Sunday, July 21, 2013


The smartest career move Christian McBride made was signing with Mack Avenue Records in 2008. The jazz bassist has made his best music there. In 2012, his big band album, “The Good Feeling” won a Grammy. Early this year, he released the second album from his outstanding quintet Inside Straight “People Music”. 

McBride designs his projects for his band-mates. McBride’s new album “Out There” is set for release nationwide August 6th. It’s a trio date with drummer Ulysses Owens Jr.—one of the finest trio jazz drummers you’ll come across who swings in High Definition--and pianist Christian Sands. On “Out There,” Sands is the predominate voice. 

For three years, he’s performed off and on with McBride. On “My Favorite Things” and “Who’s Making Love,” you get to experience how good Sands is. McBride isn’t a ball-hog, so he likes to put the spotlight on his sidemen. But on “Out There,” he steps into the spotlight more than on his other Mack Avenue albums. His solos on “East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon)” and “Cherokee” are memorable.

At the 2012 TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival, jazz bassist Dave Holland unveiled his jazz fusion quartet pianist Craig Taborn, guitarist Kevin Eubanks, and drummer Eric Harland. Holland is associated mostly with free-jazz. He has a history in the world of jazz fusion, having played with trumpeter Miles Davis. Holland participated in Davis’ fusion gem “Bitches Brew”. On September 3rd, Darre2 Records releases Holland’s new album “Prism”, 

As far as jazz fusion albums go, “Prism” is a first-class one. Cuts like “The Watcher,” “Spiral” and the “Color of Iris” are crowd favorites. Chances are Holland will go on about “Prism” being a new sound and a new direction for his music and this band being the prefect vehicle to convey that. Yes, this is an awesome band and “Prism” is a damn sweet fusion outing.  However, it’s misleading to call what Holland does here a new direction.  Holland revisits ground he covered when he performed with Davis.

Jazz pianist Jimmy Amadie is a fighter. There isn’t a more accurate way to sum him up. Four decades ago, Amadie was a rising star and he had more work than he could handle. He played in bands led by Red Rodney, Charlie Ventura, Woody Herman and Mel Torme’. Tendinitis developed in Amadie's hands and he had to stop performing. He stayed active teaching private piano lessons and writing piano textbooks. After a series of hand surgeries, he was able to play again. 

He recorded eight albums but he didn’t perform live again until 2011 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. August 13th, TP Recordings releases “The Jimmy Amadie Trio Live! at the Philadelphia Museum of Art”. For the date, Amadie reunited with drummer Bill Goodwin and bassist Tony Marino, veterans with sharp jazz acumen. 

They swing elegantly on jewels from the American Songbook like “There is No Greater Love,” “Softly As The Morning Sunrise,”  and “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You”. According to the liner notes, by jazz scribe Neil Tesser, Amadie hands were hurting like hell during the concert. That’s hard to believe given how his hands raced up and down the piano on “On Green Dolphin Street and “52nd Street Theme. This is a jazz trio album devoid of any imperfections.
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