Tuesday, May 8, 2012


“Upper Westside Story” is jazz guitar player Bobby Broom’s sixth album for Origin Records. It will be released to the public on the 12th of May. Broom is in his natural habitat working out on nine original songs with bass player Dennis Carroll, drummers Kobe Watkins and Makaya McCraven. (McCraven, subs for Watkins on “Minor Major Mishap,”  "Lazy Sunday,” and “Father”.) There’re jazz guitar players on every street corner, but long ago, Broom distinguished himself from the lot. It’s refreshing that Broom isn’t into showboating.  On “Call Me A Cab,” and “Fambroscious,” Broom shows he's a craftsman with a sharp jazz acumen. “Upper Westside Story” is nearly flawless like his homage to Thelonius Monks “Playing For Monk”. 

 Jazz piano player Orrin Evans has never received the press his peers Jason Moran and Cyrus Chestnut have. Evans, a swing savvy musician, deserves the same attention. To support that opinion, I point to Evans' new trio album “Flip the Script,” which Posi-Tone Records will release the 12th of June. Evans plays mostly originals, and he tosses in “Someday My Prince Will Come” and Luther Vandross’ “A Brand New Day”. On fast tempo numbers such as “Clean House” and “Flip The Script,” Evans sounds like bop icon Bud Powell, zooming through the changes. Throughout his career, Evans has consistently put out stellar jazz albums.

Like his boyhood hero Art Blakey, jazz drummer Towner Galaher knows how to assemble an all-star jazz band and cull the best playing from them. Galaher has a new album “Uptown!” due out the 19th of June on Rhythm Royale Records and it has all the attitude of a Jazz Messengers oldie. For “Uptown,” Galaher hires   three Jazz Messengers class-mates sax players Donald Harrison, Craig Handy and trumpeter Brian Lynch. Together they could burn up your eardrums, but what gives “Uptown!” that old-soul goodness is the work of Lynch and organ player Pat Bianchi. Galaher’s all-star band cover tunes by Frank Foster, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, and a handful of slick originals. 
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