Fri, 8 March 2013
There has been a plethora of strong guitar-based music coming across my desk lately, so Podcast 338 is an attempt to pass on some of the news about these releases. Some of the artists, like Kevin Eubanks, may be well-known to you. Others, like Dan Phillips, may be as new to you as he was to me. In any event, these are jazz guitarists at the top of their game, and well worth a listen.
Kevin Eubanks – Title track from The Messenger. It’s easy to lose yourself in Eubanks playing and forget that he is a fine leader and composer as well. This latest CD only features 2 covers, and both of those are innovative rearrangements, especially the version of John Coltrane’s “Resolution” with a vocal bass line sung by Alvin Chea of Take 6. The title track has a Blue Note feeling about it, and shows off the tightness of Eubanks’ tight combo of Bill Pierce on sax, Rene Camacho on bass; and Marvin “Smitty” Smith on drums. The group will showcase the new CD with a run of shows at Birdland in New York April 9-13, 2013.
Dan Phillips BKK Trio - “Ask Me Now” from Bangkok Edge. Dan has been a Jazz educator and performer in Bangkok, Thailand for the last several years and this trio session features one of Bangkok's best rhythm sections, bassist Pornchart Viriyapark and drummer, Chanutr Techatananan, both of whom are already performing and touring internationally. This is a player with serious chops, and the CD nicely mixes some originals with covers like “Naima” and “A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing”.
Vo-Duo – “Frelele” from Nou La. From Bangkok we head to Haiti, from where guitarist Monvelyno Alexis hails. His new CD with partner percussionist Markus Schwartz draws on the Afro-Haitian musical tradition of mizik rasin, which mutated into the singer/poet movement of samba. Whether it’s filed under world music or jazz, this is not something you have heard much of before.
Tom Dempsey/Tim Ferguson Quartet – “Ted’s Groove” from Beautiful Friendship. This CD was originally released in June of last year, but it never found its way into my hands until just now. It is a wonderful session, with guitarist Dempsey and bassist Ferguson hooking up with saxophonist Joel Frahm – a long-time SNC favorite – and drummer Eliot Zigmund. This track lets some sparks fly.
Troy Roberts – “Team Jago” from Nu-Jive 5. This quintet – composed of Troy Roberts on sax; Tim Jago on guitar; Silvano Monasterios on keys; Eric England on bass; and David Chiverton on drums – plays a mix of R&B. electronica and smooth jazz, and this track, a pun based on the name of the guitar player, is perhaps the best track on the CD.