Logo of Half Notes


Photo of CD cover

Some CD’s to consider: Jane Ira Bloom plays the soprano saxophone, lives in the East Coast and consistently finds inspirations for new CD’s. Her latest is Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson. She’s also the producer of the CD so it’s exactly the way she wants it. Joined by Dawn Clement-piano, Mark Helias-bass, Bobby Previte-drums and Deborah Bush-voice, Bloom is ready to explore new ideas with her own original compositions, except one, which is “It’s Easy to Remember” by Richard Rogers & Lorenz Hart. Poetry is not always easy to understand so the brain has to work harder to feel it. But, sometimes the clarity is breathtaking. Musicians and vocalists can make something new, different, compelling. “How many Flowers fall in Wood, or perish from the Hill-Without the privilege to know That they are Beautiful….”Creativity from talented artists is beautiful.




Photo of CD cover

Most big band fans know and adore arranger/composer Sammy Nestico. He’s been an icon, an inspiration for many musicians over the years. A Cool Breeze is a new issue by the SWR Big Band. From the liner notes: written in German and English, “The music he wrote for the SWR Big Band sounds funky, has elements of fusion, but by the same token has elements of swing, a pinch of soul and the emotionalism of orchestral expression.” The project took place because of the modern day miracles of computers and Skype. At age 92, Nestico was not keen to travel to Europe, so recorded pieces were sent to his computer in San Diego. Nestico was thrilled with the outcome. He said, “We have already made four records, but this one here is the best, without a doubt!” That’s good enough for fans of big band jazz. We bet that the recording could be ordered on the internet!.





Photo of CD cover

The Eric Ekstrand Ensemble has recorded Standard Delivery for Perserverance Records. The CD is jam packed with sturdy editions of well-known, well-loved tunes. Ekstrand sings, plays piano and arranged 16 classic tunes with three ensembles. His core team of himself, drummer Frank Wilson and Mark Rowland on alto sax & flute are joined by different sidemen for different tunes. This becomes high level swing, jump and blues. There’s plenty to enjoy: “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “Beyond the Sea,” “What a Wonderful World,” “ Hey, Good Lookin,’” “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” “I Only Have Eyes for You,” “Up a Lazy River” “Knock Me a Kiss” plus more. A very enjoyable example of great American classics, that make dancing hard to resist. For more info see ericekstrandmusic.com .




Photo of CD cover

Tenor saxophonist Adam Larson calls New York City his home base now, but his roots are in the midwest so he travels to the Second City, Chicago to work. He met some good people there, including bassist Clark Sommers, who introduced him to pianist Rob Clearfield. Drummer Jimmy McBride was a long time associate. The Title of Larson’s new CD is Second City. Larson has written seven original tunes for the group, based on everyday inspirations. His young son inspired “Out the Window.” The band gives out a lot of energy on the aptly titled “Breakout.” As a teenager Larson did hear “Smells Like Teen Spirit” at a jazz festival, but never realized that it was a tune by Nirvana. He had to arrange the tune into a jazz anthem. There are eight tunes on the CD and Larson has done a good job of expressing his ideas clearly with strong support from his sidemen. It’s on the Inner City Music.




Photo of The International Trumpet Guild logo

There are many places to enjoy jazz and the musicians and singers who make it all work. One of he most popular is to take a cruise and listen to some of the most talented performers in the world. Blue Note at Sea will be sailing January 27th to February 3, 2018.

Art work of jazz players

On board to entertain the lucky travelers will be Chick Corea, Marcus Miller, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Lalah Hathaway, Leslie odom Jr., Charles Lloyd & The Marvels, Dr. Lonnie Smith, David Sanborn and Robert Glasper. Plus such great sidemen: Wycliffe Gordon, Geoffrey Keezer, Ben Williams, Billy Kitsen, plus the Blue Note All Stars: Akinmusire, Louke, Scott, Hodge ans Strckland plus Glasper. That’s a lot of great jazz taking place at different times while on board. The program is the brainchild of Blue Note (the club) and Blue Note Records. Producer Don Was will also be on board and the MC will be Alonzo Bodden, one of the funniest guys around. The ship leaves Ft Launderdale, with stops at Labadee, St. Thomas, San Juan and Coco Bay. For complete info call toll free in the US & Canada, +844-763-5257 or international +800-852-99872. Also see bluenoteatsea.com . Bon voyage! Some of the stars slated to appear include; Kurt Elling, Nnenna Freelon, Roberta Gambarini, Ann Hampton Callaway, John Pizzarelli, Steve Tyrell, New York Voices and Niki Haris. Some musicians include Houston Person, John and Keff Clayton, Monty Alexander, Arturo Sandoval, Brecker Brothers, Preservation Hall Jazz Band. There’s more! Benny Green, Marcus Miller, Terell Stafford, Joey De Francesco, Shelly Berg, Renee Rosnes, Gerald Clayton, Tamir Hendelman, Ted Rosenthal, Joe La Barbera, John Fedchock, Robin Eubanks, Jennifer Wharton, Chritoph Luty, Martin Wind, Eric Merienthal, Anat Cohen, Ken Peplowski, Gary Smulyan and many more. Alonzo Bodden is the MC…For info call: US & Canada +888-852-9987 international +800-852-99872 www.thejazzcruise.com/ …The Jazz Cruise includes Ft. Lauderdale, New Orleans and Cozumel




Vocalist Sylvia Brooks has been well versed in music for most of her life. Her father was Don Ippolito, who worked with some of the best in the business. A pianist/arranger he was working with such luminaries as Stan Getz, Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Rich and Brooks’ mom was a trained opera singer who was also adept with pop and standard tunes in clubs. Brooks began to study acting though she was always attracted to singing jazz specifically. She worked with Tom Garvin and eventually recorded CD’s with Kim Richmond, Otmaro Ruiz, Chris Colangelo, Kendall Kay, Larry Koose, Bob Sheppard, Jeff Colella, Christian Jacob, Quinn Johnson and other top musicians. We have to state that she has great judgment in the musicians she works with. The Arrangement is her just released CD. Some gems in the recording include “Body and Soul,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “Guess Who I Saw Today,” “Night and Day” “Angel Eyes” and two of her own tunes, “Sweet Surrender” and “Maybe I’m a Fool.” We think she’s well on her way to a great career as a jazz stylist. Catch her in person when she appears in our area




Photo of The International Trumpet Guild logo

I wanted to give you the heads up that Savoy Jazz artists and LA-based kings of swing Big Bad Voodoo Daddy are gearing up for the release of a new album June 16th and are currently touring the U.S. Titled “Louie, Louie, Louie”—it’s a homage to the jazz legends Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan and Louis Prima. The Grammy-nominated band is sharper than ever as they pay tribute to their jazz heroes reinterpreting 13 classic songs. The album reveals the evolution of swing, jazz and popular music through the songs and personalities of these three giants of swing and of American culture. Check out the full album here: https://soundcloud.com




Photo of Organissimo

The Beatles also will be heard for generations to come as they continue to inspire working musicians. Organissimo is a group consisting of Jim Alfredson-Hammond organ, Wurlitzer electric piano, synthesizers, Lawrence Barris-guitar, Randy Marsh-drums, Bill Vits-percussionist and Mike List-tabla. The songs are familiar and so well performed by the group. “And I Love Her,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “ The Long and Winding Road,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “ If I Fell,” “Within You Without You,” --12 familiar tunes to enjoy in Organissimo B3tles. For more about the band see www.organissimo.org




Photo of Marilyn Scott CD cover

Singers wouldn’t have much to sing about if the subject of love was eliminated. It is the theme that inspires creative peopl the most. Marilyn Scott has a new CD out, titled Standard Blue, which includes such great versions of “Never Let Me Go,” “Day Dream,” “Willow Weep For Me,” “Speak Low” and “I’v Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good” plus five more standards. She accomplished the CD with backing by some of the best musicians on the West Coast: Russell Ferrante-keyboards, Michael Landau-guitar, Jimmy Haslip-bass, Gary Novak-drums Ambrose Akinmusire-trumpet and Bob Mintzer on bass clarinet. All of them are heard at their best so Scott can concentrate on the bluesy world of romance. Very well done in every respect




Photo of Julia Fordham CD cover

Julia Fordham has the most beautiful voice and she also tackles the various phases of love with an excellent choice of songs: on her new CD The Language of Love including Call Me,” “Who’s That Girl,” “ I’m Not in Love,” “ Alone Again Naturally,” “At Seventeen,” ‘Moon River” “ Eleanor Rigby” and five more gems. The CD was produced and arranged by Grant Mitchell and recorded here in L.A. The musicians include Mitchell on piano & keyboards, David Piltch-bass, Herman Matthews-drums, Ramon Yslas-percussion, Ramon Stagnaro guitar, Harry Kim-trumpet, Guitarist Colin Ryan on “Moon River” and backup singers Judith Owen and Sista Jean McClain. Fordham does a fine job of interpreting the material and also wrote two of her own compositions “Happy Ever After,” “Like You Used to Do,” “The Morning After (the Night With You.)” Sometimes surviving heartbreak can be so inspiring and creative




Photo of Zeke Martin’s The Oracle CD cover

From the opening snap of “Airplane Funk,” Zeke Martin’s The Oracle takes off on a bright, groove heavy trip. Like an amped up Herbie Mann, Lance Martin’s flute is the jumping off point for the entire album – soulful, funky, and intricately woven around the drums and keys.

Throughout the next few tracks, the pace gallops forward without even the slightest hesitation. “In the Middle” is a masterpiece on a bass, and “Snuggle Noodles” wraps itself around you with its precision and bounce.

Zeke Martin’s music is in his genes. Son of the late, great drummer Stu Martin (Quincy Jones, Count Basie, Herbie Hancock), and godson of Jack DeJohnette and Barry Altschul, Zeke started his career at the top, playing with legendary jazz saxophonist Steve Lacy at age 12.




Photo of Audio wave
Photo of  Jazz art work

A reminder that Pinocchio’s Italian restaurant in Pasadena, on north Lake, has been featuring jazz for a long time. On the first Saturdays of the month it’s guitarist Scott Detweiler performing. On the second Saturday of the month catch the Donovan-Muradian group. This is a terrific jazz group who have guests dropping by to play straight ahead jazz. No cover and the food is very good. It’s a great jazz destination....




Photo of   The Barkley logo

Also in the Pasadena area; The Barkley features jazz every Sunday, from 9-11pm. No cover…We also heard that Edwin Mills, located in an alley in Old Town also has jazz on tap. Sorry, we have no details on these places but it’s easy to check out in Pasadena’s weekly newspaper or online....