Jane Scheckter – I’ll Take Romance

By Doc Wendell

Amazon.com: I'll Take Romance : Jane Scheckter: Digital Music

Well known jazz/cabaret New York vocalist Jane Scheckter has an exciting new project out that consists of some of the greatest standards ever written. Scheckter is joined by an incredible band including Jay Leonhart, bass, Ted Firth, musical director, arranger and pianist, Peter Grant, drums, Warren Vache, cornet, flugelhorn and Nicolas King, vocals. Scheckter’s swinging yet mournful vocals shine on such standards as “Love, I hear,” “I’ll be Easy To Find,” “I’ll Take Romance,” and “A Beautiful Friendship.” The band is thematic and compliments her every phrase and nuance. Scheckter’s vocals have a unique quality not heard often these days. They take the listener back to a time when this music was front and center.

This is the kind of music you’d hear at a late-night set at a top club in NYC. Scheckter and company prove that the spirit of cabaret has not died and is still going strong. The arrangements by Ted Firth are superb and carefully crafted to fit Scheckter’s vocal style. Legendary bassist Jay Leonhart really shines throughout as do the other supreme band members. This is a recording that will only grow stronger with time.

Jane Scheckter – I’ll Take Romance is a wonderful jazz/cabaret album made for lovers of standards and delicately swinging music all around. Do not miss this one.

This music is available on all major streaming platforms.


Commodore Trio – Communal – EP

The Rehearsal Studio: January 2024

By Doc Wendell

Gifted Indianapolis guitarist Joel Tucker has teamed up with The Commodore Trio for an album of exciting jazz/rock improvisations. The trio consists of Joel Tucker, guitar, Brendan Keller Tuberg, bass and piano and Justin Clark on the drums. What’s great about the music created on this project is that it’s often hard to categorize is. Tucker and the trio take sonic journeys that the listener won’t soon forget on such compositions as “We Are Surprised,” “Communal,” “Soundscape 1” and “Soundscape 2.” The music takes many twists and turns and will leave you surprised and delighted. What comes to mind is producer Bill Laswell’s musical explorations from the 90s. Tucker is a supremely melodic guitarist who easily delves into more harmonic complexities. The rhythm backing of Clark and Tuberg is tight yet adventurous. When Tucker lets loose on his guitar it is reminiscent of the late great guitar fusion master Sonny Sharrock.

For those who think that improvised guitar driven fusion is a thing of the past they need to look no further. Tucker proves to be one of the most original and exhilarating guitarists on the scene right now with an unstoppable energy. Commodore Trio is destined to make waves with this recording. This music is filled with new ideas and concepts but also takes one back to the art/rock mixed with jazz fusion that took place in NYC many years ago which is huge praise.

Commodore Trio – Communal EP is for music lovers interested in going on a trip full of sounds, tones and textures. Do not miss this one.

This music is available on streaming platforms everywhere.


Rob Susman- Top Secret Lab

By Doc Wendell

Play Top Secret Lab by Robert Susman on Amazon Music

Master New York City based trombonist Rob Susman has blazed a trail on the scene for the past 30 years with projects like Swingadelic, NoNoNonet and Funk Shui NYC. His mixture of funk, jazz, pop and just about anything that comes his way has earned him a vast following. His new album Top Secret Lab features a nonet of top session musicians including Chris Hemingway, alto and soprano saxophones, Stan Killian, tenor sax, Maximillian Schweiger, baritone sax, Seneca Black, trumpet, Chris Anderson, trumpet, Jane Getter, guitar, Dan Asher, bass and Yuichi Hirakawa on drums. Susman not only plays bass but is also featured on keyboards, percussion and theremin. The funky grooves created by Susman and his nonet are impossible to resist. Tracks such as “Tastes Like Chicken,” “This Time,” “Erghen Diado,” and “East Side infirmary” are so nasty, slick, cool and daring that one listen will in no way be enough for the listener.

Susman is not only a brilliant trombonist with a lyrical style, he is also a terrific composer and arranger which is proven throughout this album. The band sounds as if they’re ready to go anywhere as they follow Susman’s sweet and swinging trombone style throughout the funky Universe. There are often touches of Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters from the mid-70s on some of the more upbeat numbers as well as on the lovely ballad “This Time” which is without a doubt an album highlight. The musical diversity on this project is jaw dropping.

Rob Susman- Top Secret Lab is a powerful musical statement from a masterclass trombonist and his nonet that is for those jazz fans who like a touch of funk in their grooves.

This music is available on all major streaming platforms.


Dianne Fraser – You And I

By Doc Wendell

Dianne Fraser's Debut Album "YOU AND I" - Jazz Music Forum

Los Angeles native vocalist Dianne Fraser has always loved the music of film and stage composer Leslie Bricusse. On her latest album Fraser pays tribute to Bricusse with a loving project of Bricusse’s most well known songs. Fraser is backed by Todd Schroeder, piano, Adam Cohen, bass and Denise Fraser on drums. Fraser’s poignant and soulful vocals with Schroeder’s thematic piano accompaniment go together like hand in glove on Leslie Bricusse compositions such as “At The Crossroads/After Today,” “Pure Imagination,” “Feeling Good,” “Crazy World/If I Ruled The World,” and “Le Jazz Hot.”

Bricusse’s lyrics and compositions are brilliant and filled with childlike imagination and wonder. Fraser and her trio have a clear understanding of every word and nuance. The subtlety of Fraser’s vocal delivery adds to the magic of this album. Bricusse’s most well known piece is probably “Feeling Good.” It has been covered by bevy of blues and jazz artists over the years and Fraser’s take on this classic is one of the very best versions.

Dianne Fraser – You And I is an album full of magic and is the perfect tribute to Leslie Bricusse. This is for music lovers everywhere.

This music is available on all major streaming platforms.


Angela Deniro

Swingin’ With Legends 2

By Doc Wendell

Play Angela DeNiro Swingin' with Legends 2 with the Ron Aprea Big Band by Angela  Deniro & Ron Aprea Big Band on Amazon Music

Jazz vocalist Angela Deniro and her legendary husband saxophonist/Arranger Ron Aprea have produced a magnificent album of love songs with an all-star 16 p, piece band consisting of Randy Brecker, trumpet, Ken Peplowski, clarinet, Lew Tabackin, tenor sax/flute, Todd Bashore, alto sax, Chris Persad, trumpet, Bryan Davis, trumpet, Elijah Schiffer, alto sax/flute, Nathan Childers, tenor sax, flute/clarinet, Lee Greene, tenor sax/flute/clarinet, Doug Dehays, bari sax, bass clarinet, Mathew Timm, trumpet, Shawn Edmonds, trumpet, Wayne Goodman, trombone, Mathew Haviland, trombone, Brandon Moodie, trombone, Dale Turk, bass trombone, Cecilia Coleman, piano, Tim Givens, bass, Jonathan Mele, drums.

The outcome of such a great singer collaborating with her husband Ron Aprea on the conduction and arrangements and a top notch 16-piece band is astounding. Angela Deniro’s vocals are sultry and mournful. The band swings out of control on numbers like “New York City Blues,” “You’d Be So Easy To Love,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “A House Is Not A Home,” and “Willow Weep For Me.” These tunes may be familiar to most jazz lovers but Ron Aprea’s arrangements are fresh and vital.

This project is a delightful throwback to more swinging times. It’s surely a sentimental journey that the listener will soon not forget. Deniro can scat sing with the best of them as she does on “You’d Be So Easy To Love.” Of course, this album is a must for big band jazz lovers. You simply can’t find another group to match the experience and mastery of this one throughout the entire recording.

Angela Deniro – Swingin’ With Legends 2 is the finest vocal and big band album to surface in many years. This is a gift for all music lovers.

You can find this album on all major streaming platforms.


Hannah Gill – Everybody Loves A Lover

By Doc Wendell

Everybody Loves A Lover | Hannah Gill

New York City jazz vocalist newcomer Hannah Gill has released her debut album which features an exciting blend of swing-era standards. Joining Gill is a star-studded jazz collective including Danny Jonokuchi, trumpet, Ryan Weisheit, saxophone and clarinet, Sam Chess, trombone, Greg Ruggiero, guitar, Gordon Webster, piano, Tal Ronen, bass and Ben Zweig on drums. On such swing classics as “moonlight Savings Time,” “You Were Only Fooling,” “I Fell In Love With A Dream,” and “You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me” Gill and the band burn bright and breathe new light into these well know swing standards. This project is a jazz purists dream come true. The horn section is simply phenomenal. Gill’s sultry voice is poignant and soulful. She definitely doesn’t sound like a newcomer on the scene. Gill has the chops of a veteran jazz vocalist and she knows how to sing with a big band which isn’t easy.

This album takes the listener back in time to more swinging times and does so with mastery and a sense of fun which makes all the difference. The horns dance around the stated melodies with pure joy. Gill’s vocals are laid back with a warm vibrato. This recording is proof that swing music is far from dead.

Hannah Gill’s Everybody Loves A Lover is for jazz lovers of all genres, especially those looking for delightfully new takes on swing-era standards.

This music is available on all major streaming platforms.

Noshir Mody – A Love Song

By Doc Wendell

Original Music | Noshir Mody

Veteran contemporary jazz guitarist is back with a brand-new album that celebrates love and life. Mody takes the listener a sonic spiritual journey with Love Song that is guaranteed to influence other guitarists of the next few generations. Mody is joined by a stellar ensemble including Kate Victor, vocals, Benjamin Hankle, flugelhorn, Campbell Charshee, piano, Yuka Tadano, double bass and Ronen Izilk on drums. The music created by Mody and his band is hauntingly beautiful in every way. Mody’s sense of melody and harmony is jaw dropping. Benjamin Hankle’s flugelhorn work is dream like and thematic. Tracks like “What Tomorrow May Bring,” “The Yard,” “Mystic,” and the title track are like modern art masterpieces. Each carefully crafted and delivered with focus and soul. You’ve never heard a group like this before. Mody’s delicate picking will put you in a trance.

The rhythm section consisting of Yuka Tadano on bass and Ronen Izilk on drums keeps the grooves in the pocket and compliments every nuance played by Mody. Mody also knows when to layout and create space between the notes like a true master. “The Yard” is reminiscent of a truly great Wayne Shorter composition.

Noshir Mody’s Love Song takes you on a journey to far off lands and seascapes and will leave you wanting more.

This music is available on all major streaming services.


Clifford Jordan – Drink Plenty Water

By Doc Wendell

Tenor Saxophonist Clifford Jordan's Album “Drink Plenty Water…”

Jazz fans all around the world have been waiting for some previously undiscovered music by the late great tenor saxophone genius Clifford Jordan and alas the moment is here. After 49 years on the shelf Drink Plenty Water has finally been issued. Jordan is backed by an all-star band featuring Donna Jordan Harris, David Smyrl, vocals, Dick Griffin, trombone, Bill Hardman, trumpet, Charlie Rouse, bass clarinet, Bernard Fennell, cello, Stanley Cowell, piano, Sam Jones, bass, Bill Lee, bass & arrangements, Billy Higgins, drums, Kathy O’ Boyle, Denise Williams, Murial Winston, background vocals.

The music was initially recorded in NYC in August of 1974. The results are burning, to say the least. The vocal arrangements are twisted yet soulful. Then there’s Clifford Jordan’s sweet-toned tenor sax work which is timeless. Material such as “The Highest Mountain,” “Witch Doctor’s Chant (Ee-Bah-Lickey-Doo),” and “Drink Plenty Water And Walk Slow” are all unique statements of modern jazz with a hint of country blues in the approach of the vocal arrangements. The contrast in styles is jaw dropping. Jordan’s presence is haunting. The music takes the listener back to when the music was fresher and new. The charts are reminiscent of some of Mingus’s 70s work. Jordan played in Mingus’s band in the mid-60s and may have been influenced by the great bandleader/bassist. The title track is spoken word poetry at its best. The lyrics capture the times perfectly.

Clifford Jordan Drink Plenty Water is a masterpiece captured in one place and time that will live with jazz lovers for a very long time. Do not miss out on this.

This music available on all main streaming platforms.


Chloe Jean – Fairly Tale Fail

Chloe Jean: Fairy Tale Fail

By Doc Wendell

Chloe Jean has a lot of singing experience. She was one of the lead vocalists in the UC Berkeley gospel choir. Her song “What Could Be Better” won an award from the West Coast Songwriters Association in the category of Bluegrass. On her new album Fairy Tale Fail she explores many genres without leaving the world of jazz with exciting original as well as poignant covers. The album was produced by guitarists Ray Obeido and she is backed by an all-star band including David Mathews, keyboards, Marc Van Wageningen, bass and Peter Michael Escovedo on percussion. The rhythm section sharing the duties is Peter Horvath, piano, Dan Feiszli, bass, Billy Johnson and Jason Lewis, drums, Mike Olmos, trumpet and saxophonists Norbert Stachel and Charles McNeal.

Material such as “Black Sheep,” “Cry Me A River,” “Fairy Tale Fail,” and the classic “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” are soulful, uplifting and joyous. Jean’s vocals have a hint of modern soul fused with classic jazz and the results are brilliant. The band is thematic and keep the groove right in the pocket. Jean’s wide vocal range and knowledge of a variety of musical genres makes her truly stand out from most of the other female vocalists on the scene today. Ray Obeido’s production is crisp and clean throughout. There’s a subdued funkiness to covers such as “Cry Me A River” and “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”

Chloe Jean has released a stunning and wonderfully mood altering album with Fairy Tale Fail. This is for all music lovers far and wide.

The album is available of all major streaming platforms.


Anthony Nelson Jr. – Swinging Sunset

Anthony E. Nelson Jr.: Swinging Sunset album review @ All About Jazz

By Doc Wendell

Veteran saxophonist, flautist, clarinetist and bass clarinetist Anthony Nelson Jr. has teamed up with the legendary Cecil Brooks III on drums and B3 organist Kyle Koehler to pay homage to the classic sound of the jazz organ trio on Nelson’s 5th album entitled Swinging Sunset. The results are magnificent. This project brings back nostalgic memories of the great organ trios by Jimmy Smith and Jack McDuff. On such material as “Canadian Sunset,” “One More Once,” “Girl talk,” and “Uno Mas Por Roberto” Nelson displays his tasteful yet soulful tenor saxophone work whereas Koehler’s B3 organ comping is funky and swinging. Drummer Cecil Brooks III keeps the groove right there in the pocket, opening up more room for Nelson and Koehler to burn.

Nelson’s tenor work is somewhat reminiscent of Oliver Nelson’s early 60s classic recordings. His style is thematic and melodic. It’s immediately that these men have built up a long-standing chemistry. Koehler’s sense of dynamics on the Hammond B3 is jaw dropping. And Brooks’ drumming suites each composition beautifully. Nelson’s compositions show a clear sense of originality and love for organ trio jazz.

If you’re looking for a pure jazz organ trio recording look no further. Swinging Sunset is a loving throwback to when organ trio music was one of the ruling styles of jazz.

This music can be found on all major streaming platforms.


Israel Tanenbaum & The Latinbaum Jazz Ensemble – Impressions


By Doc Wendell

Bronx born Puerto Rican musician Israel Tanenbaum has produced over 50 albums over the years. He’d appear on these recordings as a pianist/Arranger in more than 100 recordings. Now with Impressions he’s focused on himself with a highly personal project featuring a bevy of tremendous musicians including John Benitez, bass, Richie Flores, congas, Tito De Gracia, timbales, Roberto Quintero, percussionist, Francis Benitez, drummer, Daniel Neville, Christos Rafalides, vibraphones, Oriente Lopez, Andrea Brachfeld, flutes, Johnathan Powell, Orlando “Batanga” Barrera, trumpets, Angel Subero, Willie Alvarez, Xito Lovell, Ediberto Lievano, trombones and Felipe Lamogia, Julio flores on saxophones.

The album features a wide variety of mambos, danzons and descargas on such titles as “Strange Destiny,” “Hot Bridge,” “Prime Flight,” and “Mambo Raro.”This is Latin jazz at its best. No fancy bells or whistles here, just the real thing throughout. The horn arrangements swing as hard as humanly possible. The Latinbaum Ensemble is driven by its superior percussionists and Tanenbaum’s dynamic piano work. The background vocal stylings of Diana Serna, Gustavo Rodriguez and Daniel Silva add an entirely new dimension to the music. This is party music guaranteed to get the listeners out of their seats. The musicians that consists of the Latinbaum Ensemble hail from Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, Columbia and New York City. The vast array of influences can be heard throughout every well-crafted nuance.

Impressions is a marvelous Latin jazz project that all music lovers will enjoy.

This recording is available on all major streaming platforms.


Dean Mucetti & Rhythm Real – Isolate/Integrate

By Doc Wendell

Isolate // Integrate | Dean Mucetti & Rhythm Real | Orenda Records

Top notch drummer and music educator Dean Mucetti has finally released his exciting debut recording. This California native has some fresh new ideas that he’s ready to share with the jazz world and the results are brilliant. Mucetti is backed by a stellar band that consists of Miguel Ortiz, bass, Dore Wallace, guitar(Right channel), Jon Aparicio, guitar(Left channel), Alex Williams, piano and Brian Hargrove on keyboards. The album was produced by Mucetti as well.

This project fits into the fusion jazz category with fantastic journeys in sound. Mid 70s Steely Dan often comes to mind on terrific tracks such as “Steps West,” “Bell Bud,” “Mother Alone,” and “Licking Myself.” You may pick up traces of the Dan but the music has a unique flavor to it that takes the mind on a far-out journey into the stars. The band is tight and it’s evident that they’ve been playing together for a long time. Keyboardist Brian Hargrove sounds like the late great Bernie Worrell on the first few tracks. He adds a definite psychedelic atmosphere to the music. Mucetti’s drumming is straight in the pocket and Alex Williams’ piano style is melodic and thematic. Mucetti and company seam set out to explore new musical turf on this project and they definitely succeed.

Drummer Dean Mucetti has achieved a masterwork with Rhythm Real on Isolate/Integrate. This adventurous album is for music lovers of all kind.

The album is available on all major streaming platforms.


Eric Goletz – Standard-ized

By Doc Wendell

Eric Goletz-Standard-ized - JazzBeat

Master trombonist Eric goletz is back with a brand-new project that consists of reimagined jazz standards with a top-notch band. The band consists of Henry Heinitsh, guitar, Jim Ridl, piano, Brian Glassman, acoustic and electric basses, Marco Panascia, electric bass, Steve Johns, drums and John Mowatt on percussion. The string section is Robin Zeh, violin, Paul Woodiel, violin, David Gold, viola, Sarah-Hewitt-Roth, cello and Brian Glassman, contra bass. Special guests include Don Braden on soprano sax and Lajauan Carter on vocals.

Goletz and company take such standards as “Now’s The Time,” “Just In Time,” “Caravan,” “Nutville,” and “Nature Boy” and puts a unique but wonderfully swinging touch to them. It’s easy for the listener to understand that this is a project made out of love for jazz and the results are amazing. Goletz’s trombone lines are lyrical and thematic and the band, including special guests Braden and Carter are simply burning. It takes a true master to reinvent classic standards by Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Horace Silver and Michel Legrand. And Goletz pull it off without a hitch. There’s definitely a big-band feel on “Now’s The Time” which makes the music swing even harder. The solo duel on Bird’s “Now’s The Time” between Goletz and Don Braden, who plays soprano sax is worth the price of admission alone.

Standard-Ized is a pure classic jazz recording consisting of some of the greatest standards in the idiom but with a breath of fresh air breathed into each composition. Do not miss this one.

This music is available on all streaming platforms.


San Gabriel 7 – Under The Stars Featuring Sinne Eeg

Under The Stars' with the San Gabriel 7 featuring Sinne Eeg – SimplyJazzTalk

By Doc Wendell

Progressive funk/jazz band San Gabriel 7 is back with a new album of imaginary sound explorations and compositions the listener won’t easily forget anytime soon. The band is made up of Chad Edwards, keyboards and Hammond B3, Chris Gordon, piano (Who also produced this project), Steve Gregory, guitar, John Pintoff, bass, Randy Drake, drums and Scott Breadman on percussion. The horn section is Kye Palmer, trumpet and flugelhorn, Glen Berger, Saxes, flute, oboe and English horn, Jim Lewis, trombone, Alex Budman on saxes, flute and clarinets, and Dave Holben on tuba.

Tracks like “Rocket Blues,” “I’m In The Mood For Love,” “The Barista,” and the title track are filled with funky twists and turns by a brilliant group of musicians. Scandinavian vocalist Sinne Eeg scat sings over the first several bars of the opening track and adds her one-of-a-kind magic throughout the album. Each soloist is superb. The horn section burns beautifully. The album is more jazz tinged than it is progressive funk. Eeg adds to that mood perfectly. Her style is melodic and sultry. SG7’s arrangements are stellar from start to finish. The horns weave in and out of the stated melody and each artists plays in a refreshingly thematic way that pushes each composition higher and higher.

San Gabriel 7’s Under The stars is a brilliant funky jazz album for the ages and one not to be missed by music lovers of all kinds.

This album is available on all major streaming platforms.


Loren Daniels – Ticket To Ride

By Doc Wendell

Loren Daniels pulls off fine set of Beatles songs in unique jazzy vein |  The Blade

Renown pianist Loren Daniels’ latest project is a most unusual and thrilling tribute to The Beatles. Daniels has recorded a handful of Lennon/McCartney classics. Daniels has utilized vocals, organ, piano, keyboards and Melodica. He is backed by Belden Bullock on bass and Jonathon Peretz on drums. To take Beatles compositions such as “Drive My Car,” “Ticket To Ride,” “I’m Only Sleeping,” “With A Little Help From My Friends,” and “For No One” and make them uniquely your own is no easy task but Daniels pulls it off with a wild imagination and one of a kind soul.

This album is funky and jazzy at the same time. Daniels’ laid back vocals fit the music perfectly. There are also backwards vocal effects which is more than fitting tribute to these tunes and the spirit of the Beatles. Daniels piano is slightly reminiscent to the late great Horace silver with its bluesy tinged mastery. The rhythm section is tight and tasteful. The title track is a jazz-based masterwork with terrific vocal arrangements. These reimagined pieces don’t make you think of the Beatles approach to music at all. This is an original journey for the listener that won’t easily be forgotten.

Loren Daniels – Ticket To Ride is a brilliant jazz tribute to the Beatles filled with originality and love. Do not miss this one.

This music is available on all major streaming platforms


John Paul McGee – Gospejazzical Vol.1- Live Piano Trio with Tyson Jackson & Joel Powell

By Doc Wendell

John Paul McGee's gospel, jazz, and classical hybrid is brilliant | The  Blade

John Paul Mcgee may not be on the lips of a mainstream jazz audience but he has recorded several albums and has worked with such musical icons as Patti Labelle, Yolanda Adams, The Clark Sisters, Donnie McClurkin and many more. On this latest project he fronts a splendid jazz trio featuring Joel Powell on bass and Tyson Jackson on drums, with very special vocal appearances by Wendi Henderson-Wyatt, Amber Bullock, Zebulon Ellis and Kenneth Lowe with Michael Walton on sax.

Mcgee proves his brilliance on piano as he combines gospel, jazz and classical. A unique blend that is sure to gain some new fans. The fusion of these diverse styles is jaw dropping, especially in a live setting. Songs such as “Wonderful Is Your Name,” “I Am Amazed,” “Amazing Grace,” “The Fount,” and “Here’s To Life” are gospel in theme but feature some complex jazz voicings and Mcgee’s piano work has tints of classical. There’s just the right amount of each style. The backing section of Powell and Jackson is tight and tasteful. Mcgee plays with so much soul and command without abandoning dynamics.

This is without a doubt one of the most original jazz-based recordings to surface in many years. Mcgee and company add originality to these well known gospel classics.

John Paul Mcgee’s latest project is a powerful statement of musical independence delivered with adventurous spirits with soul and complexity. Do not miss this one.

This recording is available on all major streaming platforms.


Celebrated jazz tuba player Jim self has released over 20 albums and his new project My America 2 Destinations pays tribute to the many places Self has lived all over this great land. Self has collaborated with noted arranger Kim Sharnberg and is backed up by a whose who of Los Angeles session players including Ron Stout, trumpet, flugelhorn, Bill Booth, trombone, euphonium, Scott Whitfield, trombone, Phil Feather, Alto sax, English Horn, Tom Peterson, soprano, tenor saxes, John Chiodini, guitars, Steve Fister, guitars, Bill Cunliffe, piano, melodica, Ken Wild, String, electric and fretless bass, Kendall Kay, drums, and Brian Kilgore on percussion. This recording is a follow up to Self’s My America released over 20 years ago.

Self and company take the listener on a musical voyage across the country such as in “Chicago,” “By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” “Kansas City,” “New York State Of Mind,” and “King Of Route 66.” All are classics and all swing hard. Self fuses Dixieland with Big Band Swing in a way that is stylistically vintage yet fresh in the arrangements. Self is fleet fingered for a tuba player as he glides across the stated themes of each composition. The entire horn section is burning. “I Love LA” has a celebratory and joyful feel to it making it an album highlight. Self proves to be one of the finest musicians to ever pick up the tuba throughout this delightful album. He’s melodic, humorous and soulful as is the rest of this masterful band.

My America – Destinations is truly a masterpiece centered around Self’s terrif tuba playing and a band that just won’t quit. Don’t miss out on this one.

The album is available on all major streaming platforms.


Jim Witzel Trio & Quartet – Feelin’ It

By Doc Wendell

Jim Witzel Trio & Quartet: Feelin' It album review @ All About Jazz

California based jazz guitarist, educator and composer Jim Witzel is back with a new exciting album dedicated to the early 60s Blue Note era recordings that have inspired generations of musicians. The album Feelin’ It is made up of both trio and quartet pieces that are swinging and imaginative. Witzel is joined by Brian Ho, organ, Jason Lewis, drums and Dann Zinn on tenor saxophone. The album is comprised of orginals and standards. One can’t help of thinking of Jimmy Smith’s classic Blue Note recordings throughout this album but Witzel and company bring their own original styles to the table. Witzel’s phrasing is soulful and thematic.

On tracks like the original title track, “Softly As In A Morning Sunrise,” “Norwegian Wood,” and “Beyond Beijing” the band has plenty of room to stretch out and get down to the nitty gritty. Brian Ho’s organ work is both subdued and funky. On the quartet numbers Dann Zinn’s tenor sax playing really stands out with a style close to that of Sonny Rollins. Drummer Jason Lewis swings elegantly while keeping the groove in the pocket. It’s refreshing to hear a pure jazz album with no filler or bells and whistles on it. Witzel dazzles with his knowledge or arrpeggios, scales and chords. He proves to be a very underrated guitarist. Hopefully this second album of his will change that.

Feelin’ It is a fantastic jazz album with both trio and quartet recordings that you must not miss out on.

The music is available on all major streaming platforms.


Anna Nelson – Bridges

By Doc Wendell

Bridges — Ana Nelson

Anna Nelson has proven to be a passionate yet sensitive jazz alto sax player and clarinetist. Bridges is her debut album as a leader. Nelson is joined by an impressive band of musicians including Jamaal Baptiste, piano, Brendan Keller-Tuberg, bass, Carter Pearson, drums, Garrett Fasig, Tenor sax, Billy Nelson, Tenor sax, Jeremy Allen, bass and Steve Houghton, drums. Additional musicians Marina Alba Lopez, violin, Jodi Dunn, violin, Alice Ford, viola and Kevin Flynn, cello. All compositions on this recording are originals. Nelson proves to be quite the composer on all 7 of these pieces. Songs like “Wanderlust,” “Walz,” “LCB,” and “Blue Flower” all burn with a passion and intensity and highlight Nelson’s brilliant alto sax work and clarinet playing. The music swings and the band is astoundingly tight. Nelson’s alto work is lyrical yet imaginative. She reaches for the stars on every composition. The ballad “Walz” features Nelson’s great clarinet playing as dies “Nelbap Choro” and “Let In The Light.” Her clarinet work is thematic and vocal. She sings through her instrument.

The rest of the album is centered around her alto sax work which is stellar. The album was produced by Nelson and pianist Jamaal Baptiste. This is a pure jazz album with tremendous playing by all involved. Baptiste’s piano comping is soulful and tasteful. Nelson plays the stated melody lines and then launches into improvisations that grabs the listener and doesn’t let go until the final note.

Anne Nelson – Bridges is an instrumental jazz album full of musical diversity and magic. Do not miss this one.

This music is available on all major streaming services and ananelsonmusic.com


Craig Davis – Tone Paintings- The Music Of Dodo Marmarosa

By Doc Wendell

Tone Paintings | Craig Davis featuring John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton | MCG  Jazz

Pianist Craig Davis’s new tribute album to master bebop piano legend Dodo Marmrrosa displays some of Davis’ best work to date and is a worthy dedication to one of bebop’s greatest instrumentalists. Davis is backed up by two masters; bassist John Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton. “Mellow Mood,” “Dodo’s

Bounce,” “Escape”,” and “A Ditty For Dodo” all swing beautifully. This is a masterful trio with Davis at the helm. Like Marmarosa Davis is a Pittsburgh native who understands Dodo’s music intimately and the rhythm section is tight and burning. Davis really captures Marmarosa’s melodic style that once complimented Bird, Lester Young and Lionel Hampton to name just a few.

Davis understood that Marmarosa’s music could also be sweet like on his rendition of “Opus No. 5.” This is a tender ballad delivered with soul and taste.

“Compadoo” is an album highlight. The music swings so hard that it’s irresistible. It’s close to the original but with Davis’ own unique piano style.

Tone Paintings is a refreshing all bebop tribute to Dodo marmarosa that has something for all jazz lovers. Do not miss this one.

This album is available through http://www.mcgjazz.org and Amazon.


Dan Olivo – Day By Day

Day By Day | Dan Olivo

By Doc Wendell

Southern California native jazz vocalist has released a new album full of familiar standards and classics backed up by an all-star band including Ian Robbins, guitar, Lyman Medeiros, bass and ukulele, Joe Bag, piano & Hammond organ, Kevin Winard, drums & percussion, Kyle O’Donnell, tenor sax & flute, Jamelle Adisa, trumpet, Garrett Smith, trombone and Renee Myara Cibelli, vocals.

Olivo’s vocals are relaxed yet swinging and the band is perfectly in sync with every vocal nuance by Olivo. The horn section burns and the rhythm section is tasteful and in the pocket. On standards like “Day by Day,” “I’m Walkin’,” “It had To Be You,” “More,” and “It’s Only A Paper Moon” are all stellar. Olivo sings as if he truly understands the lyrics to each standard which adds to the sincerity of each performance. There is a hearty mix of pop and jazz throughout this album. The band sounds like they’ve been gigging together for a long time. Guitarist Ian Robbins’ melodic lines and eclectic guitar solos are brilliant on every track.

Although these standards have been done to death Olivo and company breathe fresh new life into each one making this one of the finest vocal jazz projects to surface in many years. The warmth of Olivo’s vocals shroud every carefully chosen piece with soul and love.

Dan Olivo – Day by Day is an outstanding jazz vocal masterpiece with something for everyone. Do not miss this one.

This music is available on all major streaming platforms.


Chris Standring – Simple Things

By Doc Wendell

Chris Standring - Simple Things - Amazon.com Music

Before going into production for his 14th CD Simple Things, veteran jazz guitarist and arranger Chris Standring suffered from a heart attack. He survived and the experience made his look at the simple things in life and the experience influenced his recording. The results are magnificent. Standring is joined by a killer band including Rodney Lee, keyboards, Andre Berry, bass, Kevin Axt, upright bass, Chris Coleman drums and Gary Meek on tenor saxophone. Standring also plays keyboards and programming on all tracks.

One cannot ignore the overall funkiness of tracks like “Shadow of A Doubt,” “Thank You Bootsy,” “Change The World” and “Aint Nothin’ But A Thing.” Standring is a sublimely lyrical and melodic guitarist and the band backs up his every nuance perfectly. Setandring’s rhythm chops are tight and nasty in all the best ways. On “A Thousand Words (For Samantha)” we get to witness a more sweet and sensitive side to Standring on this mellow ballad. Standring is a very thematic player. He never strays far from a song’s overall theme which is refreshing these days. “No Two Ways About It” has a jazzy Steely Dan feel to it. Standring often brings to mind Wes Montgomery’s later recordings.

Chris Standring – Simple Things is a terrific jazz-fusion guitar based recording that has something for everyone. Don’t miss this one.

This recording is available on all major streaming platforms.


The Margaret Slovak Trio – Ballad For Brad

By Doc Wendell

After years of recovering from a bad car crash master guitarist Margaret Slovak has made a strong comeback with Ballad For Brad named after her husband Brad Bucholz who had a longtime battle with cancer. Slovak is joined by bassist Harvie S and drummer Michael Sarin. “Again,” “Flowers For Marie,” “The Answer Within,” “Song For Anne” and “Forty Four” show off Slovak’s sublimely melodic and deeply personal guitar style. The band is masterful and backs up Slovak’s every lick and nuance. The tempos are fairly mellow but the intensity lies within the interplay between Slovak and her trio.

Slovak’s chordal work is just as impressive as her lead playing. When she plays a phrase it stays with you. Harvie S’s bass work is also very melodic and rhythmic at the same time. Michael Sarin’s drumming is reminiscent of a young Art Taylor with its supreme rhythm and cymbal work. “Courage, Truth, Hope,” “Carrot Cake Blues” and “Thirty-Three” are all album highlights. It feels as if Slovak and her band are pushing themselves way beyond what they already know and the feeling is infectious.

The Margaret Slovak Trio – Ballad For Brad is a pure and hypnotic jazz guitar album that has something for all music lovers. Don’t miss out on this one.

The album is available from www.margaretslovak.com and all major streaming services.


By Doc Wendell

Veteran jazz singer/songwriter Mark Winkler is back with his 20th CD release. Late bloomin’ Jazzman is about the ups and downs of getting older, though Winkler’s vitality throughout this latest release shows that Winkler shows no signs of slowing down. Winkler is joined by a who’s who of Southern California jazz musicians such as David Benoit, Jamieson Trotter, Rich Eames and Jon Mayer on piano, John clayton and Gabe Davis on bass, Christian Euman on drums, Grant Geissman, guitar, Bob Sheppard, sax, Brian Swartz and Nolan Shaheed, trumpet and Kevin Winard on percussion. The album was produced by Barbara Brighton.

Winkler is a witty and prolific songwriter and compositions like “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” “Don’t Be Blue,” “When All The Lights In The Sign Worked,” and the title track all swing beautifully. The group of musicians gathered compliment every one of Winkler’s vocal nuances. Winkler’s soulful and relaxed vocals fit the songwriting like a glove. The album feels more like a celebration of getting older and the wisdom that comes with it. And Winkler has plenty of wisdom to share throughout this marvelous project. Winkler’s backdrop is a “long gone Hollywood Night.” You can envision Hollywood at night on “When All The Lights In The Sign Worked.” This is a dark masterpiece and a true album highlight. Winkler reminisces about better times in his hometown. Winkler and company’s renditions of “Old Devil Moon” and “I Always Had A Thing For You” are stunning and captivating in every way. This is grown up music.

Mark Winkler – Late Bloomin’ Jazzman is a stellar jazz album for the ages. It is without a doubt one of Winkler’s most ambitious projects to date. This is for music lovers of all kind.

You can purchase this music on every major streaming platform.


Brent Laidler – Wouldn’t Be Here Without You

By Doc Wendell

Master guitarist Brent Laidler’s new recording project titled Wouldn’t Be Here Without You is a loving tribute to all who have helped him along the way. The album is made up entirely of originals. Laidler is joined by special guests Mark Buselli on trumpet and flugelhorn and Ned Boyd on saxophone and flute as well as Jamie Newman on organ, Scotty Pazera, bass and Richard “Sleepy” Floyd on percussion.

“Keeping it Simple,” “Sunday Mood,” “You Ain’t The bossa Me,” and “Second Chance” showcase Laidler’s melodic and masterful guitar work as well as his gift as an imaginative composer. Mark Buseli really shines on trumpet and Jaime Newman’s organ work is stellar. This is a mature band that has obviously spent a lot of time playing together and it shows. These compositions swing with imagination and soul. Laidler and company also have a wide range of styles. Their bossa nova pieces are beautifully crafted and are definitely album highlights. “Fools Blues,” “Walt’s Walz,” and the album title are masterworks. Laidler is one of the finest guitarists on the scene today and his original compositions really allow him and the band to stretch out. Laidler’s style is slightly reminiscent of the late Pat Martino but his lines and chord progressions display a strong sense of individuality.

Wouldn’t Be Here Without you is a magnificent guitar-based jazz album that has something for every jazz lover. Don’t miss out on this one.

The album is available on all major streaming platforms



James Gaiters Soul Revival

Understanding Reimagined

By Doc Wendell

Brilliant jazz drummer and band leader James Gaiters new project is a delightful tribute to legendary jazz organist John Patton’s 1968 classic on Blue Note Understanding. The Soul Revival consists of Gaiters on drums, Eddie Bayard, saxophone, Kevin Turner, guitar and Robert Mason on organ. Gaiters and company take the listener on a 21st century voyage of Patton’s classic recording

with a fresh new outlook and new players. The results are outstanding. On tracks like “Ding Dong,” “Soul Man,” and Sonny Rollins’ and “Alfie’s Theme” Gaiters and the band captures Patton’s 60s style organ funk. Eddie Bayard’s saxophone work swings beyond belief and Robert Mason’s organ work is close to John Patton’s on the original recording of Understanding. Gaiters and Turner serve as the anchor; locking in the groove of each tune. This is Soul Jazz at its best.

Kenny Burrell’s “Chitlins Con Carne” is the perfect vehicle for this band and album. Burrell’s spacious composition leaves plenty of room for Turner, Bayard and Mason to improvise the blues over. This recording rivals Patton’s original. The musicians lay in that groove and stay there. Gaiters’ drumming keeps it all in place with soul and style.

Understanding Reimagined is the perfect soul jazz recording. It will have many digging through their record collection for John Patton’s original album or those who don’t know his music learning for the first time. Do not miss this one.

The album is available from all major streaming services.


Dawn Derow – My Ship – Songs From 1941

By Doc Wendell


Acclaimed vocalist Dawn Derow has brought the music from her play My Ship to a joyous soundtrack which features the music of the year 1941. The play pays tribute to the artists who brought hope during a time of brutal war. Derow is backed by the fantastic pianist Ian Herman as well as Tom Hubbard, bass, Daniel Glass, percussion, Robin Zeh, Paul “Dale” Woodiel, violins, Katarzna Bryla, viola, Deborah Assael, cello, Sean Harkness, guitar, Benny Benach III, trumpet & cornet, Aaron Heick, saxophone, flute, clarinet and Dan Levine, trombone. The play’s director is Jeff Harman and arrangements are by Ian Herman and Barry Levitt. The project was produced by Paul Rolnick.

The music kicks off with a marvelous cabaret rendition of “Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?)” by Davis, Ramiriez and Sherman. Derow’s sweet and tasteful vocals are perfect for this piece. Other stellar standards include “Let’s Get Away From It All/How About You,” “Skylark,” “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “Why Don’t We Do This More Often,” and “Blues In The Night.” The band is thematic and inspired. Derow doesn’t do a bunch of unnecessary vocal runs. Her timbre is solid and unique. This is jazz cabaret music at its best. Derow sounds like she has a true understanding of the lyrics of each piece. These standards fit her style wonderfully.

Dawn Derow – My Ship- The Music Of 1941 is a delightful soundtrack made up of perfectly executed standards delivered by one of the finest vocalists on the scene today. Don’t miss this one. This music is available through www.dawnderow.com



The Dave Wilson Quartet – Stretching Supreme

By Doc Wendell

John Coltrane has been one of the most influential jazz musicians to emerge from the 20th century. Fantastic reedman Dave Wilson’s new album is a passionate tribute to the master himself. The album was recorded live at Chris’ Jazz Café in Philadelphia PA between 2017-2018. Wilson’s quartet consists of Kirk Reese, piano, Tony Marino, bass, Alex Ritz, drums and Dan Monaghan on drums on “On the Prairie” and “Days of Wine And Roses.”

This tribute may feature much of Coltrane’s influence but Wilson demonstrates his own personal style throughout. Wilson and company cover most of Coltrane’s

A Love Supreme album with burning renditions of “Part 1: Acknowledgement” and “Part 2: Resolution.” This is followed by a wonderful Wilson original titled “On the Prairie.” Kirk Reese’s piano work is very close to that of McCoy Tyner’s influential style. Ritz and Monaghan’s drumming is much more subtle that Elvin Jones’ but the two are very melodic drummers with unique styles of their own. “Days Of Wine and Roses” is beautifully executed and is hauntingly beautiful. Wilson plays both tenor sax and soprano throughout the album demonstrating total mastery on both instruments.

“Dear Lord” is truly an album highlight. Wilson and his quartet really capture the spirit on John Coltrane here. Reese’ piano work is elegant and thematic. The album closes with a lengthy but soulful version of Trane’s most famous ballad “Naima.” Wilson and the band explore the depths of this piece from every possible angle.

The Dave Wilson Quartet Stretching Supreme is one of the finest Coltrane tribute albums you’ll find which is saying a lot since there have been so many.

The album is available on all streaming platforms


Alex Collins/Ryan Berg/Karl Latham – Together

By Doc Wendell

Legendary jazz drummer Karl Latham has teamed up with up-and-coming jazz pianist Alex Collins and bassist Ryan Berg for a thrilling album of jazz standards called “Together.” One cannot escape the truly intimate feel of this very special recording. It feels as if this trio has been playing together for quite a long time. Collins’ delicate touch on the piano and the overall sense of dynamics demonstrates true mastery and an understanding of the chosen jazz standards such as “Stella By starlight,” “Alone Together,” “On Green Dolphin Street,” and

“Polka Dots And Moonbeams.” Berg alternates between finger picking and bowing on the bass and Latham often plays as soft as a whisper to give Collins and Berg more solo space. The mood created by these three masters is mesmerizing. Latham flirts with time while Collins ventures his way across the piano keyboard with skill and precision. The musicians speak to each other with soul and a masterful knowledge of the jazz language. This is not just another trio standards recording. The originality of each player is incredible. “Night dreamer” is surely an album highlight showcasing the band’s fantastic sense of dynamics and swing.

Alex Collins/Ryan Berg/Karl Latham – Together is one of the finest trio jazz albums to surface in a long time. It is not to be missed.

The album is available on iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby and Bandcamp.


Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet
Fools For Yule

By Doc Wendell

One of the great singing quartets today is without a doubt the Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet. They’re back just in time for the holiday season with a brand-new album called Fools For Yule. The vocalists are comprised of Ginny Car Goldberg, Robert

McBride, Holly Shockey and Lane Stowe. They are backed up by a stellar band which includes Frank Russo, drums, Alan Blackman, piano, Max Murray, bass, Donato Soviero, guitar, Chuck Redd, vibes, and Keith Carr, Irish Bouzouki. The vocal harmonizing swings hard on such familiar holiday chestnuts as “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm,” “Christmas Time Is Here,” “The Christmas Song” and “Silent Night.” The backup band is tight and thematic throughout this recording.

The title track is a cheerful ditty that will put a smile on your face. If you’re not in the holiday mood this will definitely change that. Vibraphonist Chuck Redd is without a doubt a standout member of the band with his perfectly melodic solos which compliments the vocalists as they sing in unison. “Winter Wonderland” is an album highlight. The vocalists drum up a healthy serving of Christmas nostalgia that is infectious.

The Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet’s Fools For Yule is the perfect vocal jazz stocking stuffer for the holidays. It’s sure to delight.

It is available From all major streaming services and Uptown/vocalJazz.com


Adam Nolan Trio

Prim And Primal

By Doc Wendell

Who says that some of the hippest jazz can’t come out of Ireland?  Alto sax master Adam Nolan proves that unique blends of avant-garde jazz can indeed emulate from Ireland.  His trio, consisting of Derek Whyte on double bass and Dominic Mullan on drums are a powerful force and one of the most exciting trios on the jazz scene today.  Their new album Prim And Primal is prove of that.  The music of Eric Dolphy’s early career as a band leader come to mind on “Expand The Tempo,” “The Modern Jazz Trio,” and “Ancient Mayan Jungle.”  There is no weak link in this trio.  Each member is playing hard and stretching out.  The production is clear and pure as is the music.  Nolan knows the history of alto jazz sax and is not afraid to twist it like a pretzel.   “The Magic Carpet” is filled with blaring microtones and a Mingus-like feel.  Although you may hear the trio’s influences, they have a very personal sound that is instantly identifiable. 

Drummer Dominic Mullan acts as the anchor of the group while Nolan and Whyte fly by the seat of their pants.  This almost feels like a live recording in its purity.   “Kung Fu Master vs The Ape” is free jazz at its finest.  The band just soars above the clouds into paradise.  Nolan and company are fearlessly creative.  This is not music for a commercial audience, which is a relief. 

Adam Nolan Trio – Prim And Primal is one of the most enthralling free jazz based recordings I’ve heard all year.  You do not want to miss out on this one.

The album is available on all major streaming services. 



Rodney Jordan & Christian Fabian


 By Doc Wendell

Rodney Jordan and Christian Fabian are two of the hottest jazz bassists on the scene right now.  They have teamed up for an exciting and original bass duet project entitled Conversations.  The results are phenomenal.  The two can swing hard and create melodies without a piano and band.  “Just For You,” “Happy To Be Alive,” “Robin’s Theme,” and “The Ride Over” are proof of this.  While soloing, Fabian and Jordan often mimic the spoken word on their basses similar to the way Mingus did on his early recordings for Candid Records.  One might bow a rhythmic pattern while the other weaves in and out of the stated melody line.  The recording was done in A=32hz which was once believed to have healing effects on the listener’s body.

An album highlight is without a doubt the duets rendition of G. Wood’s standard “My One And Only Love.”  The two bassists compliment each other’s lines beautifully here while never abandoning the song’s melody.  The free improvisations of the duo are awe inspiring.   “Despiritu” is by Hildegard von Bingen, a German abbess who lived from 1098-1179.  She used music to heal people by singing “tone rows” to them.  Jordan and Fabian’s reading has that effect and is a powerful highlight of the album.

Rodney Jordan & Christian Fabian – Conversations is a powerful statement made by two master bassists.  There is a perfect balance of cover material and originals.  Do not miss out on this. The album is available from Amazon/CD Baby/iTunes



Dave Miller Trio – The Mask-Erade Is Over

By Doc Wendell

For several years now Dave Miller has proven himself to be one of the most imaginative pianists on the scene. His new project The Mask-Erade Is Over is comprised of jazz classics as well as some stellar originals. The album kicks off with a wonderfully burning rendition of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie’s “Anthropology.” From the first note it is evident that Miller and his trio are taking

no prisoners. Drummer Bill Belasco sounds like a young Max Roach while bassist Andrew Higgins acts as the anchor in the group, keeping the groove steady.

On tracks like “Be Careful It’s My Heart,” “The Masquerade Is Over,” and Bill Evans’ “The Opener” Miller sets a pure jazz tone. No fusion, special effects or bells and whistles. This is a jazz purist’s dream come true in all the best ways. Charlie Parker’s “Yardbird Suite” and Dave Brubeck’s “In Your Own Sweet Way” are perfect examples of this. You can hear the influences of Bud Powell, George Shearing and Bill Evans in Miller’s masterful piano playing, but his style is also very personal.

An album highlight is Miller’s own “Dusty” which showcases his one-of-a-kind imagination and the trio’s sheer energy. Bud Powell’s “Hallucinations” is brilliant. Miller and the group really capture the haunting mood of Powell’s original recording while creating something new and spontaneous.

If you’re looking for a pure piano jazz trio recording, you will not want to miss out on this one. Dave Miller and his Trio are one of the most potent jazz ensembles to come along in many years.

The album is available on all digital platforms.



Judy Wexler 
Back To The Garden

By Doc Wendell
Judy Wexler has earned legendary status among the top jazz vocalists. She has proven to be a marvel at attacking standards and her own poignant originals. Her latest project Back To The Garden has Wexler tackling classic songs from the 60s about peace, love and joy. Wexler is joined by an all-star band including co-producer Jeff Colella, piano, melodica and background vocals, Larry Koonse, nylon string guitar & electric guitar, Gabe Davis, bass, Steve Haas, drums, Bob Thiele Jr., Electric and baritone guitar, Erin Bentlage, background vocals, Danny Janklow,

alto sax, Jay Jennings, trumpet, Hendrik Meurkens, harmonica, Sara Caswell, violin, Joel Pargman, violin, Carrie Kennedy, Violin, Rodney Wirtz, viola, Stefanie Fife, cello and Talley Sherwood, background vocals.

The album kicks off with such 60s classics as “Get Together,” “Up On The Roof,” “American Tune” and” Big Yellow Taxi.” Wexler’s soulful vocals and the sheer power of the band is electrifying. You do get the feeling of The youngbloods, Joni Mitchell, and Simon and Garfunkle but with wonderful jazz arrangements. The vocal arrangements are particularly great. The background vocals were arranged by Jeff Colella and Erin Bentlage. The size of this production is enormous. An album highlight is Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” Wexler’s phrasing is perfect as is the band’s performance.

Judy Collins’ contemplative “Since You’ve Asked” gets a particularly fine working over. Wexler proves that she understands the lyrics of these tunes and delivers them straight from the heart. Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” is stellar as the band’s thematic work drives the song to new heights. The same can be said about Fried Neil’s classic “Everybody’s Talkin’” and Bob Dylan’s anthemic “Forever Young.”

If you’re looking for a jazz makeover of some of the 60s greatest songs, look no further than Judy Wexler’s Back To The Garden.

The album is available on Amazon, iTunes and all over the web.

Andre Ferreri Quintetto
Numero Uno

By Doc Wendell

Charlotte NC based guitar wiz Andre Ferreri has made his bones as a session musician for many years now. His new CD Numero Uno shows off his versatility. His Quintetto music is partially influenced by his stay in Italy. Many compositions have a Euro-Italian feel to them. Ferreri also plays an array of genres including soul, pop and jazz—And he does so effortlessly. His Quintetto consists of Ziad Rabie, tenor sax, Kobie Watkins, drums, and Anna Staldman on acoustic bass.

Also guest starring are Mark Stallings, Phillip Howe, and Sean Higgins on piano as well as Brad Wilcox on trumpet.

The album kicks off with the ultra-swinging “Mighty Fine,” “Seasons,” and “Uptown Swing.” Ferreri’s guitar work is superb throughout as his Quintetto. Ziad Rabie’s tenor sax work is slightly reminiscent of the late great Joe Henderson. The rhythm section is tight and tasteful. The title cut is a funky mid-tempo ballad that shows off both Rabie and Ferreri’s solo abilities. The entire band swings hard. Ferreri’s often soft and subtle touch demonstrates his powerful sense of dynamics. “Avia Pervia” has a European feel to it mixed with the sound of mid 60s Blue Note Records. Ferreri has the ability to get inside the melody and swing his way around effortlessly. “We Were All Children” is a delicate ballad which opens with the fantastic piano playing of Mark Stallings. This also brings to mind Wayne Shorter’s early 60s Blue Note recordings.

Andre Ferreri Quintetto – Numero Uno is a straight ahead jazz recording played by some of the best musicians on the scene today. Do not miss this one.

Numero Uno is available on Apple Music, Amazon and Spotify.

Eric Goletz
Into The Night

By Doc Wendell

Legendary East Coast trombonist Eric Goletz is back with an exciting new album that crosses genres like funk, rock and of course, jazz. Goletz’s versatile style can fit into any mode of music and he proves this with Into The Night. Goletz is joined by a stellar band that includes Henry Heinitsch on guitar, Mitch Schectar, keys, Mark Hagan, bass and Joe Mowatt on percussion. The album combines originals as well as some covers like John Coltrane’s “Mr. P.C.” and Cole Porter’s “What Is This Thing Called Love.” The results are stellar. Goletz swings hard throughout and his band is tight and imaginative.

The album kicks off with the super funky “Say What??” which displays some terrific improvisations by Goletz on the trombone. Goletz can play in a fast, virtuosic style but mostly he plays with a great sense of taste and rhythm. On the burning “into The Night” Goletz and company take the listener on a funky adventure. Goletz’s trombone phrasing and swagger cannot be beat. Goletz proves to be an adventurous composer with this original. “After Hours” and Oasis are definitely album highlights. The first is a superb mournful ballad. Goletz’ thick and lush tone are incomparable. He is one of the greatest voices on the trombone today. His range in material is reminiscent to the late great Bill Watrous. Although Goletz and his and dig deep into funk, they never stray too far from their jazz roots.

If you’re looking for an album featuring some fantastic trombone playing over a wide range of material, you simply cannot miss out on this.

You can find Into The Night on Amazon and iTunes.

Hendrik Meurkens
Manhattan Samba

By Doc Wendell

Hendrik Meurkens is not only a master harmonicist, he is also a phenomenal Brazilian jazz artist. And his new project Manhattan Samba is proof that he is not

only a master harmonicist but he is also an outstanding and seasoned Brazilian jazz artist who proves on his latest recording Manhattan Samba that he just gets better with age. On this new album, Meurkens is joined by some spectacular musicians including Helio Alves, piano, Gustavo Amarante, bass, Fernando Huergo, also on bass, and Portinho on drums.

Meurkens and company cover some of the finest Samba jazz covers by masters like Ivan Lins, Toninho Horta and Jobim. “Donna Palmeira”, “Bonita”, and Aqulas Coisas Todas” are fantastic renditions by the greats. They’re true to the originals but Meurkens’ melodic and harmonically complex harmonica playing give them a unique twist. The band is terrific throughout. It’s Meurkens’ originals such as “Clear Of Clouds”, “Manhattan Samba”, “One For Manfredo” and “Frenzelosa (Choro No. 2)” which are true album highlights. Helio Alves’ piano dances around the stated melody line while Meurkens and the band fly off into the stratosphere.

Meurkens proves to be one of the finest harmonicists on the planet throughout this splendid recording. Portinho’s melodic drumming swings hard and Gustavo Amarante and Fernando Huergo’s bass work keeps the groove locked in tight. This is a joyful recording and that glee can be felt by the musicians involved. Meurkens isn’t just another Toots Thielmans impersonator. He has a distinguished voice of his own on the harmonica and the sound on this recording is infectious.

If you’re looking for a pure Samba album that features all of the danceable love of life that exists throughout the music’s history, look no further than Hendrik Meurkens’ Manhattan Samba.

The album is available through hendrikmeurkens.bandcamp.com



Ian Charleton Big Band
A Fresh Perspective

By Doc Wendell

Ian Charleton has been a music educator and leading force in the big band jazz genre for several years now. His new album entitled A Fresh Perspective features some original big band classic arrangements as well as some standards such as “Stardust” by Hoagy Carmichael, “Blue Skies” by Irving berlin, “When Sunny Gets The Blues” by Marvin Fisher, plus “Tea For Two” by Vincent Youman and “Everything I’ve Got” by Rogers & Hart. The results are swinging in every way.

He is joined by some masterful musician including on saxophones: Richard Garcia, alto/Soprano sax (Lead), Jason Hammers, Alto sax, Keith Philbrick, Tenor sax, Michael Ferrante, Tenor sax, David Fatek, Baritone sax. Trumpet and Flugelhorn: Mark Oats Lead, Pete Sutorius, Mark Nixon, and Kerry Moffit. Trombones: John Lloyd, lead, Lisa Drefke, Carl Lungren, and Dandrick Glenn, bass. The rhythm section consists of Emily Carleton, vocals, Bart Kuebler, piano, Wes Wagner, guitar, Ryan Persaud, bass, and Bob Habib on drums.

The music on this recording is blissfully swing music in its purest form with no modern touches or distractions. Charleton’s originals such as “1 West 67th Street”, “Sunday Morning” and the title track burn hard with spectacular performances by Bart Kuebler on piano, John Lloyd on trombone and Kerry Moffit on flugelhorn. Ian Charleton’s masterful arrangements cannot be missed or glossed over. The fresh arrangements bring to mind Duke Ellington and Stan Kenton in some spots but Charleton mostly has a sound of his very own. And the band is unrelenting soulful.

If you are searching for a pure big band swing album, look no further. This is a masterpiece for the ages.

You can purchase this recording through CD Baby, Apple Music and Spotify.




Doug Macdonald Duo –
“Toluca Lake Jazz”

By Doc Wendell

Doug Macdonald’s ethereal guitar playing has been in great demand in Southern California over the past several years.  He has teamed up with his longtime bassist Harvey Newmark for a brilliant duets album entitled Toluca Lake Jazz.  Here Macdonald and Newmark have gathered for some wide-ranging material from Bosa-Nova to jazz standards.  Classics such as “Flamingo”, “My Little Boat”, “Baubles, Bangles, and Beads” and “These Foolish Things” are perfect vehicles for this intimate duet setting.  Macdonald’s jazz chops are solid as are Newmark’s walking bass lines that drive the music and push it further beyond the realm of the imagination.  Macdonald’s originals are album highlights, especially the title track and “De HA”.

It’s evident that these two musicians have been playing together for a long time as they glide through John Coltrane’s “Village Blues” and the jazz standard “Easy Living”.  Most of the compositions on this recording are delicate ballads which give the two musicians plenty of room to stretch out.  “Desert Jazz” swings hard as Harvey Newmark plays a brilliant solo on bass.  Macdonald’s whimsical solo follows and is equally stunning.

If you’re looking for a pure jazz recording featuring some no-nonsense guitar and bass duets, you must check out Toluca Lake Jazz by The Doug Macdonald Duet.

The album is available through Amazon, Apple Music and Spotify.



The Justin Rothberg Group
Hurricane Mouse

By Doc Wendell

Justin Rothberg has proven to be one of the most versatile guitarists on the scene today; playing everything from jazz, rock, country, r&b and even musical theater.
Hurricane Mouse is Rothberg and his band’s third release. The Justin Rothberg Group consists of some stellar players such as Todd Groves, Woodwinds, Jon Price, bass, Hiroyuki Matsuura, drums and Andy O’Neil on percussion. Rothberg also plays the Mandolin.

There’s an undeniable fusion funkiness to compositions like “Hurricane Mouse”, “Justin Roth- Tom G” and “Hot Dog Ranch”. Rothberg’s bluesy guitar phrasing is the perfect touch to these tunes and Todd Groves tenor sax work is slick and swinging. “Bad Apple” has a reggae groove to it with Todd Groves on harmonica. The entire band is tight and it’s evident that they’ve been playing together for a long time. The compositions are thematic and steeped in jazz fusion. “Green Room” is a funky shuffle in which the band really stretches out and shows off their stuff. Rothberg’s solo is a highlight of the album. He sounds like a cross between Jeff Beck and Freddie King. Todd Groves plays a straight blues tenor sax solo which has a Gene Ammons feel to it.

The Justin Rothberg Group – Hurricane Mouse is a slick, grooving jazz fusion masterpiece driven by Rothberg’s burning guitar. This is not to be missed.

You can purchase this music on Bandcamp. The link is http://justinrothberg.bandcamp.com/album/hurrican-mouse
It can also be purchased at Soundcloud. The link is http://soundcloud.com/justin-rothberg

Todd Mosby
Aerial View

 By Doc Wendell

Master guitarist Todd Mosby has released his third in a series of concept albums based on the elements.  This one focuses on the air and was inspired by his co-piloting of his father’s plane in his youth.  Mosby is joined by a legendary set of musicians including Charlie Bisharat, violin, Tony Levin, bass, Jerry Marotta, drums, Michael Manning, bass, Jeff Haynes, percussion, Premik R Tubbs, sax, lap steel, wind synth, Lola Kristine, rhodes, piano, vocals, Tom Eaton, rhodes, piano, synth pads, Sean Harkness, bass and Kristin Hoffman, backing vocals.

There’s an ethereal mood to compositions such as “Gliding”, “Across America” and “Aether”.  You do get the impression that you’re gliding across the sky.  Mosby’s thematic guitar playing is fantastic and other worldly.  There’s an Indian influence to the songs which adds layers and depth to each piece.  “Earth & Sky” has a wistful and hypnotic feel to it.  The band sound is jaw-dropping.  These expert musicians are tight and complementary to each composition.  On this recording it’s not about one player.  Mosby had a bigger ensemble sound in mind that he definitely achieves throughout.  Sometimes the mood is a little too mellow but that doesn’t distract from Mosby’s virtuosity.  There’s something slightly psychedelic about “Sailing Sylphs”.  The tone on Mosby’s guitar and Charlie Bisharat’s violin work takes the listener beyond the skies.  This is definitely an album highlight.

Todd Mosby’s Aerial Views is a sonic journey of the senses.  Mosby and company take flight and never let up on this exceptional recording.  It’s not to be missed.

The album is available through Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon, Tidal and Bandcamp.



Douglas Olsen
2 Cents

By Doc Wendel
Douglas Olsen has been tearing it up on the trumpet in the New England area for the past quarter century. He has proven to be a versatile and thoughtful musician who understands the illustrious history of his instrument. On his latest album 2 Cents, Olsen displays his knowledge of the instrument with wisdom and love.
Olsen is backed by a tremendous band consisting of Dino Govoni, tenor and alto sax, Yaure Muniz, trumpet, Tucker Antwell, tenor sax, Tim Ray, piano, Dave Zinno, bass, Mark Walker, drums and Ernesto Diaz on congas. The album kicks off with two originals “Tailwind” and the album’s title track. This is followed by a swinging rendition of Dizzy Gillespie’s “Algo Bueno”. The band soars and has a one-of-a-kind chemistry rarely heard in today’s jazz artists. “Miles Rumba” and “Rat Race” are superb. Olsen’s style is slightly reminiscent of a young Freddie Hubbard. There’s a glorious feeling of bebop on this recording which is refreshing. A perfect example of this is Olsen and the band’s version of the Fats Navarro, Howard McGee classic “Boperation”. This is no easy feat but Olsen and company pull it off with a strong sense of swing and a deep knowledge of the language of bebop. This is an album highlight indeed.

Olsen certainly proves himself as an exciting composer with his original ballad “Una Para Ti”. This brings back memories of Blue Note records from the early ‘60s. The music is melodic, soulful and elegant all at once.

Douglas Olsen’s 2 Cents will definitely put Olsen on the map as one of the trumpet’s greatest stylists of today. This is a pure jazz album with no tricks or gimmicks and is not to be missed.

The album is available Bandcamp.


By Doc Wendell

Hazar is one of the great virtuosos on acoustic guitar today.  His latest album Reincarnated is a masterpiece consisting of bebop, Brazilian music and Gypsy swing.  Hazar is joined by special guest guitarist Al Di Meoloa and is backed by a set of stellar musicians including Piotr Torunski, bass clarinet, Mike Roelofs, piano and Mehmet Katay on percussion.  The album consists of mostly covers by greats like Charlie Parker, Chick Corea and George Gershin.

The album kicks off with “Made For Wesley” and Chick Corea’s “Spain.  Both demonstrate Hazar’s mastery on guitar. “Spain shows that Hazar can gel with the great Al Di Meoloa with ease and skill.  It’s easy to spot Paco De Lucia as one of Hazar’s strongest influences but Hazar mostly has a style of his own as he flies across the fretboard.  Charlie Parker’s “Donna Lee” as well as Gerswin’s “Summertime are certainly album highlights.  Hazar’s understanding of harmony and melody is jaw dropping in every way. “Bossa Dorado” is a wonderful Bosa nova piece composed by Dorado Schmitt and Hazar and the band’s reading of Luiz Bonfa’s “Black Orpheus” is outstanding; especially the piano work by Mike Roelofs.

Reincarnated by Hazar is an excellent jazz guitar recording featuring some of the best musicians in the World.  This is not to be missed.

The album is available through Amazon, Spotify, iTunes, Deezer, Napster, Tidal, Google Play and YouTube Music.


John Finbury
American Nocturn
Final Days Of July

By Doc Wendell
Grammy and Latin Grammy winning pianist and composer John Finbury is used to an infectious Latin jazz feel that has won him accolades on the jazz scene. His latest album American Nocturn – Final Days Of July is a brilliant departure from the Latin jazz world. Here Finbury fuses chamber music with jazz and an array of other styles which makes this one of his most compelling releases to date. There are no percussion instruments on this recording which is a bold but intriguing move for Finbury. Finbury is backed by a group of stellar musicians including Tim Ray on piano, Eugene Friesen, cello, Roni Eytan, harmonica, Claudio Ragazzi, guitar, Roberto Cassan, accordion, Vitor Concalves, accordion, Peter Eldridge, vocalise and John Finbury on piano.
There is an elegant, ambient feel to compositions like “Lay Me Down”, “Final Days Of July” and “Black Tea”. There is plenty of room for the instrumentalists to breathe and work in a thematic structure, which these pieces call for. Eugene Friesen’s cello work is magnificent as is Roni Eytan’s thoughtful harmonica lines. Each composition is a unique sonic exploration and it’s easy to hear that these tunes were composed with love and care. Finbury basks in the composer’s seat and only plays piano on “Walz For Patty”.

The mood of John Finbury – American Nocturn – Final Days Of July is soft and relaxing. The jazz influence is subtle but it’s there none the less and it helps drive each thematic composition. Don’t miss out on this one.

You can purchase this album through Spotify, Amazon, Tidal, all digital platforms, greenflashmusic.com



Kenny Washington
What’s The Hurry

By Doc Wendell

The jazz scene has been waiting for the debut release of Bay Area singer Kenny Washington for a long time now. The wait is finally over. Washington’s What’s The hurry is comprised of swinging standards from the great American Songbook. Washington is backed up by an all-star band consisting of Josh Nelson, piano, Gary Brown acoustic bass, Lorca Hart, drums, Victor Goines, Tenor sax and clarinet, Jeff Massanari, guitar, Mike Olmos, trumpet, Peter Michael Escovedo, bongos, Dan Feiszli, acoustic bass, Jeff Cressman, trombone and Ami Molinelli-Hart on percussion.

Standards like “The Best Is Yet To Come”, “S’Wonderful”, “I’ve Got The World On A String” and “Here’s To Life” fit Washington’s smooth and unique vocal style perfectly and the band cooks without. Washington doesn’t sound like anyone else on the scene and his band accentuates every nuance perfectly. This is pure jazz at its best. It also seems as if Washington has a deep understanding of the lyrics to each standard.

A true album highlight is Washington and company’s delightful rendition of Duke Ellington’s “I Ain’t Got Nothing But The Blues.” Josh Nelson’s piano accompaniment is stellar as is the muted trumpet lines of Mike Olmos. The call and response between Olmos and Washington is simply wonderful. At times Washington’s vocals are slightly reminiscent of the late Little Jimmy Scott but for the most part Washington has a style of his own.

Jeff Massanari accompanies Washington on guitar on Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile”. This is a hauntingly beautiful and delicate reading of this standard. Jobim’s “No More Blues (Chega De Saudade)” is magnificent. Washington’s subtle vocal delivery suites the music’s thematic sense perfectly with ease and grace.

If you’re looking for a pure jazz vocal recording, don’t miss out on Kenny Washington’s debut recording What’s The Hurry. There’s something for every music lover here.

You can purchase this recording on kennywashingtonvocalist.com/listen




Noshir Mody 
An Idealist’s Handbook:
Identity, Love and Hope In America 2020

By Doc Wendell

Noshir Mody has proven to be one of the scene’s top fusion guitarists with an unparalleled imagination. On his latest, An Idealist’s Handbook Mody proves to be much more than just a great guitar player.   Mody is backed by an exceptional band consisting of Kate Victor, vocals, Mike Mullan, alto and tenor saxes, Benjamin Hankle, trumpet, flugelhorn, Campbell Charshee, piano, Yuka Tadano, bass, double bass and Jarrett Walser on drums.

The album kicks off with the sensuous yet spiritual “Radha” with brilliant sax work Mike Mullan. Mody’s guitar work is reminiscent of Sonny Sharrock but more melodic and less over-indulgent.   “Illusions Grow”, “Sketching Ol’ Splitfoot” and “Ol’ Splitfoot” are sonic journeys into the subconscious. Kate Victor’s vocals are sweet and elegant as she sings songs of love and compassion written by Mody.

The band is superb throughout and Mody’s guitar playing soars far above the clouds into the stratosphere. “Illustrating ‘Rise””, “Sketching “Under A Starlit Sky (2020”)” and Under A Starlit Sky” are profound explorations in sound. This isn’t mere fusion. This is so much more. Mody is one of the finest guitarists alive today and these tracks prove that fact.

Noshir Mody – An Idealist’s Handbook: Identity, Love and Hope In America 2020 is a sonically superb jazz fusion album centered around Mody’s brilliant guitar work. There is something for all music lovers here.

The album is available through Spotify, Apple music, Amazon Music and www.NoshirMody.com plus 150 plus more worldwide CD distribution.



Bob Gluck
Early Morning Star

By Doc Wendell

Bob Gluck has been one of the most prolific jazz pianists and composers on the scene for many years now. His albums Sideways (2008), Something Quiet (2011), Returning (2011) all received critical acclaim. Early Morning Star is his eleventh album and one of his most ambitious works to date. Gluck is backed by a stellar group including Andrea Wolper, voice, Kinan Azmeh, clarinet, Ken Filiano, bass and Tani Tabbal on drums.

Tracks such as “A Time Of Singing”, “Early Morning Star” and “Emerge-ency” have and avant-garde feel to them, especially Andrea Wolper’s spacey vocal approach. Her voice is a bit unorthodox but fitting to the music laid down by the band. Gluck’s piano worker is contemplative and dynamic. The music is centered around his piano playing. The rhythm section is focused and tight. Ken Filiano’s bass work is slightly reminiscent of an early Richard Davis and Tani Tabbal’s drumming is close to a young Elvin Jones.

“Flowing” brings to mind the pedal tones and percussive bass attack of Charles Mingus. This tune is haunting and one of the album’s highlights. Kinan Azmeh’s clarinet soars while having a musical conversation with Filiano and Gluck. “For Today”, “Friday Song” and “Here Now” delve further into the abstract but the music is still oddly accessible in its own right. Gluck’s piano work cements everything together with grace and elegance.

Bob Gluck – Early Morning Star is an excellent piece of avant-garde jazz for today’s times and is guaranteed to satisfy old fans of Gluck while attracting new ones. Don’t miss it.
You can purchase the CD on http://electricsongs.com/earlymorningstar/



A Love Letter To Lena

By Doc Wendell

San Francisco jazz singer Clairdee has put her love and devotion for the jazzier side of Lena Horne on her new project A Love Letter To Lena.

For those who don’t put Lena Horne up there with Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan as a great jazz vocal stylist, this project will change a lot of minds. Clairedee is backed up by a superb group of musicians including John Herbst, piano, arranger and producer, Ron Belcher, bass, Doug Miller, bass, Deszon Clairborne, drums, Lance Dresser, drums, John Hoy, guitar, Dave Bell, guitar, Mario Guarneri, trumpet, Charles McNeal, tenor sax, Philip Santos, violin, Emily Onderdonk, viola, Paul Hale, cello, Margo Hall, narrator, Ashling Cole, Bryan Dryer and Zoe Ellis, background vocals, Tony Lindsay, Janice Maxie-Reid and Kenny Washington, guest vocals, Regina Carter, violin.

Clairdee’s warm and tender vocals are perfect for such standards as “Old Devil Moon,” “I Got A Name,” “Maybe,” and “I Want To Be Happy.” The band is tight and thematic throughout every nuance delivered by Clairdee.   Clairdee is not doing a Lena Horne impersonation by any means. She has her very own vocal style on these tunes. The narration (by Margo Hall) taken from “Lena Horne In Her Own Words” adds power and depth to the superb music.

Pianist, producer and arranger John Herbst’s piano comping is tasteful and complimentary to Clairdee’s unique phrasing. Herbst’s arrangements are superb, super clean and endlessly hip. Charles McNeal’s tenor sax work on “Maybe” swings beautifully. The narration brings the listener closer to Lena Horne to person, not the star. We learn of her struggles being an African American Woman in a predominately white Hollywood show biz scene. “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child” is truly an album highlight with Clairdee’s highly emotional vocal delivery with Herbst’s subtle piano backing

Clairdee-A Love Letter To Lena is a wonderful tribute to Lena Horne that takes on a life of its own. This music is a celebration of life and the career of one of the greatest entertainers to grace this planet. Don’t miss out on this one.

You can purchase the CD on clairdee.com




Dave Askren/Jeff Benedict


Music Of Wayne Shorter


By Doc Wendell

On Dave Askren and Jeff Benedict’s 3rd co-led album together, the two-pay homage to the genius of Wayne Shorter. On this project the duo is backed by

Jonathan Pintoff, bass and Chris Garcia on percussion. Askren’s tenor sax work captures the harmonic complexities and abstract swing of Wayne Shorter in a unique and loving fashion. Jeff Benedict’s guitar stylings are sweet, funky and subdued. The group covers some of Shorter’s greatest known compositions such as “E.S.P.,” “Yes And/Or No,” “Iris” and the title track. Many of these compositions were penned while Shorter was with Miles Davis in the 60s.

On “Mahjong” Askren and Benedict play it true to the game with a version close to Shorter’s original. Benedict’s guitar work takes the place of a piano, comping the changes beautifully. Jonathan Pintoff and Chris Garcia’s backing are subtle yet clean and precise throughout. “Fall,” “Miyako,” and “Infant Eyes” are true highlights of this exciting project. Wayne Shorter would be proud of these renditions. Askren’s tone is clear but with a distinctive edge to it that serves the material perfectly.

Askren/Benedict and the band really stretch out of the funky “Tom Thumb.” You really get the impression that these musicians have been playing together for a long, long time with each phrase and nuance. Askren burns on this piece which calls for hard swinging. Benedict’s lead guitar work is nasty in all the best ways as he flies effortlessly through arpeggios and well-crafted licks.

Dave Askren/Jeff Benedict -Paraphernalia – Music Of wayne Shorter is the perfect tribute to a master and legend by some of the finest musicians on the scene today. There is something for all music lovers of this delightful project.

You can purchase the album on Amazon and on Daveaskren.com



Suzanna Ross
Is Bewitched
Not Bothered ,Not Bewildered.

By Doc Wendell 

Suzanna Ross has made her way across many stages and venues in both New York and New Jersey. She has emerged as one of the most versatile jazz vocalists on the scene, tackling show tunes, jazz standards and Bossa Nova classics. Her album Suzanna Ross Is Bewitched – Not Bothered, Not Bewildered showcases her many influenced in one cohesive, thoughtful collection. This album features some of Ross’ favorite classics.
Ross is backed by a stellar band including; Gregory Torian, piano, Skip Ward, bass and David Silliman on drums.

The overall feel of the album is relaxed yet swinging. This is certainly the case on tunes like “Haven’t We Met,” “Bewitched,” and “Dreamer.”  Ross’ vocals are powerful yet tender with a unique, fast vibrato. The band is superb, especially pianist Gregory Torian who burns brightly throughout. These familiar chestnuts sound fresh and new here.

“My Favorite Things,” “Over the Rainbow,” and “Mr. Wonderful” have been recorded dozens of times but Ross adds a deeply personal touch that makes these covers unforgettable. On Michel Legrand’s “Summer Me, Winter Me” Ross and company swing up-tempo. Ross’ marvelous vocal vibrato makes every nuance special. On Serge Gainsbourg’s “Ces Petits Riens” Ross evokes the spirit of a true French chanteuse. Her vocals are pained and filled with ennui. Ross’ rendition of Les Reed and Geoff Stephens “There’s A Kind Of A Hush” is easily an album highlight with a truly haunting performance not soon to be forgotten.

Suzanna Ross -Is Bewitched – Not Bothered, Not Bewildered is a timeless jazz vocal recording fit for music lovers of all kinds. Don’t miss out on this one.

This recording is available through Amazon, CDBaby and ITunes.



Dave Askren/Jeff Benedict –
Paraphernalia -Music Of Wayne Shorter

By Doc Wendell

On Dave Askren and Jeff Benedict’s 3rd co-led album together, the two-pay homage to the genius of Wayne Shorter. On this project the duo is backed by Jonathan Pintoff, bass and Chris Garcia on percussion. Benedict’s tenor sax work captures the harmonic complexities and abstract swing of Wayne Shorter in a unique and loving fashion. Dave Askren’s guitar stylings are sweet, funky and subdued. The group covers some of Shorter’s greatest known compositions such as “E.S.P.,” “Yes And/Or No,” “Iris” and the title track. Many of these compositions were penned while Shorter was with Miles Davis in the 60s.

On “Mahjong” Askren and Benedict play it true to the game with a version close to Shorter’s original. Askren’s guitar work takes the place of a piano, comping the changes beautifully. Jonathan Pintoff and Chris Garcia’s backing are subtle yet clean and precise throughout. “Fall,” “Miyako,” and “Infant Eyes” are true highlights of this exciting project. Wayne Shorter would be proud of these renditions. Benedict’s tone is clear but with a distinctive edge to it that serves the material perfectly.

Askren/Benedict and the band really stretch out on the funky “Tom Thumb.” You really get the impression that these musicians have been playing together for a long, long time with each phrase and nuance. Benedict burns on this piece which calls for hard swinging. Askren’s lead guitar work is nasty in all the best ways as he flies effortlessly through arpeggios and well-crafted licks.

Dave Askren/Jeff Benedict -Paraphernalia – Music Of wayne Shorter is the perfect tribute to a master and legend by some of the finest musicians on the scene today. There is something for all music lovers of this delightful project.
You can purchase the album on Amazon and on Daveaskren.com

Brian Scanlon has enjoyed an illustrious career over the past 32 years. Not only has he been in the first tenor sax seat in Gordin Goodwin’s Big Phat Band for 17 years, he’s also been a top session man, recording with such greats as Bob Dylan, Randy Newman and Phil Wood, to name a few. He has also recorded for film and television. Brain Scan is his exciting debut solo recording as a band leader.   On this ambitious project Scanlon is joined by Tom Ranier, piano, Ed Czach, piano, Trey Henry, acoustic & electric bass, Peter Erskine, drums, Andrew Synowiec, guitar, Larry Koonse, guitar, Avery Scanlon, guitar and Joey De Leon, percussion.

The album kicks off with the title track as well as “El Entrometido,” and “Re-Entry.” Scanlon’s virtuosic skills on the tenor saxophone are unmatched. There’s a post-bop, Blue Note Records of the early to mid ‘60s feel to the music. The influences of Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter and John Coltrane can be heard in Scanlon’s playing. The musicians backing him up are superb throughout. “Re-Entry” has a Steely Dan, fusion feel to it. “Not Watching (for Nancy)” and “Mark’s Time” are sweet and tender ballads played with heart, soul and imagination. Scanlon’s take on the standard “Harlem Nocturne” swings beyond belief. This is straight ahead jazz at its best. On “My Right Foot” and “Scandalized” Scanlon and the band take the music to a slightly darker place. The motifs are slightly Monk-esque and Scanlon’s tenor tone is haunting. Scanlon’s skills are jaw dropping. His saxophone lines are flawless yet daring.

Brain Scan is the perfect debut album by Brian Scanlon. It’s brand of no-nonsense straight-ahead jazz is deeply compelling and cool enough for all music lovers alike.  You can get your copy on http://www.brianscanlonmusic.com/

Carol Albert
Stronger Now
(Cahara Records)

By Doc Wendell

Carol Albert is taking the jazz scene by storm with her new album Stronger Now which features 10 original compositions by this eclectic artist. This recording is a follow up to her chart-topping album breakthrough Fly Away Butterfly. Albert is backed by an amazing cast of musicians such as Ben Babylon, string, French horn arrangements, Paul Brown, guitar and percussion, Sam Sims, bass and Lil John Roberts on drums, percussion and piano. Albert handles the vocals, piano, keyboards and programming. The project kicks off with the title track, “Love Again,” and “Perfect Sunday.”

Albert fuses pop stylings with modern jazz in a way that is unique and moving. Her piano chops are clear and straight to the point. Albert’s approach is poignant and powerful. The band is tasteful and thematic on these numbers. While the compositions don’t exactly reinvent the wheel musically, they’re strong enough to leave a lasting impression. The material on the album are elegant instrumentals with Albert’s one of a kind charm. “For The Moment, “ and “Femme Flight (Album Version)” showcase the atmospheric element of Albert’s compositions. Some of these tunes lean a little too closely towards the smooth jazz world but the instrumental approach to each piece makes up for it.

“Winter Rain,” “Sun’s Out,” and “I Am Fine” are sweet, funky and dreamlike. Albert’s piano technique is languid and lyrical. Each instrumental tells a story. Albert’s sultry vocals and mournful lyrics on “I Am Fine” are captivating. This is certainly an album highlight though it has very little to do with jazz.

Stronger Now is a sublime pop/jazz recording by the one and only Carol Albert. There’s a little something for all music lovers here so don’t miss out.

The album is available through all outlets digital as well as CDBaby and you can also purchase a hard copy through www.carolalbertmusic.com

Anne Phillips

Live At The Jazz Bakery 

By Doc Wendell

Although Anne Phillips has remained very busy on the jazz scene, her recordings have been few and far between. Her debut album Born To Be Blue was released in 1959. Her next recording Gonna Lay My Heart On The Line didn’t surface until 2000. With her latest live recording Live At The Jazz Bakery Phillips shows that she’s performing as strong as ever and is just getting warmed up. Phillips is backed by an allstar band consisting of Roger Kellaway on piano, Bob Kindred, tenor saxophone and Chuck Berghoffer on bass.

The set kicks off with a delightfully swinging version of “I’m Gonna Lay My Heart On The Line”. Phillips’ sultry yet haunting vocals are in fine form. The backing by Roger Kellaway on piano is a real treat.  Bob Kindred’s sax work is particularly stellar. “Born To Be Blue” is an album highlight. Phillips tenor vocals are powerful and pained. The band backs her every move with focus and love. The delightful romp of “Easy Street” burns slowly with a passion and intensity. Phillips’ phrasing is nothing less than marvelous. Kellaway’s piano comping swings with harmonic brilliance. Chuck Berghoffer acts as the anchor, holding down the groove with dedication and Bob Kindred sings through his tenor sax.

“Watching You Watching Me”, “Hey Look Where I Am” and “New York Night Time Blues” will take the listener back in time when a jazz singer had to know standanrds from the American song book. Phillips and her band cook throughout this marvelous set. The symetry between Phillips and her band of professional players cannot be missed. Anne Phillips talks to the audience throughout this recording maybe a bit too much. It’s nice to hear stories about her wonderful career though.

“Another Day Without Him”, “After All These Years” and “Embraceable You” showcase Phillips’ best vocal work of the set. It sounds as if she and the band are just getting started as the album comes to a close but this is often the case with live jazz recordings.

Anne Phillips- Live At The Jazz Bakery is a brilliant album consisting of originals and thoughtful standards that will appeal to all music lovers alike.
It is available on CDBaby and https://annephillips.com

Roger Kellaway- The Many Open Minds of Roger Kellaway

By Doc Wendell
Roger Kellaway has always been a major player in the music industry. His piano playing can be heard on recordings by such greats as Barbara Streisand, Duke Ellington, Elvis Presley, Yo-Yo Ma, Sonny Rollins and Bobby Darin, to name just a few. His new album The Many Open Minds Of Roger Kellaway has this pioneer returning to straight ahead jazz with a potent trio consisting of Kellaway on piano, Bruce Forman, guitar, and Dan Lutz on bass. The music was recorded live at The Jazz Bakery in Santa Monica California.
The album kicks off with a take on Monk’s classic “52nd Street Theme”. Kellaway and his trio swing hard on this bebop anthem. Forman’s guitar lines are languid and melodic. Lutz keeps time with his walking bassline and Kellaway flies across his keyboard.

On “Have You Met Miss Jones” and Sonny Rollins’ “Doxy” Kellaway demonstrates why he’s considered one of the greatest piano players on the planet. Kellaway’s virtuosic style is relentless. Kellaway and company burn sweetly on “Take Five” and Duke’s “Take The A Train”. It’s special to hear these tremendous musicians stretch out on these jazz standards. Bruce Forman’s guitar solos are thematic and brilliant. The symmetry between the band members is magic. Kellaway’s bebop skills are unmatched here. The trio’s version of Cole Porter’s “Night And Day” is soft and cooking. Kellaway’s dynamics separate him from the amateur players.

The excitingly frenetic energy on Duke Ellington and Juan Tizol’s “Caravan” is infectious and the perfect way to close the album. Bruce Forman’s guitar plays the stated melody line and Kellaway and Lutz take off from there.

The Many Open Minds Of Roger Kellaway is an exciting live album of straight ahead jazz classics, stretched out and explored with soul and mastery.
It is available on Amazon, CDBaby and iTunes. Don’t miss out

Dave Miller Trio –
Just Imagine
(Summit Records)

By Doc Wendell
Pianist Dave Miller has earned legendary status among the jazz scene in Northern California. His latest project Just Imagine is his dedication to George Shearing. The selections from this album are not Shearing’s greatest or most popular hits but more of a personal look at the bebop influence Shearing has had on Miller. Shearing’s trio consists of Chuck Bennet on bass and Bill Belasco on drums.

The music throughout this album has that one of a kind Shearing swing but with Miller’s own inimitable touch. “One For Woofer,” “You Took Advantage Of Me,” and “The Bebop Irishman” are delightful tributes to Shearing but it’s Miller’s own style that excites the most throughout. Standards such as “A Foggy Day,” and “All My Tomorrows” are simply brilliant. The trio is tight and burning while Miller’s style is exploratory and dynamic. Miller and company really cook on Charlie Parker’s “Confirmation” which Shearing had played on the original recording.

Michel Legrand’s “You Must Believe In Spring” is haunting in its dynamics and focus. Miller proves to be one of the finest pianists on the jazz scene today. Bill Belasco’s percussion on Jim Hall’s “Careful” is the perfect element added to the mix. Miller glides atop of the melody line while exploring new harmonic possibilities.

Dave Miller- Just Imagine will help many appreciate George Shearing’s music from a more modern perspective and it will open new worlds up for Dave Miller and his enthralling trio. The title track is sweet and sincere. Written by Ray Henderson, B.G. DeSylvia and Lew Brown, “Just Imagine” is a thoughtful lullaby and the perfect way to end a set of exciting music.
Just Imagine is available through Amazon and iTunes. Don’t miss out on this gem.

Judy Wexler
Crowded Heart
(Jewel City Jazz)

By Doc Wendell

Judy Wexler has proven to be one of the finest jazz vocalists on the scene today. Her fifth and latest album Crowded Heart focuses on newer jazz standards that have influenced today’s generation as well as many generations to come. Alan Pasqua arranged the ten compositions on the CD and co-produced it with Wexler. Pasqua plays keyboards on the recording along with a stellar band including; Larry Koonse, guitar, Josh Johnson, alto sax, Bob Sheppard, alto flute, Stefanie Fife, cello, Darek Oles, bass, Steve Haas, drums and Aaron Serfaty on percussion.

The album kicks off with “Circus Life” by Luciana Souza, Larry Klein and David Batteau. Wexler’s delicate yet sultry vocals dance around the slick arrangements by Pasqua who adds a particularly strong piano solo to the piece. “Parisian Heartbreak” by Kurt Elling swings gently but with an unmistakable intensity. The band is superb throughout. The title track is a beautiful lullaby and definitely an album highlight. Wexler and her band definitely do justice to Gregory Porter’s “Painted On Canvas.” Josh Johnson’s alto sax work is melodic and thematic.

Fred Hersch’s “Stars” is phenomenal. Wexler’s vocal control is inspiring on all levels. “The Last Goodbye” is haunting in its stark beauty and melodic brilliance.
Enrico Pieranunzi and Lorraine Feather’s “I Took Your Hand” is a mournful ballad driven by Alan Pasqua’s focused piano comping. Wexler’s ability to cover a broad base of material is jaw dropping. Larry Goldings’ and Cliff Goldmacher’s “It’s Only Smoke” burns brightly with an intensity only Judy Wexler can create. The all-star backing band floats around Wexler’s vocals with a mastery and grace.
The album closes with the magical “And We Will Fly” by Alan Pasqua, Kurt Elling and Philip Edward Galdston. The piece features some superb acoustic guitar lines by Larry Koonse.

Judy Wexler – Crowded Heart is simply superb. Wexler and company visit 10 new classic standards with a dedication and passion that is felt within every carefully crafted nuance. Don’t go without it.

Crowded Heart is available through CDBaby and Amazon on CD only.

Gretje Angell – In Any Key

By Doc Wendell

Akron Ohio native Gretje Angell was born to sing. Her debut album In Any Key features a nice balance of Bossa- nova tunes with standards by Gershwin, Kern

and Van Heusen. Angell’s voice is soft, sweet and sultry. She is accompanied by a stellar band consisting of Dori Amarillo, guitar, Kevin Axt and Chuck Berghofer, bass, Steve Haas, drums and Michael Hunter on trumpet.

The album kicks off with two swinging Bossa flavored standards “(Our) Love Is Here To Stay” and “I’m Old Fashioned.” Angell’s rendition of Peggy Lee’s “Fever” is delicate yet sexy. The band cooks with a guest appearance by Quinn Johnson on Hammond B3 organ. Angell’s reading of the Van Heusen standard “Deep In A Dream” is an album highlight with a tremendous vocal performance by Angell and muted trumpet work by Michael Hunter as well as orchestration by Budapest Scoring. Dori Amarillo’s acoustic guitar work is both tasteful and transcendent.

Duke Ellington’s “Do Nothing ‘Till You Hear From Me” features a duet performance between Angell and Amarillo. Angell’s phrasing is impeccable as is Amarillo’s guitar comping. Angell’s version of Jobim’s “One Note Samba” is true to the original. It’s clear that Angell and her band know this material intimately.

The intimate approach to “Tea For Two” is relentlessly soulful and honest. The purity of this recording cannot be denied.

If you’re looking for an authentic new vocal jazz recording, look no further. This is the real deal.

In Any Key is available through Amazon, CDBaby and iTunes.

By Doc Wendell

Keyboard wiz Bennett Paster has proven to be one of the most imaginative and soulful players on the scene. His latest album Indivisible focuses on groove. Not just one groove but grooves of many different time signatures and feel.
Paster is backed up by a solid band consisting of Jeff Hanley on bass, Tony Mason drums, Al Street, guitar, Kenny Brooks, tenor sax, Samuel Torres, congas and percussion and Todd Isler on percussion.

“Blues For you,” (Givin’ The People) What We Want,” and “Indian Summer” focus on Paster’s extraordinary bluesy piano work with exceptional tenor sax work by Kenny Brooks. The rhythm section swings gracefully behind.
“Belgrade Booty Call” has a distinct New Orleans funk feel to it that is infectious. “Gratitude” is a sweet and soulful ballad which displays Paster’s brilliant sense of dynamics on the piano. “Gritty Greens” is a soul jazz piece ala Jimmy Smith with Paster on organ. Al Street’s guitar work is nasty in all the best ways. Paster’s organ chops burn.

Paster proves that he can swing in waltz time on “The Murfeesboro Waltz,” a sultry yet mournful ballad that is certainly an album highlight. “Salamander” is a straight up funk piece. The main riff will bring the listener back to early Funkadelic days. Kenny Brooks’ tenor lines weave in and out of the melody line with attitude and swing.

If you’re looking for a keyboard driven album that explores various grooves to the core, this is it. Paster is indeed a groove master with many tricks up his sleeve.
Bennett Paster – Indivisible is available through Amazon, CDBaby and iTunes

By Doc Wendell
Paul Jost has proven to be one of the most enthralling and soulful voices in jazz today. His second album Simple Life gives his fans a deeper glimpse into his genius. This latest recording features a wide range of material from The Beatles to Sonny Rollins. Jost is joined by Jim Ridl on acoustic piano and synth, Dean Johnson, acoustic bass, Tim Horner, Drums and percussion and a gust appearance by the great Joe Locke on vibes.

The album kicks off with a swinging version of the Beatles “Blackbird” which features Jost’s amazing scat singing and Joe Locke on vibes. This is followed by “If I Only Had A Brain” by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg. Yost’s vocal phrasing is phenomenal as is his harmonica work. Jost’s reading of Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” is burning. Here you’ll hear some of the greatest scat singing put down on record. The band is adventurous and rhythmic. The addition of Joe Locke is a real treat.

Jost and company have chosen the most fascinating covers such as Fred Neil’s “Everybody’s Talkin’,” Ray Noble’s “The Touch Of Your Lips,” and a cooking rendition of Sonny Rollins’ “No Moe.” The music is haunting, often dark and deeply original at every turn. Bob Dylan’s “Girl From The North Country” is gorgeous. The album concludes with a Jost original called “Living In The Wrong Time” which deals with school shootings and homelessness. Jost proves to be a powerful and poignant poet. Jost sings of those darker aspects of life and feeling disconnected from it all.

Paul Jost’s Simple Life is so honest and pure that it transcends musical lines. This is one to be enjoyed by all music lovers. Don’t miss out.
Simple Life is available through www.pauljostmusic.com

Dave Stryker – Eight Track III

By Devon “Doc” Wendell

Dave Stryker has proven to be one of the most innovative and enthralling guitarists in jazz over the past several decades. His latest album Eight Track III Is his third and final installment in the Eight Track series. It proves to be his best. Stryker is backed up by an exceptional band consisting of Stefon Harris on vibes, Jared Gold, organ, McClenty Hunter, drums and Mayra Casales on congas & percussion.

Stryker and his band revisit some very popular tunes and put their own spin on them. These covers include exciting renditions of Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up,” Steely Dan’s “Pretzel Logic,” Stevie Wonder’s “Too High,” Burt Bacharach’s “This Guy’s In Love With You,” and The Carpenters “We’ve Only Just Begun.” Stryker, Harris and Gold get equal solo time on each cut and each swing beyond belief. Stryker’s use of arpeggios and complex harmonies blends perfectly with Harris’ complex vibes stylings. Drummer McClenty Hunter keeps everything in the
pocket. This recording is more about groove than virtuosic soloing. The band’s revamping of The Temptations “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” is beyond funky. Stryker’s subdued approach has a cool swagger that drives the rhythm section.

Roy Ayers’ “Everybody Loves The Sunshine” is the perfect selection for Stryker and his band’s mellow groove. Stefon Harris adds that acid jazz element the Ayers was famous for. Dave Stryker often plays the melody line and only plays brief solos, sticking to the thematic quality of each composition. Jared Gold’s organ comping is sublime and fits in tightly with Stryker and Harris.

An album highlight is the band’s reworking of Marvin Gaye’s “After The Dance.” The melodic approach to this Gaye classic is superb. Stryker’s guitar work is nothing short of brilliant as is Harris’ vibes. These men sound like they’ve been playing together for 20 years.

Dave Stryker – Eight Track III is a stunning yet mellow covers album with some of the best musicians on the scene. What more could you want? The CD is available on http://davestryker.com/ CDBaby/ Amazon/ ITunes




Carol Sudhalter Quartet – Live At Saint Peter’s Church.

By Doc Wendell
Over the past several decades Carol Sudhalter has carved her name the annals of jazz history as being one of the very finest baritone saxophonists on the scene. She is also an accomplished flutist and tenor sax player.
Saint Peter’s Church in NYC is the perfect setting for her bebop flavored quartet consisting of Patrick Poladian on piano, Kevin Hailey, bass and Mike Campenni on drums. Her new live recording represents her best work to date.

This live set kicks off with a delightfully swinging reading of Tadd Dameron’s “On A Misty Night.” Sudhalter’s baritone work is slightly reminiscent of Pepper Adam’s and Cecil Payne but more lyrical. Poladian’s piano solo cooks and the rhythm section of Hailey and Campenni burns brightly throughout. The band’s version of the Benny Golson ballad “Park Avenue Petite” is sublimely beautiful in its lyricism and taste.

Other covers such as Bill Evans’ “Time Remembered,” Sonny Rollins’ “Valse Hot” and Hank Mobley’s “Funk In Deep Freeze” fit Sudhalter’s style perfectly. On “Time Remembered” Sudhalter’s melodic flute dances around the melody line in a way that is pure magic. “Colin Blues” showcases Sudhalter’s smoky vocals and it is the one original on the album. It also features her fine flute work.
The overall sound quality isn’t perfect and the drums are a tad loud but the brilliance of the performances makes up for it.

Carol Sudhalter Quartet- Live at Saint Peter’s Church is a particularly laid-back but highly swinging bebop recording that is all the way live with no overdubs or autotune, just pure jazz at its best.
The CD is available from Alfamusic.com

Doug Macdonald Quartet – Organism

By Devon “Doc” Wendell

It’s a difficult feat to make an organ-based quartet interesting and original after greats like McDuff, McGriff and Holmes had done so much with the sub-genre.

But Guitarist Doug Macdonald’s 14th album as a leader titled Organism not only nods its head at the traditions of organ jazz, it adds a new chapter to the music’s history. Macdonald is joined by such jazz icons as Carey Frank on organ, Bob Sheppard on tenor saxophone and Ben Scholz on drums.

The way this album combines organ trio-based blues with bebop is extraordinary and burning throughout.

The album kicks off with the Sammy Cahn & Jule Styne standard “It’s You Or No One.” Macdonald glided up and down the fretboard and Bob Sheppard’s tenor sax solo cooks. Macdonald’s originals “Jazz For All Occasions,” “L&T,” and “Hortense” are the album’s highlights. Each composition was carefully crafted and possess an uncanny originality. These numbers also display the band’s brilliant chemistry. This music is funky and swinging all at once.

The rendition of the standard “Poor butterfly” is delicately beautiful. Here Macdonald plays unaccompanied, exploring harmonic and melodic structures with taste and mastery. “Sweets” Edison’s “Centerpiece” is complementary to the original recording. Bob sheppard demonstrates why he’s one of the best tenor sax players alive. Frank’s syncopated organ work is stellar throughout.

You hear hints of Jimmy Smith and Jack McDuff but Frank’s own style comes shining through each piece.

“Too Late Now” is a superb ballad with nothing but soul. Frank comps the changes sweetly and solos brilliantly. Sheppard’s tenor work is so gentle and lovely that it’s relentless. Macdonald’s lead work is bluesy and dream-like.

Doug Macdonald Quartet- Organism is a masterclass album by masterclass musicians. This is for all of the fellow jazz purists out there looking for the real thing. You won’t be disappointed.

The album is available through Amazon, CDBaby and iTunes




Ernie Watts Quartet
Home Light
(Flying Dolphin Records)

By Devon “Doc” Wendell

Saxophonist Ernie Watts has been one of the major driving forces in post-bop jazz for five decades now with a soaring and soulful style that is still going strong today.
Watts’ new album Home Light mixes bop with the avant-garde with a refreshing originality and spark. Watts’ Quartet consists of Christof Saenger on piano, Rudi Engel, acoustic bass and Heinrich Koebberling on drums.

The album kicks off with the bop-flavored “Forgot August.” This up-tempo number showcases the ESP that exists between Watts and his band. You can hear traces of John Coltrane and Joe Henderson in Watts’ electrifying tenor sax work but at this stage of the game he has a style that is as unique as his fingertips. This piece is based on the changed to “I’ll Remember April.”

The entire band swings hard without mercy. “Café Central 2am” and “Distant Friends” are bluesy ballads that burn gently but with an unmistakable intensity. Watts’ phrasing is more economical here than on other compositions. Saenger piano comps beautifully behind Watts and the rhythm section. Watts blows like a man in his ripe 20s.
Rudi Engel’s bass solo on “Café Central 2am” is phenomenal as is Heinrich Koebberling’s Art Taylor inspired drumming.

“Frequie Flyiers” cooks like no one’s business. It starts of acapella with Watts exploring many complex harmonies. The band jumps in with a sheer ferocity without losing its tightness. Watts’ tenor work is inspired. This is easily one of the album’s many highlights. Saenger delivers up a dizzying piano solo that the listener won’t soon forget. “Horizon” was penned by Watts and Saenger. It’s a stirring ballad perfect for that meditative state of being.

Watts’ tribute to Joe Henderson “Joe” is another album highlight. Watts truly “gets” Henderson’s angular tenor sax lines and versatility.

Home Light is a pure bop-based jazz recording by one of the finest saxophonists in the world and his stellar quartet. Do not go without it.
Home light is available through CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon.


Alberto Pibiri – Jazz Legacy

By Devon “Doc” Wendell

Alberto Pibiri is one of the most exciting jazz piano traditionalist to emerge on the scene in a long time. His major influence is the great Oscar Peterson who casts a huge shadow over this compelling recording.

The album kicks off with a direct tribute to Oscar Peterson with “For Oscar” which combines Peterson’s distinct style with a hint of gospel music.
Pibiri proves to be a master balladeer with “My Sunshine” which is tender and swinging both at once. Pibiri’s piano work is gentle and tasteful yet confident and daring. Pibiri is backed up by a group of extraordinary musicians such as Paul Gill on bass, Paul Well, drums, Adrian Cunningham, tenor sax and clarinet, Dave Stryker, guitar, Sheila Jordan, guest vocalist, Jay Clayton, vocals and Miriam Waks on vocals.

“New Bossa” burns brightly with exceptional tenor sax work by Adrian Cunningham. This is traditional jazz played by masters who have dedicated their lives studying every phrase and nuance. “A Blues” has Pibiri playing more in that Horace Silver school of jazz piano and he does so brilliantly. Even though there are hints of Duke, Oscar and Red, Pibiri does have a unique touch of his own.

It’s a treat to hear Sheila Jordan guest on “Be Free” and “For Sure”; both album highlights that should not be missed be any jazz lover. Pibiri and Jordan make a special kind of magic together that can only exist in the world of jazz.

Guitar genius Dave Stryker makes a special appearance on “Oh Yeah” with Miriam Waks on vocals and Adrian Cunningham on tenor sax. The non-stop energy is infectious. Pibiri plays a more subordinate role here.

Jazz Legacy by Alberto Pibiri is a fantastic album for the jazz purists of the world. It’s intimate and produced with love. It’s available on Amazon, CDBaby and iTunes.

Anna Jalkeus Group 

By Devon “Doc” Wendell

Swedish born singer/songwriter/harpist Anna Jalkeus has carved her way onto the jazz/fusion world with her distinct band and sound of her own.
Her debut album Estrogenia is a journey inside the artist. It’s not linear or simple. It’s a thought-provoking work of art.
Her group consists of Aaron Dutton, alto/soprano, baritone saxes, flute, melodica, Garrett Wingfield, Tenor/baritone saxes and bass clarinet, Gregory Santa Croce, Piano Melodica, Ethan Stalbaum, Electric guitar, Aaron Holthus, upright and electric bass, John Sturino, drums and Zach Yaholkovsky background vocals.

Tracks like “Mononucleosis,” “Skogsraets Dans,” and “Time is Running out” have an ethereal, dreamlike quality with stellar vocals and harp work by Jalkeus and complimentary backing by her group. The lyrics for “Time is running out” are sheer poetry. Jalkeus’ vocal range is astounding as she glides across the chord changes.
“MA’A Salama” deals with war and explosions. Ethan Stalbaum’s electric guitar work is thematic and menacing. Jalkeus’ harp accompaniment is melodic and skillful. Aaron Dutton’s soprano sax work cooks.

“Above,” and “Jupiter” take the listener to ancient, mystical lands and outer space. There’s a psychedelic quality to Jalkeus’ poignant lyrics.
Her scat-singing is otherworldly. Aaron Holthus’ upright bass lines are as ethereal as Jalkeus’ wailing vocals. “Vintage Gorge” is like an ambient cascading waterfall of the soul. It features some of Jalkeus’ best harp work on the album.

Estrogenia is a compelling debut recording by a fascinating artists and equally compelling group. This is original jazz at its best.
Get it now at CDBaby and Amazon.


By Devon “Doc” Wendell

It’s rare to find a true and traditional chanteuse in 2018. Chloe Perrier is the real deal. She takes the listener back to the 20s and 30s with her sublimely lyrical and melodic style on her album Coeur De Francaise. This is truly a remarkable work of art. Perrier’s vocal style is wonderfully vulnerable and understated.

Tracks like “Chansom (Indian Song)”, “Jardin d’ hiver” and L’eau a la bouche” will make you feel as if you’re in a Parisian tavern in 1929. And Perrier is no Edith Piaf clone. She has a wonderful sense of timing all of her own.

On this project Perrier is backed by the stark piano accompaniment of Eli Chemali and the gentle percussion of Felix Sabali-Lecco. Lecco’s brush work is stellar throughout as is Chemali’s tight piano comping.

Perrier’s gut-wrenching remake of Serge Gainsbourg’s “La Javanaise” is surely an album highlight. Even if you don’t speak French you will feel the meaning of the song. Perrier knows Gainsbourg’s work intimately as she does her own readings of “L’eau a la bouche” as well as the swinging “Ces petits riens.”

Those looking for a real chanteuse with a unique take on a traditional sound, check out Chloe’s Coeur De Francaise.


Get it through Chloe’s website chloeperrier.net or through Amazon.com.

Ken Wiley – Cuerno Exotica

By Devon “Doc” Wendell

The French horn is a rare instrument in jazz. Other than the late great Julius Watkins in the 50s, it’s rarely heard as a lead instrument in the idiom. Ken Wiley has exploded onto the scene with a unique French horn sound that swings and dances in various settings.

Cuerno Exotica consists of mostly originals and 3 staggering covers.

The album kicks off with a Latin-tinged rendition of Ravel’s “Bolero.”

Wiley is backed by a superb rhythm section made up of of Bernie Dresel on drums, Rene Camacho, bass, Dave Loeb, piano, Mark Legget, acoustic guitar, Luis Conte, percussion, and the Bolero Horns featuring Gary Grant, Larry Hall, Steve Holtman and Dan Higgins.

Ken Wiley’s playing gets deep inside of the melody, exploring every possibility in a deeply contemplative manner. Mark Leggett’s acoustic guitar work is stellar on “Carilo” in which Wiley plays a subtler role leaving the solo spots to Leggett and Dan Higgins on flute.

Wiley gives Cal Tjader’s “Black Orchid” an excitingly refreshing and original twist. The band is exemplary throughout.

“Gato Magico” is a sweet yet subdued funky lullaby that swings and sways. Wiley delivers up one of his finest solos, sticking deep inside of the blues. Dan Higgins’ flute solo burns beautifully.

A true album highlight is the swinging rendition of McCoy Tyner’s modal “Sama Layuca.” Dan Higgins’ tenor sax playing is showcased perfectly. Higgins sounds like a young Joe Henderson here. Dominick Genova plays a percussive bass solo and Dave Loeb is magnificent on piano. Higgins and Wiley swap solos. This is an inspired performance.

There is a one of a kind atmosphere throughout this project that never wanes or loses its luster. The French horn has a much softer sound than a trumpet, sax or most of the lead instruments you’re used to hearing in jazz but Ken Wiley’s contribution throughout this album lets the world know it’s a true jazz instrument to be reckoned with.

Ken Wiley Cuerno Exotica is available through ITunes, Amazon and CD Baby. Don’t miss it.

By Devon “Doc” Wendell

When great jazz fusion players unite to make new music more than chemistry takes place. 

Alchemy is created.  This is certainly the case with ARC TRIO.


Jimmy Haslip, the iconic bass player from The Yellow Jackets teams up with keyboardist Scott Kinsey and drummer Gergo Borlai for an exploration in both sound and groove.  These three top session players find a pocket and take off from there, exploring new harmonic and rhythmic turf at every turn.

“Owossso” is an original by Scott Kinsey. It sounds other worldly.  Kinsey is an unpredictable virtuoso. Haslip strectches out all over each album track like a cosmic cobweb.  Bortai has an unmistakable Dennis Chamber feel that feeds the other two musicians.

“West Orange” and “Conchita” have that nasty fusion funk that truly is the specialty of these three seasoned players. Haslip slaps his bass, Kinsey’s wah-wah clavinet sound adds depth and groove.  Bortai’s syncopated drum style pulls it all together.

“Viera” has a Latin swing to it making it danceable yet wildly cerebral.  Vinny Colaiuta guests on drums on this number as well as Steve Tavaglione on soprano sax creating even more excitement.

The production by Haslip and Kinsey is clean and precise all the way, fitting the music perfectly.

Haslip’s mastery as a composer comes through on “Cedars,” a menacing funky number that will have the listener questioning gravity and Earthly movement.

Kinsey’s Fender Rhodes work is stellar throughout.

Gary Novak lends his unique style of drumming on “Palo Alto” and “Goan Wanderers.”

“I’m Hip” is a declaration of ultimate hipness everywhere.  This Haslip/Kinsey original is so funky and slick that it is bound to have more than a few listeners shaking something in delight.

Jimmy Haslip-Scott Kinsey-Gergo Bortai ARC TRI is a superbly masterful jazz fusion recording with no shortage of surprises and twists that will keep the listener riveted.  It is available through Amazon, CDBaby and ITunes via Blue Canoe Records.

By Devon “Doc” Wendell

Mats Homquist is one of the most celebrated arrangers and composers in jazz today. He has been featured with Dick Oats and the Vanguard Orchestra, The Dave Liebman Big Band and many others. Holmquist has recruited the 18-piece UMO Jazz Orchestra from Helsinki Finland with Randy Brecker for “Together”. Randy Brecker remains one of the most prolific and masterful trumpeters for over four decades now. The results are magical.

UMO consists of Ville Vannemaa on lead alto, soprano saxes and clarinet, Mikko Makinnen on Alto Soprano sax, clarinet and flute, Teemu Salminem on teno sax and clarinet, Max Zenger on tenor sax and flute, Pepa Paivenen on baritone sax and flute, Heikki Tuhkanene, Mikko Mustonen, and Mikael Langbacka on trombones, Mikel Ulfberg on guitar, Seppo Kantonen on piano, Juho Kivivuori on bass, Markus Ketola on drums and Jakob Gundmundsson on trumpet.

Mats Holmquist’s compositions and arrangements often sound like a cross between 1950s Duke Ellington and early ‘60s Wayne Shorter but with a signature sound with a modern tough which will stay with the listener forever. The most Ellingtonian pieces are “Summer And Winter,” “Never Let Go,” and “Windows.” Randy Brecker’s trumpet Seppo Kantonen’s piano work is masterful and soulful throughout but most especially on “One Million Circumstances” and “Crystal Silence.”

One of the most striking elements about these compositions and the way they’re executed is the sense of dynamics. The band will take it all the way down to a whisper and then swing in the higher range, creating a compelling excitement from start to finish. “All My Things” is a minimalist masterpiece by Holmquist. It’s both modern and traditional in a big band setting. Ville Vannemaa’s soprano sax solo dances atop of the rhythm section. Brecker’s solo swings beautifully.

UMO’s big band sound weaves together a tapestry of the entire history of big band jazz and beyond. Chick Corea’s “Humpty Dumpty” is an uptempo piece that is syncopated like a Monk composition with a dash of
Mingus. Max Zenger’s tenor sax solo almost sounds like a baritone sax. His angular lines cut through the song’s melody with a sense of fearlessness. Brecker burns beyond belief as does Mikel Ulfberg’s guitar solo. Homquist’s arrangement are tight and stellar.

If you’re looking for a big band recording with both a modern and traditional touch, look no further. This is a fabulous album and hopefully the beginning of several more outings between Randy Brecker, Mats Holmquist and the UMO Jazz Orchestra.

“Together” will be released on September 7th, 2018 and available through Amazon, CDBaby and ITunes.


Unfortunately, big band jazz is slowly becoming a dying art form.

It’s taught in schools and universities all over the world but big band recording projects and shows aren’t taken as seriously these days as smaller jazz ensembles.
Luckily David Ricard dedicates most of his time to his big band when he isn’t working on TV jingles and cartoons. Ricard’s big band is made up with some of the finest musicians on the scene today. On his upcoming CD release Parallels Ricard pushes the boundaries of the big band idiom with originality and humor.

The album starts out with “Spider Man.” Many might not think that the theme song from Spider Man could swing hard but Ricard’s band lays it all on the line. And with Wayne Bergeron on trumpet, this rendition burns. There’s also a cooking rock-inspired guitar solo by Will Brahm.

The David Ricard Big Band consists of Chad Willis, Dave Richards, Wayne Bergeron, Anne King, Mike Cottone, Josh Aguiar and Blake Martin on trumpets; Dave Ryan, Erik Hughes, Sean Shackelford, Dennis Rollins, Juliane Gralle and Jake Kraft on trombones; Doug Webb, Geoff Nudell, Aaron Heick, Michael Czaja, Noah Preminger, Dave Thomasson, John Mitchell, Kyle O’ Donnell, Brian Clancy and Stehen Taylor on Sax/Woodwinds; Brandon Covelli, Jordan Seigal and Bill Fulton on piano; Will Brahm, Matt Hornbeck, Grant Geissman and James Leibow on guitar, David Ricard, bass, Sammy K, drums and Bill Hulting on Vibes.

Ricard and his band do fascinating covers of “The Odd Couple” theme by Hefti/Cahn, Bobby Timmons’ “Pretty Memory” and The JB’s funk anthem “Pass The Peas,” but it’s Ricard’s originals such as “Wandering,”

“The Big To Do List,” “Come Out Swinging,” “Too Much,” and “Stick Shift” that swing the hardest with a healthy dose of funk. The horn arrangements are tasteful and clever and the rhythm section holds down the fort with precision and dedication. These originals are filled with a sense of fun and humor that is relentless.

Ricard’s “Sarah’s Theme” is a sweet lullaby in swing with a most soulful Aaron Heick on alto sax.

David Ricard produced, arranged and even mixed this glorious recording. The production quality is slick and as clean as it gets.

Many may argue that big band jazz doesn’t appeal to all age groups but David Ricard’s Big Band’s Parallels will surely reach music lovers both young, old and in-between. This is an exciting project presented with love and a masterful understanding of the many intricacies of big band jazz.

Parallels will be available through davidricardbigband.com starting October 5th, 2018. Don’t miss it.

Hendrik Meurkens and Bill Cunliffe
Cabin In The Sky
(Height Advantage 002)

By Devon “Doc” Wendell

An instrumental jazz duo album is hard to pull off. There’s a lot of space to fill plus the instrumentation has to be interesting enough to hold the listener’s attention.

What could be better than pianist Bill Cunliffe and harmonicist extraordinaire Hendrik Meurkens teaming up for an album of standards mixed with several originals? Cabin In The Sky kicks off with the title track from the 1943 film classic. Meurkens’ harmonica soars as Cunliffe’s piano comping and fills are tasty and soulful. Meurkens’ original “Afternoon” has Cunliffe playing synthesizer. Meurkens’ harmonica lines are exploratory yet wonderfully thematic.

The duo’s takes on Wayne Shorter’s “Myako” and Joe Zawinal’s “Young and Fine” are sublimely lyrical. Cunliffe and Meurkens are a tight duo with a magical ESP that shines through every composition. Cunliffe’s two originals “You Don’t Know Me” and “Time To Say Goodbye” (co-written by T. McConnell) have a deeply haunting quality to them; something mysterious yet bluesy. Cunliffe and Meurkens play the melody lines in unison. Meurkens’ harmonica playing is full of risk.

He clearly is a virtuoso from the Toot Thielemans school of the chromatic harmonica but with his own musical language and sense of adventure. Cunliffe is a master of harmony and melody. His genius lays in his subtleties.

This album is also filled with dashes of humor. Meurkens and Cunliffe’s reading of Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode To Billy Joe” swings with more of a blues feel than country. Both Cunliffe and Meurkens play two phenomenal solos making this an album highlight. Another top album performances are the duets rendition of “Speak Low,” and the Meurkens original “Prague In March.”

Another humorous moment is the duet’s insertion of Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water” in Jobim’s “Wave.”

Cabin In The Sky is one of the finest jazz duet albums to be released in a long time by two top masters in the jazz world today. Do not miss this one.

Cabin In The Sky is currently available through Amazon, CDBaby and ITunes.

           Beverley Beirne – Jazz Just Wants To Have Fun (NOVA)

By Devon “Doc” Wendell

Who could possibly take Slade’s 1973 proto-metal “Come Feel The Noize” and make it swing in the jazz realm?  That would be British jazz vocalist Beverley Beirne on her latest recording project “Jazz Just Wants To Have Fun.”

This album features fantastically pure but fun jazz versions of Adam And The Ants’ “Prince Charming,” Kim Carne’s “Bette Davis Eyes,” Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer” and Billy Idols’ “Hot In The City.”

This project was skillfully produced by legendary keyboard wiz Jason Miles.  Beirne is accompanied by a top-notch band consisting of Sam Watts on piano, Flo Moore, bass, Ben Brown, drums & percussion and Rob Hughes on saxophone and flute.  The band is tighter than tight and inventive. This is not swing by numbers jazz accompaniment by any means.  Jason Miles guests on Hammond organ on “Deeply Dippy” and “Waiting For A Girl Like You.”  Guitarist Dean Brown appears on “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” and Romero Lubando adds some tasty guitar on “Cruel Summer.”

This isn’t merely a novelty album.  The arrangements are subtle yet deeply sophisticated.  Beirne’s rollicking tenor vocals are lush and rich with pure soul.  Her take of Right Said Fred’s “Deeply Dippy” is a compelling highlight, featuring fantastic bass work by Flo Moore and piano comping by Sam Watts.  Beirne’s reading of ABC’s “When Smokey Sings” has a soaring ethereal quality with wonderful tenor sax work by Rob Hughes.  Beirne’s vocals often sound like the phrasing of a tenor saxophone.  She knows how to hit those notes and get in between the cracks of them like a virtuoso instrumentalist.

Beirne’s delivery of these pop/rock classics make them feel like they’re part of the great American songbook.

The idea of jazz versions of Foreigner’s “Waiting For A Girl Like You” and Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” might make some cringe but you can’t judge a book by its cover and contempt prior to investigation always fails in the jazz world.  This is certainly the case with Beverly Beirne’s “Jazz Just Wants To Have Fun.”

 Kajagoogoo’s “Too Shy” is reminiscent of Ella swinging with Ray Brown.  The production is superb with no compressed drums or anything insulting to the purity of jazz.

Take a second listen to these pop/rock tunes in a new light with Beverley Beirne’s delightful “jazz just Wants To Have Fun.”  This album is both masterful and fun, so who needs anything more?  Don’t miss out on this one.

“Jazz Just Wants To Have Fun” can be purchased starting June 15th at www.beverleybeirne.com.

Fred Farell -Distant Song CD cover

By Devon “Doc” Wendell

Taking on this music of pianist Richie Beirach and saxophonist Dave Liebman is no easy feat. After years of collaborating together, Liebman and Beirach have an almost telepathic musical intimacy that is complex, soulful and most of all, unique.

Image of sax

Vocalist Fred Farell’s latest project Distant Song captures the music of Liebman and Beirach beautifully. Farell didn’t merely copy Liebman’s and Beirach’s compositions, he added sublime lyrics and a magically ethereal vocal style.

Farell is accompanied by Liebman on Wooden recorder, as well as soprano & tenor saxophones. Richie Beirach appears on acoustic piano, of course.
“Broken Wing” takes us back to Richie Beirach’s days with Chet Baker. Farell’s lyrics and vocal delivery are mournful and tender. Liebman’s soprano sax work sails in and out of the perfectly stated changes comped by Beirach. The listener is instantly hypnotized into a visceral world of love, light and often sorrow.

“Lonnie’s Song” features one of Farell’s finest vocal performances on the album. And after all these years, it is apparent that Beirach and Liebman were both students of modern bop pianist master and composer Lennie Tristano. Those dissonant chords and suspenseful silences add a challenge to the music that Farell is certainly up for.
Dave Liebman’s “Forgotten Fantasies” is a haunting instrumental. That soulful symmetry between Liebman and Beirach is stronge than ever before.
On Liebman’s “Tomorrow’s Expectations,” Farell’s meditative lyrics about inner explorations adds a new dimension to this classic. It feels as if the lyrics were part of this composition from the beginning.

Farell’s melancholy lyrics on Beirach’s “Leaving” tell a story of a broken romance. “A train ride sends me leaving you;” Farell paints a vivid picture of the passing scenery on the train ride and every contemplative thought along the way.

Fred Farell’s debut on www.whalingcitysound.com/  is accessible yet exploratory. Fred Farell’s vocals and lyrics are nothing short of compelling on every level, as is the genius of Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach. This is a must for all jazz lovers.

By Devon “Doc” Wendell

CD Cover for miles Davis

Frustration is what often drives an artist to reach that new creative plateau. An artist sometimes feels that they must break away from the past where their new innovations no longer fits. But being forced into the confines of the past while presenting the new can create something beautifully unexpected.

This was certainly the case with John Coltrane in the Spring of 1960 when he embarked on his final tour with Miles Davis. Supposedly the tensions between Miles and Trane were so strong that Trane didn’t talk to Miles or the rest of the band during that European tour, captured on the 4 CD box set: Miles Davis & John Coltrane-The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series Vol. 6.

This plush and historically important set features 5 different shows; two in Paris, two in Stockholm and one in Copenhagen. Trane sounds frustrated throughout these shows, as if he’s searching for a way to implement his ever-bourgeoning style into fragments of the past from which he fears is keeping him stagnant.

Miles and Coltrane are joined by the brilliant Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and the dynamic Jimmy Cobb on drums. “All Of You,” “Bye Bye Blackbird,” and “Oleo” from the two shows at The Olympia Theater in Paris are harrowing. Trane’s sound is closer to his Impulse records works than his previous sessions for Atlantic and Prestige Records. But no matter how far out Trane flies, Miles acts as the galvanizing center piece, giving the music a thematic sense that is often needed after a whirlwind Trane solo from 1960. Miles’ chops are in top form, in fact, this set features some of Miles’ finest work. “All Blues” from The Copenhagen show is a prime example of this. Kelly, Chambers and Cobb are stellar and keep the music grounded along with Miles.


On “Fran Dance” from the first Stockholm show, Trane is playing beyond the stated changes. It’s fair to say that it feels as if Trane is practicing on stage during this and most of the performances on this set instead of focusing on the theme of the compositions. Magically it all makes for some compelling music. Miles must have known that it would both shock the audiences and work in a way that might not be realized for decades to come. There are even some whistles, boos and shouts from the audience after Trane solos, which I’m sure added to Trane’s growing frustration.

Miles was still able to get Trane’s most lyrical playing during this short era on “‘Round Midnight” from the second show at The Olympia in Paris. Although it still feels light years from the album version from over four years earlier, it’s Trane’s least frenetic solo on this collection. Wynton Kelly’s fleet fingered, blues tinged style is both elegant and imaginative. Jimmy Cobb’s sense of dynamics behind the drum kit is awe-inspiring and Paul “Mr. PC” Chambers plays the bass with a bold and powerfully confident ease on every single track.

This is not the kind of music that the listener will “get” with the first listen but the most rewarding music, especially in jazz, is most often like that. The contrasts, tensions and newer arrangements of these Miles classics makes this collection essential for both hardcore jazz lovers and jazz tourists alike.