by: Hobert Taylor
Marcus Roberts - Romance Swing and the Blues - (J-Master)
Pianist Roberts, noted as a sideman for Wynton Marsalis, is a stride player famous for his faithful recreations of the classical styles. Here, with a big band, he writes new music that sounds as if it were lifted off Decca sides in the late '40's and arranged by Tadd Dameron. It's sort of weird... you think the tunes should be familiar because of the arrangements and performances, but it's all new stuff...sort of impressionistic as well, as opposed to straight ahead.
Hank Marvin - Django's Catle - (Music Party
Guitarist Marvin was a '60's London icon both with his instrumental band, The Shadows, and backing Cliff Richard. An influence on George Harrison, Mark Knopfler and Neil Young, Marvin drifted out of the scene, moved to Australia, and became a Jehovah's Witness. He re-emerges here playing Gypsy jazz in a trio setting. It is so clean and precise that it might just slide past your ears. Check out the accordion solo on "Minor Swing". Also cool are the tunes "Swing Guitars", "After You've Gone" and "Swing 42". Jazz. No OPI.
Ferenc Nemeth/Atilla Laszlo - Bridges of Souls - (Dreamers Collective)
Hungarian musicians Nemeth and Laszlo play here along with former Yellowjackets, keyboard player Russell Ferrante and bassist Jimmy Haslip. The tunes are edgy fusion with world music and funk touches almost like Oregon. It's all very melodic, very pretty, very delicate... bell like in the upper registers contrasted with subtle growls in the lower. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon with a pot of tea.
Born To Wander - Born To Wander - (Self Released)
Guitar female vocal bass in perfect balance. Jazz? Americana? Old Timey ? Forget the labels. The picking is personable, the singing expressive and gorgeous.The tunes stretch from Irving Berlin to Joni Mitchell, from Mose Allison to Hank Williams. It's all fine. My faves: "Follow", "Everybody's Crying Mercy", "Wonder Why" and "Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair".
Roy Assaf Trio - Second Row Behind The Painter - (One Trick Dog)
Very thoughtful and haunting, this music is comprised of a patchwork of melodic snatches held together with spider webs of passionate reflective improvisation. The original tunes, "Babel" and "Folk-Lore" show tremendous potential for this young Israeli pianist, and his laid back and very smart interpretation of Duke Ellington's "I Got it Bad" show a deep understanding of the idiom.