Tuesday, January 29, 2019

R.I.P.: James Ingram (1952-2019)

(born February 16, 1952 in Akron, Ohio, USA;
died January 29, 2019 in Los Angeles, California, USA)

Two-time Grammy winner singer James Ingram, famous for his collaborations with Quincy Jones ("Just Once," "One Hundred Ways" etc) and Patti Austin ("How Do You Keep The Music Playing?") passed away at the age of 66. The LaserDisc of his concert in Japan with Quincy Jones leading an all-star band (with Rod Temperton, Greg Phillinganes, Louis Johnson, John Robinson, Jerry Hey, Toots Thielemans, Jerome Richardson) is legendary. Rest in Peace.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

R.I.P.: Michel Legrand (1932-2019)

(born 24 February 1932 in Paris, France)
died 26 January 2019 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France)

R.I.P.: Michel Legrand. 

An absolute GENIUS -- in the same level of J.S. Bach, for example -- is gone. One of the greatest arrangers and composers in music history. And a fabulous pianist too. I've met him in person for the first time in 1983. Had the chance to attend several of his concerts (two of them in Brazil at the time of the Moliere Award, with Ron McClure on bass and Christiane Legrand singing.) Unforgettable moments in my life. 

I treasure his huge discography, specially "Legrand Jazz" (with Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Art Farmer, Herbie Mann etc), "Twenty Songs Of The Century" (a lesson in orchestration feat. Toots, Airto, Gene Bertoncini, Eddie Daniels), the splendid albums for RCA in the 70s ("Live At Jimmy's," "Legrand Live" (with Randy Brecker, Phil Woods, Ron Carter, Grady Tate, Joe Beck), "The Concert Legrand," the Grammy-winning "Images" with Phil Woods, "Le Jazz Grand" with Gerry Mulligan, Jon Faddis and Portinho) and such landmark soundtracks as "The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg," "F For Fake," "Pieces Of Dreams," "Summer of '42," "The Other Side Of Midnight" + dozens of others.) He personified a kind of musical sophistication and elegance that is gone, that's the true.
(Arnaldo DeSouteiro & Michel Legrand in 1983)

Friday, January 25, 2019

R.I.P.: Vicente Viola (1959-2019)

(born on July 20, 1959 in Leopoldina, State of Minas Gerais;
died on January 25, 2019 in Leopoldina, State of Minas Gerais)

Brazilian composer, arranger, guitarist, singer and producer. Co-wrote songs with lyricists Aldir Blanc and Renato Carvalho, and worked/recorded with singer Ithamara Koorax and pianist Anselmo Mazzoni.

Monday, January 7, 2019

R.I.P.: Julio Barbosa (1926-2019)

(born May 5, 1926 in Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;
died on January 7, 2019 in Munich, Germany)

R.I.P.: Julio Barbosa aka Julinho do Trompete, aged 92. Great Brazilian trumpeter, composer and arranger, based in Germany since 1975. 

Besides leading his own bands (which included such names as Oberdan Magalhães, Dom Salvador, Luiz Alves and Robertinho Silva), he also worked in Brazil with Elizeth Cardoso, Moacyr Silva, Moacir Santos (recording the legendary "Coisas" album), Paulo Alencar, Maestro Cipó, Waltel Branco, Paulinho Magalhães (on the combo Os Cobras), Eumir Deodato (as lead trumpeter on the album "Los Danseros En Bolero" by the Orquestra Los Danseros, later reissued as "Amor, Som E Bolero" by Don Camacho, "The Sound of The Night" by The Midnight Orchestra and "Lounge 64," finally under Deodato's name), and many others. 

He was also briefly a member of Severino Araujo's Orquestra Tabajara. 

In the 2000s, he formed a new group, called Embalo (Hermeto Pascoal, Dom Chacal and Azymuth's drummer Ivan Conti were festured on their debut album); recorded a full project in Rio with the UFRJazz Ensemble (led by José Rua); and often performed at the Unterfarht jazz club in Munich.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

R.I.P.: Urbie Green (1926-2018)

R.I.P.: Urbie Green, aged 92, one of the world's greatest trombone players. Born Urban Clifford Green on August 8, 1926 in Mobile, Alabama. Died on December 31, 2018 in Saucon Valley Manor, Hellertown, Pennsylvania.

I grew up listening to Urbie's miraculous performances on such Antonio Carlos Jobim's albums as Stone Flower, Tide, Wave, The Wonderful World and Matita Perê.

The first one I heard was Stone Flower (1970), when I was 7 yo; and, from the moment he started playing in the opening track (Tereza My Love), I fell in love with his warm & velvery tone and subtle phrasing. It was really love at first sight.

A few years later, when I heard the tracks Rancho das Nuvens and Nuvens Douradas, two haunting moments from Matita Perê (1973), I wanted to marry him.

Not even in my wildest dreams I could imagine that, two decades later, I would be selecting Urbie's tracks for compilations I produced for CTI and Verve, as well as supervising not only several reissues of Stone Flower but also of the first CD reissues of his two splendid solo albums for CTI: The Fox and Senor Blues, both arranged by my friend David Matthews and produced by Creed Taylor.

Not to mention that Urbie's killer version of Stevie Wonder's Another Star was featured on my best-selling compilation CTI Acid Jazz Grooves.

Urbie recorded over 500 dates with people like Frank Sinatra (more than 20 albums, among them the extremely underrated LA Is My Lady, on which he can be watched soloing with unparelled aplomb on its video version titled Portrait Of An Album), Quincy Jones, Miles Davis, Claus Ogerman, Bill Evans, Leonard Bernstein, Woody Herman, Louis Armstrong, Barbara Streisand, Billie Holiday, Gene Krupa, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Tony Bennett, Herbie Mann, Ella Fitzgerald... the list goes on and on. PS: not surprisingly, he was the favorite trombonist of both Jobim and Claus Ogerman.

Vocal Jazz CD of the Month - "John Minnock: Right Around The Corner"

Vocal Jazz CD of the Month
John Minnock with guest Dave Liebman: "Right Around The Corner" (self-release)
Rating: **** (musical performance & sonic quality)

Recorded in September 2018 @ Sear Sound (NYC, NY)
Mixed in October 2018 @ Good Child Music Studios (Brooklyn, NY) by Thom Beemer
Mastered in October 2018 by Fred Kevorkian
Photos: Jason Ignacio
Album Design: Vickie Vidana

Featuring: John Minnock (vocals), Dave Liebman (soprano sax), Enrique Haneine (piano & Fender Rhodes electric piano), Carlos Mena and Will Woodard (bass), Pablo Eluchans and Diego Voglino (drums), Tony DePaolo (guitars)

New breed vocalist John Minnock is thrilled to announce the release of his new album, "Right Around The Corner." On his sophomore effort, Minnock presents jazz, blues and cabaret classics in a way that has never been heard before with the help of special guest, National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Dave Liebman on saxophone. John’s experiences as an openly gay man gives way to a unique perspective that is at once eye-opening, touching and down right fun. Supported by such great musicians as pianist/arranger Enrique Hanenine (whose latest album, "The Mind’s Mural," hit #1 on the NACC Radio Chart), John’s new “gay-ahead jazz album” is a groundbreaker as it explores LGBTQ subject-matter in a jazz setting. Minnock celebrated the release of his new album at the iconic Don’t Tell Mama in Times Square.

John Minnock’s first album, "Every Day Blues," introduced his signature wit and candor as he explored the American songbook from the perspective as a gay man in today’s world. His long-running show of the same name, presented through the years at the Metropolitan Room, the Triad Theater and, most recently, Don’t Tell Mama, has been an audience favorite, attracting a diverse cast of attendees from inquisitive cabaret fans to serious jazz listeners. "Right Around The Corner" features a mix of material frequently performed at his live show (Hoagy Carmichael's standard “Skylark”, a cool bossa-oriented version of Henry Mancini's “Moon River”, “I Love Being Here With You”, “You Don’t Know What Love Is”, “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans”) and impressive original compositions that tell stories of gay life that are seldom heard on the bandstand.

A stand out moment is Minnock’s original composition, “Right Around the Corner”; the title being a play on the Mel Torme/George Shearing classic “Love is Just Right Around The Corner”. John Minnock’s lyrics were lifted directly from a personal experience and offers plenty of nods to real life nightlife experiences in the New York City gay community. “Less so today, but in the past it was common for gay people to, when visiting a city, look for the neighborhood that designated LGBTQ and visit some or most or all bars there. This was a way to get to know the community in that city,” says Minnock, who takes listeners through all of his favorite corners, many of which are home not just to him, but others in the gay community as well: Vodka Soda/Bottoms Up on 46th and 8th, Rise on 56th and 9th, Arriba Arriba on 51st and 9th, Don’t Tell Mama on 46th and 9th and Hardware and DBL at 48th and 10th. The song was also synthed, which is a nod to electronic music pioneer Wendy Carlos; a pioneer as well in gender re-assignment.

Another highlight is Minnock’s interpretation of “New York, New York” by Jay Brannon (not the famous Kander and Ebb tune). The lyrics call back to “My Favorite Things”- specifically the version made famous by John Coltrane. “I thought of it as My LEAST Favorite Things about New York!” said John. Soprano saxophonist David Liebman, a jazz musician who is quintessential “New York” and is arguably the greatest living bastion of Coltrane’s sound, joins John here to dazzling results. “Liebman’s playing here invokes for me the bluesy black and white bankrupt world New York was in the 1960’s and 1970’s… I tried to adapt my vocalizing to match the players,” he said. Liebman joins John again on a superb version of “Skylark”. Performed often at his live show, the studio version gives new life to the stalwart melody with a jaw-dropping saxophone-vocal duo. John’s presentation of “Skylark” is painted by his experience workshopping it with the revered Lina Koutrakos.

Minnock's other originals, “Are We All Alone” and “Everything Changes”, tell different stories within the context of a gay relationship. The first deals with the challenges of a relationship without much experience or support from family or friends, and the second tells of a more mature relationship with all of its peaks and valleys. “There’s a section of happiness like an anthem, then a section of doubt and complication, maybe a bit neurotic (I call this ‘the Seinfeld section),” says John, adding that “most of the subject matter comes from issues and topics of the LGBTQ community”.

John Minnock is a native New Yorker who has been “telling it like it is” in the cabaret and vocal jazz scene for over a decade. Recipient of the Hot House Jazz Fans Decision Award in 2016, John is a classically trained musician who immediately blossomed when he saw Ruth Brown’s live show, which incorporated energy, enthusiasm, and her personal life experiences. While Minnock has performed myriad styles from r&b, funk, soul and classical, jazz and blues have been the genres in which he is most comfortable.

Jazz and blues were, essentially, borne of the life experiences of an oppressed and discriminated against group – African Americans. The sound developed in and around New Orleans. Various cultures (beyond African Americans) have contributed their own experience and styles to the art form – and for John as a gay man, this same thing occurred in an evolutionary manner. “I personally understand oppression and have experienced discrimination. I believe this is an underlying reason I gravitate toward the music.”

On "Right Around The Corner," Minnock brings a much-needed, fresh perspective to the vocal jazz genre. In John’s own words: “In writing the original songs, it became clear ‘it had to be jazz”. This genre offers the flexibility to fully express yourself (as Madonna might say). At one point in writing, I had a specific question and I asked Enrique “can I do this..?” and he responded “you can do anything, it’s jazz”’.

Instrumental Jazz CD of the Month - "Marc Copland: Gary - Piano Solo"

Instrumental Jazz CD of the Month
Marc Copland: "Gary - Piano Solo" (Illusions ILL313009)
Rating: ***** (musical performance & sonic quality)

Limited Edition CD + Digital Album
package image;1CD 2-fold/3-panel digipack
Produced by Philippe Ghielmetti with Stéphane Oskéritzian & Gérard de Haro
Recorded, Mixed & Mastered @ Studio La Buissonne (Pernes-les-Fontaines, Côte d'Azur, France)
Recorded on April 12 & 13, 2018 by Gérard de Haro
Edited by Stéphane Oskéritzian & Gérard de Haro
Mastered by Nicolas Baillard
Piano prepared & tuned by Cecil Mathieu
Script lettering: Larry Kazal
Graphics & Photos: Philippe Ghielmetti

Piano – Marc Copland
All titles composed by Gary Peacock, except #2 by Annette Peacock
Recorded on April 12-13, 2018 at Studios La Buissonne, Pernes-les-Fontaines, France