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, May 10, 2017

We have moved.............


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Audrey Silver | Very Early

by Raul da Gama

Very Early
Audrey Silver
Messy House Productions (2016) 

Although there are a variety of composers whose sensibilities are reflected in the repertoire of Audrey Silver’s second album, including several songs written by the vocalist, herself, the outstanding item remains Bill Evans’ iconic song Very Early, which gives the album its title. Silver revels in the rapturous lyricism of the great pianist almost as if the song was written – by some magical connection across the spirit world – with her voice in mind. Of course the rest of the material on the album is also splendidly sung by the charismatic singer whose lyric poetry is reminiscent of Joni Mitchell’s not the least because of its broken lines, irregular rhyming, complex changes and a certain wry, almost bitter sensibility that Mitchell brought even to her most romantic work. The bleak narrative of “The Cold Wind’s Embrace,” enhanced by Alex Pope Norris’ high and lonesome trumpet makes for some of the most telling moments in the song. Moreover, Silver changes the colors of songs such as “Getting to Know You” from major to minor keys and this heightens her penchant for bringing a certain Miles Davis-like sardonicism to her music.

Against the backdrop of this dramatically different and enigmatic sound world, adorned by Gary Versace’s old-worldly accordion, the gleaming, gem-like resonating of Tom Beckham’s vibes, the sounds and silences of Ron Affif’s willowy guitar and the gentle egging on of the vocalist by pianist Bruce Barth, Silver’s sensuous contralto soars and dips, hinting at great truths always just out of reach. Throughout the performance, Audrey Silver paints the songs descriptive pictures with a palette of moody colors. The singer lives the music through extraordinary vocalastics often explored at slow speeds inviting a degree of indulgent empathy that weighs down the music with just the right amount of zest (when the song calls for it) and weightiness. “Jardin D’Hiver,” a song first made classic by the great French vocalist Henri Salvador and later by Stacey Kent and the Canadian, Emilie-Claire Barlow is paced more skillfully than appears, more vivid, and Silver’s luminous voice quality has ecstasy within its reach as she turns on the tap of profound vocal beauty. By now it becomes patently obvious that we are being confronted by a star of immense brightness. 

Mose Allison’s blues-drenched “What’s With You” provides a nice change of pace for Audrey Silver and also highlights the rocking rhythm section that features Paul Beaudry on bass and the legendary Lewis Nash on drums. Silver draws the most sympathetic performance, however, from Alex Pope Norris, a presence, it would seem, that is almost divinely inspired. The trumpeter’s eloquence combined with Silver’s voice makes a case for marking this album as one of the best vocal albums of 2016. This is also an album that is excellently orchestrated and produced, one that has been produced with rapt attention to detail by Steven Santoro, a vocalist, pianist and producer who learned from one of the best in the business – Ahmet Ertegun.  But all said and done, it is Audrey Silver that holds sway and her performance begs recognition for an emerging vocalist for whom the sky’s the limit.

Tracks: Galileo; Surry with the Fringe on Top; The Cold Wind’s Embrace; Getting to Know You; Goodbye New York; Until; Lemon Twist; Very Early; What’s with You; Jardin D’Hiver; Lucky to Be Me; When the World Was New

Personnel: Audrey Silver: vocals; Bruce Barth: piano; Paul Beaudry: bass; Lewis Nash: drums; Alex Pope Norris: trumpet; Gary Versace: accordion; Ron Affif: guitar; Tom Beckham: vibes.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Olie Brice | Achim Kaufmann | Of Tides

by Stamish Malcuss
Olie Brice and Achim Kaufmann
Of Tides
Babel Label (2016)

In December of 2014 Olie Brice and pianist Achim Kaufman recorded live at The Vortex in a duo setting. Though bass and piano is not an uncommon sound the duo has a unique cohesive sound that compliments the sparse sound a duo can offer.  

The five tracks here, totaling just over an hour of music, contain a plentiful of moments that display the   versatility and ability of each player that come from diverse backgrounds to find common grount to create a coherent and nourishing sound. A plethora of improvisation, and nuances are throughout this recording, making it a satisfying blend. 

What is best about a duo sound is the evident empathy and sense of discovery that can be found in the paired setting and Brice and Kaufman certainly rise to the task.  What is most striking about these two players, is their reverential approach to the overall result. Each prepared to give the other respect and space, while still offering a supportive role and not focusing on their own individuality, rather the group result.   Normally I would pick out one track or another to focus on in my review, but this album is more of a feeling or connecting of moments, that it truly will take listening to each track as a collective piece to absorb the deeper meaning of its free style and avant nature. 

Track Listing: Moss Grew in the Cracks; The Rumble of Constant Adjustment; Cogitations; To Heap; Of Tides.

Personnel: Olie Brice: double bass; Achim Kaufmann: piano.

Larry Corban | Corban Nation

by Raul da Gama

Corban Nation
Larry Corban
Nabroc Records (2016)

There are, principally two kinds of electric guitarists who are likely to be encountered in a survey of the music scene today: The first is the kind who aims his bolts right between the eyes, stunning the listener with electrifying pyro techniques. And then there’s the other, who fires musical missives at the heart, there to make the blood bubble and boil and create an inebriating experience of the music at hand. Larry Corban is the latter kind; a guitarist imbued with a soulful sound that comes from a hype-free musicianship that is built on the sound principal of less-flash and more-art. As a result, Corban’s music eschews funny time-signatures, sticking, instead, to hard and inviting swing. And yet, sparks can fly with a quiet, consuming fire fueled by a lot of passion about where there is to go. These wonderful characteristics coalesce right across the musical spectrum of Corban Nation, a joyous disc – the third CD that the guitarist has recorded with the “Aperturistic Trio”. 

The unusual, ‘found’ word that Larry Corban uses to describe the music he makes with pianist and organist James Weidman, drummer Steve Williams and bassist and producer Harvie S comes from an invented disambiguation of the term ‘aperture’, that device that lets in the exact amount of light into a camera to take the perfect picture. Corban would do well to patent the term for it informs the precise amount of musicianly sizzle that has gone into making this music truly memorable. At any rate, virtually no other musician is likely to have produced the faultless intonation of Corban, evoking warmth and sustained emotion merely by caressing the guitar strings as can be heard on Corban Nation. For the record, the augmentation of the trio on three charts by the glorious and colourful arpeggiated chord-laying of the saxophonist Steve Slagle creates a classy collaboration on “In-Vision,” “Corban Nation” (the track) and “Slow Fizz.” Throughout, though, it is Corban’s excellent ear for sound that provides music that the other musicians delight in, following to an anything-but-inevitable conclusion. 

The multiplicity of new paths that Corban and Weidman seem continually to be embarking on are exemplified in “Segment,” which takes flight from the sensibilities derived from the poetic assemblage of Charlie Parker. The music is rich with the imagination of a guitarist, ably assisted by the bassist Harvie S, a warrior of many memorable musical expeditions. The presence of Steve Williams, a ubiquitous figure in the late Shirley Horn’s band, is deeply felt and informed by a visceral excitement that is deeply felt in a uniquely blue Jazz manner. Listening to Corban Nation, a slowly burning disc albeit with brightly glowing embers reveals new dimensions to the sonic miracles that a group fronted by an unassuming, elegant guitarist can produce. Corban’s often intimate monologues are bounced off the three other musicians who each have a more extrovert frame of mind and play with a galvanizing commitment. As a result there is a constant feeling of exciting exchanges between musicians with dramatically different personalities. This has enabled Larry Corban to reach a new high point in his recorded output with Corban Nation

Tracks: In-Vision; Corban Nation; What It Is; Child’s Tune; The Shape of Time; Segment; Trekian Logic; Slow Fizz; I Should Care. 

Personnel: Larry Corban: guitar; Harvie S: upright and electric bass; James Weidman: piano, organ, Fender Rhodes; Steve Williams: drums; Steve Slagle: alto saxophone (Corban Nation & Slow Fizz).