Sara K. – Closer Than They Appear (1992)

FrontCover1.jpgFrom the time she first performed in front of an audience when she was 17 years old, singer/songwriter Sara K. knew she wanted to live her life making music. She followed her dream and stayed true to her desire, despite the fact that demand for acoustic solo performers was falling off as the end of the ’70s approached. Several avenues remained open to her, including fronting her own band, studio work, and backing country music artists, which she did in her hometown of Dallas, TX. She also found work locally singing jingles. From her childhood years on, music played an important part in her life. Her mother belonged to a choir at church, while her father sang bass as part of a barbershop quartet. She first took up the guitar at the age of 15, although her instrument wasn’t the standard one on which most youths begin. She started with a basic flamenco guitar and added four strings meant for a bass. The resulting hybrid didn’t produce notes as low as those normally produced by a bass, yet they were definitely lower than those made by a guitar.

After the early years in Texas, she took her band, Sara K. and the Boys Without Sleep, to Los Angeles and New Mexico. Beginning in 1973, she led the band for about ten years and she followed that up by spending more than two years on tour with country singerGary Nunn. The experience was a good one, but she longed to concentrate on crafting songs and performing her own compositions. She settled down in Santa Fe to work on her songs, putting together an album that eventually became Gypsy Alley and was released by Mesa/Bluemoon Records in 1982. The New Mexico Music Industry Coalition honored the release with an award for Best Album. Chesky Records signed her to a contract, and Sara K. went on to release four well-received albums: Hobo, Tell Me I’m Not Dreamin’, Play on Words, and Closer Than They Appear. The singer/songwriter toured Germany in 1997 with Hui Cox, an arranger and guitar player. That same year, she also contributed to the soundtrack for The Postman. Two years later, No Cover was issued featuring Chuck Mangione on one of the tracks. The live album was recorded in New York City inside St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, making the most of the soaring interior’s dynamite acoustics. What Matters followed in 2001. (by Linda Seida)

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Sara stands in a class by herself. I know of no one to whom to compare her. The custom four-string guitar leaves something unspoken in the harmony, allowing Sara’s voice to weave a tapestry in and out of the spaces left for it. Her lyrics in these songs are heart-to-heart; she is as open, honest, and observant as Joni Mitchell, but as different from her musically as night and day. And she has plenty of sass and tongue-in-cheek cleverness at her disposal. Her solitary cover on this album is Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”. Hearing her cover is like really hearing it for the first time. (by Wayne Scott)

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What more could you ask-lovely lyrics that improve with each listen, great sound, and a unique, heartfelt voice. This is perhaps my favorite of her recordings, although the later Stockfish records may get the voice a little better. I don’t understand why she seems to have disappeared from audiophile reviews. (by Stephen A. Degray)

Sara K. has been in my CD collection since early 1993. I never tire of her breathy cadillac intonations. Sara K. is like a fine single-malt under an air condtioner on a blistering July afternoon in the midwest, with depth second only to few in her genre. (by Sharky Green)

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Personnel:
Billy Drewes (saxophone)
Bruce Dunlap (guitar)
David Finck (bass)
Jamey Haddad (drums)
Sara K. (ocals, guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Miles Away 2.51
02. Trust Somebody 3:41
03. Hidden From View 3:28
04. Make Believe 2:34
05. What’s A Little More Rain 4:52
06. If You Close That Door 3.54
07. Jasmine 3.56
08. Wanna Spend More Time 4.05
09. Tecolote-Eyes 3.54
10. Alejaté 3.26
11. Something Borrowed 1.12
12. When I Didn’t Care 4.43
13. Steam Rises 3.06
14. Like A Rolling Stone 6.59

All songs was written by Sara K.
except 14, which was written by Bob Dylan

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More from Sara K.:

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And this is her website:

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Bent Fabric – Bla Time med Bent Fabric (1963)

FrontCover1.JPGBent Fabricius-Bjerre (born 7 December 1924), better known internationally as Bent Fabric, is a Danish pianist and composer.

Bent Fabricius-Bjerre was born in Frederiksberg, Denmark. He started a jazz ensemble after World War II and founded a label, Metronome Records, in 1950. However, he is best known for his 1961 instrumental “Omkring et flygel” (literally, “Around a Piano”) which became a hit in Denmark. The song was re-released worldwide under the name “Alley Cat” on Atco Records the following year, and went to #1 in Australia and #49 in Germany. The tune also became a hit in the United States; the song hit #2 on the AC chart and #7 on the Billboard Hot 100,[2] and the LP of the same name hit #13 on the Billboard 200. “Alley Cat” also won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental.[4] It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. The follow-up single, “Chicken Feed”, hit #63 in the U.S.

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Fabricius-Bjerre had done extensive work in film scores prior to the success of his singles, and continued to work in film for decades after. In 2003, Fabricius-Bjerre returned to the charts, this time in his native Denmark. He released the album Jukebox as Bent Fabric, where he worked with critically acclaimed Danish musicians. The singles “Jukebox” hit #3 in Denmark and “Shake” hit #10 that year. In 2006, a remix of “Jukebox” was released, and the title track became a dance music hit, peaking at #7 on the US Dance/Club Play charts. The album was also re-released in the United States, this time Bent Fabric02.jpgfeaturing a remix of his famous instrumental song “Alley Cat”, among others.

In 2005 he released the compilation album, Kan du kende melodien (literally Do you recognize the melody) featuring some of his most famous and recognized film and TV scores.

On 6 December 2009, the day before his 85th birthday, Fabricius-Bjerre played host to a gala-performance of a theatrical concert featuring 24 of his songs. It was performed at the Royal Danish Theatre by a cast of 12 performers, all of whom graduated from the Danish Academy for Musical Theatre. It was developed under The Danish New Works Development Center, Uterus, and directed and choreographed by Tim Zimmermann. Martin Konge was MD. (by wikipedia)

Although pianist Bent Fabric (born Bent Fabricius-Bjerre) formed his own jazz combo after WWII and his own label (Metronome) in 1950, it wasn’t until 1961, when Fabric’s Alley Cat single hit his native Denmark’s airwaves, that he really became known in the music world. The song proved infectious, and was released worldwide in 1962, even garnering an American Grammy Award for Best Rock & Roll Record. Though Atlantic issued some more of his work in the years that followed, Fabric never had another hit like “Alley Cat.” In 2006, however, the Dane received a bit of attention again after Jukebox, a remixed album of some of his work, was released. (by Marisa Brown)

And here´s one of his earlier albums ….the perfect music including some fine “knack bass” sounds (like Ladi Geissler) … for you and your lady sitting in a small bar … drinking whisky or another dring … a cocktail, or a gin ….

Close your eyes and drift away…

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Personnel:
Kay Boker (drums)
Fritz von Bülow (guitar)
Bent Fabric (piano)
Poul Gregersen (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Blå Time (Fabricius-Bjerre) 2.31
02. In einer kleinen Konditorei (Raymond) 2.04
03. Tre Piger I Paris (Fabricius-Bjerre) 2.44
04. Sweet Georgia Brown (Bernie/Pinkard/asey) 2.04
05. I’m Confessin’ (Reynolds) 2.09
06. Stumbling (Confrey) 2.11
07. Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup (Sasenko) 2.33
08. Liza (Gershwin) 2.01
09. As Time Goes By (Hupfeld) 2.35
10. Banjo Benny (Schulz-Reichel) 2.25
11. In A Little Spanish Town (Wayne) 2.12
12. Nagasaki (Warren) 2.13

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Jack DeJohnette’s Directions – New Rags (1977)

FrontCover1.jpgToday’s Rediscovery is an album that, despite never being released officially on CD, is a relatively regular play chez Kelman, getting spun at least a couple times every year. New Rags (ECM, 1977), the third—and, sadly, final—recording by drummer Jack DeJohnette’s Directions group, pares down the quintet of its second album and ECM debut to a quartet, where Cosmic Chicken bassist Peter Warren is replaced by Mike Richmond and keyboardist Warren Bernhardt is eliminated from the lineup after making his single set appearance with the group on Untitled (ECM, 1976).

The Chicago-born drummer is left, on New Rags, alongside guitarist (and fellow ECM label mate) John Abercrombie, lesser known but still busy session saxophonist Alex Foster and Richmond, another name less familiar to casual jazz fans but with a sizeable discography to suggest plenty of name power amongst musicians, It’s an album that, perhaps even more than its broad-scoped predecessor, succeeds in positioning DeJohnette as not just one of jazz’s most impressive drummers—even at this relatively early stage, about a decade into the then 35 year-old drummer’s career, having already clocked up two major gigs with Charles Lloyd and Miles Davis—but as a composer, instrumentalist and bandleader of increasing significance.

DeJohnette and Abercrombie were already good friends by this time, the guitarist having played on the drummer’s two Prestige dates: 1974’s Sorcery, as well as 1975’s Cosmic Jack DeJohnette01.jpgChicken—neither particularly well-received. DeJohnette returned the favour by appearing on Abercrombie’s Timeless—the guitarist’s 1975 ECM leader debut that quickly became a classic for both Abercrombie and the label—while the two began their on-again/off-again collaborative trio with bassist (and fellow Miles Davis alum) Dave Holland, Gateway, with its critically acclaimed eponymous ECM debut the same year.

But if Timeless explored a combination of keyboard-driven electricity and stripped down acoustic elegance, and Gateway found that unique nexus where Holland’s predilection for groove met with the freewheeling trio’s collective improvisational chemistry, New Rags explores three DeJohnette compositions of remarkable diversity, along with Foster’s more harmonically ambiguous but potently swinging “Flys,” and “Steppin’ Through”—the rocking, near (but not quite) fusion powerhouse that closes the album on a supremely fiery note, moving from pedal- to-the-metal intensity with Foster’s opening salvo to more spacious, open terrain, only to return to its unrelenting, riff-driven intro for a solo from Abercrombie. Overdriven and unfettered, it’s one of the guitarist’s best of the set—pushed to even greater extremes by DeJohnette’s cymbal-heavy power groove before the entire quartet brings things down for an ultimate fade-out.

One of DeJohnette’s most enduring qualities as a writer throughout the years has been a wry sense of humor, which has imbued many of his best compositions, including “One for Eric” and “Zoot Suite,” both from the drummer’s eponymous 1980 debut of the twin-saxophone (and occasionally trumpet)-driven Special Edition group, whose four ECM recordings were reissued in one of the label’s Old & New Masters Edition boxes, Special Edition, in 2013. New Rags may wax lyrical on “Lydia,” a gorgeous ballad named after the drummer’s wife that features DeJohnette on piano, but on his episodic title track, DeJohnette drives his group to shift gears seamlessly between ambling free bop, challenging stop/start compositional segues with brief moments of bump-and-grind burlesque…and an irregularly metered calypso ending that may seem like a non sequitur but, ultimately, makes perfect sense in DeJohnette’s stylistically unbound musical universe.

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It’s not particularly uncommon for drummers to play piano, but few are as good as DeJohnette, who could easily have focused his energy on that instrument rather than drums with similar success…but we’ll never know, as it’s an instrument he only brings out occasionally. Still, when he does—as he does here on “Lydia” and later on the even more memorable “Silver Hollow”—a standout track on the subsequent debut of his reconfigured New Directions group (with only Abercrombie remaining in the lineup) on its 1978 ECM debut of the same name—he invariably demonstrates a particular penchant for melodic specificity.

The lengthy, open-ended “Minya’s the Mooch”—named after his then-young daughter and a play on “Minnie the Moocher,” made famous by Cab Calloway—opens the album with an elliptical, visceral bass line from Richmond that anchors an atmospheric collection of delicate cymbals and volume pedal-swelling guitar. Foster enters with powerful aplomb, ultimately pushing the group first towards double time energy, but then dissolving into a melée of apparent chaos—except for the cued figure that reveals more method than madness—before a closing section that returns to the more ethereal atmospherics of the intro.

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How the entire group moves through these various passages as one is what makes Directions such a memorable group that, building on the success of Untitled, delivers an even more impressive sophomore effort. What’s less impressive is that both Untitled and New Rags remain unavailable—and would make a perfect double-disc set to bring all of DeJohnette’s albums as a leader on ECM into print on CD. Until then, both albums—both worthy of Rediscovery, but with New Rags beating out Untitled by a hair— are enjoyed, chez Kelman, in a vinyl>CDR transfer that sounds absolutely wonderful on the Tetra Listening Instruments. ECM’s painstaking attention to sonic transparency and pristine clarity is a particularly beautiful thing to behold here, on a record that covers considerable dynamic territory…and is all the better for it.

So, what are your thoughts? Do you know this record, and if so, how do you feel about it?(John Kelman)

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Personnel:
John Abercrombie (guitar, mandolin)
Jack DeJohnette (drums, piano)
Alex Foster (saxophone)
Mike Richmond (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Minya’s The Mooch (DeJohnette) 11.30
02. Lydia (Foster) 3.43
03. Flys (Foster) 6.07
04. New Rags (DeJohnette) 9.08
05. Steppin’ Thru (Foster) 10.29

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Phil Woods – Greek Cooking (1967)

FrontCover1.jpgI will fly in two weeks to Crete/Greek and so it´s a nice preparation to lit this album:

Greek Cooking is an album by American saxophonist Phil Woods featuring performances recorded in 1967 for the Impulse! label.

Probably one of the more unusual recordings in Phil Woods’ considerable discography, Greek Cooking features the alto saxophonist leading a tentet with a distinctly Greek flavor, including four Greek musicians. None of them have become household names in jazz, though oud player George Mgrdichian later sat in with the Dave Brubeck Quartet during a few concerts. While the addition of instruments like the dumbeg and buzukie add a new twist, the annoying fender bass and the material chosen make the LP sound rather dated. “A Taste of Honey” is given a modal-like arrangement and it’s hard not to break into a broad grin when hearing the lively “Zorba the Greek.” A musical curiosity that’s been out-of-print for a long time, it should appeal to Woods’ fans because of his ability to make the best of the material with his powerful, never dull playing. (by Ken Dryden)

Phil Woods1Here is one of the more interesting forgotten ABC Impulse! albums. In 1967 sax player Phil Woods got together with a buzukie player named Iordanis Tsomidis and an oud player named George Mordichian. Using accordion and electric bass, along with other more standard 1967 jazz instruments, Woods worked with Greek music.

And the results are amazing. The open minor keys provide Woods a fantastic format to improvise around, and he does so brilliantly, running circles around this uptempo, almost modal format. Tsomidis is probably not even in your top one thousand when it comes to Impulse jazz musicians, but he is as quick on the buzuike as Grant Green was on the guitar, never working in Woods’ shadow. There is a good deal of interaction between the two, and the speed and complexity crate a rich weave you just have to hear.

Phil Woods2There are a few other points I was struck by. Fender Bass was rare on jazz albums before Bitches Brew made by Miles Davis in 1969. But its use here by Chet Amstradam makes sense: this fast, danceable music works better with the more solid bottom electric bass can provide.

Also, Eastern Europian model sounds were not unheard of in jazz in 1967. Don Ellis was experimenting with such sounds, and Coltrane’s minor key improvisations sometimes took on this flavor. But what I was more strongly reminded of were rock inventions like Country Joe and The Fish’ “Section 43” or the title track off Butterfield Blues Band’s East-West. The condensed tracks of Greek Cooking have the same energy as many ethnic influences flooding into rock in perhaps its biggest year for growth, 1967. (Bill Your ‘Free Form FM Print DJ)

Recorded in New York City on January 31 (tracks 2, 4 & 5),
and February 1 (tracks 1, 3, 6 & 8), 1967

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Personnel:
Chet Amsterdam (bass)
Souren Baronian (drums, percussion)
William Costa (accordion, marimba)
George Mgrdichian (oud)
Seymour Salzberg (percussion)
Stuart Scharf (guitar)
Iordanis Tsomidis (bouzouki)
Bill LaVorgna (drums)
Phil Woods (saxophone)
John Yalenezian (dumbeg)

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Tracklist:
01. Zorba The Greek (Theodorakis) 3.09
02. A Taste Of Honey (Scott/Marlow) 5.43
03. Theme From Anthony & Cleopatra (North) 4.52
04. Got A Feelin’ (Doherty/Phillips) 4.32
05. Theme From Samson & Delilah (Young) 5.15
06. Greek Cooking (Gold) 5.04
07. Nica (Gold) 5.41

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Bill Bruford & Michiel Borstlap – Every Step A Dance Every Word A Song (2004)

FrontCover1.jpgDrummer Bill Bruford has certainly come a long way since his emergence with Yes in the early ’70s. While his interest in jazz was evident in the improvisational aspect of his 25-year association with King Crimson, his mathematical sense of precision and disposition towards mind-boggling subdivisions of rhythm often precluded the kind of elasticity required to approach the looser demands of jazz. As early as ’83, however, Bruford was experimenting with the intimate conversational nature of the duo on recordings with Swiss pianist Patrick Moraz, a strong precursor of what was to follow with the formation of his Earthworks Mark I group featuring Iain Ballamy and Django Bates. Still, as wildly exploratory as that group was, and as comfortable as Bruford was at creating natural-feeling grooves in challenging meters, it would take a dozen more years and the creation of his all-acoustic Earthworks Mark II group before he would truly reconcile his predilection for challenging compositional form with a looser, more elastic playing style.

Since the release of Earthworks Mark II’s début, A Part, and Yet Apart (Summerfold, ’99), Bruford’s playing style has loosened up to the point where he is now a far more in-the-moment player, responsive to his musical surroundings. So when he met Dutch pianist Michiel Borstlap in ’02 and began playing duo shows that were less about the confines of structure and more about what Bruford terms “performance-based” music—music of the moment where spontaneity and interaction were the predominant factors—it seemed as though Bruford had made yet another leap forward. With the release of Every Step a Dance, Every Word a Song , an album of live performances culled from dates performed in Europe during ’03 and ’04, Bruford’s evolution is confirmed.

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While Bruford and Borstlap are still more concerned with form than, say, Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi—whose recent album with Paul Motian, Doorways , is another beast entirely—the reciprocation between the two jumps out from the first notes of the more structured “The 16 Kingdoms of the 5 Barbarians.” Bruford’s liner notes allude to the fact that the performance space impacts the nature of the musical dialogue—smaller rooms having “the intimacy of a dinner table conversation between old friends,’? while larger venues “naturally become a bit more muscular and assertive.” Still, on more introspective pieces including the title track, the anthem-like “Inhaling Shade,” and an abstract, yet faithful reading of Monk’s “Round Midnight,” Bruford may gently assert the forward motion, but he’s also become a masterful colourist. And while Borstlap’s supplementing of his piano with electronic keyboards sometimes gives the duo a broader complexion, the subtleties of their exchange are never overshadowed by sheer demonstrativeness.

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Every Step a Dance, Every Word a Song may not be as great a step forward for Borstlap, already a well-established jazz figure, but it represents one more advance in the pursuit of a more instinctive and natural approach for Bruford, an artist who has, for all intents and purposes, left his rock roots completely behind him. (by John Kelman)

Recorded live in Europe, 2003-4

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Personnel:
Michiel Borstlap (keyboards)
Bill Bruford (drums, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. The 16 Kingdoms Of The 5 Barbarians (Bruford/Borstlap) 8.46
02. Bemsha Swing (Best/Monk) 6.07
03. Inhaling Shade (Bruford/Borstlap) 5.34
04. One Big Vamp (Bruford/Borstlap) 6.05
05. Round Midnight (Hanighen/Williams/Monk) 5.40
06. Announcement 0.53
07 Every Step A Dance, Every Word A Song (Bruford/Borstlap) 5.22
08. Stand On Zanzibar (Bruford/Borstlap) 7.55
09. Swansong (Bruford/Borstlap) 6.58

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Willie Nelson- My Way (2018)

FrontCover1.jpgA Country singer can´t sing Frank Sinatra …no ! But if a Country is Willie Nelson … yes !

My Way is the sixty-eighth solo studio album by Willie Nelson. It was released on September 14, 2018, by Legacy Recordings. The album is a tribute to Frank Sinatra, who was a close friend of Nelson’s. The album received the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, marking Nelson’s 13th career Grammy win.

Nelson first teased the album on April 27, 2018, while promoting his album Last Man Standing in an article published by Variety, saying that the Great American Songbook “is a deep well, because good songs never die. If it was good a hundred years ago, it’s still good today.”

The album was formally announced on July 19, 2018. It is a collection of songs closely associated with Frank Sinatra, whom Nelson first heard at 10 years old when Sinatra joined the radio program Your Hit Parade. Nelson and Sinatra were close friends and mutual admirers of each other’s work. In the 1980s, the pair performed on the same bill at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas and appeared together in a public service announcement for the Space Foundation.

The album’s first single, “Summer Wind”, was released on the same day, along with its accompanying music video.

On August 24, 2018, “I’ll Be Around” was released as the album’s second single, with its music video premiering the same day.

The third single from the album, “One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)”, was released on September 10, 2018, along with its music video. (by wikipedia)

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Ever since 1978’s Stardust, standards albums have been part of Willie Nelson’s arsenal, but 2018’s My Way presents a twist on this shopworn tradition: it’s designed as a tribute to Frank Sinatra. Album-long tributes to Sinatra aren’t uncommon — Bob Dylan devoted much of the 2010s to recording a series of tributes to him — but My Way stands apart from the pack by capturing both the rakish charm of the Chairman of the Board and Nelson’s sly elegance. Nelson balances standards from the Great American Songbook (“A Foggy Day,” “Blue Moon,” “Night and Day,” “Young at Heart”) with songs written with Sinatra in mind (“Fly Me to the Moon,” “Summer Wind,” “It Was a Very Good Year,” “My Way”), which brings My Way closer to the essence of Frank Sinatra than Dylan’s stylized saloon records. This is light and breezy, music that suggests the swinging heyday of Sinatra without ever quite sounding like a dusty old Capitol LP, not even the horns are sighing and blaring. Chalk that up to Nelson, who sounds limber if a bit scraggly, both in his voice and on his guitar. There’s a wry, insouciant charm to his performances: he knows how to ratchet up the drama in “It Was Very Good Year,” realizes “My Way” is irresistible hokum, and slides into the calming melody of “Summer Wind.” Unlike Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin, Nelson’s limitations aren’t a hindrance, and the arrangements aren’t excessively polite, which means My Way is an appealingly light record: it’s performed with more affection than reverence. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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It’s about the band here, also. That driving, fat bass by David Piltch, who gives these straight-forward arrangements a strong foundation. The sparse, but so distinctive piano phrases by Matt Rollings (Lyle Lovett’s long time band member), who did the arrangements in a delightfully direct, fresh way. The tiny whiny harmonica occoupying the upper range. Some subtle guitars by Dean Parks and the master himself. Precise horns and a topping of strings if needed. All the schmalz is gone here, remains all the the fresh wind and this very unique Willie Nelson way of blowing the dust off these old songs. (Alexander Ziemann)

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Personnel:
Jay Bellerose (drums)
Jeff Coffin (saxophone)
Paul Franklin (pedal steel-guitar)
Barry Green (trombone)
Mike Haynes (trumpet)
Chris McDonald (trombone)
Doug Moffet (saxophone)
Willie Nelson (guitar, vocals)
Dean Parks (guitar)
Steve Patrick (trumpet)
David Piltch (bass)
Mickey Raphael (harmonica)
Matt Rollings (keyboards)
Denis Solee (saxophone)
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Norah Jones (vocals on 09.)
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strings:
Monisa Angell – Janet Darnall – David Davidson – Conni Ellisor – Alicia Enstrom –
Anthony La Marchina – Betsy Lamb -Carole Rabinowitz – Sari Reist – Kristin Wilkinson – Karen Winkelmann

strings arranged by Kristin Wilkinson

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Tracklist:
01. Fly Me To “he Moon (Howard) 2:44
02. Summer Wind (Meier/Mercer) 3:23
03. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road) (Arlen/Mercer) 3:59
04. A Foggy Day (G.Gershwin(I.Gershwin) 2:57
05. It Was A Very Good Year (Drake) 3:56
06. Blue Moon (Rodgers/Hart) 2:37
07. I’ll Be Around (Wilder) 2:59
08. Night And Day (Porter) 2:48
09. What Is This Thing Called Love? (Porter) 2:27
10. Young At Heart (Richards/Leigh) 2:46
11. My Way (Anka/François/Revaux) 4:49

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Billy Hart Quartet – One Is The Other (2014)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Billy Hart Quartet’s One Is the Other follows All Our Reasons, its noted debut for ECM, by less than two years. In one sense, this set shows the group’s growth (they’ve been together since 2005), and picks up where AOR left off, but more importantly, it reveals the more disciplined and inquisitive dimension of its collective persona, even as it revisits some tunes from its members’ pasts. Opener “Lennie’s Groove,” by saxophonist Mark Turner, was recorded much earlier in Turner’s career. Due to its complex harmonic and rhythmic components, it has subsequently become a workout classic for other jazz musicians. Pianist Ethan Iverson attacks the knotty lyric as if simultaneously playing all the dubbed parts of an unreleased tune from Lennie Tristano’s Descent Into the Maelstrom. As Turner enters, he twins these lines before moving toward Iverson contrapuntally. Ben Street’s bassline reveals the bridge between the bop and post-bop in the exercise while Hart shifts gears in tandem, accenting the ever-shifting meter. On Iverson’s “Maraschino,” the blues are the entryway into collective improvisation that remains commonly focused. Hart’s brushes not only accent and color the front line’s flourishes, but offer a map back to the center. The drummer’s “Amethyst” was the title piece of one of his earlier albums but is revisioned somewhat here. Its original melody — which retains its lyric beauty — is made more blocky here, Turner first, then Iverson, find its dark undercurrent. Hart rolls and breaks around their dialogue.

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Street engages as an interlocutor and interpreter, while Hart allows the three to dictate his fluid, articulate movements as the tune opens. Turner’s “Sonnet for Stevie” may be written for Stevie Wonder, but it’s fueled more by restraint, color, and texture than funk or R&B. Street’s opening bassline and the clipped rolls by Hart introduce a bluesy head, with Iverson extrapolating on them. He finds a lithe lyric inside and begins to slowly bring it out. Group statements remain brief on each chorus until Iverson’s solo finds the seam, and his upper register chord voicings become bell-like. Turner sticks close to the blues, while Hart breaks on them in a painterly fashion. One Is the Other is the sound of an experienced and deeply intuitive quartet speaking in a colorful and precise language comprised of numerous dialects and approaches to musical speech. (Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Billy Hart (drums)
Ethan Iverson (piano)
Ben Street (bass)
Mark Turner (saxophone)

Booklet.jpgTracklist:
01. Lennie Groove (Turner) 6.51
02. Maraschino (Iverson) 5.52
03. Teule’s Redemption (Hart) 7.21
04. Amethyst (Hart) 8.06
05. Yard (Hart) 5.08
06. Sonnet For Stevie (Turner) 8.43
07. Some Enchanted Evening (Rogers/Hammerstein) 5.20
08. Big Trees (Iverson) 4.15

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