An absolutely beautiful recording of two virtuosos. While bassist Charlie Haden may set the stage with his deep acoustic tone, the architect is the harmonic master pianist Chris Anderson. His resume includes a lengthy position as Dinah Washington's pianist and he served as Herbie Hancock's teacher. This is one of his rare recordings as a leader and, to our ears, undoubtedly his best. Recorded at the Cami Hall in New York in the summer of 1997. (Source: musicdirect.com)
New York-born singer Indra Rios-Moore, now living in Barcelona, releases her new album “Carry My Heart”. It comes right after her pretty successful (at least in Europe) “Heartland” album. One of the most sympathetic features of the album is the fact that Indra wanted to record an optimistic record because there was (and is) simply too much whining going on. Not that most of the current matters aren’t disheartening, but it feels good to be warmed and eased by Indra’s warm and caressing voice on covers such as “I Can See Clearly Now” or Curtis Mayfield’s “Keep On Pushin'”. Still, you can file this one under “protest” albums, too because during the writing process, a certain Drumpf took over the White House.
An early-'80s jazz-pop-R&B synthesis as durable and pleasing as any other, Straight from the Heart was Patrice Rushen's most successful album, at least from a sales standpoint: it peaked at number 14 on the pop chart, 25 slots higher than 1980's Pizzazz. Still working with a core group of associates — including Freddie Washington, Charles Mims, Paul M. Jackson, and Marlo Henderson (along with a still young Gerald Albright) — that went back to her earlier Elektra albums, the material here is as slick as ever, but not at the expense of lighter rhythms or less memorable melodies. Much of the album's popularity can be attributed to the club hit "Forget Me Nots," Rushen's most-known single — a breezy, buoyant mixture of handclaps, fingersnaps, twisting bass, and Rushen's typically blissful (and not overplayed) electric piano, not to mention the incorporation of a bad bass-and-percussion breakdown.
One of the major voices in the highly political Asian improvisation movement of the 1980s and '90s, baritonist Fred Ho on this memorable CD performs everything from modernized swing and Charles Mingus-influenced ensembles to short solo baritone pieces and selections that mix together Western and Eastern instruments. He utilizes two ensembles: the 11-piece Journey Beyond the West Orchestra (which includes such instruments as the sona, erbu, and san shuen along with more conventional jazz horns and rhythm, plus occasionally the somewhat jarring Chinese soprano vocals of Cindy Zuoxin Wang) and the five-piece Afro-Asian Music Ensemble.
A few years ago the trumpeter-composer Dave Douglas released “Be Still,” a beautifully poignant album made in response to the loss of his mother. The album also formally unveiled his new band, a young quintet with the creative resources to hit the ground running. “Brazen Heart,” Mr. Douglas’s assured new release, showcases the same group at a more advanced stage in its evolution, as he again tries to transcend grief with art.