Tag Archives: jazz

The Remarkable Sounds of Taubkin, Sou and Kastrup

Benjamin Taubkin, Simone Sou and Guilherme Kastrup – Sounds of Life (Adventure Music, 2015)

These three musicians create a remarkable combination of jazz, contemporary acoustic, electronic and world music sounds. Percussionists Simone Sou and Guilherme Kastrup admired the work of pianist and composer Benjamin Taubkin and eventually met to work together on a new project. Sounds of Life is the result of this extraordinary collaboration.

The three musicians play piano and acoustic percussion instruments, along with keyboards, samplers and effects, in a tribute to the indigenous peoples of Brazil and Congo.

Sounds of Life captures the restless spirit of three talented musicians who deliver a fascinating mix of piano, world music samples and global percussion.

Buy Sounds of Life in the Americas

Buy Sounds of Life in Europe

Legacy Recordings Announces the Release of Miles Davis Quintet: Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series, Vol 5

Miles Davis Quintet: Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series, Vol 5
Miles Davis Quintet: Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series, Vol 5

Columbia/Legacy Recordings announced the release Miles Davis Quintet: Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series, Vol 5. The collection is scheduled for release on Friday, October 21, 2016.

The 3CD boxed set follows Miles Davis’ musical evolution in the studio from 1966-1968, performing with his “second great quintet.” This is the latest edition in Columbia/Legacy’s Miles Davis Bootleg Series, a set of recordings that includes all rehearsals, partial and alternate takes, extensive and fascinating studio conversation and other components.

Miles Davis Quintet: Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series, Vol 5. features the master takes of performances that would appear on the Miles Smiles (1967), Nefertiti (1968) and Water Babies (recorded 1967, released 1976) albums together with more than two hours of previously unreleased studio recordings from original sessions produced by Teo Macero (with the exception of “Fall,” produced by Howard A. Roberts).

Buy Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series, Vol 5

Latin American Focus

Focus – 8.5 (Beyond The Horizon)

The new album by celebrated Dutch progressive rock band Focus contains sessions recorded in 2015 recorded in between South American tours. Although Focus has always been known for its jazz explorations in its earlier recordings, 8.5 seems more jazz focused than other recordings.

The opening track “Focus Zero” showcases various forms of jazz and blues along with rock guitar and Thijs van Leer’s classical influences.

Track 2 is a mix of Latin jazz featuring Spanish-language vocals, with a mixed chorus of male and female jazz vocals. The Latin jazz is intertwined with classic Focus progressive rock guitar, whistling and electric guitar, and even blues rock. It’s a mix that works beautifully.

Track 3, titled “Rock Five”, composed by producer Marvio Ciribelli has plenty of unexpected twists and turns, ranging from classic Focus instrumental ballads, to jazz improvisation, quirky segments and spectacular flute work by Marcelo Martins.

On track 4, “Millenium”, the band combines Latin rhythms with guitar oriented jazz-rock fusion showcasing the talent of Jan Dumée.

“Inalta” (track 5) features Brazilian beats, brass and jazz flute improvisations.

Track 6 is titled Talking Rhythms. It’s a conversation between two drummers, Pierre van der Linden and Marcio Bahia.

The last track, “Surrexit Christus”, mixes jazz, classical and rock and includes three flutes plus a tasty bass solo by Bobby Jacobs.

The lineup includes Thijs van Leer on flutes and keyboards; Pierre van der Linden on drums; Jan Dumée on guitar; Bobby Jacobs on bass.

Guests include Marvio Ciribelli on keyboards and vocals; Marcio Bahia on drums; Arthur Maia on bass; Sergio Chiavazzoli on guitars; Marcio lott on vocals; Mylena Chiribelli on vocals; Thais Motta on vocals; Marcelo Martins on flute; Amaro Junior on drums and percussion; Flavio Santos on percussion; Fabiano Segalote on trombone; Adaberto Miranda on palmas; Rogerio Fernandes on bass; David Ganc on flute; and Mario Seve on flute.

8.5 is a great recording that shows Focus in a different incarnation, more jazz oriented, highlighting the flute and Latin American rhythms.

Buy 8.5 (Beyond The Horizon)

Unstatic by Manu Katché

Manu Katché – Unstatic (Anteprima Productions CD18021, 2016)

Unstatic is the new album by acclaimed French drummer and session man Manu Katche. Although the first track on Unstatic has a Cuban flavor, featuring three Latin American percussionists, most of the album is straight ahead modern jazz with funk, lounge and smooth jazz elements.

The three musicians that stand out on Unstatic are Katche, with his creative drums, the fabulous keyboardist Jim Watson who uses acoustic and electric piano, organ and synths; and virtuoso bassist Ellen Andrea Wang, who delights the listener with wonderful interplay with the keyboards and drums.

The lineup on Unstatic includes Manu Katché on drums; Ellen Andrea Wang on upright bass; Jim Watson on acoustic piano and keyboards; Tore Brunborg on saxophone; Luca Aquino on trumpet; Nils Landgren on trombone; and Abraham Rodriguez Mansfarroll, Joel Hierrezuelo Balart and Esteban Sotolongo Zapata on percussion.

Unstatic is a high quality recording with ear friendly contemporary jazz that should appeal to a wide audience.

Buy Unstatic in the Americas.

Finely Crafted Modern Jazz Guitar

Fabrizio Sotti Trio  - Forty
Fabrizio Sotti Trio – Forty

Fabrizio Sotti Trio Forty (Incipit Records, 2016)

On Forty, virtuoso jazz guitarist Fabrizio Sotti delivers safe zone jazz with a mix of melancholic guitar, swing, blues and a smooth jazz version of a bossa nova classic, “How Insensitive (Insensatez)”.

The highlights of the album are the ambient guitars sounds on “Intro to the Bridge” and the captivating blues piece titled “The Bridge” dedicated to his wife and the Ponte dei Sospire in Venice, where they got married.

The lineup includes Fabrizio Sotti o guitars; Bulgarian artist Peter Slavov on bass; and Cuban musician Francisco Mela drums.

Forty is a finely crafted modern jazz guitar album.

Pink Floyd Through the Experimental Jazz Prism

Savoldelli Casarano Bardoscia - The Great Jazz Gig in the Sky
Savoldelli Casarano Bardoscia – The Great Jazz Gig in the Sky

Savoldelli Casarano Bardoscia – The Great Jazz Gig in the Sky (Moonjune, 2016)

This recording is a jazz recreation of Pink Floyd’s masterpiece Dark Side of the Moon. The trio behind the project is led by Italian vocalist Boris Savoldelli. He has a gritty voice that’s an acquired taste. On this project Savoldelli teams up with saxophonist Raffaele Casarano and bassist Marco Bardoscia.

Savoldelli’s chameleonic vocal style seems to have a lot of fans. In my case, I liked his vocal effects and found the instrumental sections with trance-like jazz beats, the minimalist chamber passages, Dewa Budjana’s guitar, and electronic atmospheres mesmerizing.

The lineup on The Great Jazz Gig in the Sky includes Boris Savoldelli on vocals, vocal noises and electronics; Raffaele Casarano on saxophones and electronics; and Marco Bardoscia on double bass and electronics.

The album also features special guests Dewa Budjana on guitars; and spoken word by Maurizio Nobili.

Buy The Great Jazz Gig in the Sky

Sri “Aga” Hanuraga’s Universe

Sri Hanuraga – To the Universe (Demajors, 2015)

Virtuoso pianist, composer and arranger Sri “Aga” Hanuraga is part of the new wave of outstanding Indonesian musicians involved with jazz, jazz-rock and progressive rock. On To the Universe, Sri “Aga” Hanuraga uses a classic jazz combo trio featuring piano, bass and drums. Within the album, Sri “Aga” Hanuraga showcases three distinct styles that have jazz as the common language.

During most of To the Universe, Sri “Aga” Hanuraga plays straight ahead contemporary jazz. However, the Indonesian influences are evident in several of the pieces, especially if you pay attention to the piano melodies and the flute solos performed by guest Rodrigo Parejo Mateos.

On the three part suite, “Ever Changing” Sri “Aga” Hanuraga switches from acoustic sounds to full blown electric jazz-rock featuring electric piano, spectacular electric bass and powerful drums. At times, you can hear echoes of iconic Canterbury band National Health.

The lineup includes Sri “Aga” Hanuraga on piano and Rhodes; Mattia Magatelli on double bass and electric bass; Kristijan Krajncan on drums. Guest: Rodrigo Parejo Mateos on flute.

Buy the digital version of To the Universe

A Journey through the World of Distorted Guitar

Ödemarken – Ödemarken 3.0 (Terrorjazz Brewery, 2016)

Swedish trio Ödemarken defies musical boundaries on its second recording titled Ödemarken 3.0. The group plays primarily instrumental music with guitar, bass and drums. However, this is not the power rock that you would expect from such a format. Instead, Ödemarken’s sound is based around a wide-range of distorted guitar, electronic effects and guitar-playing techniques backed by creative bass and drumming.

The musical influences are varied, ranging from blues rock to psychedelia, progressive rock, world music and jazz and even echoes of Frank Zappa. The musicians pour out a rich selection of sounds and combinations that keep the album engaging through the end. The artists define their music as terrorjazz which is the time we’ve heard this term.

The Malmoe-based band includes Thomas Karlsson on drums and percussion; Thomas Augustsson on guitars; and Bartosz Traczykowski on upright bass.




Ödemarken 3.0 is a mind expanding electric guitar voyage by an imaginative progressive music trio from southern Sweden.

Tne digital version of the album is available from itunes.apple.com

Unpredictable Balkan Keyboards

Vasil Hadžimanov Band featuring David Binney - "Alive" (MoonJune Records, 2016)
Vasil Hadžimanov Band featuring David Binney – “Alive” (MoonJune Records, 2016)

Serbian keyboardist and composer Vasil Hadžimanov Band presents a set of music that crosses several musical boundaries. You’ll find jazz, cinematic passages, freeform improvisation, progressive rock, and Joe Zawinul-inspired world fusion. This project features American saxophonist David Binney. Perhaps I’m saxophoned out, but I much prefer the sections where Vasil Hadžimanov takes control of the show using captivating piano and fabulous electronic keyboards.

Aside from Hadžimanov’s work, the album features spectacular bass work by Miroslav Tovirac and creative percussion and drums.

Vasil Hadžimanov is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, in Boston. He has played with celebrated international musicians such as David Gilmore, Antonio Sanchez, Matt Garrison, David Binney, Nigel Kennedy and rock stars of the former Yugoslavia, Dado Topic and Vlatko Stefanovski.

“Alive” was recorded during the Serbian tour in October 2014. The lineup includes Vasil Hadžimanov on piano and keyboards; David Binney on alto sax; Branko Trijić on guitar; Miroslav Tovirac on bass; Bojan Ivković on percussion, vocals; and Pedja Milutinović on drums.

Check out the beautiful saxophone free version of Nocturnal Joy / Tri boje zvuka:

Buy “Alive

Versatile Jazz Trumpet

Shunzo Ohno - ReNew (Pulsebeats, 2015)
Shunzo Ohno – ReNew (Pulsebeats, 2015)

Japanese musician and composer Shunzo Ohno is one of the finest trumpeters in the current jazz scene. ReNew showcases his versatility with a set of modern jazz combined with funk and world music elements. The album features notable performances by Ohno and his colleagues. It’s dedicated to the people of Northern Japan and Nepal who are recovering from natural disasters.

Highlights include “Musashi” where Ohno injects funk, global percussion, spoken word, and electronic processed trumpet. Another high point is “Tairo Bushi”, a folk song from northern Japan. This piece includes Indian tabla, a synth solo and Ohno’s trumpet delivering a Japanese folk melody.

Another high spot is “First Step.” This is the classic jazz piece where practically every musicians gets his noteworthy solo. Ohno uses various trumpet techniques. The electronic processed trumpet is especially mesmerizing.

Lastly, another great track is the final composition, “ReNew Reprise”. It’s a slow tempo piece with a wonderful mix of trumpet, cello global percussion.

The lineup on ReNew includes Shunzo Ohno on trumpet; Buster Williams on bass; Billy Drummond on drums; Cyro Baptista on percussion; Jerome Jennings on drums; Ray Spiegel on tabla; Clifford Carter on keyboards; Ed Howard on bass; David Berkman on piano; Sasha Ono on cello; Paul Bollenback on guitar; Jerome Jennings on drums; Ira Coleman on bass; and George Yamazawa on spoken word.