New Music for Your Weekend

 

Yuko Ito- O Cantador                                               

AR-Yoko-Ito.jpgBorn in Tokyo, Japan, educated and received a B.F.A Degree from City College New York, performed with the Harlem Gospel Choir and the Blue Note, singer Yoko Ito has a diverse musical background. Her second release, O Cantador is a Brazilian Jazz themed work with a hint and flair of Japan. While mostly soft, mellow relaxing music, sung in what sounded to me like predominately Japanese, Ito has released a work of thoroughly enjoyable music. This is a work that, despite two tracks with some real kick to them, is soft, melodic and enjoyable in any language. Pour a glass of wine and enjoy the show. 

Overall: 8 

Sonics: 8 

Del Sol String Quartet: Peter Sculthorpe: The Complete String Quartets with Didjeridu                    

AR-Del-Sol.jpgPeter Sculthorpe was born in 1929 in Launceston, Tasmania and became a leading Australian composer of string quartet works influenced by his continent's indigenous people. In this tribute, the Del Sol Quartet is joined with Steven Kent who is a master of the Didjeridu. So if you are wondering how string quartet music must sound with an aboriginal wind instrument, wonder no more - remarkable would be an apt description. The work contains String Quartets Nos. 12, 14, 16, and 18 all with Didjeridu accompaniment. I had no idea how low in frequency this instrument, or my speakers for that matter, could reach, all owed to the remarkable talent of Steven Kent. My review copy was a two CD set along with a Pure Audio Blu-ray version. 

Overall: 8.5

Sonics: 8 

Alicia Olatuja - Timeless 

AR-Alica-Olatuja.jpgAlicia Olatuja is a diverse talent. While a classically trained mezzo-soprano, she also regularly performs in Music Theater and opera, has given concerts at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, and has now started to dabble in jazz. Her performance at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration was called both "stunning" and "breathtaking." In her most recent jazz release "Timeless," Olatuja performs both original works as well as several covers in a ten-track work of wonder. On eight of the tracks her voice is simple, elegant and never strained. In fact, she hardly seems like she's trying to sing at all the music comes so easily. On two tracks, she lets it go just a bit and demonstrates her remarkable abilities. Track number 9- "The One" was my favorite. This is simply good relaxing music in a jazz style sung by an impressive talent that I found melodic, enjoyable and repeatable. 

Overall: 8.5

Sonics: 8

 

 

Bob Mundy - Something Beautiful 

AR-Bob-Mundy.jpgIn addition to being a singer and composer, Queens, NY born, Long Island raised, Bob Lundy is also an actor and a member of the SAG and Actors Equity. His exposure to jazz came at an early age and while trained on the piano, once he gave his first vocal performance, he hasn't looked back. His first release under his own name, Something Beautiful, is just exactly that. This music is a jazz oriented, mellow and relaxing work and the perfect recipe for a difficult day. His twelve original tracks have the intention to "connect," something I think he accomplishes with ease. 

Overall: 8

Sonics: 8 

Cameron Siegal - Word Junk 

AR-Cameron-Siegal.jpgDrummer and percussionist Cameron Siegal was educated at Florida State where he completed his Master of Music Degree. It was also at FSU that he was first introduced to musical styles from around the world. In his debut solo release, "World Junk," Siegal combines standard, tradition jazz with African, Brazilian, and even Cajun styles. The six tracks are all essentially different. Track one is straight up, high-energy traditional jazz, while track two has an African sound and track three has a steel pan theme. Siegal displays his talent for creating a diverse and enjoyable work that is sure to please. 

Overall: 8

Sonics: 8 

The Jack Kerowax - Kerowax           

AR-Jack-Kerowax.jpgKerowax is the debut album of The Jack Kerowax, a Dallas-Fort Worth based band headed by Johnny Beauford. While his voice sounds eerily similar to Paul Simon, his music is "straight outa Texas." Part blues, part folk, part rock and roll a la Stevie Ray Vaughn, this is a killer release, especially if you like the diverse musical style of the Lone Star State.  The first track, "Fever" is a high-octane rock and roll song with a toe-tapping beat I actually listened to it twice before moving on to the next song. Stylistically, there is a lot to go around in this ten-track work of all original music. Kerowax will get additional playtime on my system because it is just good, fun music - "Texas Style." 

Overall: 9.5

Sonics: 8

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