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Click image above to hear "Ricky's Bossa"
Ricky Ford
The Wailing Sounds of Ricky Ford: Paul's Scene
Available 4/15/22
Click here to purchase
 
Ricky Ford, tenor sax legend, needs no introduction, but he’ll get one anyway because it’s important to hear his lineage before diving into his new recording. After getting his start filling the Paul Gonsalves chair in the Duke Ellington Orchestra (under Mercer Ellington’s leadership), Ford’s gone on to play with Charles Mingus, Lionel Hampton, and Abdullah Ibrahim, to name but a few of his more illustrious stints. He is, quite simply, a national treasure. His latest recording, a tip of the hat to his early roots and a focused, fabulous blast of multi-hued bebop and traditional jazz, reflects tremendous taste and virtuosity, with nods to his heroes (Hawkins, Duke, Mingus, and others) and affirmation that the guy can still play with the best of them. While he may not have the same public profile as our present-day tenor heroes, he deserves every ounce of respect that they get and more. The Wailing Sounds of Ricky Ford: Paul’s Scene, made with his accompanists pianist Mark Soskin, bassist Jerome Harris, and drummer Barry Altschul, is wondrous and his playing sounds as fresh today as it did decades back, when he was a true legend in the making. 

Ricky & Dominique Ford in Paris
photo: Margie Waite Weiss
Click image above to sample tracks
Greg Abate
Magic Dance: The Music of Kenny Barron 
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SEVEN (7) WEEKS at #1!

#5 on JazzWeek's 2021 Year End Chart!

20 weeks on radio chart
 
There’s a beautiful marriage happening with Greg Abate’s Magic Dance. It’s the union between Abate’s multi-instrumental gift of bebop and Kenny Barron’s varied and sublime compositions. Abate, with Barron, who handles keys on this recording session, are soulmates sharing this epic musical space. On their own, Barron’s melodies are transcendent. In Abate’s skillful hands, thanks to his ability to shift between alto, tenor, baritone and soprano saxes and flute, the material takes on new tones, colors and patterns. One of the liberties Abate took with the material involved varying the choice and number of horns on these tracks. On two tracks, he even went so far as to arrange and overdub four additional sax parts, modeled on the reed section of the traditional big band, which give Barron's lush sounds even greater texture and intricacy.   
                                                       
Underneath it all is the hot-shot rhythm section of bass player Dezron Douglas and drummer Johnathan Blake, a New York City tandem born to support and elevate these arrangements. In fact, the ensemble work throughout this two-disc project is incredible, and reaffirms the health of 'real' bebop, a genre in which Abate has, through a five-decade career, been a dependable flame keeper. With this collaboration, Abate, with sidemen Barron, Douglas and Blake prove that the glory of straight-ahead jazz can still be purposeful, exhilarating, and, above all, like all great marriages, faithful and true. 
It’s been some time since we’ve heard from Shawnn Monteiro, jazz chanteuse extraordinaire. While the pandemic derailed most performance, Monteiro, who also spends a good deal of her time teaching jazz vocals in a university setting, managed to pull a recording together, and we’re all happy that she did.
 
You Are There, her sixth release overall and third for Whaling City Sound, is the gorgeous sound of a veteran vocalist whose artistry is crafted in the mold of Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McCrae, and Nancy Wilson. For the ride, she enjoys the company and support of two distinguished trios. The first half of the recording are with her regular working trio, which includes Michael Renzi on piano, Dave Zinno on bass and Steve Langone on drums. The second half is an earlier session at Brooklyn’s revered Systems Two studio, and features Kenny Barron on piano, Nat Reeves on bass, and Joe Farnsworth on drums. Trombonist Steve Davis and trumpeters John Allmark and Joshua Bruneau also make important contributions.
 
Monteiro handles her material the way a painter decorates a canvas with color. Her uber-talent lies in her ability to crush a ballad, whether it’s a sexy beast like “Alone at Last,” or a bluesy vocal like “You’ll See.” Her voice finds the loveliness between the notes, the subtleties of a lyric, the sincerity and passion of a song or a couplet or a simple line that comes straight from the soul, with a warm embrace. 
Listening to the opening bars of “Stories Passed,” the kick-off track on Dino Govoni’s new recording, Hiding in Plain Sight, is like rolling the window down on a long empty stretch of highway, with nothing but a cool breeze in your face and open road ahead. Govoni’s first few clear, clarion notes, in that typically bold Govoni style, feels like what freedom might sound like. As the notes wash over you, you can sense the tension melting away as the joy of bebop takes the spotlight. And that’s just the first few notes. There’s more where that came from, much more.
 
Govoni’s new recording, his third for Whaling City Sound and his first in nearly a decade, reflects a broad and beautiful understanding of jazz expression. The recordings here are immensely satisfying, hefty, hearty compositions that run long, and give his listeners a chance to sink into them, and his band members a chance to lean into them. They are comfortable in straight up tradition, but zesty and endlessly interesting as well, with great accompanying performances. His band—including Henry Hey (piano), Mike Pope (bass), Jeff “Tain" Watts (drums), and Alex Sipiagin (trumpet)—clearly appreciate the chance to explore and enhance the arrangements. 
 
Listeners will not be surprised that Govoni, a long-time faculty member at Berklee College of Music, is a highly prized session man, a first call guy that people know will bring tone, versatility, and creativity to everything he touches. If you’re new to Govoni’s sax gifts, Hiding in Plain Sight is all you need for proof. 
As the follow-up to his 2019 release The Golden Rule: For Sonny, Eric Wyatt’s A Song for Hope is vastly different in both tone and intent. Where the former was a tour de force, a tribute to Sonny Rollins and a straight-ahead blast of straight-ahead bop, Wyatt’s new record is more adventurous, colorful, unpredictable, and wide-ranging. Both are beautiful, for some of the same—but also different—reasons.

The energy is undeniable. On songs like “Fur Live” and McCoy Tyner’s “Contemplation,” Wyatt, along with drum legend Jeff “Tain” Watts, together lay it all on the table. Bassist Eric Wheeler and pianist Donald Vega join in, matching the energy with harmonic zest and fresh excitement. Elsewhere, as on the Breonna Taylor tribute “Say Her Name,” the lights dim a touch and the contrast is luminous. On Wyatt’s soulful take on Sting’s “Fragile,” he invites singer Samara Joy, the 21-year old winner of the 2019 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, to chime in, and she does so with drama and elegance.
Click image above to sample tracks
Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trios
Songs From My Father
Click here to purchase

#15 on JazzWeek's 2021 Year End Chart!
#39 (21 Weeks Total), #1 for 4 weeks on radio chart!
Kenny Barron nominated for Grammy Award for Best Improvised Jazz Solo “Kick Those Feet” 

Songs From My Father is the much-anticipated new album from renowned musical polymath Gerry Gibbs. On his thirteenth release as a leader, drummer-percussionist-bandleader Gibbs presents a smashing double-disc masterwork featuring four iterations of his acclaimed Thrasher Dream Trio. Under his astute direction, Gibbs and his band of jazz titans pay homage to the musical legacy of Gerry's 96-year-old father, Terry Gibbs. To honor Terry, one of the last living architects of bebop and innovators of the vibraphone, Gerry selected 18 tunes from his father’s vast discography and interpreted the timeless material through his own refined compositional lens with inventive, modern arrangements. In the throes of a global pandemic, Gibbs then went on a nationwide trek to capture recordings of himself alongside a long list of his friends and collaborators – the finest improvisors of our time. Notably, Songs From My Father features the last recorded performance of the great Chick Corea, and includes one of Chick's tunes composed specifically for this project. With Gibbs in the drum chair, his Thrasher Dream Trios include Chick Corea and Ron Carter,Kenny Barron and Buster WilliamsPatrice Rushen and Larry Goldings, and Geoff Keezer and Christian McBride. With this monumental new recording, Gerry Gibbs cements his standing as one of the most creative and forward-thinking musicians on the contemporary jazz scene.      
 
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