Kat Gang “Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams”

Kat Gang’s got a lyrical lilt to her charming voice and teams up with an all star team that includes the venerable rhythm guitar of Bucky Pizzarelli along with Mike Renzi/p, Jay Leonhart/b, Joe Ascione/dr, Warren Vache/tp, John Allred/tb and the warm toned tenor of Harry Allen. Chearful and endearing on pieces such as “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams” and “I Wish I Were in Love Again,” she can also get down an wrestle wity you on “Baby, Baby All The Time” and “Hard Hearted Hannah.” Delicate on “Solitude” she embraces you with a sweet as apple cider “More Than You Know.” Heart warming...

Dena DeRose “We Won’t Forget You”

It’s no small thing to be called “The most creative and compelling singer-pianist since Shirley Horn,” but that’s how Joel Siegel, Washington City Paper, described Dena DeRose. It is with great pleasure that HighNote Records welcomes Dena to their roster with her label debut recording “We Won’t Forget You… An Homage To Shirley Horn” which features the understated, swinging side of the late, great Horn. As this year would have been Ms. Horn’s 80th birthday, it seems only appropriate for DeRose, also a triple threat vocalist, pianist, and arranger, to pay tribute to one of her major idols. Joining her trio of 15+ years — Martin Wind, bass and Matt Wilson, drums — are trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander and baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan. Boasting an imaginative set list of some lesser recorded gems and varied use of the instrumental colors available, Dena DeRose’s first release on HighNote is jazz singing and playing of the highest order. With this being her 11th recording, Dena’s performance credits range from appearances at NYC’s Blue Note, Smoke, and Jazz Standard, The Kennedy Center Jazz Club (D.C.), The Jazz Showcase (Chicago), The Widderbar (Zurich), The Pitt Inn and Body and Soul (Tokyo), among others. Major jazz festival performances world-wide include The Red Sea (Israel), San Francisco, Monterey, The North Sea and The Hague (Holland), Santiago (Chile), and has been a returning artist many times on The Jazz Cruise. THE DENA DeROSE TRIO: Dena DeRose, vocals, piano & B3 organ • Martin Wind, bass • Matt Wilson, drums With special guests: Eric Alexander, tenor saxophone • Jeremy Pelt, trumpet • Gary Smulyan, baritone saxophone TRACKS: You Stepped Out of a Dream • Sunday in New York • Quietly There • A Time For Love • Don’t Be on the Outside • You Won’t Forget Me • I Just Found Out About Love...

Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet

Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet (UVJQ) puts its sublime signature on an engaging but rarely heard vocal jazz genre and breathes new life into the tradition of the great harmonizing vocal groups with its new cool: a collection of swinging, tightly harmonized originals that is quickly becoming a vocalese classic. Reviewers, radio hosts, and listeners have praised this group as a standout for their creative originality backed by superb musicality. Critics have described them as “vocalese at its best”… “as versatile and entertaining as any vocal group you will hear”… “pure fun”… “sensational”… and “a breath of fresh air.” For more than 20 years, UVJQ and their elite jazz band have been enchanting listeners and building a loyal audience across five continents with their close harmonies and stylized arrangements of American Songbook classics and jazz of all kinds. Their signature sound reminds the listener of such iconic vocal groups as the Manhattan Transfer and Lambert/Hendricks/Ross, but they have put their distinctive stamp on vocal jazz with their latest CD, Hustlin’ for a Gig, a collection of original music, lyrics, and arrangements spotlighting a stylish ensemble that sings and swings together with the precision and excitement of a big band on fresh new material that’s never been heard before. Group leader Ginny Carr has written an album full of delightfully literate lyrics (reminiscent of Jon Hendricks, Dave Frishberg, or Cole Porter), memorable melodies, and harmony-rich arrangements that spotlight both the ensemble and the individual voices. Backed by a terrific rhythm and horn section, the singers grab your attention with their original vocalese anthem, He Was The Cat, a tribute to the late jazz singer and father of vocalese, Eddie Jefferson. That song and the album as a whole was immediately heralded as a tour de force by Eddie’s friend and musical partner, the great alto saxophonist Richie Cole. From there, the...

Carol Welsman “Journey”

Carol Welsman plays piano as well as sings with a voice that mixes a bit of wisp, moxie and an inside joke twinkle-in-the-eye that you just won’t resist. She swings like the Nat Cole Trio on readings of “Route 66” and the clever “Never Make Your Move Too Soon,” and can glide like a baby in a bathtub on the slinky “You Came A long Way From St. Louis.” She has an uncanny knack for picking wonderful material as well. Who else would dare do a stark reading of vocals and piano on “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” or a French version of “Fly Me To The Moon,” and make it work? As for her delivery, she can take a lyric and hold it, clip it, gasp it, sigh it and coax in ways that will make you howl in ecstasy. If she comes to town, get a front row seat! By George W. Harris...

Giacomo Gates

No male jazz singer has a bigger gap between talent and fame than Giacomo Gates. A former construction worker who started his singing career late in life, Gates has released one excellent album after another, yet few people have heard of the guy. With his strong baritone and keen sense of timing, he reshapes standards at will, inserting both vocalese and scatting where no lyrics exist. He tackles more recent material on his new album, which was not intended to be a posthumous tribute; Gil Scott-Heron died in May, but Gates recorded these songs last fall and winter. In the course of these 10 tunes, Gates reveals new insights into Scott-HeronÕs oeuvre, from uptempo pieces like “Show Bizness” to slower numbers like “Winter in America.” Incisive (and still relevant) social commentary abounds, of course. Gates’s distinctive delivery – singing marginally below pitch, bending notes downward – is on display throughout, and his comfort with scatting is abundantly clear on tunes like “Legend in His Own Mind.” (Out now) by Steve Greenlee Boston Globe...

Hilary Kole, Duets

JUSTIN TIME ARTIST HILARY KOLE TEAMS UP WITH 11 LEGENDARY PIANISTS ON HER  LASTEST RELEASE, YOU ARE THERE Featuring Duets with Monty Alexander, Kenny Barron, Dave Brubeck, Alan Broadbent, Freddy Cole, Benny Green, Hank Jones, Steve Kuhn, Michel Legrand, Mike Renzi, and Cedar Walton You Are There marks the second album on Justin Time for Hilary Kole, the New York- based jazz singer (and pianist, arranger, and composer). Even though hundreds of singers are releasing what seems like hundreds of CDs these days, it’s fair to say that no vocalist – in either the classic or the contemporary era – has done an album like You Are There. This is a set of voice-and-piano duets, and though that fact by itself may call to mind Ella Fitzgerald’s famous meetings with Ellis Larkins and the iconic Tony Bennett-Bill Evans collaborations, no one has done what Hilary does here: she has teamed up with eleven different great pianists – each of them true legends of the keyboard – and recorded thirteen spontaneous piano-vocal duo tracks with these amazing musicians. The project got underway when Hilary met the late keyboard colossus Oscar Peterson in 2005. She was, then as now, singing frequently at Birdland (then as always, “the Jazz Corner of the World,” and her New York base of operations). Peterson made his final New York appearances at the Times Square venue, and Kole was always there (and so was every musician in Manhattan who wanted to learn from the master). The two became friends, and on one set, to her astonishment, Peterson invited her to sing with his quartet. Coincidentally, Hilary and her producer for this project, Gianni Valenti, had already been putting together ideas that led in the direction of a voice-and-piano project. “There was something very intimate, very moving about singing with just the piano,” she says. “It became...

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