BEST OF 2013: J Hunter’s Best Jazz Albums, Part II

December 19th, 2013, 3:00 pm by Greg

Reviews by J Hunter

Having given credit where credit was due in our last episode… let’s count ’em down:

ETIENNE CHARLES: Creole SoulNumber Ten…
ETIENNE CHARLESCreole Soul (Culture Shock Music)
Want some impressive numbers? This native son of Trinidad has four discs to his name, all on his own label – and he’s still in his 20s! Heeding the words of mentor Marcus Roberts that “going backwards is the only way to go forward,” Etienne Charles mixes the Afro-Caribbean beats of his native land with modern jazz idioms to create a set that makes you dance as much as it makes you think. Along with tasty originals like “Creole” and “Doin’ the Thing,” Charles re-shapes Monk’s “Green Chimneys” and Bo Diddley’s “You Don’t Love Me (no no no).” George Allen said, “The future is now” in the ’70s, but with young players like Charles on the scene, it’s jazz’s future that’s now!

ANTONIO SANCHEZ: New LifeNumber Nine…
Many artists try to do too much on their first release as a leader, and it usually turns into a train wreck in short order. But Antonio Sanchez – a big-time sideman who’s visited Greater Nippertown with Pat Metheny and the New Gary Burton Quartet – threads the needle perfectly, serving up 8 superb originals that are just complex enough to make the brain bubble but not boil over. Next-level keyboardist John Escreet joins sax monsters David Binney and Donny McCaslin on the front line, and Sanchez teams with bassist Matt Brewer to drive this beautiful machine up and up and up. Maybe next time we see Sanchez in these parts, it’ll be with his own band.

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Jazz-2K: CD Picks of the Week

October 3rd, 2011, 12:00 pm by Greg

If the Albany Riverfront Jazz Festival and Lake George’s Jazz at the Lake got you fired up last month (and even if they didn’t), here are a few discs to stoke that fire:

“End of the Tunnel”

David Gibson: End of the Tunnel

One of the downsides of Posi-Tone being the biggest purveyor of trad jazz today is that most of their releases are so earnest, they make your teeth hurt. There are exceptions, though: The wild free-jazz collective Tarbaby, Orrin Evans’ monumental Captain Black Big Band and this tasty re-imagining of Hammond B3-flavored party jazz. David Gibson is one of those trombone players who refuses to let the trumpet players have all the fun, so he brought together a tight little unit and had some fun of his own. The group sets a grinning tone early with Herbie Hancock’s laughing “Blind Man, Blind Man,” and all the originals that follow take their cue from that sound. Gibson’s “Sunday Morning” and keyboardist Jared Gold’s “Preachin'” have that perfect mix of blues and gospel that made Jimmy Smith records so special, “Wasabi” brings the funk in easy take-home portions, and the urgent title track has the same adrenaline rush you get from driving through the Holland Tunnel at 3am with no brakes and no traffic. Gold’s own efforts as a leader have been nothing to write home about, but put him in a sideman situation where all he has to do is bring it, and he brings the B3 into the 21st century. Throw in brutal alto sax from Julius Tolentino and Quincy Davis’ rampant drums, and there’s a happening at “End of the Tunnel.”

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