Written by 5:51 am Audiophile Music

New Music for September 5th

Paul Wilson looks at some newly-released jazz recordings…


Ursula Ricks- My Street

AR-My-Street.jpgBased in Baltimore, My Street is the debut release from Ursula Ricks on the Severn Records label. Despite no formal training, Ricks voice is commanding, unique and big. In fact, she has the ability to blast out the ten tracks of blues / funk in a way that makes you remember what you heard. Eight of the tracks were written by Ricks and the remaining two, “Mary Jane” and “Just a Little Bit Of Love” are covers of classics by Bobby Rush and Curtis Mayfield, respectively. Ricks wrote her first song at age sixteen and in her early twenty’s had an all female band. She has performed in clubs and various venues up and down the East coast from New York to Florida and has performed at the Baltimore Blues Festival. My Street is the debut of what is hopefully more to come. If her future works are as energetic and fun as My Street, her fans are in for a real treat.

Overall: 9
Sonics: 8

Jason Lee Bruns Jazz Collective- Live At Catalina Jazz Club

AR-Jason-Lee-Bruns-Jazz-Collective.jpgOhio born Jason Lee Bruns founded the Jazz Collective in California in 2009 and has since been performing in sold out venues all over Southern California. Bruns, as well as the remainder of the ensemble are all comprised of graduates of the USC Flora L. Thornton School of Music. Other notable graduates include Dave Brubeck, Arturo Sandoval and Natalie Cole. Recorded live at the Catalina Jazz Club, the nine tracks are a blend of instrumental as well as vocal selections. Bruns is not only a talented drummer, but also a skilled composer and arranger and he deftly demonstrates this on this live album. His adaptations of selections by Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Antonio Carlos Jobim as well as others invite the listener to return again and again.

Overall: 8
Sonics: 8

Dave Askren / Jeff Benedict- It’s All About The Groove

AR-All-About-The-Groove.jpgPlaying the role as co-leaders, Dave Askren on guitar and Jeff Benedict on saxophone team up with Ramon Banda and John Belzaguy for ten tracks of groove exploration. The six standard, four original CD grooves through bebop, to swing, to funk to very soft and mellow. The goal was to blend old with new and do so in a way that was both fresh and exciting. Both Askren and Benedict have impressive musical pedigrees and have been musical teachers as well as playing professionally since an early age. This traditional jazz selection had as it’s goal to blend old and new and does so in a way that is unmistakable and a really good listen.

Overall: 8
Sonics: 8

]]>Diane Hubka- West Coast Strings

AR-West-Coast-Strings.jpgDiane Hubka was born in the Blue Ridge Section of Western Maryland into a musical family learning violin, trombone and guitar from an early age. She soon moved to Washington, DC where she frequented and absorbed all she could in the area’s popular jazz clubs. Upon moving to New York in 1986 and studying piano, guitar and voice, she put together a group of noted East Coast musicians and released You Inspire Me in 2002. In 2004 she moved to L. A. and it should only follow that her next work should be a West Coast version of her earlier East Coast release. West Coast Strings is all about guitars. There is an occasional organ and I counted drum tracks on four selections, but basically, the the thirteen songs are all guitar. Hubka has assembled a list of top tier guitarists for this CD and with her captivating, Diana Krall – like sounding voice, this is a completely enjoyable release. If you like a great singer with both acoustic and electric guitars then this is a CD you should try.

Overall: 8
Sonics: 8.5

Resonance- Introductions

AR-Introductions.jpgAt first I was unsure how to exactly classify the new debut release from the octet known as Resonance. Somewhat jazz, somewhat classical, Introductions is really a mix of both. Mixing standard jazz oriented instruments such as a saxophone, bass and drums with classically oriented instruments like a cello, viola, violin and a piccolo is a novel approach. And it did not take me very long to figure out the success in the effort. Led jointly by Stephen McQuarry on piano and Georgina Krieger on sax, what is assembled is a wide mix of standard jazz and classical with a 1940’s feel. Some of the tracks are decidedly up – tempo and some are very soft and sentimental. As it should be since Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood” is but one of the covers. Technically, Introductions is a jazz release but is really much more. It is an excellent collaboration of eight talented musicians who did something that has not really been tried before. And they succeeded.

Overall: 8.5
Sonics: 8

Kanji Ohta & The Jazz Family- Our Jazz Family

AR-Our-Jazz-Family.jpgIn 2002, Kanji Ohta and Toshiko Kiru put on a concert for family and friends to celebrate their fifteenth wedding anniversary. It was recorded and meant to be private. Time does funny things so ten years later, and again on their wedding anniversary, they decided to publically release the original concert. A year or so later Our Jazz Family was released. With Jimmy Heath on sax Our Jazz Family is straight up, yet upbeat, traditional jazz. Also on this CD is Earl May on bass and Jimmy Lovelace on drums, both of whom sadly passed away after the original 2002 recording. While most of the tracks have a foot tapping, upbeat rhythm, the number five track, “The Voice Of The Saxophone” is very soft and mellow. All in all there is nothing new here. It is just simply an enjoyable good time of traditional jazz recorded when a group of family and friends were having fun.

Overall: 8
Sonics: 8

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