Saturday, July 26, 2014


The jazz guitarist Bobby Broom last album was "Upper Westside Stories". He packed it with new music, and for the first time fans were able to take in the full range of his writing. It was a wonderful and a daring outing. For Broom’s new album "My Shining Hour," available August 19th on Origin Records, Broom drummer Makaya McCraven and bassist Dennis Carrol reworks some well-known tunes from the great American Songbook such as "My Ideal," “Just One of Those Things," "Jitterbug Waltz" and "Sweet Georgia Brown". It wouldn't be wrong to feel some of Broom’s best work is his take on music of renowned composers. This new album is on par with one of Broom's best dates "Bobby Broom Plays For Monk". Throughout "My Shining Hour" Broom strums so sweetly it would make the devil stop sinning. Whenever Broom picks up his guitar whether for a live set or for a studio date bank on some topflight jazz.
"When We Find Ourselves Alone" is jazz bassist Rodney Whitaker's third date for Mack Avenue Records and his first without his partner drummer Carl Allen. These days, Whitaker's hands are full running the Jazz Studies Department at Michigan State University and playing with a group of department staffers known around campus as the Professors of Jazz. So, his recording output has slowed down a bit. This new album marks Whitaker's return to the stellar post hard-bop music he put out during the late 90’s. Whitaker also reunites with players he's run the streets with in the past pianist Bruce Barth, drummer Gregory Hutchinson and saxophonist Antonio Hart. Hart is the centerpiece of this album, and arguably one underappreciated saxophonist. An added feature is Whitaker's daughter Rockelle Fortin, a fine vocalist on the move who doesn't blow the opportunity here her dad gives her. Fortin sings on five of the cuts. "When We Fine Ourselves Alone" is a darn good album, marking a welcomed return to Whitaker's roots.

I laughed reading pianist Eric Reed's main goal for his new date "Groovewise" was to make a great album. What was so amusing? Reed is one of jazz's elite pianist and he’s been making great music for a while. No doubt, Reed could make a great album in his sleep. Reed recorded live at Smoke in New York. The album is coming out September 9th on Smoke Sessions Records. It fines Reed working with his quartet that has saxophonist Seamus Blake. Its unfortunate a sax player as terrific as Blake isn't a household name. Reed allows Blake to carry this album, and Blake does so proudly. The crowd killers on this date are “Until the Last Cat has Swung” and “Groovewise (Intro).

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