Hear Here: Mark Lewis Cool Jazz Trio

“Mark Lewis grew up in the Northwest then moved to the Netherlands for many years to perform, teach and record music. He also lived in San Francisco for a few years and recorded a top 40 jazz album after auditioning for Stan Getz to land a record deal. He is a prolific composer, with over 1,600 songs to his name. He’s also an accomplished recording engineer, and has recorded and produced albums for a number of great jazz musicians, including the last album recorded by legendary drummer Philly Joe Jones.” –All About Jazz

Audio Daddio, 2013

The Music of Eddie South: Violin Jazz

“The sheer eclecticism of this tribute to jazz-fiddle forebear Eddie South – ranging from the feel good swing of “Idaho” to the cantorial “Kol Nidre”, and a flamboyant four-minute “Rhapsody in Blue” – bolsters (violinist) Cohen’s position among the heavyweights.  Ten of the 14 tracks can be compared with “The Dark Angel of the Fiddle”, a collection of radio transcriptions from 1944 on which a young Billy Taylor was South’s pianist…Cohen’s quartet reaffirms that South’s deepest jazz allegiance remained with the swing of his peers Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli.” -JazzTimes

Dorian Recordings, 2010

Songs for Quintet: Kenny Wheeler

The innovative, smokey-toned trumpeter and composer, Kenny Wheeler, recorded what was to be his last album, Songs for Quintet, just months before he passed away in 2014. It was released in January, 2015, the day before he would have turned 85. With Stan Stulzmann on tenor sax, John Parricelli on guitar, Chris Laurence on double bass, and Martin France on drums, the album features warm and lyrical tunes, enhanced by the quintet’s sure sound, convincing solos, and dazzling cohesiveness. – John Gilbreath

ECM, 2015

Swing Makes You Happy!: George Gee Swing Orchestra

(featuring the transcriptions, arrangements & compositions of David Gibson) –  Bandleader George Gee, both an innovator and a traditionalist who has always offered spirited projects, has taken special care with this joyous swing romp.  “The George Gee Swing Orchestra swings in the manner of Gee’s friend and mentor, Count Basie,” writes AllAboutJazz.com. “The Basie spirit is ever-present, and if Swing Makes You Happy, Gee’s eighth album as leader should put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.” – John Gilbreath

Rondette Records, 2014

Break Stuff: Vijay Iyer Trio

Long known as “a brilliant young pianist” (he earned a Masters in Physics and a Doctorate in brain cognition by age 28), Iyer has matured as a jazz artist (also picking up a MacArthur genius award at 42) through a variety of innovative musical applications. “Break Stuff” applies his penchant for innovation to his relationship with the classic jazz piano trio format, with the now-seasoned ensemble of Stephan Crump on bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums examining the role of “breakdowns, break beats, and break dancing” in music and life. – John Gilbreath

ECM, 2015

The Journey: Charles McPherson

The veteran be-bop alto saxophonist McPherson is well known for his work with Charles Mingus, and for being a direct link the spirit of Charlie Parker. On The Journey he takes inspiration from Parker, and pays respects to the standards of Richard Rogers, Sammy Cahn, and others. McPherson also plays original compositions with bandmates Keith Oxman, Chip Stephens, Ken Walker, and Todd Reid in a recording he calls “fruitful and joyous,” filled with songs that are “a great representation of the collective spirit and vitality of this group.” – John Gilbreath

Capri Records, 2015

 

Shadows in the Night: Bob Dylan

 

On Shadows in the Night, the iconic folk rocker covers 10 “jazz standards” from the Great American Songbook, including such tracks as “Autmun Leaves,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” and “That Lucky Old Sun.” In this, his 36th studio album, Dylan recorded live with a five-piece band (two guitars, bass and pedal steel, and occasional horns) in beautifully crafted arrangements. In an exclusive interview with AARP, which Dylan himself sought out, he says of making this record now, “Now is the right time. I’ve been thinking about it ever since I heard Willie [Nelson’s] Stardust record in the late 1970s. All through the years, I’ve heard these songs being recorded by other people and I’ve always wanted to do that. And I wondered if anybody else saw it the way I did.” – John Gilbreath

Columbia, 2015

The Now: Aaron Goldberg

The Now marks the fifth tersely titled disc in 16 years for pianist Aaron Goldberg’s trio with drummer Eric Harland and bassist Reuben Rogers,” writes Britt Robson in JazzTimes. “Goldberg and his rhythm section (who have also paired up behind Charles Lloyd) have steadfastly redefined a mixture of elements that is at once distinctive and familiar.” This release includes, “thoughtful Goldberg originals….; slightly skewed covers of mid-20th-century jazz tunes; and some exquisite Latin American jazz, pop or folk songs.”

Sunnyside Records, 2014

 

Chicago April 1951: Lennie Tristano (2 CD’s)

A fantastic, two-disc document of another of jazz’s definitive, but under-recognized artists, here at the peak of his career and in a sextet setting that includes his two most notable collaborators; alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, and tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh. Recorded at Chicago’s Blue Note Jazz Club in the spring of 1951, the date captures fascinating and forward-thinking music — in the bebop tradition but somehow outside the gravitational pull of Charlie Parker — that was to shape the sounds still used 50 years down the road. – John Gilbreath

Uptown Records, 2014

All the Cats Join In: Connie Evingson and the John Jorgenson Quintet

Connie Evingson and the John Jorgenson Quintet  –  Evingson, the charming, Minneapolis-based jazz vocalist who has long been a favorite of this region’s KPLU radio, continues to evolve and refine her technique on this release. As JazzTimes magazine says, “Evingson’s sound has grown plumper, richer and warmer. Such enticing changes are ideally suited to her new album’s concept of swinging dusty chestnuts (and several deftly chosen pop tunes) old-style…The vintage tunes – “Love Me or Leave Me,” “You’re Driving Me Crazy,” “The Lamp is Low” and such – are winningly rendered. More intriguing, though, are Evingson and Jorgenson’s sepia-toned reinterpretations of more contemporary material”. – John Gilbreath

Minnehaha Music, 2014

To Lady With Love: Annie Ross

(1 CD & 1 DVD)  –  Since the 1960’s heyday of the legendary vocalese trio of Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross, Annie Ross has largely mined the shadows, emerging briefly on the soundtrack to the film “Short Cuts,” with the Doc Pomus ditty, “To Hell With Love.”  In this (very) late-career release, the 84-year-old Ross pays homage to Billie Holiday, kicking it off with a spoken introduction: “I heard her first on record. I was 15 years old. The song she sang was ‘Strange Fruit.’ It made my blood run cold. She became my idol, my mentor and my friend. She remained my favorite until the very end. Your voice was always in my head, its message clear and true.” Though Ross herself has lost some of her vocal range, JazzTimes notes, “there’s a hard-earned nobility in her tremulous sound, vestige of a life lived fast, furiously and well.” – John Gilbreath

Red Anchor, 2014