Live at Caramoor – Jovino Santos Neto

“Two great pianists, one scintillating concert where they play together and apart…. Weber Iago starts off with a couple of solo pieces that demonstrate his more angular style, especially on “Alone Together,” where he melds post-bop shards of melody with some interesting rhythmic ideas. That sets the stage for Jovino Santos Neto, who has far more flow, before the two combine for a series of duets. The real joy is in discovering just how well they work together on a piece like “Ser Feliz,” and trip their way through several Brazilian classics… The pair is joined by saxophonist Joe Lovano for the final cut, Jobim‘s standard, “Wave.” It makes for a lovely ending, with Lovano‘s soprano trilling high above the keyboards and a glorious piece of bossa nova.” –AllMusic..

Adventure Music, 2008

Grace – Lizz Wright

The inflections and warm body of Lizz Wright’s honeyed voice have always been steeped in the Black Churches of the rural south, but with Grace, her sixth studio recording, the connection reveals itself to its most intentional, and beautiful result. Wright brings her countrified sophistication to lesser-known tunes by Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, and k. d. lang, and pulls it deep into the south with gorgeous renditions of “Stars Fell on Alabama,” and “Southern Nights.” Engaging and satisfying, Grace crosses genres of secular/sacred/jazz/country/blues so easily, the listener doesn’t know they exist.

Find the Common Shine a Light – Ryan Keberle & Catharsis

Trombonist Keberle is emerging as first-rate composer and band-leader, while building a body of work that captures the jazz spirit for progression and concern for today’s social justice issues, while remaining rooted in tradition. The music is familiar and new in a stimulating way, bringing global voices and approaches from singer-guitarist Camila Meza and trumpeter Mike Rodriguez to meld seamlessly with the terrific rhythm team of Jorge Roeder on bass, and Eric Doob on drums. Keberle is an artist to watch in the future.

Greenleaf Music, 2017
Notes by John Gilbreath

Four in One – Heads of State

This all-star ensemble of post-boppers is as talented, experienced and exuberant as you’re likely to find in these times. With Larry Willis on piano, David Williams on bass, Al Foster on drums, and Gary Bartz on alto saxophone the credentials and the chops are extensive. Taking on compositions by Monk, Blakey, Wayne Shorter, Charlie Perker, and others, this burning quartet, three of whom are in their seventies, are intent on creation and discovery, and, like other projects coming out of New York’s Smoke jazz club, not at all bashful about their love of the music, and the life that brought them together.

Smoke Sessions, 2017
Notes by John Gilbreath

Marseille – Ahmad Jamal

If anything, this elegant and venerable pianist is becoming more musically active in his late career. Perhaps best known for the spare phrases of his classic 1958 tune, Poinciana, from the Live at the Pershing LP, Ahmad Jamal’s recordings and live performances have kept all of the nuance, while becoming showcases of imagination and skill. In addition to standards and originals by Jamal’s established trio, Marseille includes three versions of its title track; one instrumental, one with a sexy French narrative by Abd Al Malik, and one smokey, Latin-tinged song, by Mina Agossi, in French and English.

Jazzbook Records, 2017
Notes by John Gilbreath

Sinatra & Jobim at 50 – John Pizzarelli

Guitarist/vocalist Pizzarelli is becoming the consummate entertainer, without a bit of compromise. His guitar chops are incredible, and his mastery of vocal styles is stunning, and his knowledge of musical nuance is encyclopedic. The musical relationship between Sinatra and the genius Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim was not all sunshine. It is pointed out that Sinatra came to Jobim’s music some years after the bossa-nova craze swept American music in 1964. Their first recording together was beautiful; the second, not so much. But Pizzarelli honors the best of all of this material, and does so beautifully, across the board, adding Jobim’s grandson, Daniel, and a couple of tunes that are not Jobim’s, but definitely belong in the family.

Concord Music Group, 2017
Notes by John Gilbreath

Seven Secrets – Larry Coryell’s 11th House

The last recording project of guitar master Larry Coryell, before his death in 2017, was a revisit to some of his pioneering work in jazz fusion. Seven Secrets includes three members of the original 11th House, trumpeter Randy Brecker, drummer Alphonse Mouzon, and bassist Jeff Lee. On this release, Coryell’s son Julian fills the role of the late keyboardist Mike Mandell with impressive work, funky and rocking, on a second guitar. Far from a slave to the Fusion era, Larry Coryell could play anything and make it sound like he invented it, but this incredible release is full of that jaw-dropping, razor sharp, absolutely slamming, stop-on-a-dime fusion playing that only true masters can achieve.

Savoy Jazz, 2016
Notes by John Gilbreath

Radio Flyer – JD Allen

With the tenor saxophone being the most ubiquitous lead instrument in jazz, those aspiring to its top echelon have to be very strong and very unique. JD Allen’s path to the pantheon has been unencumbered by artifice. His hard work is anchored in the depth of his convictions and bolstered by the brilliance of his working trio of Gregg August on bass and Rudy Royston on drums. For this release, which DownBeat called, “his best album ever,” the trio is further enhanced by the instantly telepathic guitarist Liberty Ellman, who adds much to the group without altering its established chemistry. The addition of another chordal instrument allows Allen to pull back on being the primary focus, and brings a new, and remarkably intense space to the music.

Savant Records, 2017
Notes by John Gilbreath

New Studies of the Starry Skies – Raymond Larsen

Over the past several years, Seattleite Raymond Larsen has surfaced as one of the most in-demand young trumpet players in the Pacific Northwest. Inspired by a 1903 encyclopedia, Modern Achievements in Science, Invention, Commerce and History, which Larsen found one day at the Fremont Sunday Market, this album is the second in his ambitious “Modern Achievements” trilogy series, on Seattle label Table & Chairs. With unique instrumentation and diverse compositional and improvisational approaches, Larsen has created three through-composed tributes to specific entries in the encyclopedia. On New Studies of the Starry Skies, he leads us on “a path through the heavens,” his compositions conjuring feelings of celestial loneliness.

Tables & Chairs, 2015
Notes by John Gilbreath

Infinitude – Ingrid & Christine Jensen

Though they’ve recorded together over the years, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and saxophonist Christine Jensen have never recorded an album collaboratively, with both names sharing the marquee equally – which is why this record is so welcomed by fans. “While sharing has never been a problem for the Jensen sisters, Infinitude represents a truly egalitarian collective, where both sisters and their three band mates contribute equally, based on their specific and respective strengths….filled with compositional depth and improvisational heights, Infinitude is the record for which fans of the Jensen sisters have long been waiting,” praises All About Jazz.

Whirlwind Recordings, 2016