Written by 4:15 am Audiophile Music

New Music for August 26

Paul Wilson serves up some new music for your listening pleasure.


Sari Kessler – Do Right

AR-Sari-Kessler.jpgBorn in New York, Sari Kessler is trained in both clinical psychology as well as music and acts as a jazz oriented singer, composer and arranger. Kessler credits Carmen McRae, Nina Simone and Ray Charles as her predominate influences. Despite her training in Pop and Soul, it was Grammy nominated Kate McGary who helped her find the path towards the rhythmic and harmonic aspects of jazz. Stylistically, a tangible correlation to Nina Simone might be found on the twelve tracks of jazz covers that comprise Do Right. On a larger scale, Kessler’s works are composed of the Great American Songbook and her sound is mainly softer, traditional jazz. Some of the cuts include “Sunny,” an often covered work written by Bobby Hebb, and also the Duke Ellington song, “The Gal From Joe’s.” Overall, this is simply a very well done, well performed, well recorded traditional jazz vocal work that is pleasing from first track to last.

Overall: 8

Sonics: 8

Patricia Barber – café blue

AR-Patricia-Barber.jpgMusically, café blue is an exploration of that classic café / smoky jazz club in some basement lounge. There are twelve covers all portraying an interesting take on the softer side of jazz vocals. What I found most interesting, and the reason I included it for review, is that the listed catalog number is a Hybrid SACD / Dual Layer SACD / CD and most interestingly, un-mastered. All of the tracks were recorded as the original studio mix and not re-mastered for release. Gus Skinas of the Super Audio Center noted: “On this café blue, un-mastered and and in DSD, you feel the character of Capital’s custom Neve board and you hear all the detail and space of those famous analog reverb chambers.” I can say that from a recording standpoint, café blue is spectacular. The presentation is sonically triumphant. If your tastes lean towards traditional jazz, female vocal works, the music itself will catch your attention. The sonics will keep you coming back.

Overall: 8

Sonics: 9.5

Tony Lustig – Taking Flight

AR-Tony-Lustig.jpgSometimes fate is a fortunate friend. Having taken violin lessons since an early age, Tony Lustig found his school didn’t offer a string section in the school band. Borrowing his older sister’s long before abandoned alto saxophone, Lustig immediately knew that the sax was his instrument of choice. In Taking Flight, that fortunate circumstance takes off with abandon on the first track, “Change is Commin,” a high octane, improv style traditional jazz work. All eight tracks of original compositions are centered in the traditional jazz genre. Lustig’s goal for Taking Flight was to create eight “feel good” tracks that typified his vision of jazz.  He also wanted to create something that anyone who had never heard jazz before would find interesting. While each track to some degree exemplifies some minor if not dramatic difference, all within the jazz genre, this is a very enjoyable CD. Even if you might not be totally captivated by traditional jazz, Taking Flight does that just enough to be consistently listenable and entertaining.

Overall: 8.5

Sonics: 8

Dave Hosley – Love For Sale

AR-Dave-Hosley.jpgDave Hosley has been a popular fixture in the San Francisco lounge scene for more than four decades. Oddly enough, Love For Sale is his first studio release. “Diamond Dave,” as he is known to his fans, clearly earned his chops the hard way – through hard work in the trenches. I could not help getting the image of hearing this guy belting out tunes in a really cool Bay Area nightclub. Recorded at Berkley’s famed Fantasy Studios, the ten covers include works by a diverse collection of artists such as Carole King, Billy Strayhorn, Irving Berlin and Burt Bacharach. His studio band is superb and is a typical collection of jazz artists. Backed by piano, Fender Rhodes, a complete horn section, a complex percussion section, bass and guitar, the music is exceptional in its own right. Add Hosely’s easy, natural voice and the listener is treated to a very enjoyable listening session from a performer who impeccably knows how to both entertain a crowd, or one listener in front of their audio system.

Overall: 8.5

Sonics: 8

]]>La Von Hardison – Come Together

AR-La-Von-Hardison.jpgBoston-born La Von Hardison has a childhood, Baptist Church choir, musical lineage. She also had formal vocal training in classical opera at the Boston Lyric Opera. Von Hardison’s voice is presented in such an easy, effortless manner that I never thought she had any difficulty with any of the nine covers. Make no mistake, when she wants to let go, as she does on “Maybe,” the third track, you can readily hear her commanding vocal presence but you also realize she has a lot more to give. Come Together is a collection of jazz, funk and soul and all the way, from track one to track nine, the listener’s reaction easily ranges from closed eyes in quiet reflection to toe tapping, finger snapping, smile on face enjoyment. While this is yet another traditional female vocal jazz release, I could very easily get lost listening to this skilled performer.

Overall: 8

Sonics:  8

Michael McDermott – Willow Springs

AR-Michael-McDermott.jpgIn his early 20’s, McDermott garnered extensive accolades for his debut release “620 W. Surf” and found himself straddling a stardom bound rocket ship. He was heralded as rock’s next big thing by media outlets such as MTV, Rolling Stone, The New York Times and oddly enough, even Steven King extolled his considerable talent. Sadly, McDermott fell victim to the temptations of stardom. His fall from grace due to alcohol and drugs over almost two decades seemed complete and he faded from the promise he once cherished. Fortunately, he became sober, got married, became a father and began writing and releasing new material. Willow Springs is his newest, and by any admission, is a return to his former glory – not really as a new sensation, but as an older and wiser version of his former self. McDermott wrote and produced all twelve tracks. Not only is he a supremely skilled songwriter, his voice, depending on the track, has a stunningly eerie resemblance to a very early Bob Dylan as it does on track one, to a Bruce Springsteen sound on track three. McDermott had a variety of circumstances to draw upon in creating this album. Those circumstances include becoming a new father, loosing his own father, moving from the city to the country and gaining sobriety. Perhaps all of that is the catalyst for the foundations of this work, maybe not. What ever the motivation, Willow Springs is an absolutely stunning release. Absolutely stunning. Maybe the rocket ship can fly once more.

Overall: 10

Sonics: 8

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