Dec 2, 2015

Jovan Alexandre – Collective ConsciousnessXippi Phonorecords - A lot of music comes your way on Alexandre's swinging album in a set of original compositions. It's refreshing music with Andrew Renfroe's guitar and Taber Gable's piano and Rhodes adding bright support for the leader's engaging tenor work.

Joshua Bruneau – Bright Idea – Cellar Live - From the opening beat you're in for an exciting musical ride when you take trumpeter Joshua Bruneau's new release “Bright Idea” out for a spin. This enthusiastic and crackling session features compositions and soloing that lure the listener in and perhaps make one more than a little bit jealous of those fortunate to be in attendance at Smalls Jazz Club in New York City when this live session was recorded.

Will Caviness – A Walk – Cellar Live - Sometimes an album cooks like a well-tuned motor. Give it the green and set back for a straight ahead ride with the Will Caviness group. This is a smoking sextet that “gets it” with consistently engaging grooves and impressive musicianship that is, at once, relaxed and hard-swinging.

John Fedchock New York Big Band – Like It Is Mama Records - Chris Cooke says, “Fans of big band music will find much to enjoy on the new recording from the John Fedchock New York Big Band. "Like It Is" presents 10 compelling selections from this excellent, seasoned band made up of some of New York's finest jazz artists, led by veteran trombonist John Fedchock. The result is one of the finest jazz recordings of 2015. “ Sums it up pretty well.

Wes Montgomery – In The Beginning – Resonance Records - another one of Resonance Records' startling discoveries of previously unreleased material, herein lies very early Wes Montgomery from sessions taped in his native Indianapolis and at studios between 1949 and the late 50s during which time he was still largely unknown and yet to surge onto the national and worldwide jazz scene. A priceless insight into the early career of a legendary guitarist. Energy and enthusiasm abound.

Mary Stallings – Feelin' Good – Savant - One can depend upon Mary Stallings to deliver a good album and yet with “Feelin' Good” she has recorded a quintessential jazz vocal outing. This release embodies all of the qualities that comprise a superior session. It's an album so steeped in jazz tradition and delivered with such consummate ease and style as to be irresistible.

Dave Stryker – Messin' with Mr. T – Strikezone - The program on this album is drawn from Turrentine set lists during the time when Stryker was in his band (1986-1995). Each track features a different tenor saxophonist along with Stryker's organ trio that includes Jared Gold playing the Hammond B-3 organ, McClenty Hunter at the drums, and Mayra Casales adding percussion. “Messin' With Mr. T” provides the listener with undiluted jazz that is as accessible as it is musically rewarding.

Doug Webb – Triple Play – Positone - Here's an astounding release that heads straight for the stratosphere and recalls those legendary tenor battles - between Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and Johnny Griffin and between Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray among them. Tenor saxophonist Doug Webb's new release embraces the stimulating blowing session tradition with a unique quintet that includes fellow tenor men Joel Frahm and Walt Weiskopf. The rhythmic foundation is supplied by Brian Charette, who tears it up at the organ with rich chords and some thrilling solo spots, and drummer Rudy Royston who propels the music with alacrity.

Cory Weeds – Condition Blue – Cellar Live - from the Hammond B3 organ bag comes saxophonist Weeds' tribute to the music of Jackie McLean. This ensures stimulating compositions from the legendary alto saxophonist, done right by the tight group with Peter Bernstein smoking as always at the guitar, Mike LeDonne laying down the Hammond organ sound and Weeds' assured alto making for a cooking tribute session.

Mark Winkler – Jazz and other Four Letter Words – Cafe Pacific - This thoroughly enjoyable vocal outing has Winkler with some excellent accompaniment for breezy originals such as “My Idea of a Good Time”, “Your Cat Plays Piano” and “Stay Hip”. Simpatico duets with Cheryl Bentyne on Dave Frishberg's classic “I'm Hip” and the Rodgers and Hart melody “I Wish I Were In Love Again” are a delight. The title track makes a nod to jazz's four letter words such as Bird, Miles, Monk and Duke.