Issue # 80 REVIEWS
We now have 3 TOTALLY FREE CD's (with free cover art) available for download at our NETLABEL site! The only thing we ask is that you scroll to the bottom of the page(s) & give us a REVIEW! Please ADVERTISE this to ALL your friends... tell them we are GIVING AWAY music!
I've played in over 65 "bands" . We will highlight a few of these bands in this (and future) issues.
Featured Zzaj band for issue #80 - Detroit Improv Duo (these don't auto-start - CLICK the PLAY button to listen while you read our reviews - or don't, totally up to you!).
This grouping featured Pontiac, Michigan guitarist extraordinaire Jim Konen, with me on Kurzweill PC 88. On "The Fasttrack", Jim played horn on his guitar synth - VERY interesting sounds. The first two tracks also featured drummer Jim Russell, from Olympia, Washington. ENJOY!
Jimmy Bruno with Tony Miceli and Jeff Pedraz - MAPLEWOOD AVENUE: Jimmy's CD came out last June, & I didn't get to it until now, due to a hard drive crash in November. Good thing I didn't lose the CD's - this is one SUPERB album... 9 tracks that demonstrate skill at both playing & composition - these are all originals. Miceli's vibes & excellent bass by Pedraz all meld beautifully with Bruno's masterful guitar touch. I particularly enjoyed "Route 611", maybe 'coz it's got a "creeping" bass feeling during the intro that makes ya' feel much like you do after a night o' jazz in th' back-alley joints... after the walking bass lines of the intro, Jimmy kicks in with some bluesy & soulful guitar playing that will put you right in the mood - it's my favorite on the album! "Jimmy's House", by Mr. Miceli, is also a jumpin' track that shows off the zeal all these players seem to have for playing music with heart. If you get a chance to hear these folks live, I'd strongly suggest it. "Maplewood Avenue" is a "keeper", & gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from me, especially for jazz guitar lovers. Get more information at www.jimmybruno.com Rotcod Zzaj
Richard Boulger - BLUES TWILIGHT: When you hear the opener, "The Eternal One", you'll know right away that this is a CD with far more "depth & breadth" than you're used to hearing... it certainly takes you to a level miles higher than "smooth jazz", yet does so with taste & verve, never making you feel like you're an "uneducated listener". The segue into the title track is fluid, & takes you right back to (all) those late-night jazz basements where the smoke never quit rising. Boulger's trumpet is clearly out in front, but with plenty of playing room for tenor saxophones by David Schnitter & Kris Jensen, great pianos by John Hicks & Anthony Wonsey, bass from Dennis Irwin & drums by Victor "Ya-Yah" Jones. These folks are tight in the playing, but with a high "soul quotient"... my ears are really impressed, as will yours be. Freddie Hubbard pens some great liner notes, & that in itself tells me that Richard is "in the big leagues", to be sure. This is Boulger's second album as leader, & "Blues Twilight" is an achievement unto itself. I give it a (B-I-G) MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Get more information at www.richardboulger.com Rotcod Zzaj
Howard Britz - HERE I STAND: It was interesting to me that I first spotted Howard's fantastic bass playing on one of my favorite "home artist" sites, www.indieonestop.com/jamroom then 2 days later received it from promoter Jim Eigo ( www.jazzpromoservices.com ). Jim only promotes those artists that are high quality & ripe with talent. Well, after listening through the first 2 tracks, it was abundantly clear that Mr. Britz is at the top of the jazz heap. All original compositions lend to the atmosphere of high energy, as Howard's double bass is joined by drums from Sylvia Cuenca, David Smith's trumpet & flugelhorn, alto sax from Casey Benjamin & piano from George Colligan. My favorite track on the album is cut #7, "Scatterbug" - can't quite put my finger on it, but it somehow takes me back to my earliest listens to jazz in the dark jazz cellars in Germany - I'm pretty sure it's Smith's horn work that makes it feel that way - totally tight tune with heavy energy that involves the listener from the opening bar. This is one of the best albums I've heard in 2008, & I give it my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating. Get more information at www.howardbritz.com Rotcod Zzaj
Jack Wright/John M Bennett/Ben Bennett - ROTTY WHAT: I considered myself lucky to have caught the second performance of this grouping at a small gallery in downtown Philadelphia. This CD was recorded at a different venue, though the tuneage was pretty much the same. If you're among the "uninitiated", this will be very different for your ears. For those who aren't familiar, Jack Wright has been doing sax work for many years now - I've witnessed him in several different playing sessions, every time coming across with a "new vision"... & he doesn't let us down on this performance. Whispered reed-breathings against John's megaphoned poetic pronouncements. The "new" player (new to me, anyway, I hadn't heard him before), John's son Ben, does some fantastic percussion, with lots of brush & bell work - high talent & lots of potential, to be sure. The recording does the sonic landscape great justice, one of the better-recorded live performance sessions I've heard in (quite) a while! If you've heard John's work before, you'll need this one in your collection. One of the best improv sessions I've heard this year. Gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for those who want adventurous listening experiences. Check the flics at http://www.flickr.com/photos/12802132@N00/311580582 Rotcod Zzaj
Libby York - HERE WITH YOU: After listening to so many female jazz vocalists, a reviewer tends to hear them as "all the same", on th' first spin, at least. Well, nothing could be further from "the same" with Ms. York... her voice just shines! She has an airy quality (not "air-headed", but life-GIVING) on the opener, which is the title track... when you add Warren Vache's cornet & John Burr's punctual acoustic bass, along with guitars by Howard Alden & Russell Malone, then toss in drums & percussion by Vanderlei Pereira, you have a combination that can't be beat (it's my favorite track on the album, by the way). If you're more in th' mood for somethin' bluesy, try track 8, Azure Te (Paris Blues)... I know, how in heck could you be blue in Paris? Libby will fill in all the details for you, & lift your spirits despite that funkified bluesiness! The musicians are superb, & will keep your attention throughout the CD, but Ms. York's joyful spirit is what will stick with you when you remember her performance. A highly enjoyable jazz set that merits purchase right away... this is gonna' be a classic, folks! It certainly get a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us, as well as the "PICK" of this issue for "best female jazz vocalist"! Get more information at www.libbyyork.com (Release date is 2/12/2008, so don't be late - get yours NOW!!) Rotcod Zzaj
Joe Beck & John Abercrombie - COINCIDENCE: If guitar names like Larry Coryell, John Scofield, Ralph Towner or Gabor Szabo are familiar to you, who Beck & Abercrombie have played with on numerous occasions, you'll recognize what a high "stature" they bring to their recording together. This is one of the most beautiful guitar-based jazz albums I've heard in years... Joe & John will carry you right along on their fantastic voyage through the memory lanes of high emotion & supreme talent! One of the things that makes the album so attractive to these ol' ears is that there's not one BIT of "scripting".... quite often, when you get more than one guitar player together, the music comes off as (simply) "slick"... while the talent is totally in evidence, this is more like having a couple of famous players right in your living room, wrapping you into their magic! It starts off in a rather slow vein with a track titled "Beautiful Love"... I don't mean that old "tired" slow that made Uncle Frank (Zappa) say that "jazz wasn't dead - it just smelled funny"... this is full of energy & verve. By the time they get to cut 6, "Mikey Likes It", they've pulled out all th' stops & you get one of the funkiest blues riffs you've heard in years - I mean "Mikey" just SMOKES (my favorite on the album). Their rendition of "All Blues" runs a close second! An excellent musical experience that will transport you beyond the pale... gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us, as well as the "PICK" of this issue for "best guitar jazz"! Get more information at www.whalingcitysound.com/wcs040.htm Rotcod Zzaj
Tangria Jazz Group - TJ: The beautiful piano intro from Simon Rochester will probably make you think "Oh no, another "piano jazz" diatribe. Well, I kind of got caught in that mode until the purely brilliant percussion from Sheryl Mebane (leader) & slinky yet vibrant bass from Justin Hellman kicked in on "Nature Boy". The keyword for this whole album is ENERGY - talent not in the least condescending literally shines through! When track 3, "Impressions" (my favorite on the album, by the way) kicks in, you'll know beyond the shadow of doubt that you've been fortunate enough to come across one of the most able jazz groups of the day... this IS today's music, unfettered & free, but still traditional enough to leave you with a pleasant glow each time you listen to the CD. This turns out to be one of the most spirited trio albums I've heard yet this year! The album clearly merits our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating - we're hoping to hear each & every one of their new releases, I can tell you! This one goes in the car player, which (whether they know it or not) is a place of honor! GET this one! More information is available at www.tangria.net Rotcod Zzaj
John Chin - BLACKOUT CONCEPTION: This is our first listen to John's tasty piano jazz - fresh & full of vivacious energy, it's a debut CD well worth hearing! He has tenor sax from Mark Turner, along with upright bass by (either) Alexis Cuadrado or Chris Higgins & superb drums from Bill Campbell. The title track opens the album, & it's a stunner - Mr. Chin has strong left hand styling, & clearly enunciated right-hand counterpoint. Interaction between the players is excellent, especially right around 3:48. The fact that these are all original compositions tends to make this (much) more interesting, as I always seem to feel more dedication to strong performance when it's the artist's piece. Turner's sax is full of life, yet doesn't overshadow anything the other players are doing - very nicely balanced recording! The pace slows a bit on cut 3, "I Won't Argue with You", & cut 5, "Some Other Time", has a danceable blues feel to it. That title track is the one that made it a keeper for me, but other listeners will find a different track that hits the spot. This is a great listen, & merits our HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, to be sure. We hope to hear more from John! You can get more information at www.johnchin.com or at www.myspace.com/johnchin Rotcod Zzaj
Bruce Eskovitz - INVITATION: Though this is Eskovitz' second CD, it's our first listen. He's got a cast of players far too expansive to list here, especially since this is very much a "big band" type of affair - but that doesn't detract from the listening in the least. 7 of the 10 pieces are originals, but even other folks tunes (like Freddie Hubbard's "Red Clay") are full-bodied & inspiring! Bruce plays tenor & soprano sax, as well as alto flute, & arranges all the tracks in his own unique fashion. There were several tracks that really had me moving, but my favorite was "Damien's Dance", # 2 - if you don't dance, you WILL when you hear this... even if it's just your soul hopping - a very significant composition that makes the album worth the purchase. Eskovitz has a very "forthright" playing style that will pull you right in to the musical web he weaves, & fill your heart with joy! If you love high-spirited & well-played jazz, this is your ticket to nirvana (should be available now, it was released on 1/29/2008). I give it an immediate MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Get more information at www.bruceeskovitz.com Rotcod Zzaj
Kat Parra - AZUCAR DE AMOR: Vocalist Parra brings a decidedly Latin flavor to all of the jazzy tunes on this, her second CD. She's backed up by some stunning players - Jovino Santos Neto, & Ray Vega, just to name a couple. As you might expect, there is a heavy focus on the percussives.... this type of music demands it, & with all the high spirit, the group will have you up & dancing in no time! It's really the infusion of spirit that makes the album such a pleasure to listen to. Much of it is in Spanish, but even if you don't understand the words, you'll certainly understand the language of life that Kat sings for you in! The flute work by Masaru Koga on "Por La Tu Puerta" is enough to recommend the CD to anyone who loves jazz with a "lilt"! Ms. Parra has assembled a fine listen for all who love jazz with life - I give this one a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Get more information at www.katparra.com Rotcod Zzaj
Benjamin Lapidus - HERENCIA JUDIA: This is an odd one for us... Benjamin plays Cuban music... though the Latin flavor makes it feel (sort of) like jazz, there is a decidedly "country" influence here, too, with overtones of (believe it or not) Jewish music. Lapidus guitar and vocal works are very interesting to listen to, and the strange mixture of Cuban percussion with something that sounds like a liturgy you would hear in a synagogue make his music much "different" than what you might anticipate. Those who are "hung" on purist jazz probably won't give this a second chance, but if you believe (as I do) that music crosses all boundaries, and requires that you listen with open ears... I give it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, primarily because it is clearly "from the heart". The official release is March 18, 2008, with a release concert at East Midwood Jewish center in Brooklyn, NY. Get more information at www.treseroproductions.com Rotcod Zzaj
Doug Munro - BIG BOSS BOSSA NOVA 2.0: It must be "latin" month here at Zzaj Productions - this is the 3rd or 4th CD that's flavored with that "hot-blooded" sound. Mr. Munro's guitar & hand percussion are joined by bass from Michael Goetz & drums from two players, Jason "J Dog" Devlin & Jason Anderson (track 1 & 6). Let there be no doubt that if you're looking for high-spirit & talent in jazz that leans south of the border, Doug & krew have what you WANT! As usual, it is the originals that really seem to capture the heart & soul of an artist/group, & cut 6, "A Day At The Races", is perfect aural evidence of such... totally integrated recording, the players are tight as you can imagine, and it's my favorite track on this album. Doug's interpretation of Freddie Hubbard's "Little Sunflower" also caught my attention - it's a "different" arrangement, to be sure, but displays his love for the music & his talent just shines right through. There are 10 pieces in all, with 4 of them original - if you love guitar jazz, you'll be hard-pressed to find better than this. It gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from these ol' ears! It will be officially released 4/2/2008, but in the meantime, you can get more information at www.dougmunro.com Rotcod Zzaj
Eric Byrd Trio - BROTHER RAY: Not another worn out "tribute" album - at all.... Byrd (piano & vocals) & krew (Bhagwan Khalsa's bass works & Alphonso Young's drums), along with a 4-man horn section (Brad Clements, Lyle Link, Paul Carr & Chris Watling) & 2 guests (Lee Gilmore's vocals & guitar from Frank McCreary) take Ray Charles' tunes & whupp 'em right into some spirit-filled musical play that will make yer' soul soar high! I've no doubt that Mr. Charles is smilin' & noddin' as he scopes this out - both in the aural sense & the visual, 'coz without video, you can still feel these folks dancin' as they play! I haven't heard this much soul infusion SINCE watching Ray's movie (you know, th' one where Jamie Foxx (literally) played Ray)... "Let The Good Times Roll" opens with all th' rollickin' & rollin' you'd expect from Ray's music, & th' party rawks on all the way on through the CD... this is a CAR CD (yes, indeedy, Mr. Byrd, you're in MY rotation), & won't go back in th' rack for years! "Get On The Right Track" (cut 5) is THE smoker, my favorite for sure.... hard to pick one, though, 'coz they all will get you groovin', for sure! I rate this as MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, whether your penchant is for blues, jazz, or good ol' R&B... in fact, this gets the "PICK" of this issue for "coolest band around"! Get more information at www.ericbyrd.com Rotcod Zzaj
Piers Lawrence Quartet - STOLEN MOMENTS: This extremely enjoyable jazz CD won't hit the street (according to the liners) until 1 March, 2008... so, get your copy reserved now! Lawrence's guitar meshes perfectly with piano from Chuk Fowler, bass by Jim Hankins & drums from Sir Earl Grice... this is the kind of quartet jazz that hearkens back to the "good old days & good old ways" of jazz. The pace is nice & easy, no players "comping" on top of the other - everybody knows what's to be played, & it's totally evident that their talent levels are at such a level that they know they don't have to compete with each other. That's especially true on the originals by Piers, like "Samba Christina, "Everytime" & "Dimanche" - "Dimanche" is my favorite on the particular CD, because the dynamics & tension/release are superb... far above average - it's one of the best "bluesy jazz" pieces I've heard this year. "Samba Christina", a bouncy little piece, came in as a close second. I give this a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating for any listener who wants classics in their collection. Get more information at www.pierslawrence.com Rotcod Zzaj
FOWL - InaStorMental: This being our first listen to Noah's weird works, we weren't quite sure what we were getting ourselves into, especially when that high-horn synth/bass/drum thang kicked in at about 2:00 on "MoFo Heat - Part 1 - Warming Up"... lotza "buzz", some fair amount o' "fuzz" (guitar) & lots of strange electronic energies being captured to entertain your braincase. You will NOT find music like this in other review 'zines, as they're unwilling to exceed their own expectations (or limitations, however you see it)... of course, that's never true at this magazine... in fact, we WANT the odd, the improvised, & the totally tanked. By the time you get to the screwy spoken-word lines on track 3, "MoFo Heat - Part 3 - Take a Cold Shower", you'll either go take one (a shower, that is), lock yourself in the loony bin, or rush right out & volunteer for the Noah Campbell "Peace World Tour"... terrorists would find this incomprehensible, so we should pipe it into Guantanamo 666 hours a day... ha! ha! Seriously (are you KIDDING, Metcalf?), if you want to hear something totally different, this is your ticket to the show! "Serious" fans of jazz will be shocked, but that's better than NOT hearing this fantastic voyage into the ghost of Uncle Frank Zappa... I give this a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for fans of the insane. Get more information from http://www.terminus1525.ca/studio/view/3442, www.myspace.com/fowlmusic or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org Rotcod Zzaj
Monk's Music Trio - MONK ON MONDAYS: If you've been a Monk fan (like I have) for a while, the music on this October, 2007 release will make you very satisfied... & if you haven't listened to a lot of Thelonius's music, this will give you the opportunity to do just that. The trio consists of Chuck Bernstein on drums, Si Perkoff on piano & Sam Bevan on bass will enlighten you on this wonderful jazz album featuring 13 superbly played tracks! There is sometimes a tendency to view CD collections like this with a jaded eye/ear, kind of relegating them to the "bottom of the stack"... your ears will be the loser if you choose to do that... this is one of the best tributes I've heard in a while... if it's "jump" you want to hear, then check out cut 5, "Evidence"... recording is crystal clear, & the sound comes across as though the players are right in your living room. If you're in the mood for something a bit lighter, you'll relish "Ruby My Dear", track 4. My particular favorite on this session was one I hadn't heard from Monk before, "Brake's Sake"... absolutely stunning drums & piano that are (literally) driving... excellent tune for that drive from East to Left coast - invigorating is the word that comes to mind. Jazz fans new & old alike will agree when I declare this as MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Get more information or purchase the album at http://cdbaby.com/cd/monksmusic4 Rotcod Zzaj
Jane Stuart - BEGINNING TO SEE THE LIGHT: You can (easily) hear the smile in Jane's jazz; it will fill you up with joy & (of course) light... a very perceptive singer with a huge compliment of talented players behind her (far too many to itemize here). It's a "husky" style of singing on the title track, but at the same time, her vocal bounces around with glee & from the heart - if you love jazz, you'll want this album, no question about it. It's the kinda' CD you'll want to "curl up" with for an hour or two... not a "road" CD, though the tunes have plenty of verve... the track that caught my ear right away (cut 7) by Bobby Timmons/J. Hendrix called "Moanin'". It's my favorite on the album, maybe because of that righteous sax by Frank Elmo. This is a superb recording that will entertain you for years to come - it gets our HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating. Get more information at www.janestuartmusic.com Rotcod Zzaj
Boots Randolph - A WHOLE NEW BALLGAME: When you want to get in the "old time" jazz mode, there's nothing like a classic artist to whet your appetite, & this CD from Mr. Randolph provides just what you need! It was released last summer (June 2007), & features tenor sax from Boots, guitars by Roddy Smith, great piano chops from Steve Willets, the striding bass of Tim Smith, drums & percussion by Ray Von Rotz, the keyboard strings of Jason Webb and great Hammond B3 rate by Mark Stallings. The second track in, "Billy's Bounce", is one jumpin' tune, & if it's great blues you're ears are thirsting for, you'll definitely dig "Basically Blues" (by Phil Wilson - my favorite on the album). The horn section on "Stompin' At The Savoy" will have you wiggling your hips in no time. Boots Randolph's strident notes on all the tunes is a signature sound, no doubt, making this an extremely listenable album all the way through. I rate it HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, to be sure! Get more information at www.zohomusic.com/cds_detail.php?cds_id=57 Rotcod Zzaj
Vince Seneri - THE PRINCE'S GROOVE: Our first exposure to Seneri's fantastic organ work was in issue #74, & he's outdone himself on this new CD (due for a March 1st release). As always, he's got some stellar players with him, like Randy Brecker on trumpet & flugelhorn, Paul Bollenback's guitar, Dave Valentin on flute, tenor sax from Houston Person, percussion by Richie Flores and Gary Fritz & (last but not least) Buddy Williams on drums. A track title like "Dearly Beloved" would make most listeners think "ballad" (as did I), but this is one of the most scorching Hammond B3 pieces I've ever heard... & the title track, a Vince original, is some of the mellowest jazz you'll ever listen to. My favorite tune was "The Stinger", composed by Seneri... it flows with sophisticated rhythm, & highlights each player without taking away from any of them... an absolute stunner! Mr. Seneri is (as of this moment) my favorite jazz organ player, & if you love jazz organ, you'll share my sentiments there. This album gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, as well as the "PICK" of this issue for "best organ jazz"! Get more information at www.vinceseneri.com Rotcod Zzaj
Ashia - PAY TO BE LOVED: One thing I enjoy most about writing this 'zine is the diversity of artists we get in here for review... a cello player who sings the (down & dirty) blues... this is a first for me, to be sure, but Ashia ROCKS, folks. The opening track, "Divine Killer", features her vocal in one of the darkest blues pieces I've ever heard on a jazz album, without doubt. She actually lists here genre (on the tracks) as "folk", but on this tune (my favorite), it's a lot more like blues! On the title track, after a splendid cello intro, she continues with vocals that stride right along as punctuation to the strings. Actually, after listening through this twice, I find myself remembering a young/upstart Janis Ian (many, many years back), & know that that is why Ashia's music holds the spell it does over my ears. You won't find any "jumping" tracks here, & in that sense it is more like a folk album than jazz... beautiful cello intros lead into her vocals on nearly every track. If you're looking for something different than you're used to, this gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Get more information at www.myspace.com/ashiavc Rotcod Zzaj
Michael Winograd - BESSARABIAN HOP: Klezmer clarinet seems to be the rage in some circles these days; I can't tell you how many of these (often) soulful & spirited CD's we've reviewed over the last 5 years, but I know it's been far more than we received in the mid-90's. Michael's (17 February, 2008) release starts off in a pensive mood, with "The Beginning", but by track 3, "Sher 199", he's got your toes tappin' & your brain in a party mood, no doubt. My favorite cut (for what I'm predisposed to think music like this is supposed to sound like) is "Patriot Bulgars"... images of vodka flowing & drunken soldiers dancing in spirited & whirling fashion. The compositions are actually more in a laid-back vein on this one, but anyone who enjoys lively and talented Klezmer will recognize Winograd's superb talent from the first bar! I give this one a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Get more information at www.michaelwinograd.com Rotcod Zzaj
Charles Rice Goff III - SWEAT ON A BLACKSMITH'S APRON: No one can ever accuse this magazine of not having an "open review" policy... CRG III's been sending us his crafts for eons now, & SOABA is one of the best ever... there's even a "country flavor" on parts of the CD (which might be something you'd expect with an album title like that). Rampant talent shines through on the opener, "The Ballad Of Burroughs Creek"... if you can imagine a country blacksmith backed by a chorale of monks, you'll have a hint. "Lilly Of The West" makes me think that maybe Lilly was eating pieces of that cacti found in her western desert... interesting synths & "whoosh" sounds prop up the sonics for a very pleasant listen. "Quantrill" takes us in a different direction, with fuzz guitar intro that will penetrate you down to your knees! "Chantey Dance In Dada Pants" is my favorite track on the album, in great part because of the title, but the lyrics are definitely in dada-land, too, which will make it a favorite for all you "stream of consciousness" types. For anyone who loves music that's never been heard before, this gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Get more information at www.geocities.com/padukem/ Rotcod Zzaj
Satoko Fujii Quartet - BACCHUS: I have been a fan of Ms. Fujii's works for so long I can't even remember (without digging through the archives) when we were first introduced. Satoko is, without question, THE most talented improvising keyboard artist on the jazz scene today... not just high energy & talent, but that "spark" of creativity that makes your ears stand up & listen to every little nuance in her compositions. Nothing lessens our estimation of her skills (or those of the other three players, either), in fact this album MAKES the impression all over again! There is (as on many of the quartet's albums) an "edge" that makes the music stick to your ribs... it will come back in the middle of the night & (pleasantly) stir you from sleep... any playing that can do that merits more than one listen... I've run through this album 5 times now, & am still finding little nuggets on various pieces. Absolutely alive jazz that will knock your SOCKS OFF! This one gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for sure. GET this one if you're looking for tastefully crafted music that won't just "settle in". Get more information at www.muzak.co.jp/artist/satokofujii/ Rotcod Zzaj
Trio Nuevo - JAZZ MEETS TANGO: What an entertaining little CD... we reviewed saxophonist Dick De Graaf's "MOVING TARGET" in our last issue, & this gem was in that package as well. Along with Dick's tenor work, you'll hear Michael Gustorff on violin, accordion by Hans Sparla & special (vocal) guest Sandra Coelers. The reeds against the violin & accordion is a combination we don't often hear in jazz, at least not in this "tango" mode... truth be told, I'm reminded of some of the interesting compositions I've heard Amy Denio do when I listen to it. There are lots of original De Graaf compostions, lively & spirited music that might remind you of your vision of some kind of gypsy camp. My favorite piece was "Sleeping Giant", which sounds much closer to what a listener would hear as "jazz" (especially with the wailing reeds aspect at around the 3:00 minute mark), but the violin takes it to another realm. A very enjoyable listen that gets our HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating. Get more information at www.trionuevo.eu Rotcod Zzaj
Fred Katz - FOLK SONGS FOR FAR OUT FOLK: Those listeners who thirst for "more" in their music will enjoy this decidedly "different jazz" album with orchestras conducted by Mr. Katz. I didn't know it until reading the promo sheet, but this is the guy that created the odd music that backed the original late-'50's Corman production of "Little Shop Of Horrors"... actually, that's one of the films that got me interested in improv & "odd" music, so hearing what Fred was doing in 1959 (when this was recorded) kind of took me back a way... it will do the same for you. Of course, back in those days, this was "beatnik" music... no one bought such albums, except as a gag gift... everything "normal" folks bought was along the lines of Sinatra, Crosby, Elvis & Ricky Nelson... I'm really glad to hear the folks at "Reboot Stereophonic" recover these brilliant pieces for future generations - I haven't had this much fun listening to a jazz/folk CD in many years! There is a breadth & depth to this music that is timeless, & anyone who enjoys music that takes the listener in new directions will agree when I rate it as MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Get more information at www.rebootstereophonic.com Rotcod Zzaj
Dorothy Doring - SOUTHERN EXPOSURE: Our first listen to Ms. Doring's jazz vocal works was indeed a pleasure... the liners have a keyword that I think really applies - "smoldering"... that really applies, no matter what style she & her players are tackling, her voice turns it into somethin' that literally SMOKES... steam-heat combined with raw energy & talent... her rendition of "I Love Paris" (by Cole Porter) breathes new life into a standard that's often done a disservice by low-key rambling of the lyric & energy-lacking players... I can tell you - that is NOT the case with her interpretation of it.... just SUPERB! The list of players is far too long to list here, but she's chosen folks who know right where she's coming from as a singer... seldom do the singer & the players communicate as clearly as they do on (all) the tracks on this great album. My favorite piece on the album is "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin'"... one of the most sultry renditions I've ever heard. This is a great album, & if you love female jazz vocals, you'll have no problem agreeing with me when I declare it MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Get more information at www.dorothydoring.com Rotcod Zzaj
Guideline for artists SUBMITTING to us: We do NOT generally review .mp3 files/sites. Being an active artist myself, though, I understand the need for the use of Internet sites as a "staging ground" for reviews! You are encouraged to email us your .mp3 links... we will visit the site/link, & if we like your energies, we will contact YOU! (We will NOT respond to followup inquiries about .mp3 files, though!!! p.s. If you EVER e-mail me .mp3 files, you will be BLACKLISTED on this site!!!)
We would really appreciate any support you can give us in this effort - as you'll see, there are a few FREE trax on each of the albums, too! Please (also) TELL other folks about our new BLASTMYMUSIC site!
You can ALSO sell your OWN music by clicking on the graphic
below (you'll really be helping Zzaj out, as it uses my Affiliate ID when you
sign up with BLASTMYMUSIC. Thanks:
In This Issue: -
IF you are the FIRST e-mail respondent to this note (to
email@example.com - MAKE SURE
your subject states ALEX CD), you will
receive (free of charge) a copy of a superb jazz CD by Alex Kontorovich, titled
"DEEP MINOR" (which was reviewed in our last issue). We will have (some)
more freebies coming in future issues, so be sure & tell all your friends about
RETURN to Zzaj
Productions MAIN page!