Like what you hear on WICB weekdays from noon to 2? From Cannonball Adderly to Larry Young and Mingus to Medeski, we got all your favorite Jazz. Keep up to date with the latest releases, performances, videos, and whatever happens to tickle our ivories here at our WICB Jazz Blog!
By: Cory Healy (@coaleksandr)
Kenny Garrett’s latest release celebrates the collective seed-planters and inspirators of his illustrious career with all-original compositions. After completing a world tour with the Grammy-winning Five Peace Band (Garrett, Corea, McLaughlan, McBride and Blade/Colaiuta), and receiving an honorary Doctorate in Music from Berklee, he returned to the studio (the first time since 2006’s also Grammy-nominated Beyond the Wall) with a refined sound and ascended vision to match. Here, we have one of the year’s already polished gems that promises an early Grammy bid as well as furthering Garrett’s sound as a pillar within the jazz world.
“Boogety Boogety” recalls his memory of watching western films with his father, and establishes a central melody interwoven in songs to come. It gives the listener a sense of how the dedications work as they shift between people, places and experiences; one of the album’s more powerful moments is aided by Garrett’s choir singing the melody on “Hayes Here” and “Welcome Earth Song”. “J Mac” (McLean) “Du-Wo-Mo” (Ellington, Shaw, and Monk), and “Ballad Jarrett” are the standout pieces here, while the title track testifies to the exceedingly strong ensemble Garrett has amassed. Most notably is the song “Detroit”, serving as a ballad dedicated to his hometown and mentor Marcus Belgrave. The piece controversially layers a vinyl-crackle sound on top, which will either alienate or further draw you into the piece depending if you view the sound as nostalgic or distracting. Digital crackle aside, it becomes Garrett’s most soulful, thankful tribute piece.
Prior to its release, Garrett stated “Don’t look for me to sound like my last record. I’m shifting - following what my spirit feels.” For a distinguished artist like Garrett, one doesn’t simply improve or mature their playing, but transcends conventional standard onto a higher plane of reckoning. Seeds From the Underground humbly proves this artistic transcendence, and promises to be a landmark addition to a magnificent discography.
For more on his album’s philosophy, be sure to check out this interview with the man himself! Expect this album to crop up on our airwaves within the week.
The second half of our very own JD’s interview with musician extraordinaire Marco Benevento, playing at the Haunt in Ithaca tonight at 9!
For more awesome interviews, tune in to Countdown to the Weekend every Friday from 4-6 PM or Jazz Impressions every weekday from noon-2, only on 92 WICB- streaming online on iHeartRadio. DJ Petey’s interviewing pianist Lisa Hilton on Monday!
I should stop being so surprised every time Lisa Hilton pumps out another awesome album every eight months or so. American Impressions is her fourteenth album and possibly her best work to date.
She is certainly the most active female jazz pianist in the business, but she may also be the best. Female jazz artists have a history of getting overlooked by the jazz community, and her work deserves much greater attention.
The album is filled with catchy tunes like “Too Hot,” and “Underground,” but Hilton takes her music to a different level with the song Waterfall. With this song, Hilton has established herself as a truly unique jazz artist with her own style. It’s a soul piano piece that plays like an acid trip. Hilton lures you in with soft, peaceful melodies before erupting into a passionate frenzy of chords, only to fade off into tranquility just as she began. Hilton touches your soul, leaving you begging for more.
Let’s not forget the top-notch musicians who accompany her on this album. Larry Grenadier, who has played with Brad Mehldau, Pat Metheny and Paul Motian, provides solid bass support, J.D. Allen on saxophone and drummer Nasheet Waits brings his own creativity to the quartet.
The music video for “Waterfall” is Lisa’s first, directed by amateur filmmaker James Grant.
Check back frequently to hear my interview with Lisa Hilton.
Petey’s Picks: Waterfall, Underground
Follow this jazz DJ: @Pete_Blanchard
Here’s Part 2 of Mama Cass’s interview with Reid Anderson of The Bad Plus! Hear what he has to say about The Rite of Spring, and what you can expect to see from them on tour!
In case you missed it, this is Part Uno of Mama Cass’s interview with Reid Anderson! Hear about their new projects and the new Bad Plus album you can look forward to come September!
Don Braden and Karl Latham, Big Funk Live
Posted by Cassandra Medcalf (@DJMamaCass)
As you know, I’m always looking for new music to play on Fusion Friday. Luckily, this little piece of gold arrived in the mail last week.
This album is just plain fun. Braden and Latham work extremely well together- the charts are well written and performed, but maintain the energetic feel of a late night jam session. I found myself dancing along and picturing myself at what must have been one incredible concert.
Though not at the forefront of the jazz scene, Don Braden is an accomplished saxophonist, composer, and arranger. He’s worked with Tony Williams, Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, and a bunch of the jazz greats- he’s even worked as a composer for Bill Cosby. Percussionist Karl Latham has also played with some fantastic musicians, such as Mark Egan and Clark Terry.
The two musicians work beautifully together on this album- seamlessly shifting between solos and never missing a beat. The production of this CD is great, too, considering it was recorded live. Listening to Braden’s sax solo “Having a Ball” (track 4), you can practically hear the hall around you- his tone is both piercing and resonant, transporting you to that jazz-club atmosphere. Similarly, Latham’s drum work really fills the space, complimenting the bass and keys with just enough rhythmic variety to toe the line between groovy and exciting. The Big Funk has that true, all-encompassing jazz feel that a lot of studio albums lack.
And I can’t talk about the musicianship without mentioning Gary Foote of Blood, Sweat, and Tears on bass and Nick Rolfe on keyboards. Both rhythm players are truly phenomenal, especially in track 1, “High Rise” and track 8, “Confusion,” which both feature a remarkable organ solo and a sick funk bass line, reminiscent of Marcus Miller.
Trust me, this performance is worth a listen. You can hear previews of all the tracks here:
Or, of course, you can always listen for it on Jazz Impressions on 92 WICB!