November 2000


Jimmy Scott - "Mood Indigo"

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What do Madonna, Nancy Wilson, Frankie Valli and Lou Reed have in common? They have all offered testimonials to the talent of Jimmy Scott. He is one of those cult figure vocalists, although he has been performing since joining Lionel Hampton over fifty years ago.

Over 75 years of age, and known in the past primarily as a blues and R&B singer, his high pitched voice, a result of Kallman's Syndrome, Scott shows the emotion of a true interpreter of the "Great American Song Book". Like Fred Astaire, whose feel for a song was better than his voice, Jimmy explores the melody with his own feeling for lyrics.

The pace is generally slow, for the almost hour of wonderful music, each syllable carefully pronounced.

Classy rhythm sections made up of Michael Kana or Cyrus Chestnut - piano, Hilliard Green or George Mraz - bass, Joe Beck - guitar. Drummers Grady Tate and Victor Jones along with soloist Hank Crawford's powerful saxophone and a new name, the terrific Gregoire Maret, doing Toots Thielmans proud, on harmonica.

Flavourful classics such as "Smile", "Imagination", "How Deep is the Ocean", "Blue Skies", two interpretations of "Mood Indigo", plus four others, make for great listening.

Milestone MCD-9305-2 To Order

Vince Guaraldi & Bola Sete - "Vince & Bola"

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Guitarist Bola Sete's name means "ball number 7" in Brazilian. Billiard ball number 7 is the only black ball on the table - Bola, in his own country, was the only black member of a small jazz group. Segovia, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian and Oscar Moore were early influences, before his discovery by Dizzy Gillespie in 1962.

A quote of Sete's musical abilities is that he has "the exceptional knack for catching and projecting the spirit of a tune".

Pianist Vince Guaraldi is one of those multi-talented artists. He has performed with, among others, Cal Tjader, Woody Herman and Stan Getz, but is probably best known for his many "Charlie Brown " themes.

The meeting of these two marvelous musicians, both unfortunately no longer with us, is a treat. Sete shines on "Black Orpheus' Suite" - with themes written by his friend Luiz Bonfa. "More" (Theme from Mondo Cane) and "People", are two standards bringing Guaraldi to the forefront. The album, recorded a quarter century ago, is an outstanding consolidation of jazz and samba

Fantasy FCD-24756-2To Order

Kenny Coleman - "Straight Ahead"

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Kenny Coleman's first album for the Justin Time label "Dreamscape", showed his mellow side. His second recording "Straight Ahead", with a few exceptions, moves freely from start to finish.

Surrounded by the A-team of musicians, including British Columbia's pianist-arranger Miles Black and guitarist, Oliver Gannon, the American saxophonist, Houston Person, and everbody's favourite bassist, Dave Young. The vocalist teams up with Montreal's top Diva, Ranee Lee, on an exciting rendition of Cole Porter's seldom heard "Dream Dancing" (look for Ranee's "Dark Divas" also on Justin Time).

Coleman's vocalizing carries on the crooning tradition of three of his mentors, Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Johnny Hartman.

The fifteen selections are varied with compositions by Mercer, Porter, Ellington, Legrand, Rogers and Hart, and even "Dirty Harry" himself, Clint Eastwood.

It is terrific to hear lyrics interpreted properly.

Justin Time JUST 147-2 To Order

Dianne Reeves - "In the Moment"

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It has been thirteen years since Dianne Reeves recorded her hit, "Better Days" for Blue Note. She has always been a vocalist to try "something new", unafraid to explore new horizons. She has always stressed the importance of developing a unique voice with a strong jazz foundation, and has facilitated the exploration of her own individuality.

This, her eighth Blue Note release was recorded over two nights in January, 2000 at Studio Instrument Rentals Sound Stage in Los Angeles.

A perfectionist, and one of a breed of vocalists courageous enough to take a chance, has an original interpretation on Cat Steven's hit, "Morning Has Broken". A lovely up-tempo rendition of Cole Porter's "Love For Sale". Bossa Nova King, Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Triste" hits the spot, along with eight other numbers. There is a special energy in a live performance, and Reeves captures it in every way.

Keyboard player, Otmaro Ruiz, guitarist Romero Lubambo, bassist Reginald Veal, drummer Rocky Bryant and percussionist Munyungo Jackson provide superb backing. Another keyboard player, George Duke, who happens to be Reeves cousin, guests on "Come In", and produced the sessions

Blue Note 7243 5 25141 2 0To Order

Ronnie Earl - "Healing Time"

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This is guitarist, Ronnie Earl's first recording for Telarc. There is a strong presence by Jimmy McGriff on Hammond B3 on two selections, the opener "Churchin' ", and the almost ten minute spiritual style of "Blues on a Sunday". On the other nine tracks, keyboardist, Anthony Geraci, shows his versatility.

Ronnie Earl, the winner in 1997 and 1999, of the W.C.Handy Award for Best Blues guitarist, was a former member of Boston's "Rhythm Rockers", Rhode Island's "Sugar Ray and the Bluestone", and "Roomful of Blues" from the late 70's until 1988, before going out on his own.

His band "The Broadcasters" is based around central Massachusetts. He didn't take up guitar until the advanced age of 22, after attending a Muddy Waters show in Boston.

On this recording he gets inside the music, showing extreme changing emotions from melody to melody - half a dozen originals, and a mix of compositions by Muddy Waters, Duke Pearson, Pharoah Sanders and McGriff. The traditional "Amazing Grace" is a fitting way to end this graceful recording.

Telarc CD-83490 To Order

Pucho & The Latin Soul Brothers - "Cold Shoulder"

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This CD is a merging of tracks from four albums recorded between 1966 and 1970. Pucho & The Latin Soul Brothers were considered one of the funkiest boogaloo bands around, heard in all the dance clubs of the day. When tastes changed, the group disbanded. It took twenty years to be re-discovered - British DJ's started sampling Pucho's albums.

Persuaded to put his band back together, he toured England and recorded new albums for 3 different labels.

Henry Brown grew up in Spanish Harlem. He was dubbed Pucho by a boyhood pal when he was 12, in honour of a poster on his wall advertising a band called "Pucho and the Alfaroma X". He formed his own group in 1959.A couple of highlights from the sixteen tunes on this re-issue are the different approaches to Ray Charles' hit "I Can't Stop Loving You", and Hoagy Carmichaels' "Georgia On My Mind". Pianist Neal Creque, now a college professor in Ohio, penned nine of the compositions. Special notice is given to vocalist Jackie Soul, who passed away last year (1999), horn players, Eddie and Al Pazant and vibist William Bivens, Jr.

Prestige PRCD-24240-2 To Order

Various - Space Cowboys/Music from the Motion Picture

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Clint Eastwood, Hollywood's number one jazz fan, in the past, responsible for, among others, such great soundtracks as "Bird", "Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil", and "Play Misty For Me", has put his mark on his latest production, "Space Cowboys" - not all jazz, but an enjoyable mix nevertheless. Moving interpretations by Willie Nelson "Still Crazy After All These Years" and "Young at Heart". One by Chad Brock, "Take It To The Limit", a funky "Last Night" by Larry Goldings, Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley, a sensitive version of "I Only Have Eyes For You" by Mandy Barnett.

One of Eastwood's favourite pianists, Brad Mehldau, performs Neil Young's "Old Man" and a reprise of "Still Crazy..........". Saxophonist Joshua Redman breathes new life in to three selections "The Best Is Yet To Come", "Hit The Road Jack" and "The Second Time Around", and speaking of a reprise, the grand finale is the 1964 recording of Sinatra and Basie doing "Fly Me To The Moon". If the movie is as good as the music, Clint has another winner.

Warner Bros. CDW 47848 To Order

Chucho Valdes - "Live at the Village Vanguard"

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Chucho Valdes is the founder, over a quarter century ago, of Cuba's top jazz orchestra "Irakere". His latest recording was done at New York's fabled Village Vanguard, to sold out audiences. The leader on piano, with Francisco Rubio Pampin - acoustic bass, Raul Pineda Roque - trap drums, Roberto Vizcaino Guillot - conga and bata drums, and Chucho's sister, Mayra Caridad Valdes - vocals on one song, wind their way through nine tunes, including "Lorraine's Habanera (written for Vanguard's proprietor Lorraine Gordon), "To Bud Powell" (a tribute to the bop pianist), and Rodger's and Hart's "My Funny Valentine". There are hints of Cecil Taylor, McCoy Tner, Lennie Tristano and fellow countryman Gonzalo Rubalcaba in Valdes' interpretations.

This recording proves how Valdes lives up to his reputation of being one of the top jazz musicians living in Cuba.

Blue Note Records 7243 5 2073023 To Order

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