Do you see the photo at the bottom of this post? It's a big pile of CDs. What you don't see are my hands and arms attempting to push their way to the daylight at the top of the pile. The point is this: I receive a lot of independent/small label review material each week, and some of it doesn't make it to the review desk. There are a lot of instances where I really like the music, but a review idea or angle just doesn't present itself to me. This is especially frustrating but hey, ideas are ephemeral and there are only so many hours in the day.
So…welcome to the first installment of the Jazz Tasting Menu. This idea here to give some exposure to indie and/or up & coming jazz acts and in the process, help me reach the top of the giant review pile. I'm expecting to publish a new column about twice a month, maybe more often when the pressure of the pile becomes too great.
Ari Erev – About Time
No fireworks here, just some very heartfelt jazz trio music lead by Israeli pianist Ari Erev. With a mix of original compositions, Israeli songs, and selected standards (including a beautiful "Turn Out The Stars" as program closer), Erev succeeds in displaying his love of this music.
Abigail Riccards – When The Night Is New
I'm sure you're familiar with that cliché about a voice so beautiful, you wouldn't mind hearing it sing the phone book. Well, sometimes there's a whole lot of truth in that concept. When I heard her take on "You Don't Know What Love Is," I temporarily forgot who I was. Yes, Abigail Riccards is that good.
Jacintha – Jacintha Goes To Hollywood
Singaporean singer Jacintha (full name Jacintha Abisheganaden) takes on the songbook of the Hollywood of my youth: "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head," "Que Sera Sera," "California Dreaming," "Windmills Of Your Mind." It's funny, I hated these songs back in the day. Now? The concertina/acoustic guitar introduction to "Que Sera Sera" makes me melt. Weird. Anyhow, Jacintha's very intimate presentation is a real winner.
Jae Sinnett – It's Telling…A Drummer's Perspective
Wow, sometimes you just stumble onto a little gold. Jae Sinnett's kit work manages to channel bits of my favorite drummers (Jeff Watts, Tony Williams) while retaining his own thing. It's very inspiring to be witness to a player who can muster great power when necessary and still dial back to great levels of sensitivity on the snare and high hat. While it might be a drummer's perspective, Sinnett's quartet pushes him along nearly as much drives them. Great stuff.
Ganelin Trio Priority – Live in Lugano 2006
Ganelin Trio drummer Klaus Kugel emailed me, asking if I'd be interested in listening to his group's music. Sure, why not? I mean, fully improvised music get so little attention these days, if it ever did at all. After doing a little research I discovered that this group, founded by pianist/synthesizer player Vyacheslav Ganelin, has a long history. Even though Kugel and saxophonist Petras Vysniauskas have not been there since the trio's inception, they play as if they've been together their entire lives. These long pieces feature quite impressive and organic thematic development as ideas are passed from man to man.