Jazz Sensibilities

Since 2008, a place to discover new jazz and beyond releases on the rise. New WEBSITE and New Contributors Adding. Stay Tuned. Until then, enjoy the blog, but check back often.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Tony Lustig | Taking Flight

by Jeff Becker

Newcomer Tony Lustig debuts on the scene with a stellar line up of supporting cast members, but don’t let the word newcomer fool you, this baritone sax player has been a part of many projects as a sideman in action.  Taking flight features trombonist Michael Dease, pianist Samora Pinderhuges, bassist Ben Williams, and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. who all help to create balance, and the fire needed when hearing Lustig who can take risks when needed and also color within the lines of conformity when necessary. For these reasons Taking Flight stands head and shoulders above its contemporaries.

A Horace Silver version of “Change is Coming” is bright and uplifting, and Lustig and Dease offer hints of “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” laced into their solos.  “Fraytown” is a refreshingly swingin’ lorry to the game changing “Prometheus,” muscular, modern and a blowfest of proportional size, worthy of the New York jazz scene where each of these players reside, when not on tour.

A mixture of well-conceived numbers follow "For Wayne" is introspective yet profound "Serving It Up" digs into the funkmosphere reminiscent of the Adderley vibe, and "On The Wings Of Icarus" offers the listener a waltz of high flying fancy with the best dance card players firmly taking you through the latest steps. To sum things up a befitting jazz blues number "Burnin' Grease," relegates the end to a fun filled goodbye that leaves you ready to take the journey again and again.  Lustig set out to create a release that would reflect all of his music interests and to create a bridge for any listener with any background.  Taking Flight offers this aspect to the listener, along with top-shelf playing and depth beyond just an idea.  Highly Recommended!

Asa Trio, Craning

by Jeff Becker

Asa Trio, Craning (Sunny Sky; 2014)

Asa Trio emerged onto the scene in 2014 with their release Craning, from a young Icelandic trio. I know I am a bit late to the party, but this is such a compelling release, it merits coverage.

Craning melds and highlights each members strengths that have been exemplified in their solo projects. A textural masterpiece from the romantic folkish opener "Something To Make You Change Your Mind," which is ethereal and instantly an easy listen. This extends to the gospel-tinged "Green Door" in which Magnusson's organ lays a sure footed palate of emotions that captures the listener.

Though many may refer to Asa Trio as an organ trio, in truth, they are more like a cohesive unit versus individuals in a trio.  Thor and McLemore both shine throughout, individually on latter portions of session, which I might add turn quite funkified ("On Pluto" and "What Was I Thinking").

Craning is a superb debut, gleaning original material from what is now a veteran trio.  Highly recommend.

Bill Evans | Some Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest

by Jeff Becker

Bill Evans
Some Other Time
Resonance (2016)

Many are passionate about the works of Bill Evans, and frankly - its not a stretch to be a fan.  It simply never gets old, there is always a nuance to enjoy each time, his depth of harmony, his touch and overall use of melodic sensibility is unmatched. 
Some Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest, is a recording that sat in a safe in Germany for nearly 50 years. Luckily for all of us, Resonance Records acquired it, and released this two-CD set in the spring of 2016. Featuring Evans, performing in solo, duo and trio contexts in June of 1968 at the MPS Studios in Villingen, Germany, while on tour in Europe. This is a rare and wonderful find, and a truly "must have" add to your collection.

At the time the Evans’ trio included drummer Jack DeJohnette and bassist Eddie Gomez. DeJohnette was in this trio for just six months – and this was his only studio session with Evans. It includes Evans’ only recording of “These Foolish Things.” His solo endeavors include: “Lover Man” and “It’s All Right With Me.” The trio's take on the standard “How About You?” is revealing in so much as the pianist’s evolution origins, begin to show their transformation in a more percussive attack of the piano. Overall, I cannot add much more that has not already been said many times over about Evans, except this is a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED add to your collection if you are a Evans devotee.  

Track Listing: Disc One: You Go To My Head; Very Early; What Kind of Fool Am I?; l Remember April; My Funny Valentine; Baubles, Bangles & Beads [duo]; Turn Out The Stars; It Could Happen To You; In A Sentimental Mood; These Foolish Things; Some Other Time. Disc Two: You’re Gonna Hear From Me; Walkin’ Up; Baubles, Bangles & Beads [trio]; It’s Alright With Me [Incomplete]; What Kind Of Fool Am I?; How About You; On Green Dolphin Street; Wonder Why; Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?); You’re Gonna Hear From Me [Alternate Take].

Personnel: Bill Evans: piano; Jack DeJohnette: drums; Eddie Gomez: bass.