Cheryl Fisher w/John Toomey

For her sixth CD, Canadian vocalist Cheryl Fisher has recorded an album unique in both its repertoire and her approach. Purposefully chosen to be on the quieter side, Fisher puts a personal stamp on these beautiful, rarely heard songs, applying her musicianship and gift for vocal interpretation in celebration of love, or the mourning of love lost. Although they come from the era of the Great American Songbook, Fisher has given them a modern jazz treatment with the brilliant accompaniment of pianist/arranger John Toomey, the singular Portland guitarist John Stowell, the bass & drum team of Jeff Johnson & John Bishop, and acclaimed woodwind artist Eric Allison. “Concept albums aren’t what I usually do, but sometimes you just want to sit by the fireplace, have a glass of wine, put on an album and let it play right through, letting its mellow mood merge with your...

House of David By Lea Delaria

Ghostlight Records presents the innovative new album from Lea DeLaria, House of David: delaria + bowie = jazz, which boldly reexamines the work of music icon David Bowie. DeLaria is the television, stage and music star currently best known as “Carrie ‘Big Boo’ Black” in the hit Netflix series “Orange is the New Black.” The first major jazz reworking on Bowie’s beloved catalog, the album features tracks such as a smooth bossa nova interpretation of “Golden Years,” a trenchant “Life On Mars” and a roof-raising gospel take on “Modern Love.” “Bowie is not only a god of rock and arbitrator of style, but he’s THE defining singer songwriter of the latter part of the 20th century,” according to Lea. “From ‘Suffragette City’ to Labyrinth through Ziggy Stardust and The Hunger, his bold career choices and mind blowing artistic technique flies in the face of convention. He is quite simply a legend. David’s music lends itself perfectly to the language of Jazz. I hope he sees this album as the tribute to his genius that I mean it to be. LONG LIVE DAVID BOWIE.” Lea DeLaria boasts a  multi-faceted career as a comedian, actress and jazz musician. She holds the distinction of being the first openly gay comic on television in America which led to countless television and film roles portraying Police Lieutenants, PE Teachers and the Lesbian who inappropriately hits on straight women.  Selected TV credits include “Awkward,” “Clarence,” “Californication,” “The Oblongs,” “One Live to Live,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “Will and Grace,” “Friends” and “Matlock.”  Selected film credits include: The First Wives Club, Dear Dumb Diary and Edge of Seventeen. She’s received Obie and Theater World Awards, and a Drama Desk nomination for her portrayal as ‘Hildy’ in the Public Theatre’s revival of On The Town, an Ovation nomination for The Boys From Syracuse, and has played both...

The Royal Bopster Project

The Royal Bopsters Project is a multi-generational vocal summit on which the talents of Amy London (soprano), Darmon Meader (tenor), Holli Ross (alto) and Dylan Pramuk (bass), unite to pay tribute to the art of setting lyrics to melodies originally written as instrumental compositions or improvisations. Their homage to vocalese is made even more exceptional with the contributions of the legendary singers who make guest appearances on the album: NEA Jazz Masters (and Grammy Award-winners) Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross; NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan, Arkansas Hall of Famer and Jazz and Schoolhouse Rock mastermind Bob Dorough and six-time Grammy nominee Mark Murphy. With the Support Band, Steve Schmidt (piano) Roni Ben Hur (guitar) Sean Smith (bass) Steve Williams (drums), Steve Kroon (percussion). Timeless indeed when this level of craftsmanship is assembled Jazz Pop/Vocalese never sounded...

My Kinda Love by Tina May

Tina May has always followed her own star, often popping up in challenging or off-beat situations. The root of her talent, though, as Hep producer Alistair Robertson emphasises in his sleeve-note, lies in her jazz sensibility. May is a true jazz singer, at ease with jazz musicians and content to operate in a jazz context. All of this is reaffirmed here where she works mostly with an accomplished small group, the arrangements largely in the hands of a regular collaborator, the saxophonist and bandleader Frank Griffith, but with the added layering of a string quartet on four of the dozen tracks. Robertson sees this new album as a follow-on to Divas, also on Hep, the song choices far from routine with the added bonus of two original compositions by the veteran tenor-saxophonist Duncan Lamont. The title track is a relaxed hymn to love from 1929, Tina at one with the swinging background, Sammy Mayne’s alto prominent. In complete contrast, her reading of Lazy Afternoon, arranged by John Jannson, complete with its Satie-esque piano introduction, is languorous and heartfelt, the strings overlaid softly by the Griffith clarinet. Tina’s ability to move between vocal registers is notable here. Bassist Dave Green sets up Tina’s perky treatment of S’Posin’, this adorned by the welcome presence of trumpeter Janusz Carmello, Griffith spirited on clarinet ahead of John Pearce’s superb piano solo. There’s evidence throughout this absorbing album of careful forethought, each track given a distinctive setting, Tina’s honeyed sound and perfect intonation applied as effectively to up-tempo swingers as they are to its more thoughtful pieces, each set of lyrics given proper attention. Nothing muddled or over-stretched here. Good to hear composer Lamont’s tenor-saxophone on his mellow Where Were You In April and Frank’s impressive tenor on A Sunday Kind of Love, Tina ‘positively flirtatious’ on this one in Robertson’s words. The final song, I’m...

Black Bar Juke Box by Allan Harris

The myriad fans who’ve fallen under the spell of Gregory Porter need to give Allan Harris a listen. Though Harris has a dozen previous albums to his credit, including fine tributes to Nat King Cole and Billy Strayhorn, he seems long overdue for Porter-sized accolades. For Black Bar Jukebox, a sly collection of covers and originals, Harris borrows Porter producer Brian Bacchus, who draws forth many of the qualities that have propelled Porter to superstardom: the same laidback assurance and that enticing blend of Sammy Davis Jr. dynamism, Cole sophistication and George Benson jazz smarts. Eight of the 13 tracks are covers, extending from the plushness of “My Funny Valentine” and show-tune fizz of “A Lot of Livin’ to Do” to a masterfully soulful rendition of Bernie Taupin and Elton John’s “Take Me to the Pilot” and a moving midtempo treatment of John Mayer’s “Daughters” (the sole track featuring Harris’ distinguished guitar work). There’s also a double nod to Kenny Rankin, with a bossa-driven “Catfish” and the lovely, lilting “Haven’t We Met?,” plus a rendering of Eddie Jefferson’s “I Got the Blues” (based on “Lester Leaps In”). The four Harris originals are equally wide-ranging, beginning with the silken “Miami” (strongly reminiscent of “Where Flamingos Fly”) and misty “Can It Be This Is a Dream,” and progressing to the swinging optimism of “Love’s the Key” and the edge-of-breakup anthem “A Little Bit Scared.” By: Christopher Loudon for “Jazz...

Introducing Katie Thiroux

Bassist/Singer/Composer Katie Thiroux released her first CD on February 3, 2015 titled “Introducing Katie Thiroux”.  Before I even listened to this CD, I read the liner notes and knew this CD from Katie Thiroux would be terrific.  Soon after I was able to see Katie in person when she performed with the Larry Fuller Trio and Graham Dechter at “Pete Carlson’s Jazz For Jazz Lovers Series”.  When I first listened to Katie’s CD, I was so focused on her beautiful voice and singing style, I somewhat overlooked her great Bass playing.  However, at the Graham Dechter concert,  Katie’s Bass brilliance was in full view.  Katie told me that she had always loved Ray Brown and that she had spent some time working with John Clayton.  At the concert, she played a couple of great Ray Brown arrangements,  and if you closed your eyes, you might have thought is was Ray Brown or John Clayton playing.  The audience loved her Bass playing and she received many rounds of applause every time she played a solo riff. Katie Thiroux is a multi-talented musical threat, she sings with great style as good as any of the best Jazz singers around today and her Bass playing would be welcomed in the best Jazz groups. Katie studied with the great Jazz Vocalist Tierney Sutton.  So she has had guidance from two Jazz giants, Clayton and Sutton.  The results of her years of study are evident in her Bass playing and her singing, she is one of the best around in both categories.  Here is a quote from John Clayton “Katie has developed into a swinging and “Killer” Base player!  Of course, I heard her talent and advanced abilities when she was younger, but her playing now is something else–It’s at another level. I’m talking about the level of playing that allows the groove to...

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