Saturday, November 4, 2017

Sylvia Brooks takes an Unplugged version of "The Arrangement" to Palm Desert, tomorrow!

Sun, November 5, 2017
2:00 PM (doors open at 1PM)
Arthur Newman Theater at the Joslyn Center
73750 Catalina Way
Palm Desert, CA

Known for her ‘big band sound’, Sylvia Brooks was born into a musical family. Her mother, Johanna Dordick, was an opera singer who founded the Los Angeles Opera Theater, and her father, Don Ippolito, was a jazz pianist and arranger who wrote for big bands and toured with such greats as Buddy Rich and Stan Getz.

Ms. Brooks studied at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and has performed in a number of musicals. One of her favorite roles was Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street, which she has played in several productions throughout the country. On television she has been a guest star on Designing Women, Dallas, Baywatch, and Beverly Hills 90210 to name a few. She has worked with the “Who’s Who” of the music world, and her voice and singing style have brought her three CD’s including, “Dangerous Liaisons”, “Restless”, and her latest, “The Arrangement”, whose critical acclaim has her currently considered for a Grammy nomination as Best Female Jazz Vocalist.

For her Sunday, November 5th “Unplugged” show, Sylvia leaves her usual five to 10 piece band at home, opting for a more intimate vibe with her bass player, Gabe Davis, and pianist and musical director, Jeff Colella.

Friday, November 3, 2017

"CTI + RVG Ultimate Remastering Series" to be released this month in Japan!

20 classic albums from the CTI label will be released in the Japanese market next November 15, distributed by King Records as part of the "CTI + RVG Ultimate Remastering" series, re-printing the SHM-CDs originally remastered by the late legendary engineer Rudy Van Gelder (under Creed Taylor's direct supervision) in 2009.

It's a special-priced reissue series now on UHQCD (Ultimate High Quality CD), an upgraded version of HQCD, a high fidelity CD format developed by Memory-Tech. UHQCD discs are fully compatible with standard CD players.

Here's the complete list of the CTI+RVG アルティメット・リマスタリング・シリーズ !

Jim Hall: Concierto (KICJ 2541)
Art Farmer & Jim Hall: Big Blues (KICJ 2542)
Eumir Deodato: Deodato 2 (KICJ 2543)
Eumir Deodato: Prelude (KICJ 2544)
Freddie Hubbard: Red Clay (KICJ 2545)
Bill Evans: Montreux II (KICJ 2546)
George Benson: In Concert – Carnegie Hall (KICJ 2547)
Ron Carter: All Blues (KICJ 2548)
Ron Carter: Spanish Blue (KICJ 2549)
Airto: Fingers (KICJ 2550)
Antonio Carlos Jobim: Stone Flower (KICJ 2551)
Astrud Gilberto: Gilberto with Turrentine (KICJ 2552)
Patti Austin: End Of A Rainbow (KICJ 2553)
Nina Simone: Baltimore (KICJ 2554)
Hubert Laws: The Rite Of Spring (KICJ 2555)
Hubert Laws: Chicago Theme (KICJ 2556)
Lalo Schifrin: Towering Toccata (KICJ 2557)
Fuse One: Fuse (KICJ 2558)
Milt Jackson: Sunflower (KICJ 2559)
Stanley Turrentine: Sugar (KICJ 2560)
昨年惜しまれながらこの世を去ったルディ・ヴァン・ゲルダー自らがリマスタリングを手がけ、2009年に発売された貴重な音源を再発売! 不朽の名盤20タイトルが高音質UHQCDでより鮮やかに蘇る! お求めやすい新価格1,500円!

CTIは1967年に 名プロデューサー、クリード・テイラーが設立したジャズレーベル。レコーディング・エンジニアはブルー・ノートの録音でもおなじみの名匠ルディ・ヴァン・ゲルダーが担当しています。

上質で洗練された作品は聞きやすく、ジャズファン以外にもアプローチし多くのヒット作があります。

写真家ピート・ターナーがデザインしたジャケットは美しく統一感がありCTIを特徴付ける要素のひとつになっています。
ツァラトゥストラはかく語りき [UHQCD] / デオダート
[CTI+RVG アルティメット・リマスタリング・シリーズ] 昨年惜しまれながらこの世を去ったルディ・ヴァン・ゲルダー自らがリマスタリングを手がけ、2009年に発売された貴重な音源を再発売! 不朽の名盤20タイトルが高音質UHQCDでより鮮やかに蘇る! お求めやすい新価格1,500円! ジャズ、ロック、クラシックが渾然一体となった究極の快感サウンド。CTIの代名詞とも言えるこの1枚。天才プロデューサー、クリード・テイラーとルディ・ヴァン・ゲルダーが37年の時を経て命を吹き込む。

Airto's new album, "Aluê," coming out soon

Brazilian master percussionist Airto Moreira, based in LA since 1975, has a new CD coming out soon. Titled "Aluê," it's his first solo album recorded in his native country since he moved to New York in 1968, and will be released by the SESC label in co-operation with drummer Carlos Ezequiel's Engrenagens Produções Artísticas. The title comes from a tune originally recorded in 1970 on his debut LP as a leader, "Natural Feelings" (produced by Gary McFarland for the mythical Skye label that Gary owned with Cal Tjader and Gabor Szabo.)

To celebrate the new release (recorded in November 2016), Airto will do a short Brazilian tour, performing in São Paulo (several SESC theaters in 3 cities) and Rio de Janeiro (at the recently opened Blue Note Rio venue), leading a band with guitarist José Neto, drummer Carlos Ezequiel, bassist Sizão Machado, saxophonist Vitor Alcantara, keyboardist Fabio Leandro, and Airto & Flora Purim's daughter singer Diana Purim Moreira Booker aka dB of Eyedentity fame.

Two of Airto's albums recorded for CTI in the early 1970s will be reissued soon in Japan: "Fingers" (to be released November 15 as part of the "CTI + RVG Ultimate Remastering Series") and Deodato/Airto's "In Concert" (on December 6, on the "CTI 50th Anniversary Special Collection.") He is also featured on three albums by the CTI All Stars: "California Concert," "CTI Summer Jazz At Hollywood Bowl" and "Live at Montreux 2009."

SHM-CD of the Month - "Stan Getz & Luiz Bonfá: Jazz Samba Encore!"

SHM-CD of the Month
Stan Getz & Luiz Bonfa: "Jazz Samba Encore!" (Verve/Universal Japan UCCU-90262) 1963/2017
Rating:   
***** (musical performance & recording and mix)
***** (remastering)

Produced by Creed Taylor
Recorded @ Webster Hall (New York City, NY) on February 8, 9 & 27, 1963
Engineers: Phil Ramone, Bob Simpson & Ray Hall
Engineering Supervisor: Val Valentin
Cover Painting: Olga Albizu
Liner Photo: Jim Marshall
Liner Notes: Dom Cerulli

Featuring: Luiz Bonfa (acoustic guitar), Stan Getz (tenor sax), Maria Helena Toledo aka Maria Toledo (vocals), Antonio Carlos Jobim (acoustic piano & rhythm guitar), Don Payne, George Duvivier and Tommy Williams (acoustic bass), Dave Bailey, José Carlos and Paulo Ferreira aka Edison Machado (drums)

The first album ever recorded by Stan Getz with a Brazilian musician, sounding much better than the historic "Jazz Samba" recorded in 1962 with Charlie Byrd, which had yielded the hit single "Desafinado." This splendid session with Bonfá - which kills when soloing on "Um Abraço No Getz," "Saudade Vem Correndo," and "Mania de Maria" - also features the talents of Bonfá's wife at that time, songstress Maria Toledo.

Besides the songs she co-wrote with Bonfá ("Menina Flor," "Mania de Maria," "Saudade Vem Correndo"), Maria Toledo is also featured doing wordless vocals on the opening track, "Sambalero" (aka "Sambolero"), as well as singing the Portuguese lyrics to Jobim's "Insensatez" ("How Insensitive"), a track that has been included in over 50 compilations since the original LP release in May 1963.

It's worth to mention that "Jazz Samba Encore!" remained for 11 weeks in the Billboard Pop Charts, reaching # 88 in the Top 200, something very rare for a jazz album. When reviewing Stan Getz's "The Bossa Nova Years" 5-LP box set released by Verve in 1989 (reissued as a 4-CD box set in 1991), DownBeat stated that Maria Toledo had been the best singer that ever recorded with Getz.

Fusion CD Reissue of the Month - "Allan Holdsworth: Velvet Darkness"

Fusion CD Reissue of the Month
Velvet Darkness (CTI/Talking Elephant TECD 396) 1977/2017
Rating: 
**** (musical performance & sonic quality)
**** (remastering)

Produced by Creed Taylor
Engineered by Rudy Van Gelder @ Van Gelder Studio (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey)
Cover Photo: Mitchell Funk

Featuring: Allan Holdswoth (acoustic & electric guitars, violin), Alan Pasqua (Fender Rhodes electric piano), Alphonso Johnson aka Embamba (electric bass), Narada Michael Walden (drums)

Fusion CD of the Month - "Mauricio Zottarelli: Upside Down Looking Up"

Fusion CD of the Month
Mauricio Zottarelli: "Upside Down Looking Up" 
Rating: ***** (music performance & sonic quality)

Produced, Arranged & Composed by Mauricio Zottarelli, except "Alone Together" (Schwartz/Dietz)
Recording Engineers: Kamilo Kratc, Helio Ishitani, Mike Pope & Christine Vaindirlis
Mixed & Mastered by Dave Darlington @ Bass Hit Studios (NYC, NY)
Photos: Milene Corso and Christine Vaindirlis
Cover Art & Design: Max Pelagatti

Featuring: Mauricio Zottarelli (drums), Oriente Lopez (piano, flutes & accordion), Eldar Djangirov (keyboards), Helio Celso and Kalus Mueller (piano), Itaiguara Brandão (acoustic bass & electric bass), Mike Pope (electric bass), Christos Rafalides (vibes), Gustavo Assis Brasil (guitars), Rodrigo Ursaia (tenor sax), Milene Corso (vocals)

The brazilian-born and New York City–based drummer and composer Mauricio Zottarelli has been on the forefront of the Jazz, Latin and Brazilian music circles for many years. Called a “superb drummer” by JazzTimes Magazine, Zottarelli has become one of the most sought after drummers on the scene since his move to NYC in 2006.

A Berklee College of Music graduate, Mauricio is a critically acclaimed and award-winning drummer and artist. He is credited in more than 80 albums so far in his career, and has worked with dozens of the most important and notable artists of today, crossing over many musical styles. Some of them are: Hiromi, Eliane Elias, Prasanna, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Esperanza Spalding, Keiko Matsui, Richard Bona, Paquito D’Rivera, Richard Galliano, Chuck Loeb, Chico Pinheiro, Cláudio Roditi, Joe Locke, Geoffrey Keezer, Mike Pope, Eldar, Ivan Lins, Carmen Souza, Rosa Passos, Dom Salvador, Jovino Santos Neto, Nilson Matta, Toninho Horta, Oriente Lopez, Filó Machado, Gustavo Assis Brasil, Hendrik Meurkens, and many others.

Mauricio co-leads the Dig Trio, which had its critically acclaimed first album out in 2003. In 2009 Zottarelli released "7 Lives," his first album as a leader, and in 2011 came “Mozik,” a collaboration project with pianist Gilson Schachnik. Both "7 Lives" and "Mozik" have been receiving high praises from critics and fans worldwide. Mauricio has been consistently featured on the our “Jazz Station” website as one of the top 10 drummers of the year since 2011, and in 2012 he won the “Brazilian Music Awards”, for his work with legendary pianist Dom Salvador.

In 2014 Mauricio released a collaboration with bassist Amanda Ruzza, “Glasses, No Glasses” featuring Leo Genovese. Now, in November 2017 his highly anticipated new recording as a leader, “Upside Down Looking Up” is coming out. Mauricio is equally active as a teacher and educator, and has performed clinics and workshops in Brazil, USA and Europe. He is also a columnist for Modern Drummer magazine in Brazil.

About the brand new album "Upside Down Looking Up," says Mauricio: "This new album and the music in it have to do with those moments in life when a person feels completely overwhelmed with everything that is going on. The idea of the title, Upside Down Looking Up, came to me one day while thinking about how when life feels crazy and we believe it’s “upside down,” if we “look up” searching for a solution, we are actually looking down. So, in order to figure out a way to navigate through the craziness, and find clarity and ultimately get out on the other side, we may have to embrace a significant change in our lives - a change in our life's perspective. As I was going through my own "Upside Down Looking Up" phase in the last few years with a lot of things going on in my life while I was creating the music for the new album, the music took shape and the story and message of the album was then very clear to me. I hope that this music can successfully communicate with you as it did with me, and perhaps inspire you to reevaluate any areas of your life, which may need it. May newer, better and healthier life cycles begin!"

SACD of the Month - "Eumir Deodato: Prelude / Deodato 2"

SACD of the Month
Eumir Deodato: "Prelude / Deodato 2" (CTI/Vocalion)
Rating: 
***** (musical performance & sonic quality)
*** (reissue packaging)

Original albums produced by Creed Taylor
Recorded & Mixed by Rudy Van Gelder @ Van Gelder Studio (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey)
Photos: Pete Turner and Alen MacWeeney

The first Deodato SACD was just released on October 27 by the UK-based label Vocalion, that licensed the legendary albums "Prelude" and "Deodato 2" from Sony Music, which handles the distribution of the CTI 70s catalogue in Europe.

Actually, however, there's no 5.1 digital new mix. Vocalion, as usual, offers only the original stereo mix and the long out-of-print quadraphonic mix done by engineer Rudy Van Gelder in 1973 for the Quad vinyl; exactly the same thing they did recently with Michel Legrand's orchestral masterpiece "Twenty Songs Of The Century."

The cover art is horrible, though, with juxtaposed images of the two album covers, destroying both the iconic photos created by Pete Turner for "Prelude" and by Alen MacWeeney for "Deodato 2."

Anyway, the musical content is superb. "Prelude," recorded in September 1972, reached #2 on the Billboard Pop chart and #1 on the Jazz chart, becoming not only CTI's best-seller as well as one of all-time best-selling Jazz albums (and, certainly, the best-selling fusion album ever!) Its opening track, "Also Sprach Zarathustra," a jazz-rock adaptation of Richard Strauss' symphonic poem popularized by Stanley Kubrick's "2001, A Space Odissey" movie, reached #2 in the Billboard pop singles chart (then called Billboard Top 100 Singles) and won a Grammy as "best pop instrumental performance."

[Several idiots call Deodato's single a disco-music hit and often refer to the use of synthesizers. Double mistake: there's no "disco" element anywhere on the album (disco music would born only in 1975) and Deodato doesn't plays any synths, only acoustic piano & Fender Rhodes electric piano throughout "Prelude."]

The entire album is brilliant, including another stunning jazzy adaptation of a classical piece, Debussy's "Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Faun" featuring solos by trumpeter Marvin Stamm and flute virtuosi Hubert Laws), a latin-jazz-rock arrangement of "Baubles, Bangles And Beads" (actually derived from a classical work by Alexander Borodin), and three Deodato originals: the haunting ballad "Spirit Of Summer" aka "Dia de Verão" (Jay Berliner shines on a Spanish-tinged solo on acoustic guitar), a lovely latin-bossa dedicated to Carly Simon and Carole King titled "Carly & Carole" (without the orchestra, played only by Deodato, Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, Ray Barretto and Hubert Laws), and "September 13," co-written by Billy Cobham during a studio rehearsal. John Tropea's solo work on electric guitar is beyond words on "Zarathustra," "Baubles, Bangles And Beads" and "September 13." I've written liner notes to so many reissues of "Prelude" that it is difficult to say new things about it.

"Deodato 2" (recorded in April 1973 featuring Tropea, Stanley Clarke, Rick Marotta, John Giulino, Billy Cobham and Rubens Bassini) is no less impressive, and in some ways even more adventurous, opening with an astonishing version of The Moody Blues' "Nights In White Satin." Then comes Maurice Ravel's "Pavane For A Dead Princess" played comme il faut, followed by two epic Deodato's themes: "Skyscrapers" and "Super Strut," both featuring Tropea's superb solos. The album closes with a sumptuous adaptation of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue." Oh, and Deodato adds Arp and Moog synths on two tracks -- "Nights In White Satin" and "Skyscrapers" -- besides the piano and the Rhodes.

Below please find the original covers of the Quad releases of "Prelude" and "Deodato 2" as well as a Billboard interview from July 1973 with CTI's vice president at that time, the often invisible John Rosica.

Jazz Vocal CD of the Month - "Sylvia Brooks: The Arrangement"

Vocal CD of the Month
Sylvia Brooks: "The Arrangement" 
Rating: ***** (musical performance & sonic quality)

Produced by Sylvia Brooks & Jerald Bergh
Co-Produced, Mixed & Mastered by Carlos Y. Del Rosario
Photos: Antoine Reekmans
Package Design: Doug Haverty (Art + Soul Design)
Liner Notes: Andrew Gilbert

Arranged by Christian Jacob, Quinn Johnson, Jeff Colella, Otmaro Ruiz
Featuring: Sylvia Broks (vocals), Christian Jacob (piano, Fender Rhodes), Otmaro Ruiz, Jeff Colella and Quinn Johnson (piano), Trey Henry and Chris Colangelo (bass), Tom Brechtlein, Kendall Ray, Jamey Tate, Aaron Serfaty (drums), Larry Koonse and Will Brahm (guitar), Ron Stout (flugelhorn), Bruce Babad (flute), Brian Swartz and Michael Stever (trumpet), Francisco Torres (trombone), Kim Richmond (alto sax), Bob Sheppard (tenor sax) et al.

From Jazz Noir to Technicolor, jazz vocalist Sylvia Brooks reveals a vivid array of new emotional hues on her third album, "The Arrangement," a beautifully intimate collaboration with the talents of brilliant Los Angeles arrangers.

Besides beautiful originals ("Maybe I'm A Fool," "Sweet Surrender," "What Was I Thinking," three inspired songs to which she contributed as lyricist), Brooks offers surprising renditions of "Body And Soul" (with a beautiful flugel solo by Ron Stout) and "Cold Cold Heart", along with haunting versions of such glorious ballads as "Never Me Let Me Go" and "Angel Eyes," two of my favourite songs.

Although her own woman, Brooks' crystal-clear tone and phrasing evokes me memories of one of my dearest vocalists, the extremely underrated Jackie Cain from the Jackie & Roy duo. So, don't expect scat singing acrobatics, but soulful performances delivered with passion and drama.

With her first two critically acclaimed albums ("Dangerous Liaisons" and "Restless"), jazz vocalist Brooks introduced a sensuous jazz-noir sound redolent of femme fatales and tough guys, crooked deals and deep-shadowed urban nightscapes. But no great artist wants to be typecast, and with her third CD, "The Arrangement," she steps out of the mist and fog into the sunlight, where she reveals herself as a singer at home in just about any narrative.

Brooks chose to connect with a superlative collection of arrangers for her third CD starting with arranger/composer/saxophone Kim Richmond, who also collaborated on her first two album; Venezuelan-born pianist Otmaro Ruiz (Dianne Reeves and Akira Jimbo); pianist Jeff Colella (Lou Rawls); French-born pianist Christian Jacob (Tierney Sutton, Betty Buckley); and pianist Quinn Johnson (Steve Tyrell, Diana Ross).

When an artist succeeds in a particular niche she always faces pressure to repeat the performance, but Brooks had no intention of limiting herself. “I wanted to explore different musical styles,” she says. “I love Latin influenced music, big band swing, and rich ballads. I want to explore the whole spectrum musically.” With a sumptuous velvet-rich voice and emotionally incisive phrasing, Brooks is far too protean a talent to be confined to any particular plotline. In creating The Arrangement, she didn’t just set out to investigate different moods and rhythms. She invited a dazzling cast of writers to craft bespoke charts tailored stylishly for her voice, while giving them casting carte blanche, an act of trust that led to a project marked by a glorious diversity of settings.

Brooks choose the songs, and gave the arrangers two directives. They had to use a combination of brass and reeds, and they could choose the musicians they felt would best serve the direction of the piece, “so it was a real collaboration,” Brooks says. “I wanted them to have complete freedom.”

The album opens with Ruiz’s lush setting for “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps (Quizas, Quizas, Quizas),” an intoxicating piece that connects Brooks to the Cuban music she heard growing up in Miami. He provides Brooks with another sleek and sensuous Latin vehicle on the oft-interpreted standard “Besame Mucho,” which she delivers as a passionate fever dream accelerated by a simmer tenor sax solo by the reed master Bob Sheppard.

Brooks takes an unexpected left turn as Johnson’s brassy, briskly swinging arrangement transforms Hank Williams’ classic country lament “Cold Cold Heart.” He also proved to be an ideal songwriting collaborator for Brooks, who contributes original lyrics to three beautifully wrought pieces, starting with their slyly funky anthem about mistaken first impressions “What Was I Thinking (The Mirage).” She teamed with the multi award-winning composer Patrick Williams on “Maybe I’m A Fool,” a lovely portrait of romantic self-doubt arranged with rollercoaster energy by Johnson.

Jacob, who wrote the widely hailed score for Clint Eastwood’s 2016 film Sully, collaborated with Brooks on one of the album’s most arrestingly beautiful pieces, “Sweet Surrender,” an intimate piano and voice duet with a graceful melody that needs no embellishments. Another standout track is Jacob’s quietly dramatic setting of Lennon and McCartney’s “Eleanor Rigby,” a rendition as effective and unforgettable as a jazz vehicle (listen to the deft interplay of Jacob’s Fender Rhodes chords and Larry Koonse’s guitar) that one can only marvel at her ingenuity.

Clearly undaunted by legendary artists, Brooks puts her personal stamp on “Guess Who I Saw Today,” the forlorn narrative indelibly linked to Nancy Wilson. She closes the album with an unforgettable version of “Angel Eyes,” a haunting Richmond arrangement that links back to Brooks earlier jazz-noir albums. She’s still a riveting raconteur when it comes to tales of loss and heartbreak, but she’s got a lot of other stories to tell on "The Arrangement."