Incredible Jazz Guitar: 3 original Riverside albums

Wes Montgomery (3 CDs originally released on Riverside Records, “Incredible Jazz Guitar”, “Movin’ Along”, and “So Much Guitar!” – “By 1959, when he was brought to (Orrin) Keepnews’ attention by saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, Montgomery had developed a revolutionary new approach to the instrument. His style featured three signature elements: he played with his thumb, never a pick, and he improvised entire choruses using either octaves or pianistic block chords. None of these techniques were unique, but until Montgomery came along no other guitarist had mastered them so completely (let alone combined them) or made them so integral to sound and improvisation.” –Chris May (AllMusic)

Not New Music, 2013


Jamie Cullum – Interlude is the seventh studio album from vocalist Jamie Cullum, the UK’s best-selling jazz artist. Though he has made a name for himself by combining clear pop sensibilities with jazz and swing, Cullum moves into straight-ahead jazz territory here. “Interlude is a celebration of my love of jazz,” the singer says. “I have connected with some of the most talented musicians on the scene. This is a collaboration with them. Recorded in the original way – live, in one large room, straight to analogue tape, in single takes.” Cullum has hand-picked numbers from the Great American Songbook, and croons alongside special guests Gregory Porter and Laura Mvula, on this album filled with classic and soulful styles, creating an accessible and enjoyable listening experience.

Blue Note, 2014

Things of that Particular Nature

Duane Eubanks – Trumpeter Duane Eubanks (the brother of guitarist Kevin and trombonist Robin Eubanks) came up in another of the accomplished family dynasties that have reigned throughout jazz history. Emerging from the shadows of his better-known brothers, he has assembled a first-rate group of musicians, capable of absolute investment in the mostly original material on Things of That Particular Nature. The music is beautifully played and deep in the hard-swinging jazz tradition.

Sunnyside, 2015


Snowy Egret

Myra Melford – Snowy Egret features songs composed for the individual members of Melford’s eponymous quintet, made up of Ron Miles on cornet, Liberty Ellman on guitar, Stomu Takeishi on acoustic bass guitar, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums. The pianist and composer, a former Seattle resident now on the faculty at UC Berkely, carries this group of first-rate improvisers through deep, thought provoking experimental tunes that are exquisitely crafted.

Enja, 2014

Collective Portrait

Eddie Henderson – As its title suggests, trumpeter Eddie Henderson’s latest album is a collaborative musical reflection of his heart and soul, painted with the help of all-star artists including George Cables (piano), Gary Bartz (sax), Doug Weiss (bass), and Carl Allen (drums). Inspired by Miles Davis’ statement that “a collective portrait is better than a self-portrait,” Henderson applies years of his own jazz experience to a record that is forged in creativity and community. The music is enhanced by the ensemble’s natural chemistry and Henderson’s own lyricism, honed from years playing with jazz greats like Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Pharoah Sanders, and Art Blakey.

Smoke Sessions, 2015

Live at Cory Weeds’ Cellar Jazz Club

Louis Hayes & the Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band – Drummer Louis Hayes first recorded with Adderley back in 1959, on The Cannonball Quintet in San Francisco, and continued performing with the bandleader until his death in 1975. More than 50 years after that first recording, Hayes leads an ensemble of Dezron Douglas on bass, Rick Germanson on guitar, Vincent Herring on alto sax, Jeremy Pelt on trumpet, and Vancouver B. C. club owner Cory Weeds on tenor sax, in this tribute to Adderly. This swinging set is an incendiary, powerful iteration of the hard bop tradition sure to please straight-ahead jazz fans.

Cellar Live, 2014


Kevin Eubanks – More than 30 years after they first met at New York’s famed 55 Grand club, guitarists Eubanks and Jordan release an album consisting of original joint compositions, well-known classics (including “Blue In Green” and “Summertime”), and pop hits (Adele’s “Someone Like You” and Ellie Goulding’s “Lights”). The 10-song record shines light on the musicians’ spontaneity, passion, ingenuity, and prodigeous musical chops (of note, Eubanks spent 18 years on The Tonight Show). “This album fills a nice niche because it’s relaxing yet engaging,” says Jordan. “When you hear Kevin and me playing together, it’s all about the music and supporting each other. I just love the feel of it – it has a real sweetness. People who listen from their heart are really going to love this record as an antidote to the norm.”

Mack Avenue, 2015

Yesterday I Had the Blues: the Music of Billie Holiday

Jose James – Coordinated for release near the 100th anniversary of Holiday’s birth, Yesterday I Had the Blues is a respectful, mostly straight-ahead reading of tunes associated with the brilliant and tragic vocalist. It is also an opportunity for James, who operates as much, or more, in the Hip Hop and contemporary R & B worlds, to sink into some darkly compelling jazz singing in the company of a brilliant trio, with Jason Moran on piano, John Patitucci on bass; and Eric Harland on drums.

Blue Note, 2015


Steve Turre – Trombonist, “shellist,” composer, and long-time presence on the “Saturday Night Live” bandstand, Steve Turre goes back to basics on his latest record; accompanied by first-rate jazz players Bruce Williams (saxophone), Xavier Davis (piano), Gerald Cannon (bass), Willie Jones III (drums), and special guest Chembo Corniel (congas). With a repertoire of standards, jazz classics, and five Turre compositions, Spirtiman is a solid, swinging showcase of superb trombone playing. “Music is about giving and about searching and so that is the spirit,” he says, “because without spirit, music is just notes.”

Smoke Sessions, 2015


Marcus Miller – Don’t let the cheesy name fool you. Afrodeezia is bassist/composer Miller’s Blue Note Records debut, and carries both weight and depth, largely because it was inspired by his role as a UNESCO Artist For Peace and spokesperson for the organization’s Slave Route Project. Recorded around the world – including Morocco, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and New Orleans – the album features a variety of guests including rapper Chuck D., vocalist Lalah Hathaway, keyboardist Robert Glasper, trumpeters Etienne Charles and Ambrose Akinmusire, guitarists Keb’ Mo’ and Wah Wah Watson, bassist/producer Mocean Worker, organist Cory Henry (Snarky Puppy), and cellist Ben Hong, as well as musicians from Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. Having set the enduring sound of funk and soul jazz since the 1980’s, and his work with late-career Miles Davis, Marcus Miller is still his own man, and Afrodeezia continues his distinctive creative output.

Blue Note, 2015

Philadelphia Beat

Albert “Tootie” Heath – There are several interlocking triumphs on this trio recording. The big news is the venerable drummer, Tootie Heath, brother of jazz legends Jimmy Heath and Percy Heath, joining the modernist piano genius Ethan Iverson (The Bad Plus) and the seasoned, young bassist, Ben Street. This album celebrates the city that paved the way for the iconic jazz groups of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Art Blakey, and many others. Tootie Heath, a South Philly native who’s played with Coltrane, Lester Young, Thelonious Monk, Nina Simone, and many other jazz legends, brings a straight-up authenticity, which is wonderfully embellished by the more contemporary sounds of Iverson and Street. This is a record filled with bebop, Afro-Cuban, and soul that both embodies and expands the bebop mysticism of Philadelphia jazz.

Sunnyside, 2015