There may never be a setting as beautiful or a locale as ideal as a breathtaking ocean view complete with the sounds of beautiful Latin jazz floating over the ocean breeze. The fifth CD in the Colors of Latin Jazz series sets the scene for a collection of contemporary, smooth jazz peppered with Latin rhythms and percussion. This CD is a musical hybrid that's at once cool and smooth, yet hot and spicy! Up first is Jeff Linsky's beauty "Up Late," originally issued on Up Late by Concord Picante. His dynamic colors beckon the listener to "Come With Me," the second track sung and scatted by the inimitable Tania Maria on a cool samba just right for a hot day or night. Another smooth scorcher, "San Sabastian" by Ed Calle with special guest Arturo Sandoval is some of Sandoval's most melodic sax work bordered on all sides by the beauty of Spanish guitar, brass, and strings.
Glenn Miller's reign as the most popular bandleader in the U.S. came relatively late in his career and was relatively brief, lasting only about three and a half years, from the spring of 1939 to the fall of 1942. But during that period he utterly dominated popular music, and over time he has proven the most enduring figure of the swing era, with reissues of his recordings achieving gold record status 40 years after his death. Miller developed a distinctive sound in which a high-pitched clarinet carried the melody, doubled by a saxophone section playing an octave lower, and he used that sound to produce a series of hits that remain definitive examples of swing music. Miller's approach is not much appreciated by jazz fans…
Randy Brecker's debut album features the trumpeter leading two distinct all-star small groups, each with younger brother Michael (who was only 19 when this was recorded) on tenor sax, Larry Coryell on guitar, and Hal Galper on piano. The tunes alternate between jazz-rock (a style the Brecker Brothers were later to successfully exploit) and modern mainstream jazz. There are the customary fades, popular at the time, and a light, though constant, beat throughout that makes the music both accessible and even danceable, an impressive feat considering that virtually all the tunes are originals. The Brecker Brothers exhibit a command of their horns and a maturity that was to serve them well for many years. The recording has weathered the years well, in part because even the fusion pieces never lose their focus, nor do they compromise artistry for popular fads.
Reissue with SHM-CD format and new 24bit remastering. Johnny Smith really helped bring the sound of jazz guitar to a huge audience in the 50s – and an album like this is a perfect demonstration of his subtle genius on the instrument! At a time when so many others were working the guitar with a hard-edged sound, Smith moves into territory that's even more careful and precise – really making the most of the amplification on the strings, so that his touch can be gentle, but very pointed – allowing for lots of space between the notes, in a way that makes each of them mean even more than they might if strung together in a flurry. The group's a trio – with the bass and drums really giving Johnny a lot of room.
Criminally overlooked by academics, critics and purists who refuse to listening to anything outside of conventional jazz vernacular, Andy Bey's delivery on Experience and Judgment goes beyond anything he previously committed to tape, revealing a spiritual side that's punched up and supported by a jazz-funk ensemble. The album's opener "Celestial Blues" finds Bey delivering lines that wouldn't be out of place on Bill Withers records from this era, and the remainder of the album sounds similar to the works of such contemporaries as Roy Ayers and Gil Scott-Heron. It's soul soothing music that's been played with great reverence by the rare soul and funk community for years and rightly so, as Bey captures the essence of the soul world brilliantly, and fuses it into something that is uniquely his own.