Steven Kroon – On The #1
On The #1, the latest album from percussionist Steven Kroon, features an ensemble of musicians he has worked with before in a nine-tune exploration of Latin rhythms, from the samba and bossa nova to the cha-cha and mambo. The set includes some original Kroon compositions in collaboration with Oscar Hernandez, two pieces from George Cables and one hoary standard, “As Time Goes By,” in a tight new arrangement by ensemble keyboardist, Igor Atalita.
Vibraphonist Bryan Carrott takes the lead with the melody in Atalita’s arrangement, which begins as a bolero and morphs into a bossa nova towards the end. Cable’s “Phantom of the Island” takes a bomba groove and ends with an opportunity for some explosive percussion from Kroon. Atalita’s arrangement of Sonny Henry’s mambo, “Roots,” shows off the work of Carrott, Craig Rivers on flute and special guest saxophonist Tim Ries. Bassist Ruben Rodriguez and drummer Vince Cherico round out the ensemble.
Perry Beekman – Bewitched: Perry Beekman Sings and Plays Rodgers and Hart
You can’t go wrong with a collection of songs by Rodgers and Hart, unless you’re tone deaf. Perry Beekman is anything but that. He has a sweet-toned voice and is wise enough to understand he is working with classic material. He never tries to overpower the song. He allows the music to do the work. The album showcases 15 tunes, most representing the songwriting team’s greatest tunes, but there are a few lesser -known pieces. Classics like “Thou Swell,” “I Wish I Were in Love Again,” and “The Lady is a Tramp” are joined with compositions like “Wait Till You See Her” and “This Funny World.” The whole makes for a nice mix of material.
Beekman sings and plays the guitar. He is accompanied by Peter Tomlinson on piano and Lou Pappas on bass. There are a couple of instrumentals. The combo does some swinging work on “Mountain Greenery” and “Falling in Love With Love.” Beekman is a pro working with pros.
Kris Adams – Longing
In Longing, her new album, vocalist Kris Adams demonstrates just what jazz singing is all about. She uses her instrument, her voice, in the same way a fine horn player uses his; she takes the song, explores it, and makes it her own. This is no mere lounge singer. This is a creative artist.
Supported by a 13-piece ensemble, she puts her creative stamp on a set of 11 personally special songs. “In recording this music I wanted to present songs with messages that have meaning to me. Messages about the many forms of love… love that transcends time and space.” It is a wide range of songs she has chosen to do the job, be it her scat-centered version of “The Glide,” which is the album’s dynamic opener, her atmospheric treatment of Joni Mitchell’s “The Dawntreader,” or her bluesy romp through Mary Lou Williams’ “What’s Your Story Morning Glory?”
Perhaps the best known piece on the disc is the Cole Porter classic “All of You,” which gets revitalized in Greg Hopkins’ arrangement. The title song is given a subtle treatment as a duet between Adams and pianist Tim Ray. It is a haunting performance by both musicians.[amazon template=iframe image&chan=default&asin=B00JH3XD5U,B00J5CCXA4,B00GNKKBM8]