Monday, May 25, 2015


Deep down saxophonist Russ Nolan is a savant of  Latin jazz and of authentic post-bop. Nolan stayed loyal to that comfort-zone on his latest recording "Call It What You Want". He moves from acoustic-bop to various forms of Latin jazz. The acoustic-bop stuff probably won’t broaden your attention span, but the Latin goodies such as “MI Remedio,” “Cancion Sabrosa” and “Las Tecias Negras” will. Those are numbers played at a tempo that won’t have your shirt drenched with sweat after you have finished dancing to them.
“Invictus” is jazz drummer Reggie Quinerly’s second album as a session leader. Quinerly composed 10 of the 11 songs. To perform them, he hired vibist Warren Wolf, guitarist Yotam Silberstien, pianist Christian Sands and bassist Alan Hampton, equally yoked musicians who at heart are rugged swingers. It appears, however, they popped a chill-pill before the session. “Invictus” is mellower than Quinerly’s 2012 debut “Freedom Town”. That date was primarily a platform for his prodigious skills as a jazz drummer. Like his forefathers drummers Jimmy Cobb and Lewis Nash, Quinerly has an aggressive streak but overall is uniquely tasteful, which manifest more on "Invictus". On the debut, it was obvious Quinerly was the leader. On "Invictus," Wolf has the most sway. It seemed as he bogarted the session. That's not the case at all. Zero in on "Light Work," "The Star, The Crescent and The Police Captain," and the "Lester Grant" and you'll realize Quinerly designed this album, in part, with the intent of giving Wolf the lion share of the spotlight. 
The recent release of “Old Friends And New Friends marks pianist David Berkman’s return to Palmetto Records after an 11-year absence. From 1998 to 2004, Berkman was on a winning streak with the label. On this album, Berkman wrote nine new compositions. He invited saxophonists Billy Drewes, Dayna Stephens, Adams Kolker, bassist Linda Oh and drummer Brian Blade over to make the homecoming celebration grand. With three strong-willed saxophonists on the frontline, you would expect a lot of hand-to-hand combat. The saxophonists blended nicely on “No Blues No Really No Blues” and “Past Progressive”. What force of nature kept them in check? The excellent drumming of Brian Blade. 

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