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Showing posts with label reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reviews. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Car-Ride Review - Perry Joslin "Dreams of Reality"

Perry Joslin - "Dreams of Reality"

Pianist/composer Perry Joslin is his own thing - which makes him a little hard to describe. His compositions are longer, more sophisticated and less repetitive than smooth jazz, but they are not really "jazzy" either. They remind me of what is currently happening on the better side of pop. Joslin's melodies are so often lyrical in fact (particularly the choruses) that I can easily hear them in the hands of any of today's superior pop singers and kicking ass. There are times when the piano just isn't flexible enough to let these dreamy, occasionally unpredictable lines do what they want to do. Nonetheless, they come across, and are almost always engaging, especially when a guitar or sax doubles up on them.

Back to the genre thing. I know so little contemporary jazz I have nearly nothing to compare him with. At times Grusin-y, at times lightly funky, at times rock or pop, or all at once. Whatever it is, it's a good listen, always pleasing. The songs don't always do
courtesy of perryjoslin.com
 what you expect them to do ("I Got a Better Groove" flips back and forth from Latin to Contemporary) but they stand and deliver. One or two of the ballads are not as strong, but get lifted beyond their stratus with superb soloing. "Plop the needle" on anything from track 6-13 and have yourself a good time with the meat of the album. Highlights include "Tea at Trianon" - pop all the way with a satisfying array of hooks, "Rain" sounds and feels exactly like you want it to, and "What I Want" is one of several highly emotional tracks that build just right.

Let's talk about the band. Holy cow. If someone gave you all the money you needed to get the best South Florida musicians, this is exactly who you'd choose. Lee Levin on drums, Will Lee or Nathan East on bass, Dan Warner on guitar. Joslin rarely solos himself, but allows his cuts to be elevated into jazzier spaces with Ed Calle insanely tearing up the tenor, Mindi Abair on alto, Chad Bernstein blowing impeccable trombone and Augie Hass on flugelhorn, among others. Another very nice touch is the addition of Doug Emery on organ. Arrangements by Levin and Warner are top notch.

Whatever the genre, it's a through and through solid affair. A
s long as one goes in without expectations, happiness and repeated listens will ensue. Kudos! - DJ Kendo

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Retro Review - Jimmy McGriff!

The Worm!

This is a bit of a mixed bag, genre-wise; but I heartily approve! It starts out like future albums - very funky dance-oriented organ jazz. But track three sets a new pace: burning uptempo jazz with a large ensemble. "Heavyweight" loosely resembles "Grantstand" harmonically by Grant Green from a few years earlier.The presence of Blue Mitchell (trumpet) and Fats Theus (tenor sax) set this album apart from looser soul-jazz dates along with legendary Mel Lewis kicking a$$ on drums.A cover of Aretha's "Think" and a tune called "Blue Juice" which is in fact "High Heeled Sneakers" thinly veiled, along with a simmering "Girl Talk" (Neal Hefti) are all burning performances. Fats has the varitone on ocassionally, and one Thornell Schwartz is a killer addition on guitar. It's basically everything you wanted from McGriff; soul jazz meets emotionally fulfilling postbop. - Kendo

Friday, February 21, 2014

Brief Review - Thomson Kneeland!

Thomson Kneeland  - Mazurka for a Modern Man

First, let's get this out of the way. Thomson Kneeland is a friend; we played for some time together in Shenole Latimer's quartet. I feel no awkwardness in giving a rave review - I have hundreds of friends with albums, many very good! but few inspire me to convey thoughts on them immediately after the first pass.

As the artwork suggests, the colors of this collection leave you with an overall positive, bright feeling; not to say there aren't pensive or even sad moments. I am generally not fond of jazz fused with Eastern European music. Instead of
smitten aping, however, Thomson fully internalizes the rhythms and scales, making it a genuinely personal, enjoyable expression. Jazz remains the predominant influence on the compositions, which boast
Thomson Kneeland - photo by
Imaginoor Photography
strong, appealing melodies and a wonderful sense of form. Everything is on a high level, including the taste factor. These are incredibly serious cats, but nothing is over-dazzling or accomplished for the sake of it. Every solo is rewarding on pure emotional levels as well as harmonically and technically. 

Djs and humans alike will be grateful that not every track is 8 minutes or longer. That said - my favorites were the long ones (which seemed to go by rather quickly). "Hyperion", "Dithyramb" and "Nebuchadnezzar" as well as the opener "Ashlayah" sport thrilling moments from Thomson (bass) and the late Take Toriyama (drums). Nate Radley's sound as well as his feel are the icing on the cake. David Smith's trumpet tone is clear and honest, providing a certain starkness and haunt to the proceedings.

If you are looking for something new & different in your jazz listening,
this is a 10 out of 10. "Mazurka..." has plenty of intricacy and interest, along with blissful moments of repose. You won't need a music degree to appreciate it and you won't need a nap afterwards. Still, one is left feeling the partakement (new word!) of something with fantastic substance. - Kendo

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Brief Review - Jack Mouse!

Jack Mouse Group - "Range of Motion"  4.25 out of 5.00

Three cheers for a gleeful spirit of adventure, clever invention and savvy know-how. Every track is good, but the album really starts to take off from #5 on. Plenty of variety, off-kilter tributes and daring; particularly from leader Jack Mouse (drums) and guitarist John McLean. The band moves and navigates together like a pampered Ferrari in the lead. Horn man Scott Robinson also stands out. Highlights from the all-original fare are "Raucous Caucus", "The Breezeling", "Mean Streak" and the neato duo closer with Robinson "Loose Weave".