Sunday, July 24, 2016

Book of the Month - "Robert Rawlins: Tunes of the Twenties"

Book of the Month:
"Tunes of the Twenties And All That Jazz - The Stories Behind The Songs" by Robert Rawlins (Rookwood House)

978-0-996-59490-5  paperback  294 pp106 illustrations  $24.99  

Tunes of the Twenties is the first book of its kind to tell the stories behind the classic songs of the Jazz Age. With a Foreword by Vince Giordano (Musical Director for the HBO series Boardwalk Empire), this colorfully illustrated book embarks on a musical journey through the era of speakeasies, gangsters, and hot jazz. Robert Rawlins discusses each of the 250 songs in his previous publication The Real Dixieland Book, and takes readers backstage to share the intriguing, sometimes unbelievable stories associated with their publication and subsequent history.

Robert Rawlins is Professor of Music Theory at Rowan University, where he has taught for 20 years. He received his Ph.D. in Musicology from Rutgers University. Robert plays the clarinet, saxophone, and flute and has been a professional musician his entire life. He has worked with hundreds of entertainers and is a former member of the Philadelphia Pops Orchestra. Robert remains active as a performer of traditional jazz in the Philadelphia area.

Praise for Tunes of the Twenties:  
·         "Tunes Of The Twenties is filled with fascinating and well-researched tales about the origin and history behind the classic material."
--Scott Yanow, American jazz reviewer, historian and author
·         "An outstanding work. I wish I had had it to consult when I was writing my jazz standards book."   
--Ted Gioa, American jazz critic and music historian
·         "Rawlins' writing style combines seriousness and deep knowledge of the subject with much humor, making it easy to read while being highly rewarding."  
--All About Jazz
·           "A publication that is a welcome addition to literature commenting on the history of popular song." 
--Jazz Journal
Contact The Author:
Robert Rawlins is available for phone interviews on radio, virtual book club appearances, and appearances by Skype.  He can be contacted at 856.313.2914 or

Buy on Amazon:

"Nu Jazz for Absolute Beginners" to be released next week in Europe

A new release on the IRMA label, "Nu Jazz for Absolute Beginners: Listen to Relaxing Jazzy Lounge" (Irma ‎2626) comes out next week on July 29.

A big party with Electronic, Jazz, Latin, Funk / Soul, Acid Jazz, Broken Beat & Jazz-Funk!
Produced & Arranged by Arnaldo DeSouteiro, Francesco Montefiori & Nerio Poggi

1. Papik: Open Eyes
2. Massimo Guerra Xtet: Waitress Waltz
3. Franca Barone Set: Miss Apleton
4. Capiozzo: Suparoad 2
5. Piero Masciarelli: On Broadway
6. Michele Villari: Donna
7. Neja: All That She Wants
8. Agostino Maria Ticino: Cidade Velha
9. Jestofunk: The Ghetto
10. Papik: Family Affair
11. Scott Jacoby: I Like You
12. Ithamara Koorax: O Vento
13. Clan Greco: Astrao
14. Sicania Soul: Life Is A Tree
15. Ely Bruna: Dolce Vita
16. Matteo Brancaleoni: Copacabana
17. Montefiori Cocktail: On A Clear Day
18. Max Sedgley: Happy
19. Sure Pleasure: Waiting Too Long
20. Aaron Tesser & The New Jazz Affair: One Plus One

Friday, July 1, 2016

"When Cool Is Lounge" released today

"When Cool Is Lounge - Nu Cool Jazz Tracks And Chilled Acid Grooves" (IRMA Cafe IRM1484)
Release Date in Europe: July 01, 2016

1. Ohm Guru: Hot Spot
2. Papik: You With Your Smile / Featuring Alan Scaffardi
3. Franca Barone Set: Bluesish
4. Massimo Guerra: Fog On The Beach
5. Piero Masciarelli: Yusmari / Featuring Greta Panettieri
6. Papik: Is This Love / Featuring – Alan Scaffardi
7. Guido Guidoboni Quintet: Anavlis
8. Fred Buccini: I Love You For Sentimental Reasons
9. Matteo Brancaleoni: How Am I Supposed To Live Without You
10. Paolo Di Sabatino, Janek Gwizdala & Peter Erskine: Driving Blues
11. Capiozzo, Mecco & Santimone: Light Soul
12. Aaron Tesser & The New Jazz Affair: Lights And Stars / Remix – Papik
13. Low Fidelity Jet-Set Orchestra: The Project, Part 1
14. Fred Buccini: Why I Love / Featuring – Ely Bruna
15. D'Andy: Quizas, Quizas, Quizas
16. Sugarpie And The Candymen: Lemon Tree
17. Matteo Brancaleoni: New Life
18. Gazzara: Song For My Father
19. Faze Liquide: Soft
20. ST-Project: Take Five
21. 3 Teams: L'Assassino
22. Afronauti: Toffee Blues
23. Ithamara Koorax: I Get A Kick Out Of You / Featuring Arnaldo DeSouteiro, Haroldo Jobim, Jorge Pescara, José Roberto Bertrami
24. Neja: Horny
25. Papik: S. Francisco Mood

Arranged By – José Roberto Bertrami, Paolo Di Sabatino
Arranged By, Keyboards – Paolo "Apollo" Negri
Arranged By, Producer, Engineer – Arnaldo DeSouteiro, Francesco Gazzara, Ohm Guru, Papik
Arranged By, Programmed By – Dave Masoch
Bass – Janek Gwizdala, Jorge Pescara, Massimo Sanna
Drums – Haroldo Jobim, Mauro Mirti, Peter Erskine
Engineer – Carlinhos Signorelli, Flavio Pistilli, Geraldo Brandao, Phil Cohan
Flute, Bass Clarinet – Dario Cecchini
Keyboards, Electric Piano, Organ – José Roberto Bertrami
Piano, Electric Piano – Paolo Di Sabatino
Vocals – Alan Scaffardi, Ithamara Koorax, Ely Bruna

Beyond CD Reissue of the Month - "Deodato & Orquestra Los Danseros: Los Danseros En Bolero"

Beyond CD Reissue of the Month
Orquestra Los Danseros: "Los Danseros En Bolero" (Equipe/Ultra-Vybe) 1964/2016

Executive Producer: Mamoru Ko (Ultra-Vybe, Inc.)
A&R: Satoru Homma (Ultra-Vybe, Inc.)
Mastering Engineer: Hiroshi Shiota (Tokyo Recording Inc.)
Art Direction: Mitsuru Soejima
Design: Masae Imahashi & Minako Funahashi (Ultra-Vybe, Inc.)

Released as part of the "Brazilian Music Love Affair" series that is coming out in Japan next July 20, "Los Danseros En Bolero" was one of the several projects recorded by Eumir Deodato in 1964, along with his own "Idéias" album for EMI and two recordings with his bossa-dance band Os Catedráticos -- "Impulso!" and "Tremendão" -- for the Equipe label.

Previously reissued as "Lounge 64" in the early 2000s, in Europe, "Los Danseros En Bolero" is finally released in Japan for the first time on CD format, with its original front cover black & white artwork. But there's no reproduction of the back cover neither the musicians are credited. 

The omitted line-up includes Gabriel Bezerra (bass), Wilson das Neves (drums), Rubens Bassini, Humberto Garin and Jorge Gomes de Rezende (percussion), Neco (acoustic guitar), Geraldo Vespar (electric guitar), Julio Barbosa and Maurilio Santos (trumpet) plus a string ensemble. And, of course, Deodato, who arranged & conducted all tracks, plays organ & piano throughout the session. 

Deodato's name appears on the OBI and the album is credited to him, as really deserved, but only people able to read Japanese will be aware of it. The liner notes are also printed only in Japanese.

The "Brazilian Music Love Affair" series includes titles from many labels now controlled by Discobertas, such as Tapecar, Arca Som, Pawal, Equipe, Paladium etc. Albums by Marcos Valle, Elza Soares, Ronnie Mesquita, Miguel Angel, Rubens Bassini, Celio Balona and Victor Assis Brasil, among others.

Already on pre-order at DustyGroove.

And that's what they have written about the album:

A record we'd love to know more about – because the sound and presentation is so amazing! The set brings a bossa vibe to a mixture of American jazz and soundtrack tunes – often folding two tracks into one performance, and couching the melodies in some fuller strings and lighter, lively rhythms – with a quality that almost feels a bit like Henry Mancini taking on bossa nova material – or maybe like some of the fuller arrangements done by the young Deodato at the time! No surprise, there's some great Mancini numbers in the mix – along with other cool tunes too – served up with instrumentation that often has some rootsier percussion on the bottom, which blends in a great way with the larger charts – on titles that include "So In Love/Echo Of Love", "Sally's Tomato/Teach Me Tonight", "Mr Lucky/Speak Low", "Just For Tonight/Moon River", "Dansero/The Misfits", "Oba La La/La Puerta", and "Fly Me To The Moon/Our Day Will Come".

Vocal CD Reissue of the Month - "Esther Phillips: Capricorn Princess"

Vocal CD Reissue of the Month
Esther Phillips: "Capricorn Princess" (Kudu/Soul Music) 1977/2016

***** (musical performance
**** (sonic quality)

CD Release Date: June 24, 2016
Original album produced by Creed Taylor
Recorded & mixed by Rudy Van Gelder
Album Design: Rene Schumacher

After the recent European CD reissue of Kathy McCord's debut album (till now released only once on CD in Japan, back in 1999, and longtime out-of-print), another vocal gem of the CTI catalog re-appears on CD format: "Capricorn Princess," the last of seven LPs recorded by extraordinary singer Esther Phillips (1935-1984) for CTI's subsidiary Kudu label.

"Capricorn Princess" was reissued last month in Europe, on June 24 by the UK-based Soul Music label and distributed by Cherry Red Records, under license from Sony Entertainment. More good news: with two bonus tracks.

Like on previous reissues, the loud digital mastering quality is not perfect, though. The sound is clean and transparent in most of the tracks, specially on the ballads "I Haven't Got Anything Better To Do," "Candy" (which includes an unbelievable spoken intro) and "A Beautiful Friendship," but the disco-oriented tunes received heavy compression, to the point that the opening track, "Magic's In The Air," sounds dull and very noisy, with a terrible drum sound. Anyway, an essential CD for all CTI/Kudu collectors and Esther's fans.

Esther was an underrated & unmistakable vocal stylist, but also a peculiar character, and there were many behind-the-scenes facts before & during the very expensive recording sessions that took place at two different studios (Mediasound in New York, Rudy Van Gelder in New Jersey) between May and September, 1976.

It's a massive set, a melting pot of jazz, r&b, pop, funk and disco, including potential dancefloor hits and haunting ballads such as "I Haven't Got Anything Better To Do," previously covered by bossa nova princess Astrud Gilberto for Verve as well as by tenor sugar sax player Stanley Turrentine for CTI on "Salt Song."

Released in 1977, "Capricorn Princess" made the Billboard charts in three lists, peaking at #23 among the "Jazz Albums," #40 in the "R&B Albums" and #150 in the "Billboard 200 Pop Albums."

All tunes were arranged by CTI's in-house arranger at that time, Mr. David Matthews, except "Candy" by Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis. As usual, producer Creed Taylor assembled an all-star supporting cast, which included the heavyweights often associated with CTI (Joe Farrell, Eric Gale, Ralph MacDonald, Don Grolnick, Steve Gadd, Anthony Jackson, Andy Newmark, John Tropea) as well as some other faces not so familiar to CTI's fans (Barry Miles, Jeff Berlin, Bobby Lyle, Barry Rogers etc).

Not to mention that Brecker Brothers, Sam Burtis, Ronnie Cuber, Jon Faddis are found playing together on the horn section. And Bill Evans' former bassist Chuck Israels plays arco bass as a member of the string section!

However, nothing could be more unexpected than the presences of two young artists that Creed had just signed to the CTI cast. And since Creed always followed the formula "a sideman one day, a leader the next," he invited electric violinist John Blair (the creator of the "vitar" instrument) and Allan Holdsworth to the proceedings.

Nobody ever could have imagined to listen to the British guitar hero in an Esther Phillips album!!! But his appearance was quite discreet, playing pedal steel guitar on Janis Ian's "Boy, I Really Tied One On," one of the disco-numbers chosen to be released as a single.

It is not a coincidence that both Esther and Allan had started to record their albums ("Capricorn Princess" and "Velvet Darkness," respectively) on that same May of 1976 at the same Van Gelder Studio.

On its turn, John Blair shines on both "I Haven't Got Anything Better To Do" and "A Beautiful Friendship" (doing a very "economic" solo on the top of a large string section), a song that Esther tried to record in 1971 on her CTI debut, "From A Whisper To A Scream," but had been deleted by Creed during the mix sessions. But, when Didier Deutsch produced the first CD reissue of that album, in 1988, he was able to access the access the original tapes and added four previously unreleased tracks that had been left out of the LP. "A Beautiful Friendship" was among them, but in a completely different arrangement from the one heard on "Capricorn Princess."

Curiously, however, despite the many expectations and plans that Creed had for John Blair and Allan Holdsworth, they only recorded one album each for CTI (Blair's album was "We Belong Together" that came out in 1977 and will be reissued on CD for the first time next September -- in Japan, of course,,,) Blair did another sideman appearance for Creed, on Lalo Schifrin's "Towering Tocatta," but Holdsworth only guested on Esther's "Capricorn Princess."

Besides "Boy, I Really Tied One On," another groovy highlight is Trevor Lawrence's "Higher and Higher," propelled by the tight rhythm section (Don Grolnick on Hohner clavinet, Jeff Berlin's pumping bass, Andy Newmark on drums and John Tropea on guitar), with Joe Farrell doing the flute solo.

It's not a secret that Phillips was adept at singing blues, early R&B, gritty soul, and jazz. Her voice had an idiosyncratic, nasal quality that often earned comparisons to Nina Simone, although she herself counted Dinah Washington as a chief inspiration. On her turn, Aretha Franklin always idolized Esther and mentioned her as a big inspiration.

Phillips' career began when she was very young, under the artistic name Little Esther, and by some accounts she was already battling drug addiction during her teenage years; whenever her problems took root, the lasting impact on her health claimed her life before the age of 50. And, IMHO, she reached her artistic heyday under the aegis of Creed Taylor during her Kudu years.

Here's the "Capricorn Princess" tracklist:
1. Magic's in the air
2. I haven't got anything better to do
3. Boy, I really tied one on
4. Candy
5. Beautiful friendship
6. Higher and higher
7. All the way down
8. Dream
bonus tracks:
9. All The Way Down (single mix)
10. Magic's In The Air/Boy I Really Tied One On (12" single mix)

SHMCD Reissue of the Month - "Deodato: Whirlwinds"

SHMCD of the Month
Deodato: "Whirlwinds" (MCA) 1974/2016

Rating: **** (musical performance & sonic quality)

Produced, Arranged & Conducted by Eumir Deodato
Engineer: Carmine Rubino
Cover Photo: Alen MacWeeney
Featuring: Eumir Deodato (Fender Rhodes electric piano, Arp & Moog synthesizers, percussion), John Giulino (electric bass), Billy Cobham & Nick Remo (drums), Rubens Bassini & Gilmore Digap (congas, bongos, percussion), John Tropea (electric guitar)

Fusion CD of the Month - "The Brecker Brothers Band Reunion: The Heavy Metal Bebop Tour '4 in Japan"

Fusion CD of the Month (2-CD Set)
The Brecker Brothers Band Reunion: "The Heavy Metal Bebop Tour '14 In Japan" (Ward Records) 2016

CD Release Date: June 22, 2016
Featuring: Randy Brecker (trumpet & vocals), Ada Rovatti (soprano sax & tenor sax), Barry Finnerty (guitar), Neil Jason (bass & vocals), Terry Bozzio (drums)

Produced by Randy Brecker, Terry Bozzio & Ada Rovatti
Recorded @ Club Citta' (Montreux Jazz Festival Japan)
Mixed & Mastered by Hiroki Furutani
Art Design: Satoru Yonemoto (Yonemoto Dezain)
Photos: Kazuo Kogai (provided by JazzLife)
Liner Notes: Tomoyuki Yamazaki

Vocal Jazz CD of the Month - "Nora McCarthy: Blessings"

Vocal Jazz CD of the Month
Nora McCarthy & The People of Peace Quintet: "blesSINGS" (RedZen Records) 2016

Rating: ***** (musical performance & sonic quality)

Produced by Nora McCarthy
Arranged by Nora McCarthy & Jorge Sylvester
Recorded at Tedesco Studio in Paramus, New Jersey on August 26 & 27th, 2015
Recording & Mixing Engineer: Tom Tedesco
Mastered by Ivan Josepg Goldberg @ Miracle Mastering Studios, NJ
Artwork: Nora McCarthy
Photos: Angela Bruno

Featuring: Nora McCarthy (voice), Jorge Sylvester (alto sax), Pablo Vergara (piano), Donald Nicks (electric bass), Kenny Grohowski (drums)

"blesSINGS" is a modern post bop jazz record that combines several elements to make its powerfully beautiful statement: original compositions and lyrics; various applications of vocal and musical language, inventive improvisation and imaginative arrangements. Most of the tunes were written by Nora herself, but she also performs great versions of McCoy Tyner's "Passion Dance," Ornette Coleman's "The Blessing," Lucian Ban's "Night On Earth," Lawrence D. "Butch" Morris' "Nowhere Everafter" plus two by her partner in life & music, saxophone master Jorge Sylvester: "Akara Moi Moi" and "Nimbus."

The artistry on "blesSINGS" is stunning; the musicianship throughout is exquisite and the overall sound is reminiscent of the great creative jazz recordings of the ‘60s and ‘70s where the artists used their music as a conduit for spirituality and as a reaction to turbulent events that were taking place in the country, much like today: war, racism, civil unrest, terrorism, mass killings.

McCarthy’s highly expressive burnished alto voice soars on every track. Her broad range is full of lovely textures and nuances and her use of dynamics which is basically a lost art among singers today, is wrought with emotion. Her trademark phrasing and innate sense of rhythm demonstrates not only her expert ability to convey a story but her overall understanding of melodic and harmonic structure—she is a masterful musician. McCarthy uses her complete voice, as an instrument and as an interpreter of the word.

Instrumental Jazz CD of the Month - "Lupa Santiago 4teto + Ed Neumeister: Ubuntu"

Instrumental Jazz CD of the Month
Lupa Santiago 4teto + Ed Neumeister: "Ubuntu" (Sound Finger) 2016

Rating: ***** (musical performance & sonic quality)

Recorded in November 2014 by Bernardo Goys & Paulo Aredes @ Studio Soundfinger (São Paulo, SP, Brazil)
Mastered in January 2016 by Homero Lotito
Executive Producer: Paulo Aredes
Cover Art: Luciano Murino
Photos: Ines Piquet (cover) & Doris Rothauer (liner)
Featuring: Lupa Santiago (guitar), Leandro Cabral (piano, Rhodes), Bruno Migotto (bass), Alex Buck (drums), Ed Neumeister (trombone)
Lupa Santiago:
"Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning, “I am what I am because of what we are.” Ed and I met briefly in Austria in 2012, where he lives. This was a special occasion for me because, in the history of jazz, Ed is an exceptional and renowned trombonist, arranger, and composer. After a few emails, we set up a week of shows in Brazil playing my music and his. 

When I received Ed’s compositions, I realized how to make the project something even more interesting and bring it all up to the next level: I called Leandro, Bruno and Alex, who are excellent instrumentalists and composers, besides being great friends. Paulo Aredes, an experienced producer from the Soundfinger studio and label, willingly took on the project and contributed with his great ideas. Everything happened really quickly and the band found an instantaneous identity and sonority. It seemed like the compositions had been just waiting for the occasion and the group started to exist that very week! The music of this album is the sum of the cooperation, generosity, warmth and respect we experienced. Our souls, raw, spontaneous, honest…here for all. Ubuntu!”