New Music for July 3

The Lalama Brothers- Erie Ave

AR-Lalama.jpgDr. Dave Lalama received his Doctorate in music composition from New Your University and is currently the Professor of Music at Hofstra University. He has written and performed with, among others, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich and Mel Lewis. In addition to his numerous accomplishments in performing and recording, Dr. Lalama has also published articles about MIDI techniques and software. His brother, Ralph Lalama is a three time Grammy winner through his work with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and the Joe Lovano Nonet. Oddly enough, Erie Ave. is their first collaboration as brothers. The ten tracks of smooth, traditional jazz selections showcase two artists at the top of their game. Track number seven, "Till We Meet Again" is an homage to the noted bassist Dennis Irwin. Peter and Kenny Washington, another pair of brothers, appears on the album along with Joe Lovano playing a G mezzo-soprano saxophone.

Overall: 8
Sonics: 7.5

Matija Dedic' - Sentiana

AR-Matija.jpgMatija Dedic' started playing classical piano at age five and soon after began to discover all types of music. He was born in Zagreb to Arsen Dedic', a Croatian singer and songwriter. He has been a backup pianist for numerous Jazz musicians all over Europe including Benny Golson, Kenny Burrell, Jose Feliciano, Roy Haynes and Lenny White to name a few. Sentiana is Dedic's third US release and for this one he chose the Blue Bamboo label. Ten of the eleven songs are original compositions by Dedic' and also feature Scott Colley on bass and Antoni Sanchez on drums. For everyone who enjoys a piano virtuoso with complex melodies and sensitivity, and accompanied by two stellar sidemen, Sentiana is a selection that should not be missed.

Overall: 8
Sonics: 8

Eric Van Aro - Obsession

AR-Eric.jpgThe latest of a dozen or so releases on his own Switzerland based label, Eraki, Obsession is a collection of contemporary jazz ballads. All seven tracks are covers of some stellar songwriters including Paul Anka, Paul Williams and Stevie Wonder. Van Aro has music in his blood being the descendant of a family of musicians. He has embraced a wide variety of musical genres including jazz, pop, rock, world music and even rap. Obsession is an enjoyable work from an artist who has just about done it all. This is also a refreshing change from the huge proliferation of female jazz singers and is one to be sampled for it's simple beauty.

Overall: 8
Sonics: 8

The Doug Richards Trio Featuring Donna Singer- Jazz In The Living Room

AR-Donna.jpgIn the living room is a great place to listen to this highly enjoyable release from Donna Singer and The Doug Richards Trio. In fact, one might even enjoy it in the car, the boat, or just walking down the street with a portable device. Featuring lead singer Donna Singer, who is world renowned in her own right, Jazz In The Living Room highlights twelve standard and two original compositions by Singer and The Doug Richards Trio. All fourteen of the tracks are straight forward, no complications, and melodic, fun, enjoyable jazz. Singer has an incredible voice and is a graduate of the New York Academy of Theatrical Arts as well as formal training at the esteemed Julliard School. While writing this review I often found myself just listening to, and enjoying the music rather that writing the review. I'd say that is a sign of something good.

Overall: 9
Sonics: 8


Trio Shalva- Breeza

AR-Trio.jpgWhile it may seem unlikely that three jazz musicians should all be born in Israel, move to New York and only then meet and begin to play music together, that is exactly what happened in the case of Trio Shalva. Breeza is the trio's second release on their self released label. This is a rather unique work that captures elements of both traditional Israeli and Jewish compositions as well as classical jazz. That it does so with such elegance is the reward for the effort. Assaf Gleizner on piano, Koby Hayon on bass and guitar, and Nadav Snir Zelniker make up the trio and have performed with such notable artists as Pat Metheny and Paquito d'Rivera as well as a host of others. Breeza is a combination of hybrid and traditional jazz whose melodies range from soft and melodic to grand and soaring. With the exception of a cover of the Beatles "Eleanor Rigby," Breeza is a unique interpretation of music the trio heard all their lives growing up in Israel and transformed into something that Jazz fans everywhere may enjoy.

Overall: 8
Sonics: 8.5

Jamaze- Around The World

AR-Jamaze.jpgAt first I was not so very sure how to understand the new release from Jamaze titled Around The World released on the MSY Label. The opening track, Jerusalem, sounds partly traditional Jewish as well as straightforward jazz. About the time I became used to that, Dreamtime was a blend of Australian Aboriginal music and again, straightforward jazz. There are also interpretations of Brazilian jazz and even some good old American R&B hybrid jazz mix. Just to shake things up a bit, the group also included two traditional jazz selections. Hailing from Helsinki, Finland, Jamaze succeeds in capturing the listener's attention with a diverse musical blend while staying centered on the traditional jazz genre. Anyone who hears this work will find their early confusion about what style of music this actually is replaced by a complete enjoyment of what they are hearing. Because at it's heart, Around The World is just good music.

Overall: 8.5
Sonics: 8.5

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