Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Vincent Chandler
"Embraceable” is sort of jazz trombonist Vincent Chandler’s first album as a bandleader. A decade ago, he made two outstanding albums with a jazz band he co-led called Urban Transport. Chandler is a first-class jazz musician with a solid work history, having performed with all-stars such as Joe Henderson, Donald Walden, Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove and James Carter. Musically, everything Chandler undertakes is of bulletproof professionalism. 

“Embraceable” shows every square inch of Chandler’s chops. Midway through the album, you'll feel that was an objective. On “Nature Boy,” and on “Falling,” his playing has a puppy love kind of innocence. Chandler wanted Geri Allen, Karriem Riggins and Robert Hurst on the album. Allen and Riggins couldn’t participate because of other commitments.

Hurst signed on and so did the supreme jazz pianist Rick Roe, plus some rising players such as Ian Finkelstein, Nate Winn and Ben Rolston. Giving “Embraceable” a good balance of vets and up-and-comers. Chandler wrote 10 of the 12 cuts. “Copycat,” “Coldest and “Embraceable” are the coldest cuts, making "Embraceable the kind of jazz album you want to play over and over.

Jesse Kramer
Jesse Kramer is a jazz drummer, and a graduate of the University of Michigan. In a short time, Kramer has become popular. In May, he became a session leader with the release of the fine debut “Acacia,” with Detroiters saxophonist Marcus Elliot, trumpeter Kris Johnson, bassist Damon Warmack and keyboardist Glenn Tucker. Kramer is one of the more tasteful jazz drummer’s working on Detroit’s scene. A scene that has its fair share of grandstanding drummers. Kramer will never be one of them

Kramer behaves as if he was born to make his band-mates look good. This debut is more than what’s expected from an upstart making a name for himself in a city full of accomplished jazz musicians. Kramer wrote all the music on “Acacia”. The album is 110% proof strong throughout. 

Some of the best playing comes from Kris Johnson, who’s too old to be considered a young lion and too young to be labeled a veteran. Over the past few years, Johnson has built a loyal following. Kramer seemed to have designed the songs around Johnson’s chops.

Kramer has been exposed to many forms of music obviously, because “Acacia” has traces of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian, and smooth jazz music.  After you listen to “Acacia,” you will want to wring Kramer's neck for not including at least five more cuts. Maybe, he intended to keep listeners pining for more. 

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