Welcome To Jazz Sensibilities, A place where Jazz and its many genres are the focus!
I am Jeff Becker, a freelance writer who has written for jazz and food publications across the nation. As the site grows you will see multiple reviewers contributing to the ideas of Jazz Sensibilities. Look around, browse the jazz and support the artists by visiting their shows and hearing their CDs, and first and foremost, just enjoy!
Meadows is joined on his sophomore recording Somethin'
Good, with Brent Birckhead on alto sax, Eric Kennedy on drums, Eric
Wheeler on bass, Paul Bollenback on guitar, Warren Wolf on vibes and guest
vocalists Lena Seikaly and Christine Dashiell on a couple of tracks. In addition to playing piano, Meadows also
sings on four of the tracks, with a John Legend easy going vibe to his vocal
style.Meadows has a witty writing style,
his compositions are fresh and enjoy a strong foundation in the tradition of
jazz coupled with a reach into to contemporary sounds and inspiration. Meadows'
lyrics are positive and are every bit as enjoyable as the music and playing,
which makes this offering even more appealing. Seikaly and Dashiell's voices
are used to sing non-lyric melodies and function as enhancement to the overall
On four cover tunes Meadows shows his arranging
skills, which include Michael Jackson's "Rock With You," Dizzy
Gillespie's "Groovin' High," "Come Together" by
Lennon-McCartney, and a solo piano rendition of Billy Strayhorn's "Lush
Life." All four selections have been well-traversed over the years and
many have used them as improvisational vehicles, but Meadows keeps it fresh by
adding some truly creative touches without deconstructing the tunes into
"Rock With You" is given a 5/4 groove
intro that effortlessly segues to 4/4 feel for the verse.Meadows displays confident singing and well-placed
vocal harmonies by the chorus which adds just the right interest. A return to a 5/4 feel with an interlude
before Bollenback's solo, then is layered over a nice 6/8 feel. When reading this
concept on paper one might think this will sound distracting, but Meadows seamlessly
connects the details into a flawless flow.
These two examples are only that; examples of the exemplary
work and ideas of a composer, arranger and performer who reside in one very
talented Mark Meadows.His arranging
skills are inventive, interesting and well beyond his young years.His vocal style is a modern sound with an
almost crossover appeal. The sound of jazz is growing daily, and the younger
generation is trumpeting their sound, Meadows is at the forefront of that
creative wave, definitely one to watch.
Listing: Come Together; Just Imagine;
Rock With You; Somethin’ Good; Once Upon a Purple Night; Less Catchy; Way Up
Here; For You; Groovin’ High; Get Lost; Lush Life.
Personnel: Mark Meadows: piano, voice; Paul Bollenback: guitar;
Warren Wolf: vibes; Brent Birckhead: alto sax; Christine Dashiell: vocals
(8,9); Lena Seikaly: vocals (2); Eric Kennedy: drums; Eric Wheeler: bass. Record Label: Self Produced
Composer/Pianist Terry Marshall has put together an
enjoyable project entitled, Arrival featuring five original
compositions and six well and not so well -known standards and arrangements by
Marshall. There are four vocal selections featuring Iva Ambush on “Being Cool”
and “Upside Down,” Kendra Johnson on “This Bitter Earth” and Johnson is joined
by vocalist DeCastro Brown for “Moodies Mood For Love.”
For Arrival Marshall has a rotating cast
of players, but all speak the same language so the overall effect is still a
project that flows and has a consistent musical sound overall.Marshall’s originals are catchy and fit in
nice with the selected standards.The project
has a lot of straight eight selections, but the styles overall are varied and
with the four vocal selections mixed in with the instrumentals the listener
will always get the feeling of a cohesive project.
There is a plethora
of groove on this recording, but it is not for a purist of any specific genre,
instead it will appeal to a wide audience.Marshall’s most impressive skill are his ability to do all of the writing
and arranging and put a varied cast together that makes everything work; and of
course his playing is especially concerned with inviting the listener into the
musical moments that is Arrival.
4:32; Upside Down 4:22; This Bitter Earth 3:37; Being Cool 4:46; Nostalgia 6:24;
Questions And Answers 3:57; Moodies Mood For Love 3:27; Speak To My Heart 5:08;
Arrival 5:21; April In Paris 3:57; Blues 1:46.
Marshall - Piano (all tracks); Alejandro (Ah-leh-hahn-dro) Lucini - Drums
(tr.1,2,4,5,9); Harold Summey - Drums (tr.3,7); Tracey Cutler - Saxophone
(tr.2,3,4,5,7); Warren Atiba (Uh-tee-buh)Taylor - Saxophone(tr. 9); Muneer (Moo-nir) Nasser (Nae-ser) -
Trumpet (tr.9); Kevin Williams - Guitar (tr.1); Ben Young - Guitar (tr.1,6,11);
D.L. Watson - Guitar (tr.8); Iva Ambush - Vocals (tr.2,4); Kendra Johnson -
Vocals (tr.3,7); DeCastro Brown - Vocals (tr.7); Leonardo Lucini - Bass
(tr.1,2,4,5,6,9); Dave Marsh - Bass (tr.3,7,8,11); Donnie West - Bass (tr.10).
Destiny, Moment of Jazz is a fine outing by jazz vocalist Donna
Singer with longtime collaborator bassist Doug Richards. Destiny, Moment of Jazz, is
a collection of seven standards (one of which is just the Doug Richards trio instrumentally
-“I’ll Remember April”) and two originals by Carole Belle and Roy Singer- “This
Moment of Now” and “Sweet Destiny.”
Singer has a varied program of styles and there is certainly
something for every musical taste. “This
Moment of Now,” “Our Love Is Here To Stay,” and “Where or When” are medium
tempo swinging toe tapers, as well as
“What A difference A Day Made” that has a rubato gospel intro that develops
into relaxed swing.“Sweet Destiny” and
“Time After Time” are given a Latin treatment and “Yesterday” and “I Believe I
Can Fly” are straight eight gospel/pop infused selections.
Singer offers the listener a varied program with old style
flair.Her vocal style employs ample
vibrato reminiscent of the 40’s, with updated material underpinning the proceedings,
an enjoyable listen that employs the walk down memory lane feeling.
Personnel: Donna Singer (vocals); Doug Richards (bass); Billy
Alfred (piano); Mike Cervone (drums).
Special Guests: Jeff
Otis (guitar); Chris Pasen (flugelhorn); Nancy Wegrzyn (viola); Bobby Tee (percussion/drums).
Moment of Now 3:35; Our Love Is Here To Stay 3:53; Sweet Destiny 3:33; Yesterday
4:04;I’ll Remember April 4;36; Time
After Time 3:43; What A Difference A Day Made 3:02; I Believe I Can Fly 3:32; Where
or When 2:39.
Well-crafted and swinging, bassist Francesco Valente presents
bits of hard bop mixed with contemporary refrains, coupled with musicianship
that sparkles with each track.
Maloca has a very western feel arising from its Italian
composer. Valente's playing feels like a combination of classic Ray Brown, balanced
with a more contemporary Christian McBride. "Tchap" and "Maloca" both
present an effervescent of
youthful expressionism.Lucena and Gaspar have searing exchanges
throughout the beginning of the piece, while Valente creates a calm and
reserved energy allowing his bandmates the room to stretch out on the
"Maloca" is infused with a hint of Latin flavor,
but is not a total cop to the latin vibe, the piece is focused on stretching
out with subtle chord changes by Gasper and Moreira with Valente patterning a groovy and infectious pad, that still carries
an air of understated resplendent.
Valente's re-interpretation of Bela Bartok's "Romanian
Folk Dances" is a beaming interpretation, a fierce piece to perform with
skill within the classical cannon.The piece
originally featuring a violinist who must be in top form to navigate Valente re-interprets
the piece into a delicate and wonderfully emotional romantic march.
The closer "Soul" written by trumpeter, Johannes
Krieger, is a burning number with excellent individual lines and deeply rooted rhythms;
the excitement immediately catches you up in the moment. Maloca is an invigorating session
that holds strong within tradition, while still exploring and creating a new individual
sound, a solid debut from Francesco Valente and his MoFrancesco Quintetto.
The Last Taxi sports two apt leaders at the helm.Pianist, Patrick Battstone began performing
music professionally at the age of 14, playing in various rock, blues, and
R&B bands in South Western Ohio. By the time he was 18, he had received
lessons from Stan Kenton and Gary Burton, had been mentored by Oscar Treadwell
(Oska T.In 1973, he attended Berklee College of Music
and soon after became a student of both Mme Chaloff and Charlie Banacos. One of
his bands, which featured hometown friend Grover Mooney, opened the fabled 1369
Club in Cambridge in 1976. During the 80’s, Patrick studied the works of
Scriabin under the renowned Serge Conus. In 1986, he resumed jazz studies with
Joanne Brackeen in NYC for a period of six years.
Richard Poole is a composer, collaborator and performing
musician. On this project he command the
vibraphone and drum chair.After
attending Berklee in the early 1970’s, Richard moved to Miami, Florida and
studied Music Composition (scholarship) at Miami International University,
graduating in 1976. As a composer and collaborator, Richard has worked with
many of the 20th century’s great jazz artists, including: Paul Bley, Mark
Eagen, Don Bradon, Ira Sullivan, Curtis Fuller, George Garzone, Rebecca Parris,
Johnny Walker and Jaco Pastorius.
Battstone and Poole have a history of creating deeply moving
chemistry with their previous collaborations, Through an Open Door and
Nights were bothdeeply rooted in a chamber jazz
moniker.On this effort, it was
refreshing to see the two did not reinvent the wheel and kept firmly rooted in
the essence of their “chamber jazz” while expanding the overall textural sound
with the addition of Chris Rathbun on bass and Todd Brunel on bass clarinet. The result was a cohesive yet invigorating
conversation that ebbed and flowed with rich dialogue and enthralling
The spontaneity of each improvisation keeps the outing fresh
and filled with surprise around every corner. The Last Taxi is meant to be savored, like the
moments you spend with a longtime friend you have not seen in years; enjoy the
moments and revel in the memories.Certainly a must add to any creative improvisational or avant