…Whatever other recordings you may have in your library, Veldhoven’s inspired reading, with its exceptional blend of committed musicianship and scholarship should definitely be auditioned by all who love this work. This is without doubt a top recommendation and anyone receiving this set, as an Easter gift, will surely be delighted.
Jimmy Scott, was an American jazz vocalist famous for his high countertenor voice and his sensitivity on ballads and love songs. Lionel Hampton gave him the nickname "Little Jimmy Scott" because he looked young and was short and of slight build. His phrasing made him a favorite of artists including Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Frankie Valli, Dinah Washington, and Nancy Wilson.
Phil Woods is right at home during these 2002 sessions at Red Rock Recording Studio near his home in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania. With his regular group (Bill Charlap, Steve Gilmore, and Bill Goodwin) minus trumpeter Brian Lynch, Woods adds strings conducted by his old friend Eric Doney on this collection of ballads. "And When We're Young" is the alto saxophonist's tribute to the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated around the time it was written. The leader's lush alto gives way to a brisk Latin-flavored passage featuring powerful solos by violinist Andy Stein and Charlap on piano, while Woods humorously detours into "Nature Boy" upon his return. The strings introduce a lively arrangement of "It Never Entered My Mind," and another favorite of the alto saxophonist, "If I Should Lose You." Unlike many jazz recordings with strings, they complement rather than overwhelm the musicians. But it is almost impossible for a Phil Woods-led date to turn out less than excellent.
Celebrated as an instrumentalist and a vocalist, Australian artist Nicki Parrott has earned acclaim as one of the most engaging talents to emerge on the jazz scene in the 21st century. Born in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia in 1970, Parrott had a precocious talent for music, first learning to play the piano when she was four years old.
Since his stunning debut in 1974 with the now world-famous audiophile recordings for the Three Blind Mice label, Japanese pianist Tsuyoshi Yamamoto has built a career that now spans four decades. His brand-new trio album What A Wonderful World follows his previous release Gentle Blues (VHCD-1118), his first recording for Venus Records in 14 years. In fact, the 12 tracks in this CD were recorded on the day after 10 tracks on Gentle Blues were recorded. It is remarkable that Yamamoto and his trio recorded enough materials for two CDs in two consecutive days, but then again, he is a veteran pianist who doesn't like to repeat himself and prefers to record everything in a single take.
Spectacular playing by Higgins accompanied and backed by Jay Leonhart on bass and Mark Taylor on drums. I will confess that my favorite drummer who was frequently a member of Higgins' trios was Joe Ascione, but Taylor is perfect on this album. If you are a Higgins fan, then you are probably familiar with Leonhart who is almost telepathically connected to Higgins.
One of a handful of the very best piano jazz interpreters in the world, Eddie Higgins takes his place along side Beegie Adair, Dick Hyman, Oscar Peterson, John Proulx, Hank Jones, and maybe five or six other masters. This CD, like all his albums is stunning in its simplicity and in its complexity. A master of interpretation, melodic invention and smooth, easy jazz at his peak.
The fifth installment of tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander's "Gentle Ballads" series doesn't disappoint. His unwavering, strong tone and unsentimental approach, combined with a certain peacefulness and strong spirituality of his playing, produce stunning results. For the first time in this series, master pianist George Cables joins the band and makes valuable contributions.
Pianist Steve Kuhn, accompanied by David Finck and Billy Drummond, explore classical works by a number of top composers from the 19th and 20th centuries on this Japanese release, though they are used as a launching pad for improvisation. Maurice Ravel's "Pavane for a Dead Princess" is recast as a soft samba, also incorporating a bit of an earlier standard that was derived from the French Impressionist's piece, "The Lamp Is Low." Chopin is obviously one of Kuhn's favorite classical composers, as three of his features, highlighted by a dreamy setting of "Nocturne in E Flat Major, Op. 9, No. 2." He brightens the tempo of Claude Debussy's "Reverie" while retaining its lyricism, while slowing Johannes Brahms' "Lullaby" to a crawl and demonstrating how a master jazz pianist utilizes space as an element of improvisation.
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music
To Steve Hackett, I followed his career from his beginnings with “Genesis” and his subsequent career as a soloist.