Diana Krall feat. The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra – Christmas Songs (2005)

FrontCover1Christmas Songs is the eighth studio album by Canadian singer Diana Krall, performed with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. It was released on October 26, 2005 by Verve Records. This is Krall’s first full-length album of Christmas songs (not counting her 1998 EP Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas), and her first studio album with a big band. The album was released on vinyl for the first time on October 14, 2016. (by wikipedia)

On her first full-length Christmas album, pianist/vocalist Diana Krall delivers a smoky, sophisticated, and slightly melancholy album perfectly suited to accompany egg nog cocktails and romantic afterglow holiday affairs. Although there isn’t anything unexpected on Christmas Songs — Irving Berlin’s “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep” is as close to obscure as it gets — Krall coos life into such standards as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” It also doesn’t hurt that she gains top-notch support from the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra, whose urbane arrangements help bring to mind similar works by such iconic vocalists as Nat King Cole, June Christy, and Frank Sinatra. But it’s not all deep sighs and bedroom eyes; on the contrary, Krall keeps things swinging with such uptempo numbers as the joyous “Jingle Bells,” “Winter Wonderland,” and the Blossom Dearie-inflected “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” If you like your holiday albums cool and classy, Christmas Songs is a stocking stuffer that’s sure to please. (by Matt Collar)


Diana Krall (piano, vocals)
The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra:
Rick Baptist (trumpet)
William Barnhart (trombone)
George Bohanon (trombone)
Gilberto Castellanos (trumpet)
Jeff Clayton (saxophone, flute)
Sal Cracchiolo (trumpet)
David Duke (french horn)
Keith Fiddmont (saxophone, clarinet)
Jeff Hamilton (drums)
Robert Hurst (bass)
Clay Jenkins (trumpet)
Tommy Johnson (tuba)
Joe Meyer (french horn)
Ira Nepus (trombone)
Charles Owens (saxophone, clarinet)
Joe Porcaro (percussion)
Ryan Porter (trombone)
Adam Schroeder (saxophone, clarinet)
Rick Todd (french horn)
Brad Warnaar (french horn)
Anthony Wilson (guitar)
Rickey Woodard (saxophone solos, clarinet)
Gerald Clayton (piano on 07.)
Tamir Hendelman (piano on 10, + 11.)


01. Jingle Bells (Pierpont) 3:26
02. Let It Snow (Styne/Cahn) 4.02
03. The Christmas Song (Tormé/Wells) 4.24
04. Winter Wonderland (Bernard/Smith) 3.15
05. I’ll Be Home For Christmas (Gannon/Kent/Ram) 3.08
06. Christmas Time Is Here (Guaraldi/Mendelson) 3.35
07. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Coots/Gillespie) 2.54
08. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Blane/Martin) 4.19
09. White Christmas (Berlin) 4.32
10. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve (Loesser) 4.10
11. Sleigh Ride (Anderson/Parish) 3.26
12. Count Your Blessings Instead Of Sheep (Berlin) 3.41





Willie Nelson – Stardust (1978)

FrontCover1Stardust is the 23rd studio album by Willie Nelson that spans the genres of pop, jazz, and country music. Its ten songs consist entirely of pop standards that Nelson picked from among his favorites. Nelson asked Booker T. Jones, who was his neighbor in Malibu at the time, to arrange a version of “Moonlight in Vermont”. Impressed with Jones’s work, Nelson asked him to produce the entire album. Nelson’s decision to record such well-known tracks was controversial among Columbia executives because he had distinguished himself in the outlaw country genre. Recording of the album took only ten days.

Released in April, Stardust was met with high sales and near-universal positive reviews. It peaked at number one in Billboard’s Top Country Albums and number thirty in the Billboard 200. Meanwhile, it charted at number one in Canadian RPM’s Country Albums and number twenty-eight in RPM’s Top Albums. The singles “Blue Skies” and “All of Me” peaked respectively at numbers one and three in Billboard’s Hot Country Singles.

In 1979, Nelson won a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for the song “Georgia on My Mind”. Stardust was on the Billboard’s Country Album charts for ten years—from its release until 1988. The album also reached number one in New WillieNelsonZealand and number five in Australia in 1980. In 2003, the album was ranked number 257 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It was originally certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in December 1978. In 1984, when it was certified triple platinum, Nelson was the highest-grossing concert act in the United States. In 2002, the album was certified quintuple platinum, and it was later inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame class of 2015. (by wikipedia)

At the height of outlaw country, Willie Nelson pulled off perhaps the riskiest move of the entire bunch. He set aside originals, country, and folk and recorded Stardust, a collection of pop standards produced by Booker T. Jones. Well, it’s not entirely accurate to say that he put away country and folk, since these are highly idiosyncratic interpretations of “Georgia on My Mind,” “All of Me,” “Moonlight in Vermont,” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” blending pop, country, jazz, and folk in equal measures. It’s not that Willie makes these songs his own, it’s that he reimagines these songs in a way that nobody else could, and with his trusty touring band, he makes these versions indelible.


It may be strange to think that this album, containing no originals from one of America’s greatest songwriters, is what made him a star, and it continues to be one of his most beloved records, but it’s appropriate, actually. Stardust showcases Nelson’s skills as a musician and his entire aesthetic — where there is nothing separating classic American musical forms, it can all be played together — perhaps better than any other album, which is why it was a sensation upon its release and grows stronger with each passing year. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)


Paul English (drums)
Chris Ethridge (bass)
Booker T. Jones (keyboards)
Rex Ludwick (drums)
Bobbie Nelson (piano)
Willie Nelson (vocals, guitar)
Jody Payne (guitar)
Mickey Raphael (harmonica)
Bee Spears (bass)


01. “Stardust (Carmichael/Parish) 3.53
02. Georgia On My Mind (Carmichael/Gorrell) 4.20
03. Blue Skies (Berlin) 3.34
04. All Of Me (Simons/Marks) 3.54
05. Unchained Melody (North/Zaret) 3.50
06. September Song (Weill/Anderson) 4-35
07. On The Sunny Side Of The Street (McHugh/Fields) 2.36
08. Moonlight In Vermont (Suessdorf/Blackburn) 3.25
09. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (Ellington/Russell) 2.33
10. Someone To Watch Over Me (G.Gershwin/I.Gershwin) 4.03
11. Scarlet Ribbons (Danzig/Segal) 4.30
12. I Can See Clearly Now (Nash)  4.18



Stan Getz Quartet – Paris + The Netherlands (1971)

FrontCover1Stan Getz (born Stanley Gayetski; February 2, 1927 – June 6, 1991) was an American jazz saxophonist. Playing primarily the tenor saxophone, Getz was known as “The Sound” because of his warm, lyrical tone, his prime influence being the wispy, mellow timbre of his idol, Lester Young. Coming to prominence in the late 1940s with Woody Herman’s big band, Getz is described by critic Scott Yanow as “one of the all-time great tenor saxophonists”. Getz performed in bebop and cool jazz groups. Influenced by João Gilberto and Antônio Carlos Jobim, he popularized bossa nova in America with the hit single “The Girl from Ipanema” (1964). (by wikipedia)

Between 1969 and 1972, Stan Getz, for the second time, moved from the United States to Europe where he lived with his family in Marbella (Spain) performing essentially in Europe with a quartet composed of three European musicians: Eddy Louiss (organ); René Thomas (guitar) and Bernard Lubat (drums). During this period the quartet never entered a recording studio and only three concerts have surfaced. The first one at Ronnie Scott’s Club in London (March 15, 16 and 17, 1971) issued as Dynasty, one in Paris on March 28, 1971; and another in The Netherlands (August 7, 1971).

Thanks to cosmikd for sharing the Paris show at Dime.

Recorded live at theStudio 104, Maison de la Radio, Paris, France; March 28, 1971. International Jazz Festival, Loosdrecht, The Netherlands; August 7, 1971.
Very good FM broadcasts.


Stan Getz (saxophone)
Bernard Lubat (drums)
Eddy Louiss (organ)
René Thomas (guitar)



Paris 1971:
01. Annie From Abyssinia (Lubat) 10.58
02. Our Kind Of Sabi (Louiss) 17.21
03. Mona (Mangelsdorff) 4.48
04. Theme For Emmanuel (Thomas) 15.40
05. I Remember Clifford (Golson )4.34
06. Dum Dum (Louiss) 11.25
07. Invitation (Kaper) 7.04
08. Chega de Saudade (Jobim) 15.33
09. Ballad For Leo (Thomas) 13.42
10. ‘Round Midnight (Monk) 5.27

The Netherlands 1971:
11. Dum Dum (Louiss) 7.21
12. Announcement 2.18
13. Theme For Emmanuel (Thomas) 11.47
14. Announcement 0.29
15. ‘Round Midnight (Monk) 4.54
16. Announcement 1.08
17. Invitation (Kaper) 5.41
18. Announcement 0.21
19. Ballad For Leo (Thomas) 14.13
20. Announcement 1.39
21. Dynasty (Louiss) 6.00



Eddie Higgins Trio – Christmas Songs (2005)

FrontCover1Edward Haydn Higgins (February 21, 1932 – August 31, 2009) was a jazz pianist, composer, and orchestrator.

Born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Higgins initially studied privately with his mother. He started his professional career in Chicago, Illinois, while studying at the Northwestern University School of Music. An elegant and sophisticated pianist, his encyclopedic harmonic approach and wide range of his repertory made him one of the most distinctive jazz pianists to come out of Chicago, gaining the respect of local and visiting musicians for his notable mastery of the instrument. Higgins also had the unusual ability to sound equally persuasive in a broad span of music, whether he was playing traditional swing, exciting bebop or reflexive ballads, providing the tone and stylistic flavor of each styles, as both a soloist and as accompanist.

For more than two decades Higgins worked at some of Chicago’s most prestigious jazz clubs, including the Brass Rail, Preview Lounge, Blue Note, Cloister Inn and Jazz, Ltd. His longest and most memorable tenure was at the long gone London House, where he led his jazz trio from the late 1950s to the late 1960s, playing opposite jazz stars of this period, including Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Erroll Garner, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Wes Montgomery, Oscar Peterson and George Shearing, among others. Later, Higgins said the opportunities to play jazz music with Coleman Hawkins and Oscar Peterson were unforgettable moments. Higgins’ time spent at the London House Restaurant was with bassist Richard Evans and drummer Marshall Thompson. Higgins also worked for Chess Records as a producer.


During his stay in Chicago, Higgins also recorded a significant number of albums under his auspices and many more as a sideman with a wide variety of musicians, ranging in style from tenor saxophonists Hawkins to Sonny Stitt to Wayne Shorter; trumpeters Bobby Lewis to Harry Edison to Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard; and trombonists Jack Teagarden to Al Grey. His versatility was captured on stage and records, backing up singers and leading his own projects as both pianist and orchestrator, working in every jazz circle from dixieland to modal styles. Although he opted to decline the offer, Higgins was asked at one point by Art Blakey to join the seminal hard bop quintet, The Jazz Messengers.

In 1970, Higgins moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and began spending winters in Florida and summers on Cape Cod, where he played in local clubs. Since the early 1980s, he traveled widely on the jazz festival circuit and performed frequently in Europe and Japan. His releases on the Japanese Venus label earned him number one in jazz sales on more than one album. After that, Higgins played his music mainly in East Asia including Japan and South Korea. During his career in East Asia, Higgins formed a successful trio with Joe Ascione (drums), and Jay Leonhart (bass).


In 1988, Higgins and jazz singer and pianist Meredith d’Ambrosio were married and became a popular team at clubs and festivals, as well as recording for Sunnyside Records. In 2009, dates in Japan and Korea were on his calendar of upcoming concerts, which were suspended due to a long illness.

Higgins died in Fort Lauderdale at the age of 77.

Eddie Higgins’s delicate tone and conception were often compared to those of Bill Evans, one of the most influential and successful jazz pianists. He mostly played bop and mainstream jazz music throughout his career. Higgins was at home playing melodies with swing-like feeling. His melodies had groove and swing-feeling without being too superfluous. Such swing-feeling of Eddie Higgins was also often compared to those of Oscar Peterson and Nat King Cole. (by wikipedia)


This is only the second product review I have ever written, and it is the consistent quality of this CD that prompts me to write an enthusiastic endorsement. While the music is not groundbreaking in the least, it is a most solid and satisfying set of traditional Christmas tunes, the lion’s share of which are secular. I am very much a Jazz Guy, and my tastes gravitate towards the straight-ahead jazz camp, with the piano trio as featured here being perhaps my favorite jazz ensemble. This CD falls squarely in that straight-ahead camp, without being the least bit square. On each tune, you will hear the melody clearly and simply stated, followed by an improvisational interlude, then back he goes to the melody to close out. Though it sounds formulaic and predictable, it most certainly is not, predictability being the mark of most inferior jazz. And I would agree that this is a CD that could be thoroughly enjoyed by someone who claims to hate jazz; the straight-ahead jazz fan will be ecstatic with it!! I am a last-minute Christmas shopper, with Christmas Eve day being my favorite shopping day. That shopping pattern makes me feel pretty under-the-gun, once my shopping mojo kicks in.


If I were at Nordstrom, Christmas Eve day, focused and in my shopping groove/crunch mode, and I heard Eddie Higgins (may he rest in peace) playing Christmas tunes on the Nordstrom grand piano, I would stop and listen for an hour or so, this versus the tune-and-a-half listen I would typically give a lesser player. This may sound like faint praise, but it does accurately reflect my feelings about and affection for this CD. I am stingy with stars, so that fifth star is hard to pry out of me — well deserved here, however, and, again, I do endorse this CD without reservation — great Christmas music, from the first note to the last! Excellent support/work from Jay Leonhart on bass and Joe Ascione on drums, as well. Terrific!! (written by an amazon customer called Zimmerman)


Joe Ascione (drums)
Eddie Higgins (piano)
Jay Leonhart (bass)


01. Let It Snow (Cahn/Styne) 3.41
02. Christmas Song (Tormé) 5.15
03. I’ll Be Home for Christmas (Gannon/Kent) 4.29
04. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Traditional) 4.35
05. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Coots/Gillespie) 3.34
06. O Little Town Of Bethlehem (Traditional) 4.49
07. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Blane) 4.19
08. The Christmas Waltz (Cahn/Styne) 3.25
09. White Christmas (Berlin) 4.43
10. Winter Wonderland (Bernard) 6.16
11. Deck The Halls With Boughs Of Holly (Traditional) 3.42
12. Sleight Ride (Anderson) 3.48

AlternateFrontCoverAlternate frontcover


Trigg & Gusset – Adagio For The Blue (2015)

FrontCover1Renowned Dutch artist Bart Knol, known for his versatile releases which currently cover just about the complete spectrum of the Dutch music scene, is back. This time with composer and woodwind specialist Erik van Geer.

Trigg & Gusset traffics in a deeply aromatic blend of noir-jazz on its sophomore effort Adagio for the Blue, the title itself a succinct encapsulation of the album’s tone. In contrast to the improv-based character of the group’s 2013 debut outing Legacy of the Witty, the new one’s rooted in formal compositional structures that still allow for soloing and improvisation. Though Trigg & Gusset is comprised of Bart Knol and Erik van Geer, it’s Knol who’s the more dominant contributor, given that he arranged and produced Adagio for the Blue’s material and is credited as the sole composer on five of the ten pieces (the others are credited to both members). Yet while the multi-instrumentalist contributes keyboards, synths, beats, electric guitar, and samples to the recording, it’s van Geer’s woodwinds (flute, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone) that often take the lead.

The two do a commendable job of simulating a live jazz quartet, given the fact that Knol assumes the role of pianist and drummer on most tracks. As a pianist, his light touch calls to mind someone like Ahmad Jamal, and it’s an approach that complements the late-night feel of the material. While “Vanishing Gold” and “The Vault” feature the duo only, the typical album track features the two augmented by others: the group’s smoky music is never more compellingly presented, for example, than on the opening “Intimate,” an aptly titled exercise in late-night melancholia that sees the leaders’ bass clarinet and piano ably supported by double bassist Dominique Bentvelsen and acoustic guitarist Midas Ghijsels. As silky and enveloping as the backdrop is, however, it’s van Geer’s haunting lead playing that’s the most striking component (Ghijsels is later given his own moment in the spotlight when his Flamenco guitar playing is featured on “Tortuga”).

Trigg & Gusset02

Much of the album is downtempo, but there are livelier tunes, too, among them “Madagascar,” whose comparatively spirited acoustic jazz groove receives a spike of energy from the playing of trumpeter Coen Hamelink, and there are moments on “Rhododendron” that evoke the laid-back splendour of Kind of Blue, especially when the front-line consists of van Geer’s tenor sax and Hamelink’s trumpet. An occasional classical influence also seeps into the album, a case in point the brooding, Satie-like piano figure Knol threads into the ponderous rumination “The Vault,” and with Knol’s electric guitar conjoined to van Geer’s tenor sax, the slinky groove of “Promenade” oozes an undeniable Badalamenti vibe. Such moments indicate that Adagio for the Blue should interest those whose taste runs to The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble and Dictaphone. (by textura.org)

In other words: an unknown masterpiece !

Trigg & Gusset03

Bart Knol (keyboards, syntehsizer, guitar, beats, samples)
Erik van Geer (saxophone, flute, clarinet)
Matthijs Blom (guitar on 10.)
Dominique Bentvelsen (bass on 01. + 09.)
Midas Ghijsels (guitar on 01. + 07.)
Coen Hamelink (trumpet on 03., 05. + 10.)
Just Lavooij (bass on 02. + 05.)

TRigg & Gusset01

01. Intimate (Knol/v.Geer) 5.54
02. Cook (Knol/v.Geer) 5.55
03. Madagascar (Knol) 4:04
04. Vanishing Gold (Knol) 7.16
05. Rhododendron (Knol) 4.03
06. The Vault (Knol/v.Geer) 3.40
07. Tortuga (Knol/v.Geer) 4.40
08. Cardium (Knol)  6.20
09. Promenade (Knol/v.Geer) 4.31
10. Primrose Path (Knol) 6.14




Krzysztof Sadowski – And His Hammond Organ (1970)

FrontCover1This is the first album on the legendary Polish Jazz series, which is dedicated to the Hammond organ, the godfather of the electronic keyboards and probably the most significant new instrument, which dominated Jazz and Progressive Rock in the late 1960s and early 1970s (although available since the 1930s). Keyboardist Krzysztof Sadowski belongs to the first post WWII generation of Polish Jazz musicians, debuting in the 1950s and active on the local scene for many years. He combined his love of Jazz and Rock, playing with the leading ensembles of both genres with equal dedication and success.

This album presents his Hammond organ performances in two different environments: Side A of the original LP captures him accompanied just by drummer Andrzej Dabrowski and the duo moves through a Rocky set, which includes a Beatles medley. Side B finds him accompanied by the Polish Radio Jazz Studio Orchestra, led by saxophonist / composer Jan “Ptaszyn” Wroblewski and featuring top Polish Jazz players, among them saxophonist Janusz Muniak, bassist Bronislaw Suchanek, drummer Janusz Stefanski and many others. This set is much closer to Jazz and features a beautiful version of Krzysztof Komeda’s ballad from “Rosemary’s Baby”. (by Jazzis)

Krzysztof Sadowski sounds like Hardin & York in their best period … so you will hear a high class jazz-organ … superb !

Krzysztof Sadowski01

Andrzej Dąbrowski (drums on 01. – 04.)
Józef Dębek (trumpet)
Franciszek Górkiewicz (trumpet)
Józef Grabarski (trumpet)
Franciszek Kowalski (trumpet)
Stanisław Kowalczyk (trombone)
Kazimierz Morawski (trombone)
Janusz Muniak (saxophone)
Andrzej Piela (trombone)
Albert Pradella (saxophone)
Zdzisław Przybyszewski (saxophone)
Krzysztof Sadowski (organ)
Bronisław Suchanek (bass)
Janusz Stefański (drums on 05. – 08.)
Michal Urbaniak (guitar)
Pankracy Zdzitowiecki (trombone)
Władysław Żurkowski (saxophone)

01. Z Małej Chmury Duży Deszcz / Heavy Rain From A Little Cloud (Sadowski) 2.56
02. Impressions Of The Beatles 8.44
02.1. With A Little Help From My Friends (Lennon/McCartney)
02.2. Yesterday (Lennon/McCartney)
02.3. A Hard Day’s Night (Lennon/McCartney)
03. Kołysząc Się / Swinging (Sadowski) 3.25
04. Skąd My To Znamy / Something Familiar (Sadowski) 2.32
05. Blues Z Morałem / Don’t Count On Neal (Karolak) 4.32
06. Ballada Do Filmu “Rosemary’s Baby” / Main Theme From “Rosemary’a Baby” (Komeda) 4.27
07. Punkt Docelowy / Aim Point (Wróblewski) 4.30
08. Za Parę Dzięków / For Thanks (Urbaniak) 4.37




Ross Traut & Steve Rodby – The Duo Life (1991)

FrontCover1Ross Traut is a Chicago electric guitarist and bassist play original contemporary fusion; pleasant and nonthreatening. (by Michael G. Nasto)

And Steve Rodby is an american bassist, born December 1954 in Joliet, Illinois, with a seperate career as producer / mixer / editor working out of his Rodby Studios.

And this is their second and last album …

The Duo Life features bassist Steve Rodby and guitarist Ross Traut performing instrumental versions of some pop classics (Bacharach/David’s “Don’t Make Me Over” and a Gershwin medley from Porgy and Bess), along with jazzier tunes by Wayne Shorter and Chick Corea, plus three very nice originals. The arrangements are stripped down, with little or no overdubs. The highlight is the album-opener — a gorgeous version of the Stylistics’ “People Make the World Go Round” (penned by Thom Bell and Linda Creed). The Duo Life is a great album to listen to while relaxing by a fireplace. The music doesn’t overwhelm the listener; it becomes part of the ambience. (by Tim Griggs)

Ross Traut & Steve Rodby01It’s been 26 years or so and yet this recording remains listenable. A solid duo recording without the excesses of some duo recordings where, in order to exhibit virtuosity, times get ragged or things get frenetic and irrelevant. This recording exhibits no such excesses. Instead the song is the thin here. Subtlety, space, ambience and melody. It’s a beautiful recording. Yes, languid. Yes, quiet. Ross Traut is an underrated guitarist who obviously, finds the most direct way to communicate the feeling of the song. He improvises nicely but never to excess Steve Rodby has a way of playing that shows why he has been vital in many of the great recordings he has been on. He lends support and pacing without ever overpowering the songs.

“I Love You Porgy/Bess, You Is My Woman, Now”, “People Make The World Go Around”, “Some Other Time”, “Downstream”, “Desert Air” and “Fall” are real high points. (by ND)

What a great album, recorded by a real underrated duo !

Ross Traut & Steve Rodby02

Steve Rodby (bass)
Ross Traut (guitar)

01. People Make The World Go Round (Bell/Creed) 4.23
02. Some Other Time (Comden/Green/Bernstein) 5.55
03. Don’t Make Me Over (Bacharach/David) 5.00
04. Fall (Shorter) 3.30
05. Trout Stream (Traut) 4.42
06. Music From Porgy And Bess:
06.1 I Loves You Porgy (Gershwin)
06.2 Bess, You Is My Woman (Gershwin) 11.06
07 Down Stream (Traut) 6.23
08. Desert Air (Corea) 5.02
09. Three Wishes (Traut/Rodby) 6.05
10. It’s Gonna Take A Miracle (Randazzo/Weinstein/Stallman) 5.41