D. Oscar Groomes, O’s Place Jazz Newsletter
Jordan Pettay – First Fruit 75
O’s Notes: Fresh Fruit is the debut recording for New York based saxophonist, composer Jordan Pettay. She mixes jazzy pop tunes like “You Make Me Feel Brand New” with modern jazz originals like the title track. Her mission is to inspire listeners and give them a path to God through music. To that end she includes several Christian songs. “Straight Street”, “Whatever Happens” and “I Exalt Thee” are highlights. Christian Sands (p), Luke Sellick (b) and Jimmy MacBride (d) accompany Pettay on this peaceful encounter. Mat Jodrell (t) and Joe McDonough (tb) make guest appearances on tracks 1 and 4 ushering Pettay to a fine start!
Vanessa Rubin – The Dream Is You: Sings Tadd Dameron 79
O’s Notes: Vanessa Rubin is a polished jazz vocalist and storyteller, a perfect artist to interpret the works of lyricist and composer Tadd Dameron. Tadd was a prominent musician in 1940s -‘50s jazz serving up tunes and coaching/advising Miles, Eckstine, Vaughn, Dizzy and countless others. Vanessa invites listeners into the lyrics to hear and feel the stories. The accompaniment is strong anchored by a solid rhythm section including pianist John Cowherd, bassist Kenny Davis and Carl Allen on drums. Five brass soloists add spice to the mix notably Clifton Anderson (tb) and Eddie Allen (t) as on “If You Could See Me Now”. We also enjoyed “On A Misty Night”, “Reveries Do Come True”, “Kitchener Across The Hall” and “Next Time Around”.
Brent Birckhead – Birckhead 71
O’s Notes: Baltimore native, saxophonist Brent Birckhead plays energetic music on both contemporary and Modern/Jazz-Fusion genres. “3 Uptown” has an urban R&B-type feel, a trend that continues on “Flux” while “The Alchemist” and “4 and 6” are more fusion burners. Brent leads the way backed by a strong team including bassist Romero Mendez, keyboardist Mark Meadows ad drummer Carroll Dashiell III. Other highlights are “The Ivory Antidote” and “The Morning After”.
Eden Bareket – Night Creatures 79
O’s Notes: Israeli baritone saxophonist and composer Eden Bareket has been performing on the New York jazz scene since 2013 initially as a sideman and now leading a trio with Or Bareket (b) and Felix Lecaros (d). This is Bareket’s second album as a leader and it is sizzling. They play an exotic, funky set that is heavily syncopated. Each of the musicians gets their groove on, a testament to the unselfish approach and unity of the trio. Eden composed 8 of 9 selections highlighted by “Baccatum”, and “Night Creatures”. There’s a lot to enjoy here and though it was an early ‘18 release, it remained a fixture in our car changer before this evening’s sound check (it’s well recorded too)!
Kristina Koller – At The Poli Club 73
O’s Notes: Kristina follows up her debut of originals (Perception 3/3) with a live set in Waterbury, CT. Koller pairs her soft, warm voice with four classic, popular, romantic tunes. She pours her heart into “Save Your Love For Me”, “Falling In Love With You”, “I Didn’t Know A5.1out You” and “What A Difference A Day Makes” bringing back memories for many of us. Pianist Fima Chaupakhin, bassist Ben Reubens and drummer Darrian Douglas provide minimal support but all of the necessary accents in front of a small, appreciative, audience At The Poli Club.
Arman Raz – Chains of Stories 78
O’s Notes: Israeli tenor saxophonist Arman Raz waited a couple of years to release his second recording as a leader and it was worth the wait! Eyal Hai (a sax), Daniel Morton (p), Tamir Shmerling (b) and Dani Danor (d) join Raz on Chains Of Stories. There are nine mellow selections highlighted by “Two Worlds One Soul” and “Soul Talk”. The sax harmonies are rich and well coordinated.
Ralph Peterson – I Remember Bu 78
O’s Notes: Ralph has been banging his drum set for over thirty years with countless stars in jazz, R&B and fusion. He leads the Gennext big band on I Remember Bu, recorded live at Sculler’s in Boston, November 2017. Donald Harrison is the featured soloist on 5 of 9 vibrant selections and they all sizzle! Bu is the Art Blakey legacy or The Jazz Messengers of which Ralph was a part and is now an extension of the legacy. Blakey would be proud.
Alex Clough – Near, Far, Beyond 59
O’s Notes: Pianist, educator and composer Alex Clough was born in Brooklyn but now resides in Jersey City. He spends most of his time in the middle – in New York’s jazz scene. He’s polished his craft over the years and now presents his leadership debut Near, Far, Beyond a snapshot of his experiences in and outside of the Big Apple. Clough gets support from David Smith (t), Steve Kortyka (t-sax), John Tate (b) and Jay Sawyer (d). There are eight original tunes that have a gentle, retro, swing. Our favorites are the mellow “Free, Free, Free” and jovial “Marseilles”.
Jake Leckie – The Abode 79
O’s Notes: The Abode is bassist Jake Leckie’s debut recording, a tribute to the people and places that have shaped his career to date. He leads a core quartet with Sebastian Ammann (p), Kenny Warren (t) and Nathan Elfman-Bell (d). Leckie also incorporates strings throughout the set to bring a degree of elegance that is rare but appreciated on a modern jazz recording. Alexis Morrast adds vocals on “After the Flood” to balance the instrumentals. “Mutuality”, “Negev” and “Metis” are highlights that suggest Leckie’s next release will be happily anticipated!