New Releases Spotlight: Week of May 5, 2014posted: May 6th, 2014 by Paul Abella
This is our first in an ongoing series profiling new releases that you will hear on 90.9FM! This edition includes a couple of great discs from jazz veterans, and one from a group of quirky up-and-comers.
Jackie Allen – My Favorite Color: Former Chicagoan Jackie Allen continues down the path she’s been treading on since her 2004 release Love Is Blue. Mysterious, sultry ballads mixed with a few interesting pop and rock tunes, played by an all-star group including Ben Lewis (keyboards), John Moulder (guitars), Dan Richeson (drums/percussion), Hans Sturm (bass) and special guests Tito Carillo (trumpet) and Steve Eisen (woodwinds). Her version of "My Man’s Gone Now" is absolutely haunting. And if you’re up late, she gives Jimi Hendrix’s "Manic Depression" a completely unexpected twist.
Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra – ¡Que Viva Harlem!: Percussionist Bobby Sanabria mostly plays the bandleader and conductor role on this disc, while his students explore a handful of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn tunes and arrangements with a Latin groove. While these are all young players in New York (with seemingly unlimited access to the Nuyorican sounds of Spanish Harlem), the approach is largely old school mambo, recalling the 50’s big band sounds of Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez and Machito and his Afro-Cubans. This is especially evident on "Mambo Infierno" and "Feeding the Chickens." And Strayhorn’s "Blood Count" works beautifully in this setting, too. As with any great Latin group, pay attention to the trombones - St. Clair Simmons is a standout, as is saxophonist Patrick Bartley.
Native Jazz Quartet – Stories: The instrumentation is a tip of the hat to the Modern Jazz Quartet (piano, vibes, bass and drums). But where the Modern Jazz Quartet played standards, interpretations of classical pieces, and originals… these guys do things a little differently. On Stories, the four members of NJQ (one in New York, one in New Orleans and two in Seattle) tackle the folkloric music of their youths. Bassist Christian Fabian tackles old Swedish folk songs, Reuel Lubag brings in songs from the Philippines, Ed Littlefield arranges a few songs from the Tlinget tribe of Alaska and Jason Marsalis offers up a couple of gems from New Orleans. Especially of note are the great versions of "Just A Closer Walk With Thee," "Second Line" and the Swedish folk song "Thou Ancient, Thou Free."
And, on the overnights you will hear new albums by local group The Humble Organisms, as well as drummer Omar Hakim, pianist Adam Kromelow, violinist Regina Carter and an early taste of the latest from Sonny Rollins. So, tune in this week to hear these great sounds at 90.9fm WDCB and worldwide at WDCB.org!