O’s Place Jazz Notes: New York-based Colombian composer and reed man Jay Rodriguez has played everything from Hip Hop to Latin and Straight ahead jazz. He leans towards modern jazz with a Latin twist on Your Sound, his latest release. It was recorded live at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in New York to an appreciative audience. Billy Harper (tenor sax), Larry Willis (p), Eric Wheeler (b), J.T. Lewis (d) and Billy Martin (perc) join him to perform ten high-energy new compositions.
O’s Notes: Guitarist John Stein returns to the studio to produce Color Tones a bright canvas of ten originals and one freshly arranged classic. The liner call him “a musicians musician… a leader who can follow…” Both are accurate descriptors for a man who leads for the good of all and especially the listener! Phil Grenadier (t), John Lockwood (b) and Fernando Brandão (fl) and Zé Eduardo Nazario (d) are his accomplices and they all shine on their moments in the spotlight. We enjoyed “Neck Road”, the relaxed “Labor of Love” featuring Grenadier and the subtle funkiness on “The Commons” and “Angel Eyes”.D. Oscar Groomes
O’s Place Jazz Newsletter
O’s Notes: “Expansions are a series of open, free form interpretations of classics and originals. Dave Liebman (soprano sax, fl) leads a quintet with Bobby Avey (keyboards), Matt Vashlishan (alto sax, cl, fl), Tony Marino (b) and Alex Ritz (d). There are 14 well-developed songs on two discs, the first is all acoustic and the second, electric. We liked “All Blues”, “Selim” and “Good Bait” on D-1. And we were energized by D-2 especially on “Footprints”, “Ugly Beauty” and “Danse La Le Fueeur”. This album works in part because the Dave sticks close enough to the original themes to help listeners connect while also infusing a generous dose of improvisation. The recording quality is also excellent capturing all of the nuances and air around the instruments.”D. Oscar Groomes
O’s Place Jazz Newsletter
Rale Micic – Night Music 4/3
O’s Notes: Serbian guitarist Rale Micic moved to New York 17 years ago and has made himself a notable part of the jazz scene. He assembles a fusion-based quartet to perform Night Music, a collection of original music with a few well-placed arrangements of Bela Bartók’s classical compositions. As the title suggests, much of the program is soothing ballads featuring Micic’s liquid, warm melodies and a touch of mystery. Among the best selections are “Hotel Insomnia” and “Blue”. Pianist Danny Grissett delivers an explosive solo on the title track, one of the Bartók arrangements that illustrate the lively adventures that can occur after dark. Jonathan Blake (d) and Corcoran Holt (b) also deliver strong support in a fine recording.