CD Reviews - February 2008
by George Fendel
A Jones For Bones Tones, Conrad Herwig,
The title of this CD is a
clever turn around on the familiar “Tones For Joan’s Bones,” and also a signal
(if you think about it) that trombonist Conrad Herwig herein embarks on a
salute to trombonists who have influenced his musical pallet. Among the best
known of them are Frank Rosolino, Slide Hampton, J. J. Johnson and Curtis
Fuller. The album consists entirely of Herwig’s original tributes and the
quintet features a second trombonist in Steve Davis. As he has done on past
albums, Herwig once again scores here with a fresh thematic approach. Bone
players, don’t overlook this one!
Criss Cross, 2007, 59:44.
Future Day, The David Finck Quartet,
David Finck, bass.
You’ve seen David Finck’s
name all over the place in supporting roles, so finally it’s time for him to
put out a CD under his own name. And how about Joe Locke, vibes; Tom Ranier,
piano; and Joe LaBarbera, drums as colleagues? Toss in scintillating guest
appearances from Jeremy Pelt, trumpet, and Bob Sheppard, tenor sax, and you
have something that sounds intriguing from the get-go, right? The album acts primarily as a showcase for
the compositions of players on the date, but standards “Nature Boy,” “For All We
Know” and “Firm Roots” all create a nice balance. Superb writing and
musicianship abounds here!
Sound Brush Records, 2007, 55:35.
Jazz, Baby, Doug Beavers Rovira Jazz
Here is your opportunity to
bring up baby on some legit jazz with a swingin’ band and vocals by Matt
Catingub and Linda Harmon. I have two grandkids in Philly and one on the way in
L.A., and you may be sure that they’ll love receive copies of this delicious
disc. Included are swinging versions of kiddy tunes like “Twinkle Twinkle
Little Star,” “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Hush Little Baby,” “The Ants Go Marching
In” and “You Are My Sunshine,” among others. If there’s a toddler in your
family, check into this one. It starts ‘em out in a swinging musical
Origin, 2007, 32:23.
This Time Around, Sandy Kastel, vocals.
This CD is quite a
production, with a Nashville area big band, and a bevy of strings on some
numbers. Kastel is well suited as a big band singer, in fact I’d say she’s more
that than a jazz singer per se. A few of the arrangements are a bit ‘poppy’ for
me, and songs like “Danke Schoen” and “Strangers In The Night” don’t represent
the upper echelon of song writing.
Silk And Satin Records, 2007, 64:13.
Air, Frank Kimbrough, piano.
Frank Kimbrough may be
looked upon by some as an avant gardist, but I simply hear a very creative
player who reveres the sound and understands the importance of every single
note. There’s a near poignancy and sadness to some of his originals, and pick
up on some Monk in addition to Kimbrough’s own expressive creations. Not for grandpa
Leo, but worth hearing.
Palmetto, 2007, 47:15.
What’s Going On? Tom Dempsey, guitar and Tim Ferguson, bass.
This striking duo has been
playing in and around New York City for some twenty years, and one can
certainly recognize the result in both ease of performance and some deep
musicianship. Primo selections include Billy Strayhorn’s “Isfahan,” Charlie
Haden’s rarely heard ballad, “First Song” and some attractive arco bass playing
on Mal Waldron’s classic, “Soul Eyes.”
City Tone Records, 2007, 64:11.
Comet Ride, Willie Williams, tenor and
Having worked with
everybody from Art Blakey to the Mingus Dynasty, Willie Williams brings an
impressive resume to what I find to be a very cerebral, but not too melodic CD.
His trio (with bass and drums only) misses the balance of a piano. Williams
possesses an historical tonal approach, but I just didn’t find his original
music to be exactly riveting.
Miles High Productions, 2007, 76:30.
Cheesecake, Bob Leto, drums.
Drummer Bob Leto gets the
byline here, but itís guitarist Tim Siciliano who creates all the excitement on
an album of jazz and bop originals like Seven Steps To Heaven, Infant Eyes,
Inner Urge and the title tune, Cheesecake. This is a tightly knit trio,
skillfully interpreting some pretty challenging material. This is just how a
jazz guitar trio should sound. Recommended!
Consolidated Artist Production, 2007,
Float Like A Butterfly, Mike Longo,
I seem to recall Mike Longo
from the ‘70s or ‘80s as an early fusion guy, so how surprised was I when this
straight ahead trio CD appeared? Longo
and pals play it for real -- meaning real nice bop piano on
“Dancing In The
Dark,” “Witch Hunt,” “Tenderly,”
“It Could Happen To You,” “Laura,”
and even the old warhorse, “Girl Of My Dreams.” I like it,
I like it!
Consolidated Artist Productions (CAP),
Oceano, Shannon Bryant, vocals.
I can’t categorize Ms.
Bryant other than to say she’s not a jazz singer. Her album of all original
compositions may hold some interest to the pop or New Age listeners. The use of
synthesizer does nothing to enhance her music; and enunciation, a common
problem in the pop world, is something she needs to address.
Bela Estrela Music, 2007, 42:13.
Live At Cafe Metropol, Kim Richmond Ensemble.
Over a period of years, you
may have spotted the name Kim Richmond in the personnel of many a big band. Now
the alto maven presents a sextet that plays with gusto on “You Don’t Know What
Love Is,” “Invitation,” “Never Let Me Go,” “The Peacocks” and a few cheeky
originals. Richmond can be mellow one moment, strident the next. But his
players will hold your attention.
Origin, 2007, 61:39.