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Hot Jazz For Summer

by Andrew Elias

WHETHER YOU'RE LOOKING for cool jazz for a hot night or hot jazz for a cool crowd – there are several outstanding new CDs from a group of very talented young jazz artists.

This is not your ‘light’ or ‘smooth’ jazz. This is jazz the way Cannonball Adderley, Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon, Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver, and Hank Mobley played it in the hard pop heydays of the 1950s and 1960s. Jazz with soul and daring. These are young musicians reimagining standards and breaking boundaries — creating a new bop for the new century.

Terell Stafford
This Side of Strayhorn
Max Jazz
No less than piano great McCoy Tyner proclaimed Stafford “one of the great players of our time.” After several highly acclaimed releases of mostly original compositions, Terell explores the music of the great composer and Duke Ellington collaborator, Billy Strayhorn, reimagining classics like ‘Lush Life’, ‘My Little Brown Book’, and ‘Johnny Come Lately’ as well as lesser known gems. The result is sometimes surprising and always exciting. Saxophonist Tim Warfield joins him and provides a little swagger to compliment Stafford’s soulful sound.
www.maxjazz.com

Tim Warfield
A Sentimental Journey
Criss Cross Jazz
Warfield’s new release also explores jazz standards like ‘In A Sentimental Mood’, ‘My Man’, ‘Crazy Rhythm’, and the title song — with a reverence that doesn’t interfere with his sense of fun. Trumpeter Terell Stafford teams up with Warfield, who plays both tenor and soprano sax, for a set of tunes that range from slinky ballads to wild jams.
www.crisscrossjazz.com

Sean Jones
No Need for Words
Mack Avenue
One time lead trumpeter in Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln center Orchestra, Jones’ new release features the powerful and passionate sound he is known for. A collection of original compositions about love, the album showcases Sean’s emotional playing as much as his gift for melody. Alternately sexy and spiritual, Jones succeeds in creating music that is thoughtful and touching. Pianist Orrin Evans joins him on piano, adding more class to a very classy album.
www.mackavenue.com

Orrin Evans
Captain Black Big Band
Posi-Tone
Orrin Evans has a very interesting and exciting new release — a departure from his more intimate recordings with just a trio. This album, recorded live, has a big band and a big sound. It’s bluesy and brassy and blazing — and lots of fun. Personal favorites are ‘Here’s the captain’ and ‘Captain Black’, both more than 9 minutes of jazz bursting at the seams.
www.posi-tone.com

Wayne Escoffery
Uptown
Posi-Tone
One of the outstanding members of the Captain Black Big Band, and labelmate, Wayne Escoffery, has a new release showcasing his swinging style and strong sound on tenor saxophone in a quartet with guitar, organ and drums. The group has a unique sound that takes Duke Ellington’s ‘I Got It Bad’ to new places as well as illuminating Escoffery’s exotic ‘Gulf of Aqaba’ and bluesy ‘Easy Now.’
www.posi-tone.com

Jeremy Pelt
The Talented Mr. Pelt
Highnote
Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt has released yet another great album that showcases his passion, power and technical prowess. Even with an outstanding band that features J. D. Allen, an equally powerful voice on saxophone, it is Pelt’s tasteful and precise solos that make this album so special. When the band is burning it is Pelt who tempers the sound and when the band is swinging it is Pelt who adds a spark. Pelt proves again that he is as good as any trumpeter today.
www.jazzdepot.com

J.D. Allen Trio
Victory!
Sunnyside
This, Allen’s third album with his pianoless trio, may be his best. With only his tenor saxophone along with bass and drums, he packs a lot into every tune, most under 4 minutes long. The brevity allows him to stretch the melodies, but never too far. Best among the tracks is the somber title track, the exotic ‘Sura Hinda’ and the smoky ‘Stairway to the Stars’.
www.sunnysiderecords.com

from the July-August 2011 issue