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February Last Call Reviews

Patrick Butler/Sound Pinnacle/ Independent Release

Veteran guitarist Patrick Butler has released another disc that is further evidence of his solid artistry. Sound Pinnacle is a release firmly grounded in the jazz essentials that moves into funky, free form cosmic jazz. It’s hard to resist the invitation to go exploring with Butler and his studio band which includes Gilberto Torres, Flute, Gabriel “Slam” Nobles on Vibes, Joshua Harris on saxophone and Thomas Saylers on organ, in addition to Damien Smith or Andre Allen on drums and Julio Muniz on percussion. The listener can detect the influence of the legendary Larry Young on the  opener, “Majestic Vistas” which leads into the funky beat of “Vantage Point”. Thirteen selections await the listener, including the freewheeling “Sound Pinnacle Suite”.

Butler's previous recordings that have been featured on Last Call include  Primemover and Solar Sailing, both driven by a solid groove. The latest recording from Butler is another effort in that direction.

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Richie Goods and Nuclear Fusion/ Three Rivers/Independent Release

It is a delight to hear once again from bassist Richie Goods in the follow up to his Nuclear Fusion project of some years ago. And Three Rivers is very satisfying, on many levels.

This second chapter sees the bassist in the excellent company of drummer Billy Kilson, guitarist Ben Butler, keyboardist and composer Andy Ezrin with vocalists Shayna Steele and Sy Smith. From the opener “Soul Glow” the Pittsburgh native sets the stage for some exciting and electrifying jazz perfect for late night listening.  Thirteen selections are presented, including an emotional reading of “Imagine” and an uptempo presentation of "Shout", famously made a hit by Tears for Fears in the 1980s.

Richie Goods is the youngest person ever inducted into the Pittsburgh Jazz Hall of Fame. After graduating from the prestigious jazz program at Berklee College of Music, Goods moved to New York City, where he studied under jazz legends Ron Carter and Ray Brown. Goods also toured and recorded with the great Mulgrew Miller for nine years. This association brought him to the attention of many notable jazz artists which gave him the opportunity to record and perform with a “who’s who” of jazz and pop music.  

Richie Goods & Nuclear Fusion have a true gem of a recording in Three Rivers that, while pursuing the cosmic funk  first explored by Herbie Hancock and his bands in the 1970s, gives it a 21st Century update and dynamic groove. Fantastic!      

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 Wadada Leo Smith/ The Great Lakes Suites/TUM Records

Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith's latest multi-disc set from legendary trumpeter is an epic statement of immense power. The celebrated Avant-Garde trumpeter’s 2014 recording is Great Lakes Suites . For this presentation that has a track for all five lakes, Smith leads a quartet that unleashes a torrent of volcanic power. Wadada Leo Smith, trumpet, is joined by bassist John Lindburgh, saxophonist and flautist Henry Threadgill , and the legendary drummer Jack DeJohnette. On “Lake Ontario” Smith and Threadgill play in triumphant blasts that rise in a crescendo of emotion and fall into silence, while Jack DeJohnette creates a shifting rhythmic background with plenty of chatter and clatter.  Wadada Leo Smith is one of the most important voices in Avant-Garde music. When you listen to one of his recordings you will hear an artist who is more than capable of playing in the fearless, exhilarating style of Miles Davis in the 1970s--but charts his own direction based on decades of music performance, study and instruction.  For over 40 years, Wadada Leo Smith has been involved in the Avant-Garde music scene. He was an early member of Chicago’s legendary AACM, joining in 1967. Smith co-founded the Creative Construction Company, a trio with Leroy Jenkins and Anthony Braxton in the late 60s. Forming his own label in 1971, Kabell, the trumpeter recorded a number of classic albums. He wasy a professor of Music at the California Institute of the Arts, and ialso the director of the MFA program in African American Improvisation. Smith has studied a variety of music cultures (African, Japanese, Indonesian, European and American) and has developed a music theory, and a notation system to fully express this music which he calls "Ankhrasmation".

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Chris Cooke has been a voice on public radio in Omaha since 1989. Working at KVNO-FM during college, Cooke hosted a weekend progressive jazz show on the station in addition to working as an on-air announcer. In November 1992, Cooke signed on at KIOS-FM and has been there ever since. He has hosted the Tuesday and Thursday editions of Jazz in the Afternoon since 1996 and has hosted Last Call since that year. A long time fan of jazz music, Cooke enjoys talking with the musicians who make jazz music and presenting those conversations with listeners. When not hosting or listening to jazz, on record or in person, Cooke maintains a busy schedule as a self-employed web design consultant.
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