Friday through Smoke Sessions Records. Recorded in July 2021, the record’s recording session also come on the 30th anniversary of the release of the trio’s debut 1991 album, The Intimacy of the Blues. The new, forthcoming record is a presentation that most jazz fans will find engaging and entertaining thanks to its blend of originals and covers. One of the most notable of the covers featured in this record is that of George Gershwin’s ‘Prelude #2.’ It will be examined shortly. The trio’s updated take of Duke Ellington’s ‘Reflections In D’ is another notable cover featured as part of the album. It will be discussed a little later. The album’s title track is a standout among the album’s originals and will also be discussed later. Each track examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the album. When they are considered with the rest of the album’s covers and originals, the whole makes Perpetual Pendulum a successful addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.

Perpetual Pendulum, the new album from the jazz trio of Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein, and Bill Stewart, is a successful new offering from the group that most jazz fans will find appealing. Each song featured in this record does its own part to make that clear, both in terms of the originals and the covers. Among the most notable of the covers featured in this record is that of George Gershwin’s ‘Prelude #2.’ The trio’s take on Gershwin’s 1927 composition stays largely true to its source material in terms of the sound. Gershwin’s easygoing piano line is replaced here by the pairing of Goldings on organ and Bernstein on guitar. More specifically, Bernstein takes on the main melody while Goldstein offers a backing of sorts a la a bass line with his simple chords. Meanwhile, Stewart’s subtle cymbal flourishes and work on the toms joins with Goldings’ occasional solos to enhance the group’s cover even more. The group had already stepped up their take from Gershwin’s original by increasing the tempo of Gershwin’s work. The bluesy vibe is there just as in Gershwin’s original, but it has more energy than the more sauntering sense of Gershwin’s work. The balance of the trio’s honor to Gershwin and its own updated performance makes the song here so unique and well worth hearing. It is certain to impress any Gershwin fan as those of these musicians and jazz in general.

Another cover worth noting in this record’s body is that of ‘Reflections in D.’ Originally composed by Alvin Ailey, the song gained fame thanks to Duke Ellington. Fans of Ellington and his performance will wholly enjoy the trio’s performance here. That is because of how true the group stays to the source material. Bernstein takes over for Ellington here with his performance on guitar. The gentle, flowing guitar line creates such a happy, relaxed mood as Bernstein works his way through the song. Goldings’ work on the keyboard is just as subtle with its accent to the presentation. Meanwhile Stewart’s ever so light cymbal rolls add just the right touch to the whole. The group collectively takes its performance and gives the source material an update that so many jazz fans will enjoy.

In the way of the originals, one of the most unique of the trio’s originals is its title track, which comes late in the album’s run. Bernstein takes the lead again here with his Dave Stryker-esque performance on the guitar. The easy listening style presentation alongside the almost funky organ line and subtle kick from the drums makes this song its own unique presentation. There are even some moments here of what feels like some free jazz added to the mix. The overall modern jazz approach and sound shows the trio is just as creative in crafting its own works as taking on standards from days gone by. When the song is considered along with the two covers examined here and with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Perpetual Pendulum an engaging blend of covers and originals that is a welcome addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.

Perpetual Pendulum, the new album from the trio of Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein, and Bill Stewart, is a successful new offering from the group. That is proven throughout the album in its covers and originals. 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 record a presentation that most jazz fans will agree is well worth hearing.

Perpetual Pendulum is scheduled for release Friday through Smoke Sessions Records. More information on this and other titles from Smoke Sessions Records is available at:

Websitehttps://www.smokesessionsrecords.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/SmokeSessionsRecords   

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/smokejazzclub

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.  

Nicholas Payton’s Latest LP Is A Strong Addition To 2021’s Field Of New Jazz Albums

Courtesy: Smoke Sessions Records

Musician/composer Nicholas Payton is keeping himself somewhat busy this year.  The famed trumpet player was featured on Verve Records’ recently released Louis Armstrong tribute record, A Gift To Pops, last month along with a number of other equally well-known jazz musicians and performers.  Along with that recording, Payton allegedly has a new EP coming, with its full information under consideration.  While audiences wait for the record’s release, Payton has another record, his new album, Smoke Sessions, for audiences to enjoy.  The hour-plus record (one hour, seven minutes to be exact) was released Oct. 29 through Smoke Sessions Records.  The record is a wonderful addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums, too. That is evidenced from the beginning to the end of the 10-song record.  The album’s opener, ‘Hangin’ In And Jivin’’ is just one of the ways in which this is shown.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Q Is For Quincy,’ which comes a little later in the record’s run, is another example of what makes the album so enjoyable.  It will be discussed a little later.  Much the same can be said of ‘Gold Dust Black Magic,’ too.  That song will also be examined later.  When it and the other songs noted here are considered along with the rest of the album’s works (originals and covers alike), the whole proves to be a successful new offering from Nicholas Payton that every jazz fan will agree deserves so much attention.

Nicholas Payton’s latest album, Smoke Sessions, is a great addition to this year’s field of new jazz albums.  Its mix of modern and vintage jazz sounds and styles make that clear from song to song.  The record’s opener, ‘Hangin’ In And Jivin’’ is just one of the many songs that serves to support the noted statements.  According to information provided in the album’s expansive liner notes, this song is “one of three new songs Payton composed for Smoke Sessions.”  The notes add that the very title is a tribute to the timeless sitcom, Good Times.  The nearly eight-minute opus opens with a solid combo from the rhythm section of bassist Ron Carter and drummer Karriem Riggins.  Payton’s work on piano here actually sounds somewhat like DJ Jellyfish’s hit song, ‘Shake It Just A Little Bit.’  Whether that was intentional is unknown, but this critic caught the similarity.  There is no mention in the album’s liner notes so one is left to assume that the connection was unintentional.  Either way, that solid almost hip-hop type rhythmic mix throughout the song, against Payton’s lighter piano line makes the song even more interesting.  The whole of the group’s work makes the song conjure thoughts of an upscale jazz club, people eating finger sandwiches, taking in the sounds as they talk.  It is just such a wonderfully relaxing composition in whole and just one of the record’s most notable works.  Just as notable in this record is the later entry, ‘Q Is For Quincy.’ 

‘Q Is For Quincy’ originally appeared on Payton’s 2015 album, Letters according to the album’s liner notes.  The notes make a point to address the communication between Carter and Payton and how that played into the song’s ultimate outcome.  Carter is quoted as saying he appreciated Payton’s understanding and appreciation of how certain instruments interplay with one another in any composition.  That understanding is in full display here as is evidenced in the pairing of Payton’s work on the piano and Riggins’ equally light brushwork on the snare while he keeps time on the hi-hat.  Carter’s bass work meanwhile is so subtle but still cuts through just enough because of the balance in the other noted performances.  It really comes into play here and gives the whole a nice subtle accent so to speak on the foundation formed by Payton and Riggings.  The collective musicians’ work here is a wonderfully enjoyable modern jazz composition that has such an infectious swing that throws back to another age of jazz.  It all makes the song so enjoyable in its own right and yet another example of how much the album in whole has to offer audiences.  ‘Gold Dust Black Magic’ is yet another example of what audiences have to look forward to here.

The liner notes for ‘Gold Dust Black Magic’ make a point to address the various styles and sounds that combine throughout the song, which was composed in January.  That diversity is noted right from the song’s opening bars.  The use of the keyboard, with its unique sound and light, percussive approach, conjures thoughts of the keyboard-driven jazz compositions that famed composer Vince Guaraldi wrote for the 1960s and 70s Peanuts TV specials.  The swing from Payton’s performance on trumpet makes for an interesting contrast to the other noted sound and approach.  The varied time signatures also noted in the liner notes are just as clear, too.  The whole once again creates a work that is just as unique to the album as the other songs examined here and the rest of the album’s works.  When the whole of that content is considered together, the collected material makes Smoke Sessions a wonderful musical experience for any jazz aficionado.

Nicholas Payton’s recently released album, Smoke Sessions is a positive new offering from the veteran jazz musician/composer.  From beginning to end, it has plenty to offer audiences.  That is evidenced through the originals and covers.  Each of the songs examined here do well to support the noted statements, too.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Smoke Sessions a must hear for any jazz aficionado.

Smoke Sessions is available now.  More information on the album is available along with all of Nichols Payton’s latest news at:

Website: https://nicholaspayton.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/paynic

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.  

Joe Farnsworth’s ‘City Of Sounds’ Is A Unique, Enjoyable Addition To This Year’s Field Of New Live Music Offerings

Courtesy: Smoke Sessions Records

Veteran jazz drummer Joe Farnsworth is scheduled to release his latest record, City of Sounds, Friday through Smoke Sessions Records.  The eight-song record – his second with the label and third as a band leader (he has worked with a variety of other acts on other albums throughout his career) — is a fully successful new offering from Farnsworth.  If one did not know otherwise, one would not even realize that this recording is in fact a live set that, according to information provided to the media, was recorded over the weekend of Farnsworth’s birthday, Feb. 19-21 2021.  The liner notes, penned by George Cables, do not even point out this bit of information even as rich as they are.  Those rich liner notes will be addressed shortly, as they are their own key to the presentation’s success.  The set list featured in this unique live recording is the most notable of the presentation’s items.  It will be discussed shortly.    By connection, the concert’s production is also important to examined, so it will be addressed a little later.  All three noted items are important in their own way to the whole of this presentation.  All things considered, they make the recording a work that is among the best of this year’s new live CDs.

Joe Farnsworth’s forthcoming record, City of Sounds is a unique live recording that will appeal just as much to citizens of the city to which it pays tribute (New York) as to jazz fans in general.  The record’s success comes in part through its featured set list.  The 54-minute set list features a mix of covers and originals performed by Farnsworth and his fellow musicians, Kenny Barron and Peter Washington.  The set opens with a catchy, upbeat original composed by Barron in the form of ‘New York Attitude.’  The nearly six-minute composition expertly captures the energy of people making their way up and down the city’s streets.  This is evidenced just as much through the light way in which Barron makes his way across the piano’s keys and in which Farnsworth keeps time, adding just enough flare here and there with subtle cymbal crashes and solos.  Speaking of the solos, his is not the only one featured here.  As Cables’ notes point out about the song, “Everyone has solo space here as they get their feet wet for what promises to be a fun set.”  Fun is an understatement about the set, too.  From here the trio takes on what is one of only two covers featured in the set in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘The Surrey with the Fridge on Top.’  The song is one of only three covers featured in the set.  The next cover comes much later in the set in the form of Carl Suessdorf and John Blackburn’s ‘Moonlight in Vermont.’  Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein’s ‘Softly As In A Morning Sunrise’ rounds out the covers and the album.  The trio’s performance of each work pays full tribute to its source material, too.  Barron’s relaxed performance on piano in ‘Moonlight in Vermont’ paints a picture that is just as rich as that painted by any other act’s take on the song.  Many other acts have taken on the song, too, including the duo of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.  Washington’s equally relaxed bass line pair serves as a wonderful counterpoint to Barron’s performance and an equally welcome companion to Farnsworth’s own subtle, subdued time keeping.  Taking into account the mix of originals and covers featured here, and the performances thereof, the whole makes this aspect of City of Sounds its own success.  It is just one part of what makes the recording overall a success.  The production thereof builds on the success of the set list and its performance to enhance the presentation even more.

The production that went into City of Sounds is so important to note because of its impact on the general effect.  Keeping in mind that this recording is apparently a live recording, the production belies that element.  If an audience was in fact present for the recording over the course of the noted three-day span, then the production does not make any of that crowd noise audible.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, though.  There is a certain airy sense about the sound that does in fact hint at the performance being live or even semi-live (as in a live in-studio recording).  To that end, the subtlety in the production expertly balances each musician’s performance within the confines of the room to create a sound that even being live sounds like it was recorded in a studio.  It is that impressive.  Keeping that in mind, the production and the content together give audiences so much to appreciate here.  All of this is still just a portion of what makes the recording unique and enjoyable.  The information in the liner notes rounds out the recording’s most important elements.


As pointed out already here, George Cables’ notes do not make outright clear that this recording is in fact a live presentation.  That was information provided to media outlets.  That aside the liner notes still offer plenty to appreciate in their own right.  Case in point is Cables’ note that Farnsworth’s playing “is a testament to the vibrancy, diversity and musical history of New York City.”  That brief statement speaks volumes in setting the scene for the trio’s performance contained herein.  From there, Cables pays tribute to all three musicians, pointing out what makes each figure great.  He even goes so far as to compare Barron to Duke Ellington, calling him “Duke Elegant.”  As to Farnsworth, Cables writes that from the vantage point of a pianist (Cables is a pianist), “hooking up” with the drums “tightens the music” and that doing so with Farnsworth is “easy, because he’s always listening.”  That is a shining tribute to Farnsworth as a person and musician.  In writing about Washington, he speaks just as highly, stating, “He’s always present, always lyrical, always creative, and always in the groove.”  Everything that Cables writes of Washington is true, as audiences will hear for themselves in every one of his performances here.  After spending plenty of time praising Farnsworth and company, Cables changes gears and offers a brief, concise setup for each song featured in the set.  The whole of all of this content does so much to help set the stage (no pun intended) for the concert featured in this recording.  To that end, audiences would do well to take in Cables’ notes before even sitting down to take in the featured performance.  They will be glad they did.    When the notes that set up the featured concert are considered along with the content featured in the concert and the concert’s production, the whole comes together to make this presentation a complete success for Joe Farnsworth and company.

Joe Farnsworth’s new live recording, City of Sounds is a positive new offering from the veteran jazz drummer and his fellow musicians.  That is due in part to its featured set list.  The set list is composed primarily of original arrangements crafted by Farnsworth and his fellow musicians.  Only three of the set’s eight total songs are covers.  Even in the case of the covers, they are relatively well-known works.  All eight songs are well-performed, too.  The production that went into the recording works with the set list to enhance the presentation even more.  That is because of the positive impact that it has on the recording’s general effect.  The liner notes that accompany the recording do well to set up the performance featured in the recording.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the recording.  All things considered, they make the recording one of the best of this year’s new live CDs.

City of Sounds is scheduled for release Friday through Smoke Sessions Records.  More information on the recording is available along with all of Joe Farnsworth’s latest news at:

Website: https://joefarnsworthdrums.com

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

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.  

Jazz Fans Will “Love” Renee Rosnes’ Latest LP

Courtesy: Smoke Sessions Records

Pianist/composer Renee Rosnes is scheduled to release her latest album, Kinds of Love Friday through Smoke Sessions Records.  The nine-song record, which runs 56-minutes, is a record that will appeal equally to Rosenes’ established audiences just as much as those who are less familiar with her work.  That is proven throughout the record thanks to the varied arrangements.  ‘In Time Like Air,’ one of the album’s early entries, is a prime example of what this album has to offer audiences.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Evermore,’ which comes a little later in the album’s run, is another example of the album’s strength.  It will be examined a little later.  ‘Swoop,’ the album’s penultimate entry is yet another example of how much the album has to offer.  It will also be discussed later.  All three songs noted here are key in their own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, that whole makes the album in whole a successful offering from Rosnes that any jazz fan will enjoy.

Kinds of Love, the latest album from pianist/composer Renee Rosnes, is a record that any jazz fan will love.  The diversity in the record’s featured musical arrangements does well to support that statement.  ‘In Time Like Air’ is just one of the songs that serves so well to show why audiences will enjoy this record so much.  Billy Childs, a longtime friend of Rosnes points out in the liner notes that he penned for the album, that the song’s arrangement conjures thoughts of nature, adding that a bird’s song that Rosnes had heard many years ago was in fact the inspiration for this song’s primary melody.  That melody cuts through cleanly here with the song’s piano line and flute.  The duality of the pairing is so rich.  At the same time, the addition of the saxophone and bass and keyboard to the mix adds to that sense of nature even more.  Audiences can almost see the trees, green leaves and all, blowing lightly in the wind here as the bird that apparently Rosnes never identified, sings somewhere therein.  The bass line and secondary keyboard line sort of conjure thoughts of the other animals in the forest.  The way in which the group comes together here is so enjoyable in its simplicity.  On a more purely musical level, the sound of that secondary keyboard throws back to the fusion sounds of the 1970s while the rest of the instrumentation brings a more modern touch to the mix.  The whole is so well balanced here to the result that it all paints such a rich picture and ensures full engagement and entertainment from listeners.  It is just one of the songs that serves to show so well why this album is a success.  ‘Evermore’ is another way in which the album shows its strength.

Childs points out in his notes on this song that there is a lot of classical influence in the composition.  Specifically, he notes influences from the works of Bach.  That influence is evident especially, as Childs notes, in the performance of bassist Christian McBride.  His slow, subtle bowings, alongside Rosnes’ equally subtle performance on the piano, present a clear classical style composition here.  Interestingly enough, when saxophonist Chris Potter joins in, his jazz influence alongside that noted classical leaning makes the song even more intriguing.  One would think that the two contrasting genres would be too stark together, but the group does so well here to make them work.  That is a tribute to the attention to detail put in by all involved here.  Even with the nearly eight-minute opens ending on a decidedly somber tone, there is still such a richness about the song in whole that makes it stand out in the best way possible.  No doubt this song will certainly catch listeners’ ears just as much as ‘In Time Like Air.’  It is one more example of the rich diversity in the album’s musical arrangements, and also further shows the talents of all involved.  ‘Swoop’ is yet another example of that diversity and talent.

‘Swoop’ is the penultimate entry in Rosnes’ new album.  It is just as starkly unlike the other two songs examined here as they are from one another.  That is a good thing, too.  Childs writes of this full-on bop composition, that while it starts off simply, the complexity grows from there.  Childs is right in that aspect, too.  What is even more interesting here is that even as complex it gets with everything in the mix (including Rosnes’ occasional almost free jazz form on the piano), it never gets so complex that it leaves audiences behind.  Rather, Potter and drummer Carl Allen join together for what feels like a certain level of improve, too, but the duo works so well together.  Much the same can be said of McBride’s work in his bass solo.  The whole is such a light, fun work that again is so much unlike much of the rest of the album’s work.  It once again clearly exhibits the noted diversity in the album’s arrangements while also fully engaging and entertaining audiences.  When it and the other songs examined here are examined together with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes Kinds of Love a complete success from Rosnes and company that any jazz fan will love.

Renee Rosnes’ forthcoming album Kinds of Love is a successful new offering from the group.  It will appeal just as much to Rosnes’ established audience base as it will to those who are less familiar with her work.  That is proven time and again through the musical arrangements featured in each song.  From one to the next, the arrangements are diverse in their stylistic approaches and sounds.  From complex works to simpler, but still so engaging, the songs offer so many moods and thoughts.  All things considered, the album proves to be a record that deserves its own consideration among the best of this year’s new jazz albums. 

Kinds of Love is scheduled for release Friday through Smoke Session Records.  More information on this and other titles from Smoke Sessions Records is available along with all of the label’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.smokesessionsrecords.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/smokejazzclub

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