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Contemporary Jazz, Page 2

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

Najee | Najee’s Theme

najee-najees-theme
 
Najee | Najee’s Theme
by Peggy Oliver
 
It is hard to fathom that thirty years have passed since the single “Najee’s Theme” and the supporting album blazed the R&B and jazz charts, which for a debut recording was a remarkable accomplishment in itself. Thanks to a series of demos through New York session work, Najee already had material at his disposal, along with a decent budget from Capital/EMI – a sweet package deal that eventually resulted in his first platinum record.

Paul Jackson, Jr. | Stories From Stompin’ Willie

Paul Jackson Jr - Stories From Stompin Willie - M&P Prod. - 2016
 
Paul Jackson Jr.
Stories From Stompin’ Willie
(M and P Music Factory)
A Record Refection by A. Scott Galloway
 
As a sideman, super guitarist Paul Jackson Jr. has been responsible for many memorable musical moments…from his enigmatic rhythmic stabs on Angela Bofill’s “Tell Me Tomorrow” to the ethereal ghosting flavor he brought to “Maputo” by Bob James & David Sanborn.

Cameron Graves | Planetary Prince

Cameron Graves - Planetary Prince - smaller
 
Cameron Graves
Planetary Prince
(Jack Junior Entertainment)
A Record Reflection by A. Scott Galloway
 
Cameron Graves is the lead piano man of the current west coast jazz revolution that has already launched luminaries such as saxophonist Kamasi Washington and Bruner brothers Ronald (drummer) and Stephen “Thundercat” (bass). All three of those cats and more are present here, showing out in chops-heavy style on Graves’ 4-song EP, Planetary Prince.

Marquis Hill | The Way We Play

Marquis Hill - The Way We Play
 
Marquis Hill | The Way We Play
Concord Jazz
by Brent Faulkner
 
It’s arduous being innovative when so much innovation has materialized in the past. Particularly in jazz, with so many prodigious pioneers, finding a truly distinct lane and showcasing similar innovative spirit is intimidating. It’s not intimidating for Chicago trumpet standout Marquis Hill, who proves he’s a musical force to be reckoned with on latest album The Way We Play, his first for Concord Jazz.

Bernie Worrell / Bill Laswell / Karsh Kale | Funkcronomic

Bernie Worrell Bill Laswell Karsh Kale - Funkcronomic - MODtechnologies - smaller
 
Bernie Worrell / Bill Laswell / Karsh Kale
Funkcronomic
Musical Reflection by A. Scott Galloway
 
Keyboard genius Bernie Worrell a.k.a. “Wizard of Woo,” drops us off at the launching pad of his next phase with a parting gift of groove that – in a just and funky world – will become the Ride On soundtrack of The Summer of 16. Hangin’ with old crony bassist/producer Bill Laswell and drummer Karsh Kale, Worrell came up with a 5-song EP of lean, mean Caddy cruisin’ joints guaranteed to relax your mind.

Near-Perfect Playboy Jazz Festival Sunday Covers The Full Spectrum

38th Playboy Jazz Festival
Hollywood Bowl
Sunday June 12, 2016
Festival Reflections by A. Scott Galloway
 
Day 2 of the 38th “Playboy Jazz Festival” at the Hollywood Bowl was by far the more star-studded and highly anticipated of the weekend. Not only that, the cross section of artists provided a near-perfect representation of all the music that appropriately falls under the cornucopia of the art form – from New Orleans roots, Blues and Big Band to Latin, Funk-Rock, Contemporary and Ancient-Future takes.
 
Photo 1 - George Lopez (1)
George Lopez (Photo: Matthew Imaging)

12 year-old Joey Alexander Steals Day 1 of Playboy Jazz Festival

38th Playboy Jazz Festival
Hollywood Bowl
Saturday June 11, 2016
Festival Reflections by A. Scott Galloway
Photography by Matthew Imaging (except one)
 
Photo 1 - George Lopez
George Lopez
 
Though big names were lacking, big fun was in full regalia for the opening day of this year’s Playboy Jazz Festival, due in part to amiable host George Lopez. Mist in the midday and a light sprinkling of pre-summer rain baptized the early acts and audience. Poetically speaking, it gave the high-achieving students of the Beyond the Bell All-City Jazz Band of an early taste of dues they have to pay on their way to the top.

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