Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival is one of the most prestigious jazz festivals in the world. It was held for the fifth time in 2009 and was participated by more than 1,000 artists involved in 200 programs and attracted more than 80,000 visitors during its three-day stretch (March 6, 7, 8).
Features 24 bit digital remastering. Comes with a description. An unusual global session for Atlantic Records – an album that has John Lewis presenting work by three other musicians that he feels are ripe for wider discovery! The set's got some killer work from Rene Utreger – a key Parisian player in the postwar years, working here with dexterity that's almost at a Bud Powell level! Dick Katz is also featured on the set – with some nice colors and tones in the mix, similar to some of the work he'd go onto do for Atlantic and other labels. And perhaps the least known here is the British player Derek Smith – stepping out with a lyrical style that's captured surprisingly well here – and which makes the record a key addition to Smith's catalog.
With ensemble vocal jazz, the danger is always that tight and complex harmony writing will come across as too smooth and too sweet – for some reason, chords that sound sharp and bracing when distributed among reed instruments can sound cloying and overly slick when sung by human voices. The vocal/instrumental quartet New York Voices don't avoid that trap entirely on their latest album (and their first as an ensemble in seven years), but they continue to demonstrate their mastery of the genre with a solid program of new and old songs and innovative arrangements. Their take on "Darn That Dream" is startlingly new (and features a fine bass clarinet solo by Bob Mintzer), and the lyrics that group members added to John Coltrane's "Moment's Notice" work very nicely. Not everyone will agree that the world needed a vocal jazz version of Laura Nyro's "Stoned Soul Picnic," but the New York Voices' version is really lots of fun and is sure to bring a nostalgic tear to more than one baby-boomer eye. Apart from a couple of saccharine moments on "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," A Day Like This is a pleasure from start to finish. Recommended.
Jimmy Smith brought the Hammond organ into hard bop and jazz in the 1950s, and his piano-fast solo runs on the instrument have never been equaled. This warm set from Blue Note Records, the label where Smith built most of his impressive legacy, selects eight of his performances for the label, including a 20-minute (and ten second) version of "The Sermon," the bouncing "Back at the Chicken Shack," and a fun romp through "See See Rider," among other delights, making this a quick introduction to the peak creative era of this one-of-a-kind jazz artist's long career.
Norah Jones took liberty with her blockbuster success to set out on a musical walkabout, spending a good portion of the decade following 2004's Feels Like Home experimenting, either on her own albums or on a variety of collaborations. Day Breaks, released four years after the atmospheric adult alternative pop of the Danger Mouse-produced Little Broken Hearts, finds Jones returning home to an extent: it, like her 2002 debut Come Away with Me, is a singer/songwriter album with roots in pop and jazz, divided between originals and sharply selected covers. Such similarities are immediately apparent, but Day Breaks is much slyer than a mere revival…