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RBSProds "rbsprods" (Deep in the heart of Texas)
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No More Blues (Live)
No More Blues (Live)

5.0 out of 5 stars DIZZY GILLESPIE & COMPANY ON THE FRENCH RIVIERA: “NO MORE BLUES”, 4 Sept. 2015
This is an exciting samba track by Hall of Fame composer, arranger, trumpeter, and raconteur Dizzy Gillespie from the albums “Dizzy on the French Riviera” and “Ken Burns Jazz” featuring the gifted Leo Wright on alto sax, Elek Bacsik on guitar, composer/arranger Lalo Schifrin ("Mission Impossible" theme) on piano, Chris White on double bass, Rudy Collins on drums, Pepito Riestria on percussion, and Charlie Ventura on tenor and bass saxes. This rhythmically sped-up version of the classic "Chega De Saudade" (No More Blues) by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes begins with Gillespie vocally chanting over the sounds of percussion, people talking, and splashing waves on a Mediterranean beach giving way to Leo Wright’s soulful theme statement and over 10 minutes of pure latin jazz pleasure with great solos from all concerned, especially Dizzy, Wright who elevates in mid-solo, and Schifrin who goes percussive near the end of his solo. My Highest Recommendation. Five SWINGING Stars. (1 MP3 track. Time-10:20)


The Real Thing
The Real Thing
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars THE ERIC ALEXANDER QUARTET SWINGS JAZZ ORIGINALS, BLUES, & STANDARDS, 3 Sept. 2015
This review is from: The Real Thing (Audio CD)
Five SUPERB Stars! This outstanding jazz recording features the quartet of composer, arranger, and tenor sax titan Eric Alexander and his quartet. Always a grand composer and a great improviser, he has recorded over 20 albums under his own name and many more as sideman, guest, and co-leader. Knowledgeable fans will recognize the personnel as the exact same as the group usually led by piano legend and one of Alexander’s mentors, Harold Mabern, along with bandmates John Webber on double bass, and Joe Farnsworth on double bass, but producer Alexander is in full artistic control and invites the renowned guitarist Pat Martino along for the ride as guest artist on 3 tracks.

The ‘best of the best’ begins with a splendid interpretation of soul/pop singer Bobby Caldwell’s “The Real Thing” featuring great solos from Alexander and Mabern. Farnsworth contributes the low down blues “Pure Pat” for Martino’s first appearance, who sets off a blazing solo both here and on the uptempo modal version of the Gershwin "Porgy and Bess" classic “Summertime” where Alexander and Mabern contribute burning solos. The latin-tinged standard “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes" which gets a towering inventive solo from Alexander and Mabern, with marvelous drumming support from Farnsworth. The Menescal/Boscoli Brazilian standard “Little Boat” (O Barquinho) gets a bright samba treatment. “For George and Trane” is probably for tenor saxists George Coleman and John Coltrane and is an attractive tune that is a jumping off point for some exciting, swirling improvisations by Alexander who exhibits a warm upper register and ’sheets of sound’. It all ends with Mabern's "The Chief" with some fabulous and rich high note hijinks by Alexander and a sizzling Mabern solo. Recorded by the legendary Rudy Van Gelder at his Inglewood Clifts, NJ studio, the sound is bright and vivid. Five IMPASSIONED Stars! (High Note records. Produced by Alexander. 8 tracks. Time-53:58.)


No Virgin Island: A Sabrina Salter Mystery
No Virgin Island: A Sabrina Salter Mystery
by C. Michele Dorsey
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.94

5.0 out of 5 stars DEATH AND DANGER FOR SABRINA SALTER ON THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLAND OF ST. JOHN, 3 Sept. 2015
“I, Sabrina, am not afraid..” - No Virgin Island by C. Michele Dorsey

“No Virgin Island” is a Sabrina Salter Mystery written by author C. Michele Dorsey. “Death and Danger”, indeed. And the novel wastes no time with the “death” part, as in the opening page Sabrina discovers a body in the luxury villa located off Fish Bay that she was renting out on the island of St. John. Coming off her own personal State-side troubles, she reluctantly but responsibly calls the St Johns police, initiating a series of incidents that will affect her and many others in ways that reach back to the States. The author gives deep characterizations of each person that gives the reader great insight into their lives. This reader made two educated guesses as to the identity of the killer, but was wrong. An enjoyable read that hopefully will become a series of books about the resourceful and engaging Sabrina Salter. Five ABSORBING Stars. (Crooked Lane Books. Reviewed in Kindle text and text-to-speech. 272 pages.)


The Mosaic Project: LOVE And SOUL
The Mosaic Project: LOVE And SOUL
Offered by nagiry
Price: £8.50

5.0 out of 5 stars "THE MOSAIC PROJECT: LOVE AND SOUL" IS ANOTHER STUNNING ARTISTIC TRIUMPH, 30 Aug. 2015
Terri Lyne Carrington’s outstanding all-female jazz and soul “Mosaic Project” won a Grammy and this second edition “Mosaic Project: Love and Soul” likewise features some of the finest jazz and soul female talent who are really emotionally cutting loose on a number of songs, over Carrington's exotic rhythms. The impressive list of award-winning singers this time around are: Natalie Cole, Ledesi, Chaka Khan, Oleta Adams, Valerie Simpson, Nancy Wilson, Chanté Moore, Lalah Hathaway, and Paula Cole. The instrumental group includes Tia Fuller on saxophones, Ingrid Jensen on trumpet, Meshell Ndegoecello and Linda Oh on electric bass, Geri Allen, Patrice Rushen, and/or Rachel Z on keyboards. The male voice is attributed to Billy Dee Williams.

The ‘best of the best’ (see below) begins with an unusual treatment of Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday”, starring Grammy-winners Natalie Cole and Terri Lynn who generates furious beats underneath Natalie vocalizing in a marvelous performance that in the end slows down to achieve the peace of the original. Chaka Khan has always been a superior ballad interpreter and “I’m A Fool To Want You” gets the full, hip, yearning treatment. Oleta Adam’s “For You To Love” is a soulful rendition with an elusive beat that Terri Lyne continually turns around. Nancy Wilson’s “Imagine This” is an impassioned performance that draws repeated listenings. Pop singer Paula Cole sings a heartfelt “You Just Can’t Smile It Away” that opens a new window on her vocal abilities for this listener. "Can't Resist" allows Carrington herself to sing as well as play, aided by a nice flute-synth solo, that whets the appetite for more. And the actual ‘best of the best’ is Chante Moore’s sensual vocal on “The Best of The Best” with the band and the vocal background work creating a sizzling, soulful experience. Composer, arranger, drummer, singer, and producer Terri Lyne Carrington, the musicians, and guest singers score big on this second edition of the “Mosaic Project”. My Highest Recommendation. Five GRATIFYING Stars. (Concord Records. 10-tracks. Time-51:51.)


Johnny Griffin and Richie Cole - Jazz Life Vol. 1 [DVD]
Johnny Griffin and Richie Cole - Jazz Life Vol. 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Johnny Griffin and Richie Cole
Offered by Love-Your-Books
Price: £6.20

5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT PERFORMANCES AT THE VANGUARD BY THE JOHNNY GRIFFIN QUARTET & RICHIE COLE QUINTET, 30 Aug. 2015
From the series “The Jazz Life, Volume 1”, produced by pianist/singer Ben Sidran, comes these performances by two renowned jazz artists at the world famous jazz club, the Village Vanguard, located at the corner of 7th and 11th in Greenwich Village, NYC. It begins with a session by the "Little Giant” of the tenor saxophone, Johnny Griffin, and his quartet. This is followed by a performance by the Richie Cole Quintet on a separate date. The Vanguard has been one of the most famous jazz clubs in the world in terms of its history, the many performances there by the ‘best of the best’ in jazz, and the treasured live recordings. This reviewer has been there on many Saturday nights, Sunday afternoons, and Monday nights over 3 decades. The Cole quintet appearance appears to be on a Sunday afternoon from Cole’s comments.

The Griffin quartet includes the resourceful Kenny Washington on drums, Ray Drummond’s solid contrabass work, and the remarkable Ronnie Mathews on piano (mistakenly identified in ‘closed captioning’ as “Lonnie”). The video begins in the middle of a blazing uptempo Mathews piano solo, as the film shows exterior street scenes and the prominent awning over the entrance to this famous basement jazz club. The song is a blazing uptempo tribute to Babs Gonzalez, “Blues for Gonzie”, that gives way to Griffin’s inventive and humorous solo which is loaded with ‘quotes’ from “Dixie” to “Rhapsody in Blue”, showing his circular breathing prowess in the process, and ending with a furious sax-drum exchange. “A Monk’s Dream” has a marvelous solo piano intro by Mathews and a powerful solo from Griffin that includes a “Swinging on a Star” quote, with the entire performance receiving a loud ovation from the audience.

Cole’s quintet includes the “Wild Man” Bobby Enriquez on piano, the superbBruce Forman on guitar, Marshall Hawkins on double bass, and Scott Morris on drums. The session begins with a supercharged version of Randy Weston’s jazz classic “High Fi” presented as a mambo and featuring great solos, then Cole salutes club owner Max Gordon with the standard ballad “I’ll Can’t Get Started” with a great “Oh, You Beautiful Girl” quote. The humorous “The Punishment Blues”, dedicated to "criminals and creeps", is laced with cymbal splashes, booming bass, and a raunchy Cole solo, with great altissimo alto sax effects, got a standing ovation. “Yardbird Suite” gets a rousing performance with Enriquez' dazzling single lines, occasionally playing "col pugno” with his fists, palms, and elbows while making perfect muscial sense, and a sizzling solo from guitar master Forman. Live jazz from an historic club by 2 masters of the art. My Highest Recommendation. Five FIERY Stars! (Amazon Instant Video or DVD. PAL format, Region 2. Color, SD quality, NR but clean throughout. Produced by jazz pianist/singer Ben Sidran and directed by “Parker Y Bird” with excellent camera work. Time-1:02, with each group getting about 30 minutes of playing time.)


Recorded in Rio de Janeiro [180 gm vinyl]
Recorded in Rio de Janeiro [180 gm vinyl]
Offered by FLASH
Price: £17.80

5.0 out of 5 stars HERBIE MANN & JOÃO GILBERTO: BEAUTIFUL 1960s “BOSSA NOVA” SESSIONS, 30 Aug. 2015
Five ENJOYABLE Stars! This is a lively recording featuring Herbie Mann and João Gilberto, but they do NOT perform together as the photo seems to suggest. Recorded in 1965 in Rio, this lovely hybrid recording presents two major artists performing on different labels: João Gilberto on ODEON records and Herbie Mann on Atlantic records. The crucial personal factor is the presence of the legendary Antonio Carlos (Tom) Jobim who arranged all six of the Gilberto sessions and arranged three of the five songs on the Mann sessions and appears as a vocalist on one Mann track. The emphasis here is on the new music of the day "Bossa Nova” which was sweeping the worlds of jazz and pop music internationally. All of the music is glorious, seamless, beautifully intertwined tracks of Bossa Nova as it should be played: “subtle rhythms and highly lyrical melodies", by two of the masters of the genre in Jobim and Gilberto and by the jazz and world music expert, Herbie Mann, who had absorbed the correct way to play the music with ‘saudade’, as clearly demonstrated on these recordings.

The best of the best begins "Amor Em Paz" (Love in Peace, aka "O Morro") which features Herbie on alto flute etching the lovely melody with gentleness and melancholy and adding in filigrees over Jobim's beautifully-arranged string theme recapitulation. The Joao Gilberto tracks are near definitive expositions of tracks that have gone on to become international standards which were recorded by jazz and popular music stars and, when available, with English lyrics. Examples are a rousing version of Gilberto’s “O Barquinho” (The Little Boat), “Desafinado”, “Consolacao” featuring composer Baden Powell on guitar with stirring flute work by Mann, and Mann’s track "One Note Samba” has a very nice flue solo and an urgent but gentle Jobim vocal in English with some hip scat. There are some nice finds that are not on the beaten Bossa Nova track, such as “Maria Ninguem” (Maria Nobody) sung in Portuguese and Mann has a marvelous solo on "Deve Ser Amor" (It Must Be Love). Highly Recommended. Five LILTING Stars. (Atlantic records. Stereo LP. 12 tracks, Time-31:20)


Small Town Murder Songs [DVD]
Small Town Murder Songs [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jill Hennessy
Price: £9.50

4.0 out of 5 stars INTERESTING, LAYERED MURDER DRAMA IN A SMALL BRITISH TOWN, 25 Aug. 2015
"Live in the world but not of it."

Four CAPTIVATING Stars! In this award-winning, oddly-titled "Small Town Murder Songs" movie, the uneasy Chief Walter Ruden, his staff, and outside police help are caught up in this murder mystery in a small town in GreyFork County. With an unidentified body, a Mennonite-influence, starkly beautiful scenery, and a very distinctive music soundtrack, the search is on to find a killer in an unusual area with tangled relationships. Starring Peter Stormare, Aaron Poole, Ari Cohen, Stephen Eric McIntyre, Jackie Burroughs, Herm Dick, Erin Brandenburg, with Martha Plimpton, and Jill Hennessy (Crossing Jordan). On the second viewing, all the nuanced clues are right there for the discovery. Four REVEALING Stars. (Telefilm Canada. Produced by Lee Kim. Written, Produced, & Directed by Ed Gass-Donnelly. NR but brief nudity, profanity, and violence occur. Music by Bruce Peninsula. Color. CC. Time-1:15:27.)


Live At The Half Note
Live At The Half Note
Price: £13.47

5.0 out of 5 stars HORACE SILVER-LIVE AT THE HALF NOTE: TWO QUINTETS IN THESE GREAT "HISTORIC RADIO BROADCASTS", 25 Aug. 2015
This review is from: Live At The Half Note (Audio CD)
Four and a half COMPELLING Stars! This recording from "Historic Radio Broadcasts" is an important discographical addition to any jazz collection as these are live performances from the Grammy Hall of Fame recording "Song For My Father" and the recently-released "Cape Verdean Blues". “Horace Silver-Live At the Half Note" is a performance that was recorded for WABC FM radio broadcast to the local New York City FM audience and to the Armed Forces Radio Network as "Portraits in Jazz" presented by radio impresario Alan Grant. Five stars for the performances and 3 and 1/2 stars for the acceptable sound, but the bass is far in the back as expected for earlier radio broadcasts.

Silver presents two potent quintets (which are erroneously flip-flopped on the liner notes): on Side 1 playing the "Cape Verdean Blues" selections Silver features two Hall of Famers on the front line: Woody Shaw on trumpet and Joe Henderson on tenor sax, along with the solid duo of Roger Humphries on drums and Larry Ridley on bass, with the maestro on piano. On Side 2 playing the "Song For My Father" selections, in addition to Silver, the very-talented Carmel Jones is on trumpet replacing 'Woods', Teddy Smith is on bass, along with Henderson and Humphries.

The 'best of the best' begins with a Henderson composition “Mo Joe” where the legendary Woody Shaw is a revelation on trumpet with a blazing solo and Horace’s superb solo has great “Jeepers Creepers” and “Hall of the Mountain King" quotes. Joe Henderson’s solo on “African Queen” is a dissonant delight, as Silver slips in a “Happy Days Are Here Again” quote during his inventive solo. “Nutville” (“If the shoe fits”, said Silver) is a more cerebral, tempo-shifting theme than the title indicates and is great solo fodder for Henderson, Shaw, and Silver who pushes the beat with resourceful dancing single notes. "Que Pasa" has sound problems as there are sonic artifacts on the recording that can be heard at high levels and some minor fading and track jumping, but the music is outstanding, especially Henderson's solo that is as intense as he is on the studio recording of "Song For My Father". Jones plays a stupendous solo on "The Kicker", as does Humphries on his extended drum solo. And the set ends fittingly with Silver's jazz classic "Song For My Father" where Henderson unleases an amazing extended solo that outdoes his solo on the studio recording, over Smith's famous often-quoted alternating bass line. This CD contains 2 great nights of jazz with extended solos, from 2 Horace Silver quintets, featuring Woody Shaw on one night and Carmel Jones on the other with Joe Henderson and Horace Silver. My Highest Recommendation, especially for completists. Five BLAZING Stars! (High Hat. 2 CD discs: Side 1 has 4 tracks: Time-42:38; Side 2 has 3 tracks: Time-43:47.)


Schumann: Carnaval, Davidsbündlertänze & Papillons
Schumann: Carnaval, Davidsbündlertänze & Papillons
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars BORIS GILTBURG's SPLENDID EXPOSITION OF SCHUMANN's DAVIDSBÜNLERTANZE, CARNAVAL, & PAPILLONS, 25 Aug. 2015
As on his previous release of Prokofiev's "Prokofiev: War Sonatas", award-winning Russian-born, Israeli piano virtuoso Boris Giltburg delivers technically brilliant, emotional, and nuanced interpretations, this time of three works by legendary Romantic era composer Robert Schumann: "Davidsbündlertanze", "Carnaval", and "Papillons". Within each are contained a multitude of individual musical jewels that seem much longer than the average minute and a half.

"Davidsbündlertanze" began as an imaginary critical music society created by Schumann which became reality and his musical associates expressed their viewpoints though the musical periodical "Neue Zeitschrift für Musik" (New Journal for Music). My favorites are the 52 second Opus 6, No. 4, "Ungeduldig"; Giltburg's flowing rubato on No. 8, "Frisch"; No 10. "BalladenmäBig.."; No. 16, "Mit Gutem Humor"; and the lovely Opus 6, No 17, "Wie aus der Ferne".

Papillons is the oldest of the three and is based on the final pages of a novel by Jean Paul, which inspired Schumann to immediately begin composing this amazing piece of music. My favorites are: the 48-second "Introduzione-1" which sets the musical tone and mood of the following pieces, the sentimentality of Opus 2. V. the capriciousness of Opus 2: VI, the variable intensity of Opus 2: VIII, and the staccato propulsiveness of Opus 2. IX, "Prestissimo". But each piece actually blends into the next so listening as a whole is more rewarding, right up to the upexpected ending of the Opus 2. XII, "Finale".

"Carnaval" is subtitled "Little scenes on four notes" because he based the music on the letters of the town, Asch, where his then fiancé' lived. Despite Schumann's own caustic evaluation of the entirety of "Carnaval" calling it "devoid of artistic value", nonetheless his individual portraits and themes, especially of some of the 'Commedia dell'Arte' characters, are very exciting and engaging, such as the duality of "Pantalon et columbine" going from frenetic to lyrical, "Pierrot", the minuet-like "Arlequin", and the percussive grace notes and flowing sections of "Coquette". Also, there are the wonderful echo effects of "Reconnaissance", which in its entirety seems to have influenced some 20th Century jazz pianists, the homage to "Chopin", and the lovely "Promenade". Saving the best for last and the longest piece of the performance at 3:48 is Giltburg's wondrous recapitulation of the stately Op 9, No 21, "Marche des Davidsbündler contra les Philistins", which is preceded by the 19 second martial prelude "Pause". Boris Giltburg once again proves to be a marvelous classical pianist, this time with these works by Robert Schumann. Highly Recommended. Five REMARKABLE Stars! (51-MP3 tracks. 77:11)


Autumn
Autumn
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A SALUTARY “AUTUMN” BY JAZZ VOCAL STYLIST CHRIS CONNOR & SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, 25 Aug. 2015
This review is from: Autumn (MP3 Download)
This is an outstanding, heartfelt ballad performance by jazz singer Chris Connor from the album “Chris Connor Now!”. The arranger very effectively uses a classical concert orchestra format with a flotilla of instruments which include harps, flutes, oboes, french horns, bassoons, violins, cellos, guitar, contrabass, and percussion. Connor’s warm voice caresses the revelatory lyrics which tell the tale of a woman caught up in one season, “Autumn", throughout the year. The performance also has a lovely flute and french horn interlude. My Highest Recommendation. Five EXQUISITE Stars. (1 MP3 track, Time-2:51)


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