Jazz CD Reviews: November

Lyn Stanley
A.T. Music LLC 31104 screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-1-41-14-pm

The former United States ballroom dancing champion’s third album is arguably her best, not only because of the timeless quality of the songs but the way in which she stamps her own personality on them with effortless phrasing and flawless intonation. Not easy when you consider many of these songs are synonymous with great artists of the past, but it doesn’t appear to be a problem for a polished performer like Lyn Stanley who is among that unique band of vocalists who not only tells a story through the lyrics but does so with emotional warmth and class! And to think she has been singing professionally for little more than five years. The album begins and ends on a high note; Gershwin’s How long has this been going on with impressive trombone from Bob McChesney, and a duet with guitarist John Chiodini on I’m A Fool To Want You from the Sinatra canon. I first heard many of these songs as a teenager and these, with other gems from The Great American Songbook, have proven a refuge from the barbaric garbage which passes for popular music these days, and to hear them stylised by Stanley in a contemporary setting is a more than satisfactory experience. Take Boulevard of broken dreams,where its atmosphere is enhanced by the combination of Hendrick Meurtens’ harmonica and the cello of Cecilla Tsan- and with the same pair she elegantly remakes Ellington’s In A Sentimental Mood.

A beautifully recorded album.

– Kevin Jones

Classic! Live At Newport
Joe Lovano Quartet screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-1-41-57-pm
Blue Note 50383

This is another outstanding offering from the Joe Lovano Quartet featuring the late great Hank Jones. Jones passed away at the ripe young age of ninety-one in 2010, five years after this album was recorded at the Newport Jazz Festival in 2005. What we’re left with is another collaboration between Jones and Lovano that gave us the Blue Note album’s I’m All for You (the title track which finds its way into this live set), the now iconic Joyous Encounter plus the duo outing Kids: Live at Dizzy’s Club. Drummer Lewis Nash replaces Paul Motian in the quartet’s previous line up on this album, accompanying them in a different way to his predecessor’s sonic landscaping. He is more at home driving hard, and the other band members seem to thrive on it. Technically this is a classic jazz quartet in every sense of the term. It is blessed with the inclusion of Hank Jones, one of the modern jazz geniuses of all time. His playing emanates imagination and inspiration and all his solos are full of love and musical poetry. The Brazilian-influenced Don’t Ever Leave Me has some outstanding input from all players, and Oliver Nelson’s Six And Four allows Lovano to get raunchy and raucous on the tenor, Jones to skillfully spiral across the keys, Nash to pulsate and throb on percussion and George Mraz on bass to just keep on walking. This culminates the album’s mission – that of being the perfect jazz for a summer’s day – not just in Newport.

– Barry O’Sullivan

Bravo Nino Rota
The Umbrellas screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-1-42-28-pm
Armchair Records

Nino Rota was an Italian composer, pianist and conductor who is best known for his film scores; most notably for the films of Federico Fellini and Luchino Visconti. He also composed the first two film scores of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather trilogy, receiving the Academy Award for Best Original Score for The Godfather Part II, with the American Film Institute ranking Rota’s score number five on their list of the greatest film scores ever. This album focuses on Rota’s work for Fellini’s most popular films Amarcord, La Strada and La Dolce Vita plus Juliette Of The Spirits and Otto e Mezzo. Rota could write a great tune, and his driving force was a unique sense of melody combined with elements of folk, circus music and opera. He embodied these elements with lush orchestrations, marching bands, and Italian swing, whereas The Umbrellas’ approach is more of a salon chamber ensemble incorporating bits of wild saxophone, playful trombone and pocket trumpet. But there are also vibes, marimba, mezzo-soprano voice and drum & bass to enjoy, all accompanied by the piano, organ and accordion of maestro Peter Dasent who was responsible for all the arrangements. This recent re-issue of the 2001 recording of Rota’s music is a potpourri of sonic magic extracted by the band from Rota via Fellini via Dasent, giving it new breath and continuous life. For happy music on a Summer’s day, it is highly recommended.

– Barry O’Sullivan

These reviews appeared in the November edition of Fine Music Magazine – you can subscribe to our monthly magazine and have it posted to your home or business or click the link here to read online.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s