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Terry Gibbs’ 92 Years Young, named one of All About Jazz’s top picks of 2017

By: Dan Bilawski

Few things are a given, yet we can always count on a flood of new music making its way into the world over the course of a year. In 2017 some of the best jazz found its path by looking forward, doubling back, and/or branching out. In short, this music and the dedicated artists who make it continued to uphold a legacy paradoxically built on tradition, change, absorption, and refraction. I had the pleasure of listening to more than four hundred albums over the past year, and I covered approximately one hundred of them for All About Jazz. These twenty-five stood tallest in that crowd (Note: selections on this list are NOT ranked):

 


Terry Gibbs
92 Years Young: Jammin’ At The Gibbs House
(Whaling City Sound)

Here is what Dan Bilawski thought about 92 years young when it released back in June:

For a brief moment, put aside the fact that legendary vibraphonist Terry Gibbs is now ninety-two years old. Just listen to the YouTube video at the bottom of this piece—lyrical, swinging, and vibrant as any jazz out there—and take it in. It’s something beautiful, right? Nothing radical or groundbreaking at all, but most certainly jazz of the highest order. Now, go back to Gibbs’ age. At ninety-two, he’s at a point where most of his peers are either gone from this earth or lacking the vitality that served them well in their younger years. Few make it to that stage and far fewer have much to celebrate if they do. But Gibbs is that one-in-a-million man, loving life, smiling away, and still making his mark as one of the greatest vibraphonists of all time.

Gibbs essentially went into retirement around the time that he gained nonagenarian status, but when a one-off jam session at his house yielded a YouTube video that went viral overnight, the idea of making another album surfaced. Whaling City Sound’s Neal Weiss approached him about it and, despite the fact that Gibbs had declined Weiss’ offers to record in the recent past, he agreed. There was just one condition: the vibes legend didn’t want to go into a studio, so he offered up the idea of recording a jam session in his own home. Weiss was game for that, the plans were put together, the music was recorded and mastered, and here we have it—or about half of it, anyway. Over the course of four days in 2016, Gibbs and his band for the occasion—John Campbell on piano, Mike Gurrola on bass, and son-labelmate Gerry Gibbs on drums—recorded thirty-one songs. Gibbs picked the performances he liked best, and that’s what made it onto the album.

When taken with the aforementioned information, what makes this recording all the more remarkable is the fact that there were no written arrangements and most everything was done in a single take. In the end, musical self-assuredness coupled with spontaneity helped to create pure perfection. That’s apparent in Campbell’s smart juxtaposition of a familiar bebop strain against Gibbs’ “Back Home In Indiana” melody line, the vibraphonist’s classy and glowing cadenza at the tail end of “What’s New?,” some playfully traded fours between both Gibbs men in various spots, and the interlaced piano and vibraphone streams on “Yardbird Suite.” And that’s merely a handful of bright moments on an album overflowing with them. Time may remain an unbeatable adversary for all mankind, but it’s beautifully clear that Terry Gibbs has yet to acknowledge and accept that inevitable truth. Long may his mallets move.

To buy 92 Years Young, click here
To see Dan Bilawski’s other top picks for 2017 click here
To see the original review of 92 years Young, click here
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Alma Micic’s That Old Feeling has a “bold repertoire and compelling performance”

By: C. Michael Bailey

Serbian vocalist Alma Micic‘s 2014 Tonight (CTA Records) was a welcome addition to the jazz vocals discography because of its bold repertoire and compelling performance. Micic returns with a decidedly more focused and refined recording that mixes the new and old with her own original “Ne Zaboravi me” and Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” with durable standbys, “That Old feeling” and “Blue Moon.” Micic is joined by guitarist and husband Rale Micic, bassist Corcoran Holt, drummer Jonathan Blake and vibraphonist Tom Beckham, the latter whose presence provides the recital a playful sepia patina. Both Micics and Beckham tear it up on “Moonglow” and then, “Cry Me a River” and “Honeysuckle Rose” in a triptych highlighting the first half of the 20th Century. Micic’s voice is red-wine complex with subtle notes of Eastern Europe. The best selection on the recording, easily, is “Estate” which the Micics perform as a duet. That Old Feeling is a fine follow-up to Tonight and precedes some doubtlessly fine.

To read the rest of the article clickhere 

To buy That Old Feeling, click here

in Client News, Mixed Media News, Press Release 1

Donahue plays alto, sax, and flugelhorn on his new album- review

By: Jack Bowers

People who have an aversion to bugs (do you know any?) may hesitate to purchase (or even review) an album whose title epitomizes the very thing they abhor. But even though multi-instrumentalist Miles Donahue‘s new album does nod to that often-despised creature and even includes a song by that name, there is more to it than that; one might even say that Donahue removed the most of the “bugs” from the studio before he and his colleagues started recording.

One of the reasons that Donahue, who plays alto sax, trumpet and flugelhorn on The Bug, isn’t more widely known is that he chose to raise a family in his native New England rather than seek his fame and fortune in a wider arena, although he did spend time in Europe almost two decades ago before resuming a career in education with performance as a sideline. As this album marks his debut for Whaling City Sound, Donahue helped assure its merit by assembling a blue-ribbon supporting cast that includes guitarist Mike Stern, pianist Tim Ray and drummer Ralph Peterson. Going one step further, Donahue asked one of his college classmates if he would be able to make the gig, and Jerry Bergonzi said yes, he would. Miles Donahue: The Bug

To read the full review, click here

To buy Miles Donahue’s new album, click here

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John Stein: Color Tones- “Sharp and lively rhythms with a Latin-Caribbean flavor”

John Stien: Color Tones

By; Jack Bowers- August 2, 2017

On Color Tones, his ninth album for Boston’s Whaling City Sound label, Kanas City-bred guitarist John Stein has chosen a quintet whose front line includes trumpeter Phil Grenadier and flute specialistFernando Brandao. All tones considered, it’s a splendid idea, as Grenadier and Brandao blend well with Stein’s lucent, well-groomed guitar, while bassist John Lockwood and drummer Ze Eduardo Nazzario comprise a snug and unflappable rhythm section. Even though everyone in the ensemble is a talented soloist, the emphasis for the most part is on sharp and lively rhythms, more often than not with a Latin / Caribbean flavor. Exceptions are the shapely ballad “Jo Ann,” written by Stein for his mother, and the leisurely “Salt Marsh Down.” Stein penned every number save the Matt Dennis / Earl Brent standard “Angel Eyes,” whose likeable mid-tempo reading is introduced by Nazario’s drums and enhanced by Brandao’s nimble flute solo. Stein’s modest, plain-spoken compositions set the rhythmic compass and serve as a durable launching pad for the soloists. Although Stein is the nominal leader, Color Tones is by any measure a group effort, with Grenadier and Brandao given ample room to extemporize (and accentuate the various melodies) while Lockwood and Nazario are indispensable allies in the trenches. A splendid quintet date with much to offer the perceptive listener.

John Stein: Color Tones

To see more about John Stein click here 

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