Wednesday , February 28 2024
Three new jazz albums offer a lot of variety.

Music Reviews: The Lindsey Blair Quartet, Paul Jost, and Viper Mad Trio

A New Dawn – The Lindsey Blair Quartet

A New Dawn, the debut album of Florida-based guitarist Lindsey Blair and his quartet, features a varied program of straight-ahead jazz, nine Blair originals and two covers. Joining Blair are Clay Ostwald (keyboards), Nicky Orta (electric bass) and Carlomagno Araya (drums and hand percussion). An eclectic set, the music moves from the lyrically melodious “Angel on My Shoulder” to the Brazilian rhythms of “Dayspring,” and from the quirky wit of “Turn Out the Light” to the jumpy “Schizoid Scat.”

Lindsey BlairThey do a subtle cover of the Lennon-McCartney ballad “Julia” and end with an interesting new arrangement of the traditional classic, “The House of the Rising Sun,” highlighting Ostwald’s work on the B3.

Blair and his ensemble may not be familiar names, but they are talented musicians, and A New Dawn is an auspicious debut.

Breaking Through – Paul Jost

Vocalist Paul Jost makes his solo debut with the September release of Breaking Through, a collection of creative interpretations of a dozen tunes, mostly standards. If the measure of a jazz singer is the ability to use his vocal instrument the way a saxophonist or a trumpeter uses his instrument, Jost belongs at the head of the class. Paul Jost - Breaking ThroughWhether scatting his way through a tune like “Waltz New,” or exploring the phrasing and scatting as he duets with flautist Mark Adler on the classic “Days of Wine and Roses,” Jost might as well be giving a master class in vocal improvisation.

There are times when he sounds a bit like the great Tony Bennett, but more of the time he sounds like himself. Highlights on the album include his own composition, a tune called “Book Faded Brown,” and tried and true numbers like “Singing in the Rain,” “Sweet Lorraine,” and “I Don’t Need the Doctor.”

Buddy Bolden’s Blues – Viper Mad Trio

Buddy Bolden’s Blues – Viper Mad TrioBeginning with the blue track that gives this album its title, the Viper Mad Trio—Molly Reeves (vocals, guitar), Kellen Garcia (bass), and Ryan Robertson (trumpet)—delivers a set of swinging, happy New Orleans-style jazz, the kind of music that gets your toe tapping and puts a huge smile on your face. Reeves, who does the lion’s share of the singing, fills her vocals with flirtatious fun, and Garcia and Robertson are the perfect musical complement.

The Viper’s set includes classics like “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” and “Bucket’s Got a Hole In It” (Robertson does the vocal on this one), and lesser-known pieces like “Hot Nuts” and “8, 9 & 10.”

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