Friday, May 31, 2013
ALL AGES 714-871-8800 RSVP!
Steamers Jazz Club and Cafe
138 W. Commonwealth Ave
Fullerton, CA 92832
Critically acclaimed vocalist Barbara Morrison returns to Steamers this Friday. The dazzling Barbara Morrison has been featured on over 20 recordings in almost every genre from traditional jazz and blues to gospel and pop. Her melodic voice, with its two-and-a-half-octave range, are known worldwide, as are her rich, unique, soulful and highly spirited interpretations of both, familiar jazz and blues classics, and original contemporary tunes. Most striking is her ability to belt out down-home, soul-stirring Blues. Breathtaking are her impassioned renditions of old and favorite torch songs.
It comeas no surprise that listeners have experienced the pleasures of Morrison's rich and vibrant tones as the lead vocalist on the movie sound track for The Hurricane, starring Denzel Washington, as well as her vocals on The Duke Ellington Millennium CD, and Johnny Otis's most recent CD, "Ooo Shoo Be Dooo.". Additional credits include the hit NBC TV comedy The Naked Truth, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Dennis Miller Show.
Born and raised in and around Ypsilanti, Michigan, Barbara Morrison recorded her first appearance for radio in Detroit at the age of 10. Well known in the Los Angeles area for her duo and trio dates, Morrison also tours extensively across the continental United States, Western Europe, the Far East and "Down Under", wowing audiences with her own band, and opening for such greats as Ray Charles. Additional, she guest stars with the Count Basie Orchestra, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and Doc Severinsen's Big Band. In additional to her gigs with such luminaries, she also performs at renown festivals around the world including Montreaux, Nice, Pori, Carnegie Hall, North Sea, Monterey, and Long Beach. Her Salute to Dizzy Gillespie and her Tribute to Benny Golson, are fondly remembered by Morrison fans that return again and again to share her rare, unique and exceptional vocal gifts.
Emcee: Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, President/CEO Leron Gubler
Guest speakers: Natalie Cole and Dr. Phil McGraw
It's the 2,499th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the Category of Recording
WHERE: 1750 N. Vine St. in front of the iconic Capitol Records Building
We are here right now!!! It's "Got To Be Real!"
Emcee: Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, President/CEO Leron Gubler
Guest speakers: Natalie Cole and Dr. Phil McGraw
It's the 2,499th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the Category of Recording
WHERE: 1750 N. Vine St. in front of the iconic Capitol Records Building
We are here right now!!! It's "Got To Be Real!"
When "The Streisand Songbook" opened its smash sold-out run at New York's nightclub 54 Below in September, it was praised for its "swinging fairy tale magic" by The New York Times and hailed as "personal, moving and arrestingly musical" in The Wall Street Journal. The show was honored with two BroadwayWorld.com New York Cabaret Awards for "Cabaret Show of the Year" and "Best Tribute Show." Callaway will be joined by an all-star trio that will feature Ted Rosenthal on piano (yesss, the same guy who played with Gerry Mulligan and recorded a fantastic solo album for CTI, "Calling You"), Martin Wind on bass and Tim Horner on drums.
Ann Hampton Callaway is one of the leading champions of the great American Songbook. Her gifts as a singer, pianist, composer, lyricist, arranger, actress, educator, TV host and producer have given her one of the most unique careers in music today. Born in Chicago to an illustrious musical family, Ann's heartfelt singing style blends jazz and traditional pop, making her a mainstay in concert halls, theaters and jazz clubs as well as in the recording studio, on television, and in film. Callaway won the Theater World Award and received a Tony nomination for her starring role in the Broadway musical "Swing!"
She gained international exposure for writing and singing the theme for Fran Drescher's hit TV series 'The Nanny". Ann made her Hollywood screen debut in Robert DeNiro's spy thriller "The Good Shepherd" singing "Come Rain Or Come Shine" and was featured in the soundtrack of Queen Latifah's "Last Holiday". She's written over 250 songs including the Platinum Award winning hits for Barbra Streisand "At the Same Time" and "I've Dreamed of You". She performs the critically acclaimed acts "Sibling Revelry" and "Boom!" with Broadway star and sister Liz Callaway. Ann has recorded 12 solo CD's including her latest celebrated Telarc release "At Last" and is a guest artist on over 40 CDs. Callaway also devotes herself to philanthropic work, writing and performing to benefit many cherished causes. For more information, see her website www.AnnHamptonCallaway .
ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY will perform "The Streisand Songbook" at Bethesda Blues & Jazz on Saturday June 8th at 8PM. Bethesda Blues & Jazz is located at 7719 Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, MD. Tickets are $50.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Mulgrew Miller, Dynamic Jazz Pianist, Dies at 57
Mulgrew Miller performing in New York in 2010.
By NATE CHINEN
Published: May 29, 2013
Mulgrew Miller, a jazz pianist whose soulful erudition, clarity of touch and rhythmic aplomb made him a fixture in the postbop mainstream for more than 30 years, died on Wednesday in Allentown, Pa. He was 57.
The cause was a stroke, said his longtime manager, Mark Gurley. Mr. Miller had been hospitalized since Friday.
Mr. Miller developed his voice in the 1970s, combining the bright precision of bebop, as exemplified by Bud Powell and Oscar Peterson, with the clattering intrigue of modal jazz, especially as defined by McCoy Tyner. His balanced but assertive style was a model of fluency, lucidity and bounce, and it influenced more than a generation of younger pianists.
He was a widely respected bandleader, working either with a trio or with the group he called Wingspan, after the title of his second album. The blend of alto saxophone and vibraphone on that album, released on Landmark Records in 1987, appealed enough to Mr. Miller that he revived it in 2002 on “The Sequel” (MaxJazz), working in both cases with the vibraphonist Steve Nelson. Among Mr. Miller’s releases in the last decade were an impeccable solo piano album and four live albums featuring his dynamic trio.
Mr. Miller could seem physically imposing on the bandstand — he stood taller than six feet, with a sturdy build — but his temperament was warm and gentlemanly. He was a dedicated mentor: his bands over the last decade included musicians in their 20s, and since 2005 he had been the director of jazz studies at William Paterson University in New Jersey.
If his sideman credentials overshadowed his solo career, it wasn’t hard to see why: he played on hundreds of albums and worked in a series of celebrated bands. His most visible recent work had been with the bassist Ron Carter, whose chamberlike Golden Striker Trio featured Mr. Miller and the guitarist Russell Malone on equal footing; the group released a live album, “San Sebastian” (In+Out), this year.
Born in Greenwood, Miss., on Aug. 13, 1955, Mr. Miller grew up immersed in Delta blues and gospel music. After picking out hymns by ear at the family piano, he began taking lessons at age 8. He played the organ in church and worked in soul cover bands, but devoted himself to jazz after seeing Mr. Peterson on television, a moment he later described as pivotal.
At Memphis State University, he befriended two pianists, James Williams and Donald Brown, both of whom later preceded him in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. Mr. Miller spent several years with that band, just as he did with the trumpeter Woody Shaw, the singer Betty Carter and the Duke Ellington Orchestra, led by Ellington’s son, Mercer. Mr. Miller worked in an acclaimed quintet led by the drummer Tony Williams from the mid-1980s until shortly before Williams died in 1997.
Mr. Miller’s survivors include his wife, Tanya; his son, Darnell; his daughter, Leilani; and a grandson. He lived in Easton, Pa.
Though he harbored few resentments, Mr. Miller was clear about the limitations imposed on his career. “Jazz is part progressive art and part folk art,” he said in a 2005 interview with DownBeat magazine, differentiating his own unassuming style from the concept-laden, critically acclaimed fare that he described as “interview music.” He added, “Guys who do what I am doing are viewed as passé.”
But Mr. Miller worked with so many celebrated peers, like the alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett and the tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, that his reputation among musicians was ironclad. And his legacy includes a formative imprint on some leading players of the next wave, including the drummer Karriem Riggins and the bassist Derrick Hodge, who were in one of his trios.
The pianist Robert Glasper once recorded an original ballad called “One for ’Grew,” paying homage to a primary influence. On Monday, another prominent pianist, Geoffrey Keezer, attested on Twitter that seeing Mr. Miller one evening in 1986 was “what made me want to be a piano player professionally.”
Tonight @ Kitchen 305: (Newport Beachside Resort, 16701 Collins Ave North Miami Beach, FL)The Debbie Taylor Band at 8pm, the fantastic She Djhana aka Miami's DJ Hana on the turntables, then the 4 play event and showcase with Zhantra performing live!
Don't forget Ladies Open Bar 9-11pm, MC Nikko Capria & Rudy Pierre on the mic.RSVP AT 954/240/2636
In addition to the awesome run coming up with AG and Maia Sharp (details in the post below), Adrianne Gonzalez (AG) and Garrison Starr will be playing this very special show @ House Concert in Phoenix, AZ, on June 12th. For more details & tix, please check:
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
An Evening with: AG, Maia Sharp and Garrison Starr @ Frank's Place
1432 Fulton Street , Fresno, CA
Ph: 559-264-2848 Set: 7:30 PM, All Ages
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
An Evening With AG, Maia Sharp and Garrison Starr @ Mountain View House Concert Series
Mountain View, CA
Set: 7:30 PM, All Ages
Thursday, June 6, 2013
An Evening With AG, Garrison Starr and Maia Sharp @ Freight & Salvage Coffee House
1111 Addison St., Berkeley, CA
Set: 8:00 PM
Doors: 7:00 PM
All Ages - Tickets: $20
Friday, June 7, 2013
An Evening with AG, Maia Sharp and Garrison Starr @ Room 5 Lounge
143 N. LaBrea, Los Angeles, CA
Set: 8:00 PM, 21+
Saturday, June 8, 2013
An Evening with: AG, Maia Sharp and Garrison Starr @ Women Music Home Heart House Concert
Santa Barbara, CA Set: 8:00 PM, All Ages Sunday, June 9, 2013 An Evening with: AG, Maia Sharp and Garrison Starr @ Sculpterra Winery
5015 Linne Rd, Paso Robles, CA
Set: 3:00 PM, All Ages
Tickets: $15 suggested donation
Ed Shaughnessy dies at 84; renowned jazz drummer
Don Heckman for the LA Times - May 25, 2013
The New Jersey-born Shaughnessy's mutton-chop whiskers and swinging rhythms made him one of the most famous drummers in jazz during his nearly three decades with Doc Severinsen's 'Tonight Show' band.
Ed Shaughnessy, whose mutton-chop whiskers and swinging rhythms made him one of the most famous drummers in jazz during his nearly three decades with Doc Severinsen's "Tonight Show" band, has died. He was 84. Shaughnessy had a heart attack Friday at his Calabasas home, said William Selditz, a close family friend.
While his nightly gig on "The Tonight Show" brought him the kind of drumming fame previously bestowed on giants such as Gene Krupa, Shaughnessy also delved into more far-reaching musical realms.
He studied for three years with legendary Indian tabla player Alla Rakha and played with such cutting-edge artists as bassist/composer Charles Mingus and trumpeter-bandleader Don Ellis. "Ed's one of the only guys I know from his generation who's open-minded enough to try something new," Ellis once told an interviewer.
Buddy Rich called Shaughnessy "one of my all-time favorite drummers" — high praise from a musician whose dynamic, virtuosic style contrasted with Shaughnessy's profound belief in the drummer as a vital member of a band's rhythm section.
Times critic Leonard Feather agreed, writing in 1992 that Shaughnessy "does what jazz drummers were originally called on to do: Keep a firm swinging beat and play a supportive role."
An early advocate of bebop, Shaughnessy performed with Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, John McLaughlin, Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, and George Balanchine and the New York City Ballet. For decades, he taught privately as well as conducting more than 600 clinics at high schools and universities.
Edwin Thomas Shaughnessy was born Jan. 29, 1929, in Jersey City, N.J. His father was a longshoreman and his mother sewed in a garment factory. At 12, Shaughnessy started taking piano lessons and continued until his father brought home a drum set two years later.
Still in his teens when he became a regular participant in New York City's thriving jazz scene, he worked with Jack Teagarden and the popular bands led by George Shearing and Charlie Ventura before he turned 20.
He also played in numerous small jazz groups with such big names as Billie Holiday, Horace Silver and Gene Ammons. His big band career began in the 1950s with the Benny Goodman and Count Basie bands. He replaced Buddy Rich in Tommy Dorsey's band.
In the mid-1950s, he was a staff musician at CBS, performing on the Steve Allen and Garry Moore shows. From 1963 to 1992, Shaughnessy was the drummer with Severinsen's band on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show." In Shaughnessy's 2010 memoir "Lucky Drummer," Severinsen called him "the superb engine that drove our Tonight Show Band for thirty years … with spirit and immense skill."
In the early 1970s, Shaughnessy helped a young singer named Dianne Schuur, who had been blind since birth, arranging for her to appear at the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival. Her career soon took off.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Miles Davis: "Miles Runs The Voodoo Down/In a Silent Way (Columbia)
A rare treat for Miles Davis fans: a special 7" single with edits of "Miles Runs The Voodoo Down" (from the seminal 1970 album "Bitches Brew" and titled as a reference to Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile") and Joe Zawinul's title song for the 1969 masterpiece "In A Silent Way," all packaged in a cool limited pic sleeve too. The box also comes with a blue/yellow/red Miles t-shirt – XL, printed on a dark black background. Limited edition. (T-shirt is extra-large, perfect for me!) That's what we call a real collectors' item.
Diana Krall: "Live at Montreux Jazz Festival 2010" (Monotone)
Featuring: Diana Krall (vocals, acoustic piano), Robert Hurst (acoustic bass), Karriem Riggins (drums) & Anthony Wilson (guitars).
A great little set by Diana Krall, filmed when she took the "Quiet Nights" tour to Montreux, but played a mixed program that includes tracks from that album (Burt Bacharach/Hal David's "Walk On By"), from the follow-up DVD "Live in Rio" (Irving Berlin's "Cheek To Cheek") and other songs like "Wide River Cross," "Simple Twist of Fate" and a fiery rendition of Tom Waits' "Jockey Full of Bourbon."
Bill Withers: "The Complete Sussex and Columbia Albums" (Legacy)
The 9-disc set "Bill Withers: The Complete Sussex and Columbia Albums" celebrates the timeless artistry of an American master. The set includes the nine albums that Bill released between 1971 through 1985. The albums have been reproduced in their original jackets and have been newly mastered from the original analog tapes by Grammy Award-winning engineer Mark Wilder, who worked with Arnaldo DeSouteiro in the remastering of such projects as Deodato's "Live at Felt Forum" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Stone Flower."
Withers is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the recipient of ASCAP's 2006 Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award. His warm, rich and truthful voice speaks to real people, and real life, and he will tell you that it's more important to be real than to be rich.
He was 30 years old when he came out of the U.S. Navy in 1971. He made a living installing toilets in commercial jetliners, and then he decided to give music a try. His first two albums Just as I Am and Still Bill - featured "Ain't No Sunshine" (which became a huge dancefloor jazz hit in the hands of Sivuca) and "Lean on Me." The two singles sold more than a million copies each, and by the time he played Carnegie Hall in 1973, Bill Withers was acknowledged as a great American troubadour. Four decades later, his music still resonates with originality and universality.
The box set includes:
1. Just as I Am (Sussex, 1971)
2. Still Bill (Sussex, 1972)
3. Bill Withers Live at Carnegie Hall (Sussex, 1973)
4. +' Justments (Sussex, 1974)
5. Making Music (Columbia, 1975)
6. Naked & Warm (Columbia, 1976)
7. Menagerie (Columbia, 1977)
8. 'Bout Love (Columbia, 1978)
9. Watching You Watching Me (Columbia, 1985)
Miles Davis: "Live in Montreux Jazz Festival 1985" (WB)
Featuring: Miles Davis (trumpet, keyboards), Robert Irving III (keyboards), Darryl Jones (electric bass), Vince Wilburn, Jr. (drums), Steve Thornton (congas, percussion), John Scofield (electric guitar), Bob Berg (tenor sax, soprano sax, keybaords).
Includes "One Phone Call," "Human Nature," "Something's On Your Mind," "Time After Time," "Code M.D." and "Jean Pierre."
Ron Carter: "Building Jazz Bass Lines" (Hal-Leonard)
A compendium of techniques for great jazz bass lines including play-along CD featuring Ron Carter. In this book/CD pack, the bass legend illustrates step by step the basic concepts of creating bass lines; constructing lines using non-harmonic tones and diverse rhythms; playing in fast tempos; and developing tone and pitch. The play-along CD with a rhythm section and isolated bass parts, so players can listen to Ron play the sample written lines, practice them with the CD, then create their own lines with the guitar, piano and drums backing them up.
Remo Usai & Sua Orquestra: "7 Homens Vivos ou Mortos" (Musidisc)
The modal jazz soundtrack composed by Remo Usai (better known for the "Férias No Sul" score) for a movie directed, in 1969, by Leovegildo Cordeiro. Simply stunning.
Monday, May 27, 2013
João Donato: "Sambou Sambou" (Él/Cherry Red)
"Sambou Sambou" originally released in Brazil under the title "Muito À Vontade" by Polydor
Original sessions produced by Ismael Correa
Engineers: Sylvio Rabello & Celio Martins
Produced for CD release in the USA by Richard Bock for the Pacific Jazz label
Featuring: João Donato (acoustic piano), Sebastião Neto (acoustic bass), Milton Banana (drums), Amaury Rodrigues (bongos, pandeiro), plus the following personnel on the bonus tracks:
João Donato (trombone, accordion, vocals), Dave Pike (vibes & marimba), Clark Terry (flugelhorn), Kenny Burrell (guitar), Chris White (acoustic bass), Rudy Collins (drums), José Paulo (cabassa, pandeiro), Altamiro Carrilho (flute), Waltel Branco (guitar), Netinho (clarinet), Os Namorados (vocal group) et al.
"50 Years of Revolucion!" (Righteous)
Featuring: Fidel Castro, El Gran Fellove, Justi Barreto, Cuarteto D'Aida, Djalma Ferreira and Turma da Gafieira, mispelled "Turma de Gafieira" on the front cover (with Altamiro Carrilho, flute; Zé Bodega, tenor sax; Raul de Souza, trombone; Edison Machado, drums; Sivuca, accordion; Jorge Marinho, acoustic bass; Nestor Campos, electric guitar; Britinho and Paulinho, pianos)
Hubert Laws: "The Rite of Spring" (CTI)
Produced by Creed Taylor
Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Rudy Van Gelder
Cover Photo: Pete Turner
Liner Notes: Leonard Feather
Arranged by Don Sebesky
Featuring: Hubert Laws (flute), Bob James (Fender Rhodes electric piano, harpsichord), Ron Carter (acoustic bass), Jack DeJohnette (drums), Airto Moreira (percussion), Gene Bertoncini & Stuart Scharf (acoustic guitar), Dave Friedman (vibes, percussion), Wally Kane & Jane Taylor (basson)
Hugo Fattoruso & Albana Barrocas: "HA Duo" (Sondor)
Featuring: Hugo Fattoruso (composer, keyboards, vocals), Albana Barrocas (drums, percussion)
Produced by Hugo Fattoruso
Engineered by Gustavo De León
The newest project by the "multi-dimensional" keyboard genius Hugo Fattoruso, the "HA Duo" formed with fellow Uruguayan drummer-percussionist Albana Barrocas, debuts with a CD-single that includes two great compositions by Fattoruso: "La Caricia" and "Destinos Cruzados." These and other new tunes will be performed by the "increible" duo this next Saturday, June 1st, at Teatro Casa de la Cultura de Maldonado (see the poster below, please) in a concert organized by Alternativa Producciones.
Internationally acclaimed as the founder of such groups as OPA, Los Shakers and Trio Fattoruso -- as well as for his work in countless albums with Airto Moreira (starting in 1973 with the legendary "Fingers" for CTI) and Flora Purim --, Hugo Fattoruso was a key member (sorry for the pun!) of the LA fusion jazz scene of the 70s, having also recorded with Hermeto Pascoal, Manolo Badrena, Jaco Pastorius, Milton Nascimento, Toninho Horta, Maria de Fatima Fattoruso and The Sweet Inspirations, among others. Besides the cult hits he composed for Airto (two of them, "Romance of Death" and "Wind Chant" were also covered by Harris Simon with Michael Brecker), Hugo co-wrote -- with Osvaldo Fattoruso, Michel Colombier and Nicole Croisille -- a pop radio hit for Flora, "Walking Away."
He moved to Brazil in 1981, joining the bands led by pop stars Chico Buarque, Djavan, Geraldo Azevedo and Milton Nascimento, and recording with Mauro Senise, Yana Purim, Fagner and Luiz Melodia, but returned to his native Uruguay in 1989, becoming a much in-demand keyboardist on the studio scene, recording with such singers as Jaime Roos and Laura Canoura. After a short time in NY, working with Hiram Bullock and Ruben Rada, Hugo once again settled in Montevideo, but keeps traveling all over the world, developing multiple projects with singers Ruben Rada, Pippo Spera, Fito Paez, Pedro Aznar and Jorge Drexler, the Rey Tambor candombe group and Japanese percussionist Tomohiro Yahiro.
[I feel proud for having convinced Milestone/Fantasy to allow me to produce the twofer CD reissue of Opa's albums originally produced by Airto. Both "Goldenwings" and "Magic Time" are superb! IMHO, Hugo Fattoruso, one of the all-time greatest keyboardists, is a genius whose "creativity in the choice of electronic textures and colors was matched only by Joe Zawinul", like I wrote in my liner notes for the CD, back in 1997. And I feel privileged for the chance of having worked with Hugo Fattoruso on albums & live concerts by Yana Purim (from 1981 to 1986), Nelson Angelo (in 1998) and, currently, Rodrigo Lima. I have also included several tracks from Hugo's projects with Airto & Flora in compilations I produced for CTI ("CTI Acid Jazz Grooves") and Verve ("A Trip To Brazil Vol.2"), as well as to feature his recording of "Brejo da Cruz" with Chico Buarque on "A Trip To Brazil Vol.4" in 2005.]
Albana Barrocas started to learn music at age 8, studying piano, harmony and singing. Later on, she fall in love with drums, and her teachers included Irving Carvallo, Gonzalo Farrugia and Hugo's brother Osvaldo Fattoruso (1948-2012), the drummer on both Los Shakers and OPA. She took part in such bands as Distorición Alternativa, Metalmorfosis, S.H.O.C.K., Kirlian, In-Sector, Aqueronte, Coral, Magikasoul and Nucleo Urbano. Now it's time for the HA Duo.
The next concert:
Hugo Fattoruso: "En Concierto" (Montevideo Music Group)
Executive Producer: Alejandra Volpi
DVD Directed by Guillermo Casanova
Engineered by Luis Restuccia & Pablo Macedo
Assistant Engineer: Javier Longhi
Cover Photo: Diego Varela
Liner Photos: Patricia Torres
Featuring: Hugo Fattoruso (acoustic piano, accordion, vocals), Ciruela Fattoruso (electric bass), Jorge Osvaldo Fattoruso aka George Fattoruso (drums), Carlos Quintana, Nicólas Mora & Quique Gule (acoustic guitars), Tálita Marquez (pandeiro), Leo Méndez (soprano sax), Martin Morón (trombone), and the members of the percussion trio Rey Tambor: Diego Paredes, Noé Núñez & Fernando Núñez.
This 2-disc set is an essential item for all fans of Hugo Fattoruso. The CD includes only music (except for a story about "Your Star"), while the DVD includes an insightful interview with our hero doing comments about all tracks, plus an extra song ("Mi Cancion") played during the credits, and two bonus videoclips: "Sudestada" (a piano solo theme composed by Jaime Roos) and "Llamadas."
Highlights: the lovely choro "Piano, Pandeiro e Passarinho" (composed in Tokyo but an hommage to his affinity with Brazil, where he lived for many years), the haunting "Milonga de Nagoya" (a piano/guitar duo with Quique Gule), a duo with his late brother Osvaldo Fattoruso (what a drummer!) on "Idea" (co-written with his colleagues from OPA, Ringo Thielmann and Osvaldo), the meeting with his son Alex Ciruela Fattoruso (a great bassist like his brother Francisco) on "Conmigo," the pop ballad "Your Star" sung in English, the romantic song "Historia Real" co-written with Alejandra Volpi and sung in Spanish, "19 Capitales" played as an accordion solo number, and the candombe "Vigilia del Tiempo" performed with Rey Tambor.
Sherri Roberts with Bliss Rodriguez: "Lovely Days" (Blue House/Pacific Coast Jazz)
Produced by Sherri Roberts
Engineered by Gary Mankin (recording) & Seth Glassman (mixing) @ Alder Sounds, NYC, NY
Mastered by Kevin Blacker @ Blacker Mastering, Brooklyn, NY
Photos: Stuart Brinin
Graphic Design: Tim Lewis
Liner Notes: Sherri Roberts & David Udolf
Featuring: Sherri Roberts (vocals), Bliss Rodriguez (acoustic piano)
This is not an album of singer backed by a pianist. Instead, it's really a rare vocal/piano duo session. With her warm & bright voice, Sherri dialogues with Bliss Rodriguez, who plays in an impeccable and very sophisticated way throughout the CD. Highlights: "What'll I Do" (Irving Berlin), "Nice 'N' Easy" (Lew Spence-Alan & Marilyn Bergman), Michael Leonard's sumptuous waltz "I'm All Smiles" (from the 1965 Broadway show "The Yearling" and later covered by Bill Evans on his underrated 1970 album with Leonard, "From Left To Right"), and Sherri's top performance on the album, "Soon It's Gonna Rain" (Harvey Schmidt-Tom Jones).
There's also an excellent take on Dave Frishberg's "Our Love Rolls On," recorded by the composer on his 1983 LP "The Dave Frishberg Vol.2" for Bill Goodwin's now-defunct Omnisound label. "I originally wrote this for a Burt Reynolds movie," says Dave. "Later, when I saw the movie, I understood why they didn't buy it. The song was totally inappropriate. Nevertheless, I still think of it as 'The Theme From Sharkey's Machine'". Sherri & Bliss do a wonderful job that certainly would make Dave proud.
On her three previous albums, San Francisco vocalist Sherri Roberts collaborated with jazz masters like Phil Woods, Chris Potter, Lew Soloff, and bassist Harvie S, who also presided as producer/arranger for the highly-regarded small-group sessions.
Roberts takes a different tack on Lovely Days, her fourth album as a leader and her second for Blue House Recordings/Pacific Coast Jazz. On the new CD, she chose to work in a duo setting with Bliss Rodriguez, a brilliant but little-documented pianist who, like Roberts, has been a Bay Area resident since the 1980s. The two have been gigging together on and off for the last six years.
In a departure from more typical vocal/piano duos where the focus is strictly on the singer, "I decided to approach this recording as an opportunity to let Bliss stretch out, because I wanted people to experience his inventiveness," says Roberts, who handled CD production alone for the first time. "But I also wanted the album to reflect the kind of experiences I've had on our gigs together. I wanted these songs to unfold as they would as if people were hearing us live. We're feeding off each other emotionally."
The CD takes its title from the opening medley of Irving Berlin's "It's a Lovely Day Today" and "Isn't It a Lovely Day." Roberts and Rodriguez also put their stamp on Harold Arlen's "Hit the Road to Dreamland," Rodgers and Hammerstein's "We Kiss in a Shadow," Dave Frishberg's "Our Love Rolls On," and, from The Fantasticks, "Soon It's Gonna Rain."
Many of the songs, says Roberts, provided the soundtrack to her Southern childhood. "But even though Bliss is twelve years my senior, and from New York City, he grew up with these same soundtracks at a different phase of his life," she says. "They are every bit as much his songs as they are mine."
A leading torchbearer for the less-is-more school of jazz singing, Roberts has listened closely to understated vocalists like Helen Merrill, Irene Kral, and Chet Baker. "Sherri consistently demonstrates her deep understanding of lyric and nuance," says bassist and frequent creative partner Harvie S.
Sherri Roberts's knack for uncovering the roiling emotional undercurrent of a lyric probably stems from her theatrical background. Born in Greenville, South Carolina and raised in Atlanta, Roberts spent her teenage years as an aspiring actor. She earned a B.A. in theater from Antioch College in Ohio, while at the same time exploring her newfound fascination with jazz.
Sherri Roberts with Deputy Relocating to the Bay Area in the early 1980s, Roberts (at left with Deputy) pursued her love of theater, but gradually discovered that she could find more immediate creative release in jazz, investigating characters and an entire narrative arc in the course of a song. Turning her attention to the bandstand, she started sitting in at open mic sessions, learning tunes and honing her skills as a storyteller.
She recorded two acclaimed albums for Brownstone Records, Twilight World (1996) and Dreamsville (1998), with The Sky Could Send You following in 2006 for Pacific Coast Jazz. About the latter CD, Christopher Loudon wrote in JazzTimes: "Stylistically, Roberts bears a significant resemblance to gin 'n' satin seductress Julie London. But where London's voice was distant as a winter moon, Roberts' is all dappled sunshine. . . shimmering delicacy. . . Enchanting."
Bliss Rodriguez was born in New York City in 1945 to parents from the Dominican Republic. Blind since the age of 17, Rodriguez studied at Juilliard and graduated from the Mannes College of Music, then earned his Master's in performance and composition from SUNY's Harpur College at Binghamton. He spent much of the 1970s in Houston, performing with rising star vocalist Roseanna Vitro, and worked on the New York and Los Angeles scenes before settling in San Francisco in 1986.
"From the get-go I felt that Bliss was a real original," says Roberts. "He hasn't really recorded much, if at all. In the duo setting, which is how we work, he's so abundantly creative. It's a setting in which you're both laid bare. As time went on I felt we should try to capture some of this relationship and Bliss's talents. That was the impetus to go into the studio and make this recording."
Instrumental CD of the Month
John Stein: "Bing Bang Boom!" (Whaling City)
Produced by John Stein
Executive Producer: Neal Weiss
Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Peter Kontrimas @ PBS (Westwood, MA)
Liner Notes: Bob Blumenthal
Photos: Kofi & Amy Poliakoff
Album Design: David Arruda, Jr.
Featuring: John Stein (electric guitar), Jako Sherman (acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, Hammond organ), John Lockwood (acoustic bass) and Zé Eduardo Nazário (drums)
John Stein's fourth CD as the leader of a brilliant quartet that features Brazil's top jazz drummer Zé Eduardo Nazário, "Bing Bang Boom!" showcases a new level of interaction between them, as well as between bassist John Lockwood and the group's newest member, keyboardist Jake Sherman, who debuted on the quartet's previous album, "Hi Fly."
Highlights: the ingenious hip-hop groove (outstanding brushwork by Nazário!) on Stanley Turrentine's signature theme, "Sugar"; a medley that beautifully adds a slow-bossa nova pulse to both Charles Mingus' "Duke Ellington's Sound of Love" and Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge"; Stein's own "Belo Horizonte," with the guitarist quoting Jobim's "One Note Samba" over Nazário's "sambão" beat in the intro, and Sherman later soloing on the acoustic piano, followed by Lockwood; Richard Rodgers' "Lover," on which Stein's "Jim Hall meets Pat Martino" approach shines with full intensity during a perfectly built solo, followed by Sherman on the Hammond and Nazário loose solo style on the drums; Victor Young's "Delilah," from the 1949 movie "Samson and Delilah," played on top of a tipically Brazilian "maracatu" beat, yet the best jazz version of this tune since the one by the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet in 1954. What else could you ask for?