If early 2006 is remembered for nothing else, it will go down in history for the two greatest urban Americana albums of the 21st century to date – Dion's Bronx in Blue and Willie Nile's Streets of New York, a swaggering braggart of a disc that is to the modern Apple everything that Lou Reed's New York was 15 years before. The opening "Welcome to My Head" sets the stage, raising the curtain on a fantasy vision of the city nightlife that sums up every dream Broadway and beyond have ever instilled in the mind of the outsider, and set to a crunchy guitar melody that is as real as the streets that stretch out from there. It might be Nile's first album in six years, but it sounds as though he's been planning it his entire life – even the songs that slip outside of the city concept ("Asking Annie Out" is the first) share the crowded, bustling air of the more "relevant" rockers, while "The Day I Saw Bo Diddley in Washington Square" paints the scene so firmly that you'll see him, too. Even more impressively, the backing rarely motors in the directions you'd expect. Fiddles keen and a mandolin pounds, while Nile borrowed his band from as far afield as John Mellencamp and Rosanne Cash.
Los Angeles, January 21, 2014: CONAN is gearing up to celebrate funk on February 10 when the show brings in jazz-funk groove machine Rock Candy Funk Party (RCFP) - a band that delivers a sound that's as celebratory as the name suggests - for their late-night television debut…
You have to admire New York Voices' diversity – this is a jazz vocal group that has embraced everything from modal post-bop and Brazilian jazz to Stevie Wonder pearls. And how many artists have devoted an entire album to jazz interpretations of Paul Simon tunes? Not everything the Voices have recorded is great, but more often than not, their sense of adventure and open-mindedness have served them well. After paying tribute to pop-rocker Simon in 1997, the Voices make big band music the main focus of Sing, Sing, Sing. This time, they are backed by a big band and turn their attention to gems associated with swing icons like Benny Goodman ("Sing, Sing, Sing," "Don't Be That Way"), Duke Ellington ("In A Mellow Tone"), Woody Herman ("Early Autumn"), and Artie Shaw ("Stardust"). Although many of these classics came out of the Swing Era, Sing, Sing, Sing also has its share of post-World War II gems. Ralph Burns' lovely "Early Autumn" is a gem that Herman recorded in 1948, when he was exploring bop with his Second Herd and the Four Brothers. And "Orange Colored Sky," which was a major hit for Nat "King" Cole in 1950, is quite relevant to the CD's big band theme because Cole recorded it with the Stan Kenton Orchestra.
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).
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.