4 posts categorized "CD Reviews"

CD brings the power of the words of Frederick Douglass together with the beauty of jazz

Please shelter this sister from the house of bondage till five OClock this afternoon - She will then be sent on to the land of freedom. Yours Truly Fredk

These words scrawled by abolitionist Frederick Douglass on a note to give safe passage on the Underground Railroad to a slave moving north to Canada are among other powerful words, culled from Douglass's speeches and writings and combined with the music that sprang from the African-American experience, in the wonderful new CD A Sky With More Stars, set to music by Philadelphia-based jazz bassist/composer Tyrone Brown, who has performed and recorded with Grover Washington, Jr., Max Roach and Odean Pope.album cover The CD sets spoken word passages of Douglass’s writings and speeches with music composed by Brown and violinist John Blake and performed by an ensemble that also includes Bill Meek on piano, Craig McIver on drums, Melissa Locati, Beth Dzwil, Ron Lipscomb and Germaine Ingram. Douglass’s words are spoken by Paul Burgett. The idea for the CD came from Richard Peek, director of the Rare Books and Special Collection at the Rush Rhees Library at the University of Rochester, which currently has a an exhibit on "Douglass in Rochester."

For more coverage of the CD, check out Jack Garner's January 22nd article CD combines power of Frederick Douglass, jazz ensemble in the D&C, Lee Mergner's article for JazzTimes.com Tyrone Brown Album Salutes Frederick Douglass, and Ron Netsky's review of the CD in City Newspaper. Additionally, Tom Hampson will play the entire CD on his radio show, Mostly Jazz, this weekend on WXXI AM1370 from 7:00 to 8:00 pm on Saturday, and repeating on WRUR FM88.5 from 8:00 to 9:00 PM on Sunday.

You can buy A Sky with No Stars from Amazon, directly from Tyrone Brown's publisher Dreambox Media, or from local record shops like the Bop Shop.

This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

Obligatory Grammy jazz nominations post ... The envelope pulleeeze!

Grammy logoA bit late due to aforementioned issues with time, etc., but the 51st Grammy Award nominations are out. I felt compelled to put up a "here are the Grammy nominations" post. Don't always agree with their choices, but there are a few good ones in there.  and here are the nominations for jazz (that would be Field 10, Categories 45 for your Grammy novices):

Best Contemporary Jazz Album

Best Jazz Vocal Album

Best Jazz Instrumental Solo

  • Be-Bop—Terence Blanchard, soloist (Track from: Live At The 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival--Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars) (Monterey Jazz Festival Records)
  • Seven Steps To Heaven--Till Brönner, soloist (Track from: The Standard, Heads Up International)
  • Waltz For Debby—Gary Burton & Chick Corea, soloists (Track from: The New Crystal Silence, Concord Records)
  • Son of Thirteen—Pat Metheny, soloist (Track from: Day Trip--Nonesuch Records)
  • Be-Bop--James Moody, soloist (Track from: Live At The 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars) (Monterey Jazz Festival Records)

 Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group

  • The New Crystal Silence—Chick Corea & Gary Burton (Concord Records)
  • History, Mystery—Bill Frisell (Nonesuch Records)
  • Live—Brad Mehldau Trio (Nonesuch Records)
  • Day Trip—Pat Metheny with Christian McBride & Antonio Sanchez (Nonesuch Records)
  • Standards—Alan Pasqua, Dave Carpenter & Peter Erskine Trio (Fuzzy Music)

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

Best Latin Jazz Album

Well, there they are.  Click on the links to be taken to buy them on Amazon.  I will try to give some of these a listen and may post later and may also find and link to some posts from other jazz writers and bloggers about the nominees.  Let me know what you think in the comments.

This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

100 great jazz albums on the wall . . . 100 great jazz al-bums . . . take one down and pass it around. . . .

CDI've been meaning to let you know about the blog 100 Greatest Jazz Albums for some time.  Blogger Ken Watkins brings you his choices for the best in jazz, highlights the greatest jazz albums, and selects the best of the jazz CD and mp3 new releases. The site includes the following features and links:

  • The 100 Greatest Jazz Albums (an ongoing review of the 100 greatest jazz albums)
  • Recently released and recommended top jazz CD albums
  • Recent re-releases
  • Forthcoming jazz new releases and jazz re-releases
  • What's selling best on the Amazon Top 100 jazz download and jazz album charts (updated hourly)
  • Links to free video and audio jazz podcasts
  • Jazz news
  • Jazz on DVD
  • A jukebox that plays and directs you to mp3 tracks that are approved for download
  • A jazz gig guide

Now you might not agree with all of Ken's choices, but he's collected a lot of stuff and it's definitely worth some exploration.

This post was originally published on JazzRochester.

Like a deer in the headlights, Herbie Hancock accepts a Grammy for Best Album of the Year

Herbie Hancock, River: The Joni LettersSo, were you as surprised as Herbie Hancock was on last night's 2007 Grammy Awards show when it was announced that his album of Joni Mitchell music River: The Joni Letters had won the Best Album award? Damn! A jazz album getting a Grammy for Best Album? As the stunned Hancock pointed out, this was the first time that it had happened in over 40 years. While I dutifully report the Grammy nominations, I've often disagreed with and sometimes outright guffawed at their choices for Best Album and other categories. Who woulda thunk that they'd actually pick a jazz album and a pretty damn good one to boot! While River: The Joni Letters was seen by some as just another in a number of lesser works that have been appearing on the jazz scene trying to cadge some sales out of tributes to this or that artist's music, with the obligatory appearance by Norah Jones, it is unlike those albums in a number of ways that distinguish it and, I think, make it a great jazz album, despite receiving a Grammy. First, Joni Mitchell's music and lyrics have always struck me as full of jazz sensibilities. Listening to her music and her forays into jazz, such as 1979's Mingus (where, by the way, she was joined by Hancock and Shorter, as well as Jaco Pastorius), I've always thought that Joni Mitchell could have been (or is?) a great jazz vocalist and composer. Second, Hancock has assembled a killer group of musicians, including Shorter and Dave Holland, and they all bring something to the recording—they're not just going through the motions to get paid. His choice of vocalists also adds another layer of flavors to Shorter and Holland's (I especially loved Tina Turner on "Edith and the Kingpin" and Leonard Cohen was perfect for "The Jungle Line". My second (or was it third) time through River: The Joni Letters confirmed that I just enjoy listening to it.

Grammy AwardThe winners of the Jazz categories (including another for River):

Leave a comment and tell us what you think.  If you'd like to buy the albums on Amazon click on the links (or on the picture for River). Apparently, there is a special Amazon only version of River: The Joni Letters that has two bonus tracks, including "All I Want" by Sonya Kitchell, whom some of you may have heard at the 2006 Rochester International Jazz Festival.

This post was originally published on JazzRochester.