Archive for ron carter

My Best Jazz Albums of 2018 – The Complete List

Posted in Best Jazz Albums of 2018 with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2018 by curtjazz

Yeah. I know. I’ve been away from the blog since, well, since my last year-end review.

It’s been quite a year folks. A lot of time on the road and a lot of “spare” time devoted to getting CurtJazz Radio back up, running and viable. But you didn’t come here to hear my problems. In the midst of it all, I did manage to hear a good amount of music. Some not so good and some that was very good, to excellent. Those in the latter category are included in the list below.

They are in alphabetical order, by album title. I’ve divided the projects into Instrumental and Vocal. I also wanted to recognize a couple of outstanding EPs, so I did. Each title includes a link that will take you to a place where you can purchase the music, if you feel so moved.

At the bottom of the post are three CD length Spotify playlists, which will give you a chance to sample a track from most of the albums/EPs on our list.

Tracks from all of these albums and EPs will be featured on CurtJazz Radio, from now, through the end of January 2019. CurtJazz Radio, on Live365.com, is always on and always FREE. Click HERE to listen.

I will try to not be such a ghost in 2019.

Instrumental

Album Title Artist Label
All in My Mind Dr. Lonnie Smith Blue Note
Armor of Pride Black Art Jazz Collective HighNote
Both Directions at Once John Coltrane Impulse
Christian McBride’s New Jawn Christian McBride Mack Avenue
Concentric Circles Kenny Barron Quintet Blue Note
Diamond Cut Tia Fuller Mack Avenue
Exiled Thandi Ntuli Ndlela Music Co.
Future is Female Roxy Coss Posi-Tone
Get It How You Live Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra Ropeadope
Heaven and Earth Kamasi Washington Young Turks
In Common Walter Smith III; Matthew Stevens Whirlwind
In Real Time John Bailey Summit
In the Moment Pat Bianchi Savant
Interstellar Adventures Theo Hill Posi-Tone
Introspection Roni Ben-Hur and Harvie S Jazzheads
Jazzland Tim Warfield Criss Cross
Live from San Pedro Jeff Hamilton Trio Capri
Love Stone JD Allen Savant
Master’s Legacy Series; Vol. 2Emmet CohenCellar Live
Modern Flows; Vol. 2 Marquis Hill PR
Movement Kobie Watkins Grouptet Origin
Origami Harvest Ambrose Akinmusire Blue Note
Pardes (Orchard) Amos Hoffman & Noam Lemish CD Baby
Remember Love Houston Person and Ron Carter HighNote
Straight Forward New Faces Posi-Tone
Telepathy Christopher Hollyday CD Baby
Warriors for Peace E.J. Strickland Quintet JamminColorS

Vocal

Album Title Artist Label
Art Market Sasha Masakowski Ropeadope
Genius of Eddie Jefferson Allan Harris Resilience
Looking at the Moon Allegra Levy Steeplechase
Math Camp Lorraine Feather CD Baby
My Mood is You Freddy Cole HighNote
Some of That Sunshine Karrin Allyson CD Baby
Sung with Words Helen Sung CD Baby
Unbroken Tiffany Austin Con Alma
Waiting for the Sunrise Camille Thurman Chesky
The Window Cecile McLorin Salvant Mack Avenue

EPs

Title Artist Label
Alfred Sergel IVtet Alfred Sergel Self-Release
G8S Giacomo Gates 9th Note

Best of the Carolinas

Title Artist Label
Cola Jazz II Cola Jazz Jangly
The SeekerThomas TaylorSelf Release
Shanghai Decade Sean Higgins Trio Self Release
Playlist #1
Playlist #2
Playlist #3
Advertisements

2014 Jazz Grammy® Preview #1 – Best Improvised Jazz Solo

Posted in 2014 Grammys with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2014 by curtjazz

Well folks, here we are again. The Grammy® Awards will be handed out on Sunday, January 26. As usual, the awards in the jazz categories will be announced during the “Pre-Show” before the televised broadcast. As I have done over the past few years I’ve put together a review of the jazz category nominees, including a musical clip and my opinion about the artists chances to take some hardware home on Sunday. Let’s start as has become customary with jazz’s equivalent of Record of the Year, “Best Improvised Jazz Solo”

The nominees are:

“Don’t Run”: Terence Blanchard – soloist (From the album Magnetic [Blue Note Records])

This is the best track on trumpeter Terence Blanchard’s best album in years. Frankly, I’m surprised that Magnetic did not get a Best Instrumental Jazz Album nomination. Nevertheless, this cut features great solos from Blanchard, Ravi Coltrane on soprano sax and the legendary Ron Carter on bass. Will it win? It’s got a good chance. Blanchard is fairly well-known and the record did create some mild buzz this summer. However there is a bona fide legend in this category who may stand in Blanchard’s way.

“Song for Maura”: Paquito D’Rivera – soloist (From the album Song for Maura [Sunnyside Records])

Another very strong track in this very competitive field, “Song for Maura” is an old D’Rivera composition given new life in this excellent rendition, which is the title track to D’Rivera’s summit meeting with the Brazilian group Trio Corrente. The album is nominated for a Best Latin Jazz Album Grammy. D’Rivera’s clarinet and the light Brazilian rhythms make for an intoxicating mix. It has a decent shot because of D’Rivera’s relative renown but I think he stands a better chance of the album winning.

“Song Without Words #4: Duet”: Fred Hersch – soloist (from the album Free Flying (Fred Hersch and Julian Lage) [Palmetto Records])

Pianist Fred Hersch has garnered six Grammy nominations during his career but has yet to take home the prize. That and the fact this is a brilliant classically tinged track from a brilliant album makes Hersch a sentimental favorite. However, I think that he is likely to go home empty-handed again.

“Stadium Jazz”: Donny McCaslin – soloist (From the album Casting for Gravity (Greenleaf Music)]

Donny McCaslin is the relative newcomer in this group, having been nominated to my knowledge, only once before, in 2005. “Stadium Jazz” is a fun, fusion based track and McCaslin reminds us all that he is one of the best saxophonists in the business. Unfortunately though, in this very strong field, he is a long shot.

“Orbits”: Wayne Shorter – soloist (From the album Without a Net [Blue Note Records])

Remember that legend that I was talking about earlier? Here he is. The biggest stunner of this whole nomination list this year was that this was the only nomination that Wayne Shorter’s return to Blue Note Records garnered. Not that this is Shorter’s best work but we all know that Grammy loves legends. But this is IMO the best performance on Without a Net and Shorter is a Jazz Hall of Famer. So although my personal favorite is Terence Blanchard, I predict that Wayne Shorter will be your winner on Sunday.

This will be a hotly contested category as will most of the jazz categories this year. Frankly I wouldn’t squawk if any of the nominees walked away victorious.

So here is my bottom line unscientific prediction:

  • Should Win: Terence Blanchard
  • Will Win: Wayne Shorter

Up next, will be Best Jazz Vocal Album. Again, there’s a clear favorite but some strong contenders.

Album Review – Blanchard’s “Magnetic” Attracts Positive Attention

Posted in CD Reviews with tags , , , , , on July 28, 2013 by curtjazz

Magnetic coverIt has been thirty years since Terence Blanchard first hit the jazz scene as Wynton Marsalis’ handpicked replacement in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and then lead a memorable “young lions” quintet with saxophonist Donald Harrison. Since then, Mr. Blanchard has scored over 40 films, including all of Spike Lee’s since Mo’ Better Blues; been nominated for eleven Grammys® (and won five); served as artistic director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz; been a first call sideman and led his own group that has recorded twenty albums. In addition, Mr. Blanchard’s first “Opera in Jazz”, Champion, about the life of the late boxer Emile Griffith, recently premiered in St. Louis.  Suffice to say that Terence Blanchard has been quite busy. His twentieth album also marks his return to Blue Note Records for which he last recorded 2007’s A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina) for which he won the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Grammy.

His new album, titled Magnetic, features ten original compositions, all by Mr. Blanchard or the members of his latest quintet; Brice Winston on saxophone, Fabian Almazan on piano, Kendrick Scott on drums and 21-year-old newcomer Joshua Crumbly on bass. In addition, there are guest appearances by bass legend Ron Carter, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane (son of a legend) and guitarist Lionel Loueke (likely to be a legend). Blanchard has been experimenting with a number of styles, from classical to Latin to hip-hop on some of his recent recordings. Though those experiments were always interesting and often successful, it’s great to find him on Magnetic, back at his base in what is essentially a first-rate post-bop blowing session.

The title track kicks things off. It’s a knotty mid-tempo piece, peppered with staccato horn blasts and various electronics including Blanchard’s use electronics which at times give his trumpet a guitar like sound. “Pet Step Sitter’s Theme Song” has a mellow funk rhythm over which the group lays down some exploratory solos with Ravi Coltrane’s tenor runs being the highlight, Blanchard’s electronic trumpet sounding like a keyboard and Loueke’s guitar comping in the background. Lionel’s vocalizing and chord runs are subtle at first, then grow in prominence to give the piece a shift in direction. Drummer Scott contributed the hard-driving “No Borders, Just Horizons”, which opens with a powerful two-minute drum solo and then moves surprisingly into a Latin swing over which Blanchard blows one of his best solos on the album before turning things over to Winston’s tenor, which is also in fine form. “Central Focus”, which Blanchard originally recorded on his Simply Stated album twenty years ago and it makes welcome return here with Blanchard showing what he has learned in the ensuing two decades and Scott setting a beat that is impossible to ignore. Winston’s “Time to Spare”, which he originally recorded on his debut solo album three years ago, appears here in an improved version. Winston is more confident and his tenor runs, which show the influence of Joe Henderson, are more self-assured.

The highlight of highlights is “Don’t Run” which features the great Ron Carter on bass and Ravi Coltrane on soprano sax. The tune takes its title from a joking admonition that Carter made to Blanchard to “Stop running from me, man”, when the trumpeter would suggest that they work together. “Don’t Run” is 7 ½ minutes of jazz awesome, with Blanchard, Coltrane, Carter and Scott, just blowing their brains out. Coltrane starts it; with one of his best solos on soprano that I’ve heard to date. Blanchard comes behind him, clearly intending to not be outdone and Carter, is his usual Hall of Fame self.

Magnetic is a mature and winning artistic statement from Terence Blanchard and his quintet. He demonstrates that in spite of the film work, the operas, the Broadway scores and the other things that divide his attention, he remains one of the best jazz trumpet players working today and that he has the recordings to back it up.