Two of Europe’s finest eclectic jazz guitarists continue their series of collaborations with a double album titled The Colours of Time. The set is divided into two separate formats. The first album is a series of solo original works composed by either Pete Oxley or Nicolas Meier.
The material on disc 1 showcases the virtuosity of the two musicians along with their talent as composers, delivering a set of exquisite guitar duets. The two guitarists use a wide range of guitars and guitar-playing techniques. In addition to the usual solo and rhythm guitar styles, there is an ongoing guitar interchange throughout the album as well as beautiful moments where the guitarists use a beautiful plucking method that makes the guitar sound like a mesmerizing harp.
Although jazz is the foundation on disc 1, Oxley and Meier inject many other influences such as Gypsy jazz on “Waltz for Dilek”, Turkish influences on “Princes’ Island”, Pat Metheny-style guitar synth on “In Restless Repose”, North African/Middle Eastern sounds on “Sahara” and more Pat Metheny influences on “First Day of Spring,” although this time with Oxley on electric guitar.
On Disc 2, the original compositions become more rhythmic and electric with the addition of bassist Raph Mizraki and drummer Paul Cavaciuti. Pat Metheny’s influence continues on the opening track, “The Followers.” There is also a delicious ballad that perfectly crosses over into smooth jazz territory.
Some of the best tracks on this disc are the ones with a Middle Eastern flavor, such as “Riversides” and “Fethiye Crossroad.” Lastly, I need to mention a fabulous piece titled “Tales” that has instant classic appeal, with memorable bluesy solos.
The lineup on The Colours of Time includes Pete Oxley on nylon string, steel, electric, synth, jazz, and electric 12 string guitars; Nicolas Meier on nylon string, steel, acoustic 12-string, fretless nylon, glissentar, and jazz guitars; Paul Cavaciuti on drums; and Raph Mizraki on acoustic and electric basses.
The Colours of Time introduces the listener to a remarkable guitar dialog between two extraordinary guitarists.
Country For Old Men (Impulse!) by guitarist John Scofield is the winner of Best Jazz Instrumental Album at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.
The other finalists were:
Book Of Intuition – Kenny Barron Trio (Impulse!)
Dr. Um – Peter Erskine (Fuzzy Music
Sunday Night At The Vanguard) – The Fred Hersch Trio (Palmetto Records)
Nearness – Joshua Redman & Brad Mehldau (Nonesuch)
MJ12 is the new jazz-rock fusion project developed by renowned British bassist Percy Jones. Although parts of the pieces have a certain structure, with jazz, rock and funk elements, there is plenty of room for improvisation and sound experimentation.
For bass fans there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy some great bass work. However, the saxophone plays a very important role in this recording.
The name of the band was taken from Majestik 12, an alleged group of 12 scientists and engineers gathered in the late 1940s to investigate UFO’s.
Percy Jones on fretless bass; Dave Phelps on guitar; Stephen Moses on drums; and Chris Bacas on saxophone.
Jazz fusion innovator, composer and guitar maestro Al Di Meola will continue to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of his Elegant Gypsy Tour with new concerts in 2017 in support of his most recent solo album Elysium. The North American tour begins February 7 in Durham, North Carolina with dates in Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Austin, Dallas, Montreal, and more.
Di Meola has been on tour for most of 2016, presenting new material from Elysium together with old favorites. DiMeola uses acoustic and electric guitars, including his nylon string Conde Hermanos acoustic prototype model and a 1971 Les Paul electric (his Return to Forever and Elegant Gypsy guitar).
The band includes Philippe Saisse on keyboards, marimba; Gumbi Ortiz on percussion; Elias Tona on bass; Luis Alicea on drums; and Evan Garr on violin.
2017 North America Tour:
2/7/17 Durham, NC Carolina Theatre
2/8/17 Charleston, SC Music Hall
2/9/17 Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse
2/11/17 Orlando, FL The Plaza Live
2/12/17 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Parker Playhouse
2/13/17 Clearwater,FL Capitol Theater
2/14/17 Ponte Vedra,FL PV Concert Hall
2/17/17 Austin, TX One World
2/18/17 Dallas, TX Majestic
2/21/17 Royal Oak, MI Royal Oak Music
2/22/17 Kent, OH Kent Stage
2/24/17 Quebec City, Q Palais Montcalm
2/25/17 Montreal, QC Salle Pierre Mercure
2/26/17 Peekskill, NY Paramount
Composer, arranger, producer, multi-instrumentalist and actor Alphonse Mouzon passed away on Christmas Day, December 25, 2016.
Alphonse Mouzon was born on November 21st, 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina. He attended Bonds-Wilson High School where he received his early musical training under the direction of saxophonist and high school music teacher Lonnie Hamilton III. He also took some drum lessons from Charles Garner before playing concerts with the Lonnie Hamilton Band.
Following graduation from high school, Mouzon moved to New York to study music and drama at New York City College and medicine at Manhattan Medical School. Mouzon took drum lessons from jazz pianist Billy Taylor’s drummer Bobby Thomas. While attending college, Alphonse played in the pit band of the Broadway show “Promises, Promises” after being recommended by Bobby Thomas. Mouzon also worked as a medical technologist at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital after graduating from Manhattan Medical School. However his medical career was short lived.
By 1969, his reputation as a drummer had spread to such an extent that a medical career no longer seemed attractive. Mouzon was the rhythmic foundation for the innovative musical explorations of pianist McCoy Tyner. He was a founding member, along with keyboardist Joe Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter, of the iconic fusion group Weather Report. Together with guitarist Larry Coryell, Mouzon was co-founder of The Eleventh House, the influential fusion band of the 1970s.
Alphonse Mouzon played and/or recorded with Gil Evans, Roy Ayers, George Benson, Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Clarke, Al DiMeola, Les McCann, Ronnie Laws, Klaus Doldinger’s Passport, Jaco Pastorius, Ron Carter, Azar Lawrence, Joey DeFrancesco, MILES SMILES, Albert Mangelsdorff, Joachim Kuhn, Jasper van’t Hof, Michel Legrand, Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, Hubert Laws, Donald Bird, Chet Baker, Randy Brecker, Michael Brecker, Ernie Watts, Sonny Rollins, Wallace Roney, Arturo Sandoval, Christian McBride, Kenny Barron, Cedar Walton, George Coleman, John Klemmer, Billy Harper, Dave Grusin, Russ Freeman, George Howard, Kirk Whalum, Jeff Lorber, Kenny G., Joanne Brackeen, Horace Parlan, Robin Kenyatta, Kevin Toney, Sunnie Paxson, Ross Carnegie Orchestra, Roberta Flack, Sheila E., Celia Cruz, Gloria Lynn, Gloria Coleman, Denise Williams, Freda Payne, Shirley Scott, Anita O’Day, Betty Davis, and in 1991, he performed with Miles Davis on the movie soundtrack album “Dingo”.
Mouzon also worked rock and pop stars, including Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, Patrick Moraz, Tommy Bolin and Chubby Checker.
In 1992, Alphone Mouzon founded Tenacious Records. He released a series of successful albums, including “The Survivor”, “On Top Of The World”, “Early Spring”, “By All Means”, “Love Fantasy”, “Back To Jazz”, “As You Wish”, “The Night Is Still Young”, “The Sky Is The Limit”, “Distant Lover”, “Morning Sun”, “Absolute Greatest Love Songs & Ballads” “Live In Hollywood”, “Jazz In Bel-Air”.
In recent years, Mouzon performed in Europe and in the United States with his trio, quartet, or quintet and as a featured guest artist with other groups like Miles Smiles, and Larry Coryell’s Eleventh House. He also taught drums at The Alphonse Mouzon International Private Drum School in Porter Ranch, California.
Alphonse Mouzon was also an actor. He appeared along with actor Tom Hanks in the 1996 film “That Thing You Do”. Mouzon also co-starred in the 2003 film called The Highlife. He can also be seen in a 2004 movie with Michael Keaton, Margaret Collins, and Katie Holmes called “First Daughter”.
Azymuth – Fênix (Far Out Recordings FARO 194CD, 2016)
Fênix is the new studio album by a renowned Brazilian band named Azymuth that has been around for many years. The trio is known for mixing contemporary jazz with bossa nova, samba, funk, disco and electronics
The band’s keyboard virtuoso, José Roberto Bertrami passed away in 2012 so the other two original members, percussionists Ivan Conti and bassist Alex Malheiros, are currently leading Azymuth.
Although Brazil has produced numerous high quality jazz and fusion acts, Azymuth has instant appeal for an audience seeking Brazilian jazz with familiar influences. The highlights are the funk jazz opening track “Villa Mariana (de tarde)” that features tasty synth solos by keyboardist Kiko Continentino, and the title track, where Azymuth adds familiar disco bass; the lively “Papa Samba”, and the percussion rich “Corumbá”.
Overall, the album has a smooth jazz sensibility that will satisfy fans of this genre.
Italian vocalist Valentina Marino delivers a contemporary jazz mix of original songs, pop hits like David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, a bossa nova classic; and compositions by various jazz artists.
Marino is joined by Cameron Brown on bass; Anthony Pinciotti on drums; Alberto Pibiri on piano. Guests include Jay Azzolina on guitar; Maximillian Zooi on bass clarinet; Matt Chalk on saxophone; Cody Rowlands on trumpet; Max Bezanson bass; Laura Giannini on violin; Laura Huey on viola; and Molly Aronson on cello.
Jazz bassist, vocalist and composer Esperanza Spalding has released what is perhaps one of her most progressive albums. Her music is still rooted in jazz, soul, funk and other Afro-rooted forms, but on her new album ‘Emily’s D+Evolution’, she adds rock elements, progressive jazz and lots of vocal experimentation.
Even though, she is an outstanding bass player, Esperanza Spalding really stands out here because of her vocal abilities. She uses and transforms her voice in so many that it’s hard to catch all the amazing nuances included in the recordings. She uses modulations, loops and overdubs to create a one of the finest vocal albums of this year.
The lineup on ‘Emily’s D+Evolution’ includes Esperanza Spalding on vocals, bass, piano and synth bass; Matthew Stevens (Christian Scott) on guitar; Karriem Riggins (Madlib, Erykah Badu) on drums; Corey King on background vocals, trombone and synthesizer; Emily Elbert on background vocals; Nadia Washington on background vocals; Justin Tyson on drums; Fred Martin on background vocals; Katriz Trinidad on background vocals; Celeste Butler on background vocals; and Kimberly L. Cook-Ratliff on background vocals.
‘Emily’s D+Evolution’ is an exceptionally good genre-bending album featuring impressive vocal work.