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The Lewis Porter/Phil Scarff Group: Three Minutes to Four Jazz Weekly Review

By: George Harris, December 4, 2017

Lewis Porter plays piano while Phil Scarff mixes tenor, soprano and sopranino sax with the Indian strung tamboura as they co-lead a quartet of originals with John Funkouser/b and Bertram Lehmann/dr. With the tamboura, Scarff creates some South Asian moods that mix well with jazz as on the “Raga Bhairavi” with his soprano sax and the “Skies of South Africa Suite” that have him on tenor and soprano as the rhythm team lurks with luminosity. Porter’s piano leads on the cantering “Journey” and delivers mysterious mood for Scarff’s serpentine tenor on “Oliver” with the team bops and Funkhouser delivers a deep groove on the Indian bopper “Bageshri.” Intriguing and exotic without a hint of gimmickry.

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KZSU 90.1 reviews Eric Wyatt’s Look to the Sky “There isn’t a dull track in this set”

Tom McCarter
Reviewed 2017-11-24 
Reviewed: 2017-11-24
Genre: Jazz
FCCs: none
Review: straight ahead cooking contemporary bop. A few nods to the past. There isn’t a dull track in the set. Lessons learned & extrapolated on.
If You Like: Pharoah Sanders, John Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock
Track Review (favorites denoted by*):
*1/ E-Brother (4:13) – piano starts> uptempo jam> rocking sax solo> trupet solo> jam> quick stop
2/ Look To The Sky-Sister Carol (8:31) – piano starts> uptempo jam> sax solo> piano solo> trumpet solo> soaring uptempo jam slows to fade
*3/ My Favorite Things (2:38) – piano starts> uptempo jam & song> sonic sax solo> swinging piano solo> song> long slow fade
*4/ Jolley Charlie (7:06) – drums start> fast tempo jam> sizzling sax solo> sax/drum duet> piano solo>
5/ A Psalm For Phennie (8:22) – piano starts> slow tempo jam swings to midtempo> sax solo> trumpet solo> piano solo> slow fade
*6/ One Finger Snap (4:32) – sax starts. fast tempo jam> spirited trumpet solo> lightning fast piano solo> sax solo> drum solo> fast jam> quick stop
7/ Afro Blue (8:01) – piano starts> midtempo swings into uptempo jam> sax solo> piano solo> uptempo jam> fade
*8/ Starting Point (6:51) – piano starts> uptempo jam> sax solo> swinging piano solo> bass solo> jam> crescendo end
9/ Tenderly(5:41) – piano starts> slow tempo jam> sax solo> fad

 

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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.

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Whaling City Sound represents in the Midwest Record- Dave Zinno and Eric Wyatt

WHALING CITY SOUND
DAVE ZINNO UNISPHERE/River of January:  This is a vastly different set from the kind from back in the day when jazzbos first discovered world beat and began to incorporate it.  Zinno charts a course to a new world with players that can maneuver it with their eyes closed.  Tasty jazz at the core throughout, this is a side of serious adult sitting down listening that really makes the time fly.  Lusciously played throughout, this crew defines another facet of the sound of summer.

ERIC WYATT/Look to the Sky:  A sax man that was kind of adopted by Sonny Rollins after his own father passed, this label debut is loaded with the kind of church basement honking you might expect from a cat given the freedom to chase that muse.  Muscular, angular playing that takes no prisoners and gives no quarter, this hard hitting date will angry up your blood just enough to let you know your heart is still beating righteously.  Tasty throughout.

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Alma Micic’s album shows youthful exuberance, but also a mature assurance

By: Joseph Lang

Serbian-born singer ALMA MICIC has been on the New York scene since graduating from Berklee College of Music in the late 1990s.  She has performed both locally and internationally and produced three albums prior to her current recorded endeavor, That Old Feeling (Whaling City Sound – 099).  She enlisted guitarist Rale Micic, bassist Corcoran Holt, drummer Jonathan Blake and vibist Tom Beckham for this nine-tune collection.  Micic’s voice is immediately welcoming.  She opens with the title track, but there is nothing old in the feeling of her singing.  She has a youthful exuberance, but also a mature assurance that finds the heart of each lyric.  In addition to familiar tunes like “That Old Feeling,” “Moonglow,” “Cry Me a River,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Estate” and “Blue Moon,” she sings two Serbian songs, one of her own and a folk tune, plus Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.”  All in all, That Old Feeling is a solid outing by Alma Micic.
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