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Contemporary Jazz

LaBelle Tries On Jazz Hat To Troublesome Effect


 
Patti LaBelle
Bel Hommage
(GPE/Sony Red)
 
Patti LaBelle sits on a throne as among the greatest R&B to Pop singers recording and performing. However, the list of singers that can authentically swing between the Pop world and the Jazz world is a short one highlighted by Aretha Franklin, Patti Austin, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Nancy Wilson (retired) and the late incomparable Natalie Cole and Teena Marie.

Norman Brown | Let It Go


 
Norman Brown | Let It Go
Shanachie Entertainment
by Peggy Oliver
 
The musical dexterity of Wes Montgomery has inspired many contemporary jazz guitarists through the years despite his early days as a hard bop musician. One of many musicians who gravitated to this icon was Norman Brown, a huge turning point in studying and performing jazz, despite his earlier influences and interest in Jimi Hendrix and the Isleys.

The Baylor Project | The Journey


 
The Baylor Project
The Journey
(Be a Light)
A Record Reflection by A. Scott Galloway
 
Married musicians vocalist Jean Baylor and drummer Marcus Baylor have created a captivating “project” that meets at the 3-way intersection of Jazz, Gospel and Legacy. Brimming with aural snapshots of their individual roots and the sacred space where they come together, it is a very unique album that soothes the soul and takes some standards into sumptuous realms of mistiness.

Bob Baldwin | The Gift of Christmas

bob-baldwin-the-gift-of-christmas
 
Bob Baldwin
The Gift of Christmas
(City Sketches)
A Record Reflection by A. Scott Galloway
 
Keyboardist/Producer Bob Baldwin eases us into the 2016 holiday season with some much needed aural relief via his 10 song offering, The Gift of Christmas. The CD opens with a pleasant jaunt through Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” then lifts off into space for a celestially reharmonized sojourn through Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmas Time is Here.”

Celebrating the Passion of 13 Y.O. Jazz Pianist Joey Alexander

A Place for Joey: Celebrating the Passion of 13 Y.O. Jazz Pianist Joey Alexander
by A. Scott Galloway
 
There’s a very tricky tightrope that young jazz musicians come upon when thrust into the public eye. It is a hurdle that has tripped up many a prodigy over the eras. That is when a teenage or pre-teen wonder arrives at 18 or 21 and no longer has youth as a hype mechanism. Usually what happens is a player who develops or happens upon a lot of chops and ability early on winds up sounding like everybody else when they reach adulthood. What they failed to develop was individualism, adventure and heart. It’s like a young runway model that gets by on youthful freshness yet never develops a style of their own as an adult. In those cases, you just pray their parents saved her money.
 
joey-alexander-on-piano-photo-1
Joey Alexander, at 10, Lincoln Center Gala

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