Monday, June 27, 2011

Montreal Gazette: Diana Krall reviewed

Krall Enthralls Crowd with Intimate Performance
by Jeff Heinrich
Montreal Gazette, June 27, 2011

Diana Krall invited her audience into the living room of her childhood home in Nanaimo, B.C. and, alone at the grand piano with only her dad's gramophone as a prop for company, played the music she loved as a girl.

It was an intimate show Sunday night at Theatre Maisonneuve, as Krall put a sold-out hall at ease with standards and surprised with some not-so-standards of the Great American Songbook.

Opening with Peel Me a Grape, she soon launched into a medley of Fats Waller tunes, stamping her black stiletto heels as she pounded away at the keyboard, boogie-woogie style, tossing her blond curls to the rhythm.

Form-fitting, sleeveless black dress aside, it was a far cry from that old Chrysler ad and The Look of Love, more a return to the roots of Krall's 1995 fest debut when she proved her love for Nat King Cole.

In between songs, she talked fondly of learning her chops from Jimmy Rowles and jamming in Oscar Peterson's basement, recalled how she was a disaster on third clarinet in her high-school band, and reminisced about listening to jazz on her father's reel-to-reel tape player and 78-rpm records.

If the audience didn't always get her jazz references, Krall forgave them. "Thanks for listening to songs you might not have heard before," she said after introducing something by Bix Beiderbecke and getting no response.

No matter. Whether it was a familiar tune like Don't Fence Me In or an unfamiliar one like the vintage ode to dope, Reefer Song, Krall's performance -- her first full-length solo concert ever -- pulled the crowd into her world.

She closed her 15-song, 80-minute uninterrupted set with a lovely but obscure 1938 movie tune called As Long As I Love and came back for a three-song encore playing -- guess what? -- a ukulele. Why? Because her childhood hero, Groucho Marx, played one.

She and her husband, Elvis Costello play the instrument in bed, she explained, before softly strumming All I Do Is Dream of You and encouraging her fans to sing along. Few knew the words.

Then it was back to the piano for Krall's own Departure Bay and, as an adieu, a Prairie Lullaby for her twin boys, Dexter and Frank. Sweet dreams, all.

CD of the Week - "Bob Gluck Trio: Returning"

CD of the Week
Bob Gluck Trio: "Returning" (FMR) 2011

All compositions by Bob Gluck, except "Something Quiet" by Gluck, Michael Bisio & Dean Sharp
Recorded (May 17, 2010), Mixed and Mastered by Will Schillinger @ Pilot Recording Studios, Monterey, MA
Assistant Engineer: Stephen "Stitch" Keech
Produced by: Bob Gluck and Will Schillinger
Produced for FMR by Trevor Taylor

True to its title, "Returning" reprises the energetic trio led by avant-garde jazz pianist-composer Bob Gluck on his first critically acclaimed jazz recording Sideways. The 2008 date, "a potent first document of this expansive trio," (Cadence) has been described as "a near classic work of art." (JazzTimes Community) "Returning" is also an apt successor to Bob Gluck's recent "Something Quiet," and further highlights Gluck’s breadth and depth as both pianist and composer and leader of exciting jazz ensembles.

Bustling with life, "Returning" reunites Gluck with bassist Michael Bisio and drummer-percussionist Dean Sharp, three "seasoned improvising musicians who have found and honed their own communication skills and brought them to a greater whole." (Chronogram) The new recording showcases Gluck's original compositions, which articulate a broad expanse of mood, pulse, and color. The music is textural, sonically lush and multilayered, highlighting Gluck's evocative, angular, yet lyrical approach to the piano. Returning is a work of joyful intensity. It reflects a maturing of the band since its initial foray. As Gluck recounts: “It was my goal to find a balance between my equal affection for straight ahead and more exploratory jazz traditions. Why choose one or the other when they can coexist quite happily?”

Gluck’s life story is as interesting as his music. Raised in New York City, the political activist/Julliard trained pianist eventually developed an interest in the revolutionary acoustic jazz of Ornette Coleman and Keith Jarrett’s American quartet (featuring Coleman alumni Dewey Redman and Charlie Haden, as well as innovative drummer Paul Motian) that was much affected by the altoist’s groundbreaking improvising conceptions. The influence of Jimi Hendrix, seventies era electric Miles Davis groups, Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi band and Weather Report had already spawned an enduring interest in electronic music that has persisted to this day.

Following a long absence from the music scene, during which time Gluck was engaged in a religious life as a rabbi, Gluck began uniting his philosophical, spiritual and aesthetic pursuits in the world of academia and electronic music. Then in 2005 he returned to the piano as his primary means of musical expression, employing electronics in conjunction with the acoustic instrument. While some may place Gluck within the context of the avant garde, following in the tradition of Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Andrew Hill, Paul Bley and Don Pullen, his music reveals an abiding affection towards the more pastoral and pensive aspects of impressionism and late romanticism. His approach as a pianist, composer and improviser is one that intuitively merges intuition with a broad sonic palate where lyricism and abstraction find a shared home.

"Returning" opens with Gluck’s lilting composition “Lifeline.” Here, the tune receives a very different treatment from its previous appearance on "Something Quiet." Gluck’s pensive piano solo expands into a tumultuous display of virtuosity, answered by Bisio’s meditative bass explorations, which call forth a sparkling array of colors from the entire ensemble.

The title track “Returning” bounces with delight and rhythmic fervor spiced by drummer Dean Sharp’s panoply of sizzling percussive timbres. Michael Bisio’s imaginative exploration of the opening motif leads to a surprising elegiac meditation on bowed bass. The mood again shifts as Gluck shows how angular playing can swing. A quiet, reflective bass and piano coda closes the performance.

“Time” provides a brief, wild and explosive interlude before the deceptively simple “That’s All You Got.” After the statement of the melody to “That’s All’s”, a rhythmic bridge leads into a series of solos flying high above a rising bass motif that calls to mind Joe Zawinul’s “Birdland.” After teasing the listener with blues inflection, Gluck’s solo builds an increasingly abstract intensity. Bisio’s inventive discourse upon the motif leads then segues to an example of the band’s signature interplay, capped by an expansive drum solo.

The opening plaintive melody of “By a Field” leads to a declamatory musical figure. Gluck follows with dramatic open fifths upon which he crafts a fiery, extended solo. “There’s No There There” provides some musical levity, befitting the song’s title. All three solos locate the middle path sought by Gluck to connect a multiplicity of sensibilities into a single, unified conception.

“Vertigal” is a sectional work. Like “October Song” on Gluck’s "Something Quiet," this composition invokes the formal structures of Herbie Hancock’s “Sleeping Giant” suite from the Mwandishi album "Crossings." Hancock’s band is the subject of Gluck’s forthcoming book “You’ll Know When You Get There: Herbie Hancock and the Mwandishi Band” (University of Chicago Press). The trio crafts an intricately interwoven fabric of musical collaboration, tracing “Vertigal”’s many moods and levels of intensity.

Why does the spontaneous improvisation ”Something Quiet” close this recording rather than Gluck’s previous recording by the same name? Gluck explains that the choice was quite serendipitous. “After we finished recording the planned tunes, studio engineer Will Schillinger asked whether I had what I wanted. After returning from a brief walk in the woods surrounding the studio, I suggested that we improvise something “quiet.” The fragile improvisation that resulted represents my mood on that particular day, as well as the broad expressive range of this unusual trio. The overall tenor of the previous recording, however, struck me as indeed “something quiet.”

Artist Websites:
Label Website:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Diana Krall starts, tonight, a series of three sold-out solo concerts in Montreal

Diana Krall – Solo in concert @ Montreal - SOLD OUT

The love affair between Diana Krall and the Montreal Festival continues! The internationally acclaimed pianist and singer finally returns to the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal with her first solo concert series! She will perform on three consecutive nights in Théâtre Maisonneuve, Place des Arts, on June 26, 27 and 28 at 6 p.m., part of the En voix series. Tickets for all three performances, Diana Krall-Solo in Concert, part of the 32nd edition of the Festival, presented by TD in collaboration with Rio Tinto Alcan, are sold-out since three weeks ago.

We can thank André Ménard for the opportunity to finally enjoy Diana Krall in a rare solo full length concert performance. The artistic director and co-founder of the Festival-ever in search of a new challenge-dearly wanted to present the celebrated pianist in this format, after having watched the "Toronto Becel Benefit Performance" included in a 2-DVD special edition of Krall's "Live in Rio." His sensibility was most persuasive, because when choosing from among Ménard's propositions, Krall seized upon the most intimate, the most alluring and exciting and will perform solo onstage.

The Festival has been present for every major moment in Diana Krall's career, playing an active role in her evolution: from her first appearance, shy and reserved, through to the confident, mature artist we recognize today. We fondly recall every stage in the remarkable history of this brilliant artist at this the Festival: her very first appearance in 1995-a dazzling debut!-performing a 10-night residency with a trio tribute to the legendary Nat King Cole; her first filmed concert the following year, in the sorely-missed Spectrum; her Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier premiere in 1998; her stunning gala with 30 musicians in 1999; and, finally, the unforgettable pinnacle of her Festival shows, the grand 2004 gala celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Festival, with Diana in the Centre Bell with guest Elvis Costello.

After far too long away from the Festival, Krall returns "home", for three nights rather than one-a unique and special event since she rarely plays multiple nights on the same stage! It's an irresistible opportunity to experience raw talent in its most unadorned expression-a talent that led us to select Diana Krall from among literally thousands of musicians to join the closed circle of 24 immortal Festival legends shining from the windows of the eastern facade of the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan.

Théâtre Maisonneuve
$77.50, $82.50, $87.50 Plus taxes and service charge ($91.94, $97.63, $103.33) But all sold-out.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Kathy McCord's debut album for CTI reissued today in Asia, without the artist's approval

For decades, Kathy McCord's self-titled debut album for CTI (recorded on five sessions in November and December 1969 as the first project that Creed Taylor produced at Van Gelder Studio as the LP that started a new era for CTI as an independent label, after a 3-year association with A&M) remained as one of the most hard-to-find vinyls in the past century.

Then, out of the blue, an unauthorized CD reissue came out in Japan back in 1999. And last year, most exactly on March 2, 2010, the UK-based label Ace-Big Beat Records released in Europe a 2-CD set titled "Kathy McCord: New Jersey to Woodstock," a 28-track collection with the complete CTI album plus a whole CD of previously unissued recordings. But with a completely different cover art.

Today, June 24, 2011, "Kathy McCord" is once again being reissued on CD in Asia, in a limited edition of 3,000 copies issued by the Seoul-based label Media Arte Korea. Better: in a mini-LP sleeve restoring the original LP cover art (conceived by CTI art director Tony Lane, who also did the cover to Jobim's "Stone Flower" before being replaced by another master, my friend Bob Ciano), with the beautiful pic by photographer Price Givens on the front cover. And there are bonus tracks too; 10 of the 18 songs extra songs added to "New Jersey to Woodstock."

Alain Manuel, a French CTI historian from the CTI Fan Blog ( alerted me a few days ago about this new reissue. But I was on my way to Canada, and only today, in Montreal, I had the chance to contact Kathy McCord. To my surprise, that's what she told me: "I'm fine...but was not aware of any release in Korea...??? I will have to tell BV (Billy Vera, her brother and unofficial business manager). What label, do you know? I know there was a pirated CD some years ago (the one from the Vivid Label)...didn't know then either, I never saw a dime :( When I find out what the story is I will let you know."

Anyway, here's the tracklist of the Korean CD already on sale:
1. Rainbow Ride
2. I'm Leaving Home
3. Candle Waxing
4. Baby James
5. The Love Flow
6. New York Good Sugar/Love Lyric #7
7. For You, Child
8. Jennipher
9. Take Away This Pain
10. Velvet Smile
Bonus Tracks:
11. I'll Give My Heart To You
12. I'll Never Be Alone Again
13. New Horizons
14. Acapulco
15. Baby, Come Out Tonight
16. That's A Love That's Real
17. No Need To Wait
18. I'll Be Lovin' You Forever
19. Magnolia
20. Madman

For those who aren't aware, Kathy McCord's lone 1969 for Creed Taylor's CTI Records (arranged by Don Sebesky & engineered by Rudy Van Gelder) has long been a cult folk-psych classic, rated highly by all those who enjoy artists such as Nick Drake, Vashti Bunyan and their ilk. Its cult status has been boosted by its incredible scarcity - a true holy grail in collector circles, if ever there was one.

Aside from its original vinyl issue in early 1970, the only other time it's been available in 40 years was via an almost impossible-to-find, limited Japanese CD reissue (released in 1999 by Vivid Sound Corporation) that is, if anything, harder to find than the original album now!

The London-based Ace Records reinstated this precious music to catalog in 2010. Besides the 10 tracks from the CTI LP (recorded at Van Gelder Studios, in New Jersey, on November 18, 19, 20 & 24 and December 2, 1969, featuring Harvey Brooks - the bassist who recorded on Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" -, John Hall, Paul Harris, Wells Kelly, Ed Shaugnessy and Hubert Laws, who had just been signed to CTI too), that 2-CD set also included both sides of an even rarest pre-CTI single (recorded in 1968 for the Rainy Day label) and nearly 20 demos that Kathy cut in Woodstock during the 1970s. All were from Kathy's own collection, and none had ever been released commercially prior to that CD."While the legendary Paul Butterfield was always a musical presence in the Woodstock community and offered his advice and commentaries freely, he was not on the sessions," Kathy says. "However Howard "HoJo" Johnson, the Brecker Bros., blues master Kal David, the multi-talented Marty Grebb and many others are, contributing their unique musical talents, for which I am eternally grateful."

The "many others" also include David Sanborn (on whose album "Promise Me the Moon" she would later appear), Amos Garrett, Tommy "T-Bone" Wolk, John Platania, Tom Malone, Lou Marini, Lew Del Gatto, and Levon Helm & Rick Danko (of The Band), along with vocal backing by the Voices of East Harlem.

Assembled with the full cooperation of Kathleen McCord and her brother, the equally-celebrated Billy Vera (both of whom contribute new sleeve notes), "New Jersey To Woodstock" is a musical journey very much worth taking.Here are some images from the original CTI LP cover:New text written by Tony Rounce in 2010:

Had events taken a different turn, Kathy McCord might now be regarded as a 60s pop icon, rather than a cult heroine. It was her early mentor Chip Taylor’s intention that she would record the original of the now-classic ‘Angel Of The Morning’, but his partner Al Gorgoni favoured Evie Sands. Instead Kathy got to record a single for their Rainy Day label in 1968 that fell stillborn from the presses.

A year later, Kathy became the first non-jazz artist to be signed to Creed Taylor’s renowned CTI imprint. Her eponymous album featured musicians of the calibre of John Hall, future founder of Orleans, on guitar and flautist Hubert Laws. Its ethereal beauty failed to reach its intended audience, and it was not until years later – decades, even – that it started to achieve a belated recognition, particularly among those who enjoy the works of such McCord peers as Nick Drake and Vashti Bunyan. Copies of the original LP have crept up in price and nowadays fetch a pretty penny when offered for sale. A limited edition Japanese CD from the mid-90s sold out almost before it hit the streets.

In the 21st century, the cult of Kat continues to snowball. When the opportunity arose for Ace to license and re-reissue “Kathy McCord”, we jumped at it. She is, after all, family by relation – her big brother Billy Vera has long been part of the Ace team, as both compiler and annotator. Billy is a thrilled as we are that we’re able to give his little sister the treatment that her small but mighty catalogue deserves. It was Billy who approached her on our behalf to see if she had unissued material lurking in corners or cupboards that we could use to make that catalogue even bigger.

To everyone’s delight, Kathy trawled through her tapes and found 16 tracks that make up CD2 of this set. The fi is not always hi on these, but her abundant talent shines through on each and every one of them. They were recorded at various times during the 1970s, while Kathy was living in Woodstock and hanging out with the likes of the Fabulous Rhinestones, Amos Garrett, Paul Butterfield and assorted members of the Band – most if not all of whom can be heard in this half of our programme.

Listening to the repertoire of “New Jersey To Woodstock”, it’s quite incredible that Kathy never got the kind of breaks that were afforded to considerably less talented contemporaries of hers. She had the look, and the looks. She wrote most of her own material and sung it with supreme confidence and soulfulness. Her lack of success can only be down to a matter of being on the wrong label, or in the wrong place, at the wrong time. But it’s never too late to travel from New Jersey To Woodstock, so buy your ticket and let Kathy McCord make your journey worthwhile.

Obama: "Afghanistan video"

"Dear Arnaldo:

According to our records, you are currently living and registered in California's 30th Congressional District.

If you missed it last night, you should take a few minutes to watch President Obama's address to the nation about our policy in Afghanistan:

The President's address marks a major turning point in a nearly decade-long conflict. He announced his plan to start withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan next month, fulfilling a promise he made a year and a half ago to begin the drawdown this summer.

To put it simply: when this president took office, there were 180,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, the combat mission in Iraq has ended, Afghanistan will be fully responsible for its own security by 2014, and there will be fewer than 100,000 American troops in the two countries by the end of this year.

As President Obama decisively concludes two long-running wars, he is refocusing our foreign policy to more effectively address the threats we face and strengthen America's leadership in the world as we do.

I'm writing to you because this transformation has already begun to reshape the policy debate -- foreign and domestic -- in the 2012 election. As the President said last night: "It is time to focus on nation building here at home."

The outcome of this debate will have consequences for all of us, so it's important that you understand the policy and help inform the conversation.

You can read the President's remarks below, or watch the address on the White House website here:


Jim Messina
Campaign Manager - "Obama for America"

June 22, 2011
8:01 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Nearly 10 years ago, America suffered the worst attack on our shores since Pearl Harbor. This mass murder was planned by Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network in Afghanistan, and signaled a new threat to our security -- one in which the targets were no longer soldiers on a battlefield, but innocent men, women and children going about their daily lives.

In the days that followed, our nation was united as we struck at al Qaeda and routed the Taliban in Afghanistan. Then, our focus shifted. A second war was launched in Iraq, and we spent enormous blood and treasure to support a new government there. By the time I took office, the war in Afghanistan had entered its seventh year. But al Qaeda's leaders had escaped into Pakistan and were plotting new attacks, while the Taliban had regrouped and gone on the offensive. Without a new strategy and decisive action, our military commanders warned that we could face a resurgent al Qaeda and a Taliban taking over large parts of Afghanistan.

For this reason, in one of the most difficult decisions that I've made as President, I ordered an additional 30,000 American troops into Afghanistan. When I announced this surge at West Point, we set clear objectives: to refocus on al Qaeda, to reverse the Taliban's momentum, and train Afghan security forces to defend their own country. I also made it clear that our commitment would not be open-ended, and that we would begin to draw down our forces this July.

Tonight, I can tell you that we are fulfilling that commitment. Thanks to our extraordinary men and women in uniform, our civilian personnel, and our many coalition partners, we are meeting our goals. As a result, starting next month, we will be able to remove 10,000 of our troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, and we will bring home a total of 33,000 troops by next summer, fully recovering the surge I announced at West Point. After this initial reduction, our troops will continue coming home at a steady pace as Afghan security forces move into the lead. Our mission will change from combat to support. By 2014, this process of transition will be complete, and the Afghan people will be responsible for their own security.

We're starting this drawdown from a position of strength. Al Qaeda is under more pressure than at any time since 9/11. Together with the Pakistanis, we have taken out more than half of al Qaeda's leadership. And thanks to our intelligence professionals and Special Forces, we killed Osama bin Laden, the only leader that al Qaeda had ever known. This was a victory for all who have served since 9/11. One soldier summed it up well. "The message," he said, "is we don't forget. You will be held accountable, no matter how long it takes."

The information that we recovered from bin Laden's compound shows al Qaeda under enormous strain. Bin Laden expressed concern that al Qaeda had been unable to effectively replace senior terrorists that had been killed, and that al Qaeda has failed in its effort to portray America as a nation at war with Islam -- thereby draining more widespread support. Al Qaeda remains dangerous, and we must be vigilant against attacks. But we have put al Qaeda on a path to defeat, and we will not relent until the job is done.

In Afghanistan, we've inflicted serious losses on the Taliban and taken a number of its strongholds. Along with our surge, our allies also increased their commitments, which helped stabilize more of the country. Afghan security forces have grown by over 100,000 troops, and in some provinces and municipalities we've already begun to transition responsibility for security to the Afghan people. In the face of violence and intimidation, Afghans are fighting and dying for their country, establishing local police forces, opening markets and schools, creating new opportunities for women and girls, and trying to turn the page on decades of war.

Of course, huge challenges remain. This is the beginning -- but not the end -- of our effort to wind down this war. We'll have to do the hard work of keeping the gains that we've made, while we draw down our forces and transition responsibility for security to the Afghan government. And next May, in Chicago, we will host a summit with our NATO allies and partners to shape the next phase of this transition.

We do know that peace cannot come to a land that has known so much war without a political settlement. So as we strengthen the Afghan government and security forces, America will join initiatives that reconcile the Afghan people, including the Taliban. Our position on these talks is clear: They must be led by the Afghan government, and those who want to be a part of a peaceful Afghanistan must break from al Qaeda, abandon violence, and abide by the Afghan constitution. But, in part because of our military effort, we have reason to believe that progress can be made.

The goal that we seek is achievable, and can be expressed simply: No safe haven from which al Qaeda or its affiliates can launch attacks against our homeland or our allies. We won't try to make Afghanistan a perfect place. We will not police its streets or patrol its mountains indefinitely. That is the responsibility of the Afghan government, which must step up its ability to protect its people, and move from an economy shaped by war to one that can sustain a lasting peace. What we can do, and will do, is build a partnership with the Afghan people that endures -- one that ensures that we will be able to continue targeting terrorists and supporting a sovereign Afghan government.

Of course, our efforts must also address terrorist safe havens in Pakistan. No country is more endangered by the presence of violent extremists, which is why we will continue to press Pakistan to expand its participation in securing a more peaceful future for this war-torn region. We'll work with the Pakistani government to root out the cancer of violent extremism, and we will insist that it keeps its commitments. For there should be no doubt that so long as I am President, the United States will never tolerate a safe haven for those who aim to kill us. They cannot elude us, nor escape the justice they deserve.

My fellow Americans, this has been a difficult decade for our country. We've learned anew the profound cost of war -- a cost that's been paid by the nearly 4,500 Americans who have given their lives in Iraq, and the over 1,500 who have done so in Afghanistan -- men and women who will not live to enjoy the freedom that they defended. Thousands more have been wounded. Some have lost limbs on the battlefield, and others still battle the demons that have followed them home.

Yet tonight, we take comfort in knowing that the tide of war is receding. Fewer of our sons and daughters are serving in harm's way. We've ended our combat mission in Iraq, with 100,000 American troops already out of that country. And even as there will be dark days ahead in Afghanistan, the light of a secure peace can be seen in the distance. These long wars will come to a responsible end.

As they do, we must learn their lessons. Already this decade of war has caused many to question the nature of America's engagement around the world. Some would have America retreat from our responsibility as an anchor of global security, and embrace an isolation that ignores the very real threats that we face. Others would have America over-extended, confronting every evil that can be found abroad.

We must chart a more centered course. Like generations before, we must embrace America's singular role in the course of human events. But we must be as pragmatic as we are passionate; as strategic as we are resolute. When threatened, we must respond with force -- but when that force can be targeted, we need not deploy large armies overseas. When innocents are being slaughtered and global security endangered, we don't have to choose between standing idly by or acting on our own. Instead, we must rally international action, which we're doing in Libya, where we do not have a single soldier on the ground, but are supporting allies in protecting the Libyan people and giving them the chance to determine their own destiny.

In all that we do, we must remember that what sets America apart is not solely our power -- it is the principles upon which our union was founded. We're a nation that brings our enemies to justice while adhering to the rule of law, and respecting the rights of all our citizens. We protect our own freedom and prosperity by extending it to others. We stand not for empire, but for self-determination. That is why we have a stake in the democratic aspirations that are now washing across the Arab world. We will support those revolutions with fidelity to our ideals, with the power of our example, and with an unwavering belief that all human beings deserve to live with freedom and dignity.

Above all, we are a nation whose strength abroad has been anchored in opportunity for our citizens here at home. Over the last decade, we have spent a trillion dollars on war, at a time of rising debt and hard economic times. Now, we must invest in America's greatest resource -- our people. We must unleash innovation that creates new jobs and industries, while living within our means. We must rebuild our infrastructure and find new and clean sources of energy. And most of all, after a decade of passionate debate, we must recapture the common purpose that we shared at the beginning of this time of war. For our nation draws strength from our differences, and when our union is strong no hill is too steep, no horizon is beyond our reach.

America, it is time to focus on nation building here at home.

In this effort, we draw inspiration from our fellow Americans who have sacrificed so much on our behalf. To our troops, our veterans and their families, I speak for all Americans when I say that we will keep our sacred trust with you, and provide you with the care and benefits and opportunity that you deserve.

I met some of these patriotic Americans at Fort Campbell. A while back, I spoke to the 101st Airborne that has fought to turn the tide in Afghanistan, and to the team that took out Osama bin Laden. Standing in front of a model of bin Laden's compound, the Navy SEAL who led that effort paid tribute to those who had been lost -- brothers and sisters in arms whose names are now written on bases where our troops stand guard overseas, and on headstones in quiet corners of our country where their memory will never be forgotten. This officer -- like so many others I've met on bases, in Baghdad and Bagram, and at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospital -- spoke with humility about how his unit worked together as one, depending on each other, and trusting one another, as a family might do in a time of peril.

That's a lesson worth remembering -- that we are all a part of one American family. Though we have known disagreement and division, we are bound together by the creed that is written into our founding documents, and a conviction that the United States of America is a country that can achieve whatever it sets out to accomplish. Now, let us finish the work at hand. Let us responsibly end these wars, and reclaim the American Dream that is at the center of our story. With confidence in our cause, with faith in our fellow citizens, and with hope in our hearts, let us go about the work of extending the promise of America -- for this generation, and the next.

May God bless our troops. And may God bless the United States of America.

National Endowment for the Arts Announces the 2012 NEA Jazz Masters

(Sheila Jordan)

3oth Anniversary of the Nation's Highest Honor: The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) today announced the recipients of the 2012 NEA Jazz Masters Award — the nation’s highest honor in jazz ( The five recipients will receive a one-time award of $25,000 and be publicly honored at the annual awards ceremony and concert, produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center at its home, Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City.

With this class, the NEA is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the NEA Jazz Masters Awards, which recognize outstanding musicians for their lifetime achievements and significant contributions to the development and performance of jazz.

The 2012 NEA Jazz Masters are:
Jack DeJohnette, Drummer, Keyboardist, Composer (born in Chicago, IL; lives in Willow, NY)
Von Freeman, Saxophonist (born in Chicago, IL; lives in Chicago, IL)
Charlie Haden, Bassist, Composer, Educator (born in Shenandoah, IA; lives in Agoura Hills, CA)
Sheila Jordan, Vocalist, Educator(born in Detroit, MI; lives in Middleburgh, NY and New York, NY)
*Jimmy Owens, Educator, Trumpeter, Flugelhorn Player, Composer, Arranger (born in Bronx, NY; lives in New York, NY)
*Jimmy Owens is the recipient of the 2012 A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy.

“These artists represent the highest level of artistic mastery and we are proud to recognize their achievements,” said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. “Through their contributions, we have been challenged, enlightened, and charmed, and we thank them for devoting their careers to expanding and supporting their art forms.”

“Jazz is considered by many as one of America’s greatest cultural gifts to the world,” said Wayne S. Brown, NEA Director of Music and Opera. “These artists are being recognized for their extraordinary contribution to advancing the art form and for serving as mentors for a new generation of young aspiring jazz musicians.”

Each member of the 2012 NEA Jazz Masters class is a distinguished artist whose significant lifetime contributions have helped to enrich jazz and further the growth of the art form:

Widely regarded as one of the great drummers in modern jazz, Jack DeJohnette has a wide-ranging style that makes him a dynamic sideman and bandleader. His versatility on the drums is accented by DeJohnette’s additional accomplishments as a keyboardist: he studied classical piano for ten years before taking up drums.

Earle Lavon “Von” Freeman, Sr. is considered a founder of the “Chicago School” of jazz tenor saxophonists. With his individual sound, at once husky and melodic, he makes every song his own. As the Chicago Tribune has written of him, “For technical brilliance, musical intellect, harmonic sophistication, and improvisatory freedom, Von Freeman has few bebop-era peers.”

Lyrical and expressive on the bass, Charlie Haden has embraced a variety of musical genres, ranging from jazz to country to world music. His work as an educator led to the creation of the Jazz Studies program at California Institute of the Arts in 1982 where he focuses on the spirituality of improvisation.

Sheila Jordan is not only one of the premier singers in jazz, but she is known for her stimulating vocal workshops as well. A superb scat singer, she can just as easily reach the emotional depths of a ballad.

Jimmy Owens is a jazz trumpeter, composer, arranger, educator, and music education consultant. His involvement as an advocate regarding the rights of jazz artists led to the founding of the Jazz Musician's Emergency Fund, a program of the Jazz Foundation of America.

Full profiles of the 2012 NEA Jazz Masters are located on the NEA’s website.

The NEA Jazz Masters awards were announced in conjunction with the announcement of the NEA National Heritage Fellowships and NEA Opera Honors recipients. Please go to for the list of these recipients.

For the January awards ceremony and concert, the Arts Endowment will again partner with Jazz at Lincoln Center to produce the event. The awards ceremony and concert will feature the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and other special guests in a program dedicated to the honorees’ lives and works and the program’s 30th anniversary. Since 2003-04, the NEA and Jazz at Lincoln Center have partnered on collaborations including NEA Jazz in the Schools, a web-based curriculum designed for high school teachers and students to explore the history of jazz, integrating that story with the sweep of social, economic, and political developments in the United States. The free, cross-disciplinary curriculum is available online at

About NEA Jazz Masters:

Each year since 1982, the Arts Endowment has conferred the NEA Jazz Masters Award to living legends who have made major contributions to jazz. With this new class, 124 awards have been given to great figures of jazz in America, including Count Basie, George Benson, Art Blakey, Dave Brubeck, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Herbie Hancock, John Levy, Abbey Lincoln, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Cecil Taylor, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, and the Marsalis Family.

NEA Jazz Masters are selected from nominations submitted by the public and receive a one-time fellowship award of $25,000, are honored at a public awards ceremony, and may participate in NEA-sponsored promotional, performance, and educational activities. Only living musicians or jazz advocates may be nominated for the NEA Jazz Masters honor.

In addition to NEA Jazz in the Schools, a partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center, the NEA’s jazz programs include NEA Jazz Masters Live, a series of performance and educational engagements in selected communities, featuring NEA Jazz Masters; radio programming featuring NEA Jazz Masters; and publications and reports. For more information on NEA Jazz Masters, the public is invited to visit the website, at

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at

Jazz at Lincoln Center is dedicated to inspiring and growing audiences for jazz. With the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and a comprehensive array of guest artists, Jazz at Lincoln Center advances a unique vision for the continued development of the art of jazz by producing a year-round schedule of performance, education and broadcast events for audiences of all ages. These productions include concerts, national and international tours, residencies, a jazz hall of fame, weekly national radio programs, recordings, publications, an annual high school jazz band competition and festival, a band director academy, jazz appreciation curriculum for students, music publishing, children’s concerts, lectures, adult education courses, student and educator workshops and interactive websites. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis, Chairman Lisa Schiff, and Executive Director Adrian Ellis, Jazz at Lincoln Center produces thousands of events each season in its home in New York City, Frederick P. Rose Hall, and around the world. For more information, visit

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Daniela Schächter Trio live in NY, June 27

Monday, June 27 8:30-11:30pm
Daniela Schächter Trio
with Thomson Kneeland and Mark Ferber

Bar Next Door
29 MacDougal Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 529-5945

And...on July 12th, 7-9pm: The Tine Bruhn Experience with Lars Haake (sax), Daniela Schächter (piano), Leon Boykins (bass) and Joe Blaxx Grissett (drums) at Zinc Bar! Save the date!Daniela Schächter is an active pianist-singer-composer-arranger based in New York City, and she has worked with distinguished artists such as Patti Austin, Slide Hampton, Tiger Okoshi, Ingrid Jensen, Regina Carter, Shirley Horn and New York Voices. She started early her musical career: by her mid-teens was already performing live dates in Sicily, Italy, as well as doing studio session work.

After her classical studies she moved to Boston MA as recipient of a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music, where she studied with Phil Wilson, Joe Lovano, Hal Crook and above all with Joanne Brackeen.

Daniela has won many prestigious awards, such as the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition 2005, The Sister in Jazz Competition 2002, the Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Competition 2002, the Terri Lyne Carrington Endowed Scholarship, the ‘Tindari 93, Prize’ for the best jazz duo with her brother Davide and also she appeared in the Jazziz magazine collector's CD (July 2001).

She was awarded a full-tuition scholarship to the Henry Mancini Institute for one month; there she met Billy Childs her favourite composer. The musicians that had the most influence in her music are Wayne Shorter, Keith Jarrett, Paul McCandless, Thelonious Monk, Bela Bartok, Maurice Ravel.

Daniela has performed at the Brass Group Jazz Festival, the Umbria Jazz Fest, the Cape May Jazz Festival, the Cleveland Jazz Fest with the Rainbow Big Band, the International Trumpet Guilt Conference, the Kennedy Center, the Sarasota Jazz Festival, the Cape Cod Jazz Festival, ‘The Blue Note’ with ‘The Tiger Okoshi Quartet’, the Symphony Hall with the Boston Pops and Patti Austin, the Ravinia Jazz Festival with the Count Basie Big Band and the Hollywood Bowl.

Daniela has performed with John Clayton Jr. and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, John Dankworth, the New York Voices, Terri Lyne Carrington, Patti Austin, Marian McPartland, Regina Carter, Kevin Mahogany, Christian McBride, Ingrid Jensen, Tiger Okoshi, Shirley Horn, Al McKibbon and Phil Wilson among others. She has also been conducted by Quincy Jones, Patrick Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, John Clayton Jr., Elmer Bernstein, Bob Brookmeyer, Justin DiCioccio and Phil Wilson, and was guest artist of the prestigious Marian McPartland Piano Jazz radio program in June 2006 and JazzSet hosted by Dee Dee Bridgewater on WGBO 88.3 FM.

She is leading her group in several NYC venues and she was part of the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival 2006 and the Java Jazz Festival 2006. Daniela was featured among the top jazz musicians in NYC in the Japanese Playboy Magazine of October. Her CDs “Quintet” and “I colori del mare” are available on Her second CD, which features Gene Jackson, Jimmy Greene and Alex Sipiagin among others, has been released on the Italian jazz label Splasc Records.

Los Angeles Jazz Society Presents "Vibe Summit XVIII" this Sunday, honoring Nick Mancini

(please click on the image to enlarge it)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gina Saputo live @ First & Hope Downtown Supper Club, June 24

See Gina Saputo live this Friday night, June 24, for just a $15 "Sound Bite" - Your purchase of a small Hors d'oeuvre to start your evening supports the artists and live music in LA!
7pm seating for 8pm show at Fedora @ First & Hope Downtown Supper Club.
Valet parking on First St. Just $8 with validation.

Reservations: 213.617.8555 or online at
Limited seating. Full or light dinner available during the show with handcrafted cocktails, beer, and wine. Please note to sit in the Fedora Music Room, the secret soundroom of Downtown.

Featuring: John Storie (guitar), Dave Miller (bass) & Matt Mayhall (drums).

“One of our favorite vocalists in the contemporary jazz scene, LA-based young diva Gina Saputo likes to sing in Portuguese, scatting and phrasing in a very creative way, sometimes sounds like the missing link between Carmen, Basia (check his own groovy "Explain," on which she also emulates Billie), Flora and Tierney. Not to be missed."”
— Arnaldo DeSouteiro, Jazz Station“Gina is considered to be a rising star by many jazz enthusiasts.” Carl Woideck, KLCC 89.7 NPR, 2009

Gina Saputo, a native of Springfield, Oregon, studied Jazz at the University of Southern California. She had the opportunity to attend Jazz Aspen Snowmass, and the Thelonius Monk Institute in 2005. Gina has performed for the State Department in Washington, D.C., and toured Viet Nam with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Nnenna Freelon. Her first CD, “Gina Saputo” featured Gerald Clayton, and climbed to #3 on Japan’s Swing Journal charts.

She won First Place at the Big Stage Vocal Competition and is the vocalist for Orange County Music Awards winning band for Best Jazz in Orange County, two years running. Gina enjoyed 3 tours in Japan, her last with Grammy nominated pianist Bill Cunliffe. She performed and taught in South Korea, in Oregon with pianist Benny Green, at Club Nokia at LA Live, and the Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival. Gina sings regularly at Steamers Jazz Club (8 years), The Hip Kitty, Ambrosia and First & Hope Supper Club.

More CTI CDs scheduled for release in August

After the most predictable choices, Sony Masterworks will be finally starting to release, on August 9, some other CTI titles that hadn't made it to the US on CD yet, although all had been already reissued many times on digital format in Japan.The selected albums: Airto Moreira's fusion masterpiece "Fingers" (Airto's second LP as a leader for CTI, featuring Flora Purim, David Amaro and the OPA Trio led by keyboard wiz Hugo Fattoruso), Joe Farrell's "Outback" (an outstanding session with Chick Corea, Airto, and -- on the single date that both recorded for CTI -- Buster Williams and Elvin Jones), Randy Weston's spectacular big-band project "Blue Moses" (with the leader playing Fender Rhodes exclusively upon Don Sebesky's brilliant horn arrangements and strong contributions by Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, Hubert Laws, Airto and Grover Washington, Jr.) and Jackie & Roy's controversial "A Wilder Alias," featuring Roy Kral on Wurlitzer electric piano & Jackie Cain's crystal clear voice -- wordless vocals, most of the time -- plus Harvie Swartz, Steve Gadd, Joe Farrell, Hubert Laws and Roy Pennington.All CTI fans hope these "new" CDs will come out with additional music, since all the four aforementioned sessions that took place at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, in Englewood, NJ, yielded several alternate takes and previously unreleased tracks, specially "Blue Moses" and "Fingers."

Don't miss Scot Albertson on radio & live concert, next Saturday, July 25

Funding for Jazz: Metropole Orchestra and Dutch Jazz Archive in trouble

The Dutch government has proposed substantial cuts in cultural funding by 25 per cent and raising VAT on concert tickets from 6% to 19%. The lighthouse projects of Dutch culture such as the Concertgebouw Orchestra or the Dutch National Ballet will only suffer minor cuts, writes Tom Service in The Guardian, while other institutions will basically be threatened in their existence by the proposed cuts.

From the field of jazz Service names the Metropole Orchestra as a "probable loss", but the cuts may also affect the existence of the Dutch Music Center which includes the Dutch Jazz Archive, an invaluable source of information on the development of jazz in the Low Countries. The International Association of Music Information Centres has started a petition to save the Music center which can he signed on their website (IAMIC).

For detailed infos, please check:

EP of the Day - "Eumir Deodato: Boleros"

EP of the Day
Eumir Deodato: "Boleros" (Odeon) 1965

Side A
1. Venezuela
2. If I Should Lose You
Side B
1. Serenata
2. Nothing Ever Changes My Love For You

Happy Birthday, Mr. Eumir!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Diana Krall: sold-out solo concerts @ Montreal International Jazz Festival, June 26-28

The look of love, the sound of jazz
Diana Krall looks like a dream, but the ballad singer's talent for jazz is very real.
by Juan Rodriguez for Montreal Gazette, June 18, 2011

Diana Krall performs June 26 to 28 at Theatre Maisonneuve of Place des Arts, as part of the Montreal International Jazz Festival. All of the shows are sold out.

First, there are the numbers: Diana Krall has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide, including 6 million in the U.S., more albums than any other jazz singer of the 1990s and 2000s. She's the only singer to debut eight albums atop the jazz charts. Thus far, she has won three Grammy Awards and eight Junos, scoring nine gold, three platinum, and seven multi-platinum albums.

Then, there are the tie-ins and associations: The ads for Lexus luxury autos, for Rolex watches, the countless magazine covers. In 2008, Nanaimo Harbourfront Plaza was renamed Diana Krall Plaza. Barbra Streisand asked her to produce her last album, in 2009. Clint Eastwood, a fan and friend, featured her music in True Crime. And, of course, there was the marriage to Elvis Costello at Elton John's estate.

Finally, there are Krall's looks: blond, sultry, in classic stylish wardrobe, the little black dress or the strapless gown, "glamorous and amorous," to paraphrase 'S Wonderful, the Gershwin song that opens her best-of album. You'd have to go back to Julie London to find a jazz ballad singer so aggressively marketed as a sex symbol. What's more, her success opened a lucrative market for retro stylists, inspiring a slew of other glamourpusses (like Norah Jones and Jane Monheit) to enter the fray, to various degrees of commercial success.

It's not supposed to be this way for a genuine jazz singer. Besides, how could a white-bread from the Vancouver Island city of Nanaimo measure up to the legacies of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington, who overcame various forms of racial discrimination? And how could she have the chutzpah of ostensibly imitating, in the form of a tribute album, the acknowledged master of the piano-guitar-bass trio format, Nat King Cole, on her third album, All for You, breaking through to sell 100,000 copies within months? "Has Diana Krall gone pop?" asked a Globe and Mail headline. Ergo, she's not a real jazz singer, right?

Wrong. Welcome to yet another jazz controversy over "purity" and preconceived notions. Jazz is full of critic-generated brouhahas, which have more often than not dragged the music into a ghetto ruled by those "in-the-know."

Diana Krall is a polarizing figure who breaks conventional wisdom on what it means to be a serious jazz artist.

That sentiment was echoed by a self-described "aging jazz singer," who recently blogged: "I almost felt it was time for me to stop singing because I saw so many younger singers with more beauty than talent making an impression. Unfortunately, it's a fact of life that some people (many of them men) will buy albums because they can imagine a beauty... singing to them. I'll never forget the spectacle of a friend's husband (who never much cared for vocalists) going gaga over a video of Diana Krall and playing it over and over again. It was pretty obvious that Krall's music was secondary."

Krall was criticized by Gary Giddins, the Village Voice's arbiter of jazz taste, for wrapping The Look of Love album in the airy satin-pillow-plush arrangements of Claus Ogerman, whose trademark lushness -- which comes perilously close to sounding like Muzak -- has graced albums by no less an artist than Antonio Carlos Jobim. (Then again, jazz critics have always had a thing against Ogerman, whom Giddins characterized as a "menace." I happen to love Ogerman's sound.)

A measure of how Diana Krall takes chances and rises to the occasion will be her three-night solo stand -- just her at the piano -- at Theatre Maisonneuve, June 26 to 28. It's one thing to do this in a club (although a bassist is usually needed to maintain a rhythmic pulse), it's another thing entirely to create an intimate club-like atmosphere in a large hall.

Though she has played the Montreal jazz fest on numerous occasions -- debuting in 1995 in her Nat King Cole tribute trio, a year later at the Spectrum for her first filmed concert, in 1999 with 30 musicians, in 2004 at the Bell Centre celebrating the festival's 25th anniversary -- she has not done a solo engagement at the fest. Festival artistic director Andre Menard came up with the idea for her: three nights that should give her the opportunity to make changes in repertoire and different approaches to the moment. A mini-musical laboratory in velvet.

In his intensely discriminating Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers, Will Friedwald reiterates the three reactions to the huge success of Diana Krall over the last two decades:

"First, that she's really great, and deserves all the attention and acclaim that she's received. (This is not exactly my opinion, but I do have to respect the taste of some of those who have expressed it, such as Johnny Mandel and Tony Bennett.) Second, that she's a total sham in a little black dress and high heels, foisted on the public by astute promoters, largely by virtue of her supermodel appearance. (This opinion is inevitably put forward by other, less successful would-be singers, whose mouths are so filled with sour grapes that they can hardly sing themselves.) Third, that she's somewhere between the two poles -- that she is, if not the greatest thing since sliced bread, certainly one of the more wonderful (and, correspondingly, more popular) performers of jazz and standards currently active, that she not only has a lot of talent but works hard and is constantly improving her craft, and further, that her success bodes well for the future of this music. Speaking p ersonally, I started with the second opinion, have been very comfortable with the third for a few years now, and am starting to veer toward the first."

Krall herself shrugs off the criticism, noting that when she was a teenager she adorned her bedroom wall with posters of Charlie Parker and Peter Frampton: "But for you jazz police out there, don't worry -- I arranged them so they couldn't see each other."

Such objections to the so-called corrupting influence of commerce (ugh) were not raised in the decade or so -- the big-band era of the 1930s and '40s -- when jazz really was America's popular music. What the naysayers conveniently forget is that Ella, Sarah and Dinah all had big pop hits, and they all dressed glamorously. They all appeared on television regularly.

What's forgotten is that Krall started out as a pianist who had to be talked into singing by Jimmy Rowles, who for years was Fitzgerald's accompanist. She describes the piano as a guide to her vocals, a bold complement to a limited contralto.

She imbues the songs with subtle (yet adventurous) nuance -- really, in the jazz tradition -- rather than overt "trademark" mannerisms, the death trap for so many female singers these days. She makes no attempt to "sound black" by adopting blues or gospel tinges.

She compensates with canny use of space and silences, restraint, breezy warmth, and a devotion to follow the groove -- even when that groove proceeds at a snail's pace. Like Nat Cole, her piano and voice are in total sync.

While sales figures prove her popularity, getting respect from the jazz police is another matter. Of course, she cares about respect from people she looks up to but, in another sense, coming from polemicists with axes to grind, she could care less.

Born on Nov. 16, 1964, in Nanaimo, B.C., she was raised by musical parents; her mother sang in the community choir, her father played stride piano and was an avid collector of sheet music and old 78 rpms, and turned her on to Fats Waller.

Her other heroes included Nat King Cole, Teddy Wilson and Earl Hines, all of whom influenced her innate ability to establish rhythm (albeit her inimitable languorous rhythm). Her preferred format -- piano, guitar, bass -- comes straight from Cole's famous trio of the '40s.

(While most people remember Cole for his velvet voice, he was a groundbreaking, absolutely fearless and swinging pianist who conjoined the worlds of swing and bop.)

She was discovered by Nanaimo School District music teacher Bryan Stovell, who developed in her a work ethic that amazes to this day. Two other Nanaimo natives, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and her younger sister, Christine (saxophone, composer), looked up to her hard-won progress and were inspired to follow her dogged path -- to great success, too.

Krall started gigging professionally at age 15, and won a Vancouver Jazz Festival scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she met drummer Jeff Hamilton and bassist-orchestrator John Clayton, who suggested she move to Los Angeles and with whom she recorded her debut album, Stepping Out, for Montreal's Justin Time label. She stayed in L.A. for three years, parlaying a Canada Council grant to study in Los Angeles with Jimmy Rowles. She also met up with the bass pioneer Ray Brown, who became another mentor.

She was already 26 before she started singing professionally. "I didn't have the confidence," she once said. "Too much listening to Sarah Vaughan, I guess."

In 2000, she opened a tour with Tony Bennett, another challenge given the comparison factor with Mr. Ballad himself. "About the only dumb thing that Krall has ever done," Friedwald writes, "is decline Tony Bennett's generous offer to share an album with him, something that no other vocalist had the opportunity to do up to that point."

A forward-thinking musician, she has remained seemingly unaffected by the trappings of stardom -- or the glamorous image she insists is her doing and not the work of her "handlers." (Perhaps we should replace the word "glamour" with "impeccable good taste.")

The historian and critic Ted Gioia (author of the newly revised The History of Jazz) chided her recently for crediting two hairdressers, two makeup artists and one wardrobe assistant in the liner notes to 2006's From This Moment On. "Ah, how times have changed... how did Billie Holiday get by with just that gardenia? Where was Ella's entourage? Bessie's beautician? Sarah's stylist?"

Yet Gioia, in an online survey (at of female jazz singers, gives full props to Krall's talent: "A thousand vocalists have ended up on the boulevard of broken dreams by trying to resuscitate 'S Wonderful or Let's Fall in Love. These songs have been so picked over that there is hardly any meat left on their bones. But Krall avoids all the traps here. She doesn't lapse into imitation of her predecessors. She doesn't try to out-scat Ella or hit higher notes than Sarah. She doesn't get cutesy or treat the song with museum-like reverence. Instead she does just what we want her to do -- namely, probe the emotional insides of these melodies. She lives the song, and does it with such honesty and immediacy that we forget whether the song was written in 1938 or 1968. It sounds like she composed it on the piano this afternoon before showing up at the gig."

Krall "makes it seem so simple," Gioia continues. She "has established a distinctive voice of her own. She has already earned her own wing in the pantheon of ballad singers."

Some critics compare her unfavourably to such overtly "creative" and idiosyncratic singers as Cassandra Wilson and Shirley Horn. And yet that is like comparing apples and oranges.

She's coolly emphatic about the philosophy and the lexicon of love. The look of love is no mere glance through her eyes. She's intimate in a conversational way about that ephemeral -- indelible, incredible -- moonglow atmosphere, instead of bludgeoning you with it. It's as if she's asking "Did you ever feel this way, too?" She's marvellously candid yet open-ended with her audiences. She's the modern-day girl next door.

German critics and historians Joachim-Ernst Berendt and Gunther Huesmann, in the seventh edition of The Jazz Book, hail her "slightly understated phrasing full of surprises. Krall succeeded in reinterpreting the tradition of American jazz standards with a deep understanding of the texts and an irresistible articulation. Her style represents a very attractive, unaffected type of singing. Krall has a phenomenal feeling for using her voice to explore the depths of the emotional presence in a song's lyrics. She makes room for all the facets of human feelings and passions, with fragility, a slight coarseness, seductiveness, and little vocal growls, all filtered through her typical coolness."

Berendt and Huesmann maintain that Krall "is perhaps as significant as a pianist as she is as a vocalist. She expands and comments on her singing with a piano style that sparkles with improvisational wit and spontaneous lightness."

"I owe all that to Jimmy Rowles," she said. The piano helps the singing "catch fire."

To critics who say she milks nostalgia for the classic American Songbook, she replied: "The stories of love and romance, loss and loneliness, have always been there and always will be."

Antoinette live @ Melange Bistro, June 22

The Pittsburgh-based singer Antoinette Manganas will be performing this Wednesday, June 22, @ The Melange Bistro (6th Ave. across from Renaissance Hotel), from 7pm to 10pm. Featuring Dave Crisci (keyboards), Jason Miller (sax) and Cotrell (percussion). If you live in the area, don't miss to chance to attend. In case you can't go, look for her CDs. "Verbal Crush" is fantastic, including songs by Gershwin, Jobim and Isaac Hayes.

CD Reissue of the Week - "George Benson: Body Talk"

CD Reissue of the Week
George Benson: "Body Talk" (CTI/Sony Masterworks) 1973/2011

Produced by Creed Taylor
Recorded & Mixed by Rudy Van Gelder
Cover Photo: Pete Turner
Liner Photo: Steve Salmieri
Album Design: Bob Ciano
Total Time 46:25

Arranged & Conducted by Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis
Featuring: Harold Mabern (Fender Rhodes), Ron Carter (acoustic bass), Gary King (electric bass on "Body Talk" only), Jack DeJohnette (drums), Mobutu (congas), Earl Klugh (rhythm guitar)
Recorded on July 17, 1973
A six-piece horn section - with Frank Foster on tenor sax, trombonists Gerald Chamberlain & Dick Griffin, and trumpeters Jon Faddis, John Gatchell & Waymon Reed - was overdubbed by arranger Pee Wee Ellis (on July 18, 1973) on "Plum," "Body Talk" and "Top of the World."

Benson's playing throughout the album is impeccable, the rhythm section sounds OK, but Benson's compositions, although nice, are not so memorable. The arrangements are "simple," to say the least, and for my taste they are all simplistic, with rumidentary funky riffs. That's why "Body Talk" can't be compared to "White Rabbit" neither "Bad Benson," both with a great repertoire magnificently scored by Don Sebesky.

The opening track, "Dance," is basically a guitar improvisation built upon a funky vamp with a frenetic (or annoying, depending of the listener's taste) guitar riff. Btw, Earl Klugh is heard on the rhythm guitar in several tracks, changing to an amplified acoustic guitar on a delightful version of Donny Hatthaway-Gene McDaniels' "When Love Has Grown," which also features a short solo by Harold Mabern on Fender Rhodes; actually, his only solo spot on the album. Mobutu is credited as playing "Percussion," but don't expect something like Airto's arsenal because he uses only one percussion instrument: congas.

Regarding the liner photo, it was pictured by Steve Salmieri during the photo sessions at The Lotos Club in NYC for Don Sebesky's "Giant Box" masterpiece. And the cover photo is the less impressive Pete Turner pic ever.

The previous U.S. CD reissue of "Body Talk" (issued in 1989 as CBS 45222), produced by Didier Deutsch, had been entirely remixed - by Larry Keyes @ CBS Studios, NYC - from the multi-track tapes. Didier also changed the track-sequence, opening with the tracks from the Side B of the 1973 vinyl release. An alternate take of the title track was added as well.

Now, the 2011 CD reissue (produced by Richard Seidel) uses the original two-track tapes recorded & mixed by Rudy Van Gelder. That's why the new CD sounds exactly like the original LP version. The remastering was done by Mark Wilder & Maria Triana @ Battery Studios, NYC. The only track not mixed by Van Gelder is the alternate take of "Body Talk," track 6 of the CD - Seidel decided to use the same mix done in 1989 by Larry Keyes (uncredited on this new CD version.) But all other 5 tracks sound exactly like the original LP.

The same "problem" that CTI fans noticed on "Body Talk," when it reappeared in digital format back in 1989, happened in many other CTI CDs reissued in the U.S. by CBS between 1987 and 1990, since Didier decided to ignore Van Gelder's original two-track mixed tapes and remixed everything. That's why the CD reissues of such albums as Freddie Hubbard's "Sky Dive" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Stone Flower" sound very different from the original albums and different from the Japanese reissues which used Van Gelder's two-track mixed tapes. Some tracks were extended, like "Povo" (from "Sky Dive") on which Keith Jarrett's Fender Rhodes solo had been edited (shortned) on the vinyl LP, but can be heard on its entirety on the 1988 CD. Didier also added two versions of "Naturally," but both sound completely different from the original one heard on the "Polar AC" album of out-takes. To listen to the "real" mix of "Naturally," you need to purchase a Japanese reissue of "Polar AC".

I personally would love to hear all the original CTI multi-track tapes digitally remixed by Van Gelder, something that never happened yet...(RVG remastered a series of 20 CTI CDs produced by Creed Taylor himself for the Japanese market in 2009, but used the original two-track mixes because neither him or King Records had access to the multi-track masters that now belong to Sony.)

CD of the Week - "Bob Gluck: Something Quiet"

CD of the Week
Bob Gluck: "Something Quiet" (FMR) 2011

Think of Ornette Coleman playing piano! Also think of Paul Bley meets Andrew Hill, and invites Steve Lacy to sit in. Yes, you got the idea. Harmonically and aesthetically intriguing as long as you live. All tunes composed by Gluck, except the re-construction of Herbie Hancock's "Dolphin Dance."

Featuring: Bob Gluck (acoustic piano), Joe Giardullo (soprano sax) & Christopher Dean Sullivan
(acoustic bass)

Recorded (May 18, 2010), Mixed and Mastered by Will Schillinger @ Pilot Recording Studios, Monterey, MA
Assistant Engineer: Stephen "Stitch" Keech
Cover art: Ewan Rigg
Produced by: Bob Gluck and Will Schillinger
Produced for FMR by Trevor Taylor
In loving memory of Milton J. Schubin

The latest release from pianist/composer Bob Gluck, "Something Quiet" presents this multitalented musician in a completely new setting. The new CD intrigues the listener with a startling new side of his inventive approach to music making. Gluck is an eclectic artist of astonishing breadth, best known for his years of work in the forefront of electronic music. His previous outing in a jazz setting was the critically acclaimed 2008 recording, "Sideways," with bassist Michael Bisio and drummer-percussionist Dean Sharp, Gluck here introduces his newly formed drummerless trio - featuring soprano saxophone master Joe Giardullo and versatile bass artisan Christopher Dean Sullivan.

"Something Quiet" delivers on the calming promise of its title. But it does so in an ever-shifting sonic environment where silence and space are complemented with clamorous sound and intensity. The results are a sonic ebb and flow within which structure and freedom happily coexist.

Gluck’s life story is as interesting as his music. Raised in New York City, the political activist/Julliard trained pianist eventually developed an interest in the revolutionary acoustic jazz of Ornette Coleman and Keith Jarrett’s American quartet (featuring Coleman alumni Dewey Redman and Charlie Haden, as well as innovative drummer Paul Motian) that was much affected by the altoist’s groundbreaking improvising conceptions. The influence of Jimi Hendrix, seventies era electric Miles Davis groups, Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi band and Weather Report had already spawned an enduring interest in electronic music that has persisted to this day. Following a long absence from the music scene, during which time Gluck was engaged in a religious life as a rabbi, Gluck began uniting his philosophical, spiritual and aesthetic pursuits in the world of academia and electronic music. Then in 2005 he returned to the piano as his primary means of musical expression, employing electronics in conjunction with the acoustic instrument.

Although "Something Quiet" is Bob Gluck’s first entirely acoustic outing since the start of his much delayed recording career, its music is an organic development of his earlier work, displaying a scrupulous attentiveness to sonic nuance. While some may place Gluck within the context of the avant garde, following in the tradition of Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Andrew Hill, Paul Bley and Don Pullen, his music reveals an abiding affection towards the more pastoral and pensive aspects of impressionism and late romanticism. His approach as a pianist, composer and improvisor is one that intuitively merges intuition with a broad sonic palate where lyricism and abstraction find a shared home. The results are a kind of organic chamber jazz that eschews traditional song form without abandoning melodic beauty or structure.

"Something Quiet" opens appropriately with Gluck’s solo piano delicately introducing his “Waterway”, reexamining anew a song previously heard on his "Sideways" release as if hearing it for the first time. The piece embodies the pianist’s compositional style, which exhibits an ebb and flow, carrying the music through various currents, from meditative to tumultuous. Somewhat inspired by the landmark Herbie Hancock - Wayne Shorter "1 + 1" album, the unique sound of Giardullo’s soprano becomes deftly woven into the musical tapestry. Soon, Sullivan’s distinctive bass enjoys a brief solo spotlight before the dynamic intensity rises as each musician expresses himself in the moment, individualistically and collectively. Shifts in volume, tempo, rhythm and tone move the music through various phases (there is even a boogie influenced piano section) that a come to a decisive, final melodic resolution.

The inclusion of Herbie Hancock’s “Dolphin Dance”, the one track not composed by Gluck himself, is an indication of his longstanding interest in the music of the iconic pianist, the subject of his forthcoming book "You’ll Know When You Get There: Herbie Hancock and the Mwandishi Band" (University of Chicago Press). A duet with bassist Sullivan, Gluck opens by kaleidoscopically exploring a succinct motif from Hancock’s classic composition, subtly revealing multiple implications of its chordal and melodic aspects. Only then does Gluck state the well-known melody. His reharmonized interpretation places a personal stamp on the piece, building upon Gluck's personal distinct musical characteristics. Sullivan’s emotive bass interacts with the piano in a manner that alternately reinforces and alters the tenor of the tune in surprising ways.

“October Song” is another Gluck original, played here for the first time. The composer again cites the influence of Herbie Hancock on the music, specifically his “Sleeping Giant” from the Mwandishi album "Crossings." An episodic piece, it is a built around several different “markers” that inspire divergent improvisations by the members of the trio. Beginning peacefully with Giardullo’s soprano in the foreground, Gluck’s keyboard is heard spaciously behind. A second marker dramatically introduces a powerful percussive piano section reminiscent of Don Pullen in its rhythmic intensity. As the music progresses, each player are heard individually in a manner that blurs the traditional lines between soloist and accompanist. This feature gives the track an organic narrative quality as it moves through segments of development and recapitulation, generously displaying a broad dynamic range.

Part of a pair of compositions, “Going Away” (its complement “Returning” can be heard on another FMR release featuring the trio from his previous recording) is one of the more delicately delivered constructions on "Something Quiet," much indicative of the date’s title. Developed horizontally, the tune's barely detectable harmonic shifts move slowly and subtly from chord to chord, creating a sensation of floating. This nearly ambient mood is contrasted briefly by a swinging piano moment that serves to emphasize the nearly static quality of the track as a whole.

“Still Waters” takes a different approach to the opening “Waterway”; more melodically focused than either of its previous interpretations on this or the "Sideways" album. Giardullo’s soprano is prominent in directing the melodic line, as Gluck’s piano and Sullivan’s bass move the piece dynamically and rhythmically with solo interludes and divergent shifts in volume and tempo.

The title track of Gluck’s previous trio release, “Sideways” is similarly given a fresh and new treatment, this one more angular in nature. An exercise in contrast, it begins as Gluck and Giardullo play the appealing melody in tandem, before each one heads into his own personal - often consciously opposing –territory, disparate in tonal and/or dynamic mood, with Sullivan’s bass often serving as the bridge between the divergent passages.

The concluding “Lifeline”, like the earlier “October Song”, is an episodically written composition in which the mood shifts from section to section. Opening with Gluck’s lyrical Monkishly rhythmic motif reminiscent of the pianist’s “Thelonious”, the piece moves into a meditative segment featuring Giardullo at his most expressive before briefly returning to the melodic opening for a satisfying final resolution.

A record of persuasive individuality and integrity, "Something Quiet" skillfully demonstrates the prodigious talent of Bob Gluck as a pianist, improvisor and composer in the tradition of jazz’s truly great creative individualists. The music here is as satisfying as it is personal – focused in its goal to tell one person's unique stories in a manner that will have broad appeal. It will engage a broad range of listeners. This is music that convincingly attunes the ear to the fascinating possibilities of music that builds unfettered on the concept of intelligently directed freedom of expression, sparkling with the allure of lyricism and beauty.
Bob Gluck is an intuitive, expressive pianist, always listening closely to the world around him. He has been described as " accomplished and passionate pianist in the most elusive tradition of avant-garde masters Cecil Taylor, Andrew Hill, McCoy Tyner, and Don Pullen." (Chronogram) and "...a brilliant improviser." (Cadence)

Gluck's journey through life has been like a labyrinth in which spirituality, politics and music-making all come together in his creative consciousness. Raised in New York as a conservatory student and political activist, Gluck spent many years away from music, leading a life as a rabbi. His return to composing in 1995 and to the piano in 2005 marked the beginning of unique, continually unfolding career as a musician, educator and writer. With influences as diverse as Herbie Hancock, Jimi Hendrix, Johann Sebastian Bach, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, Gluck discovered a way to marry interests in electronic music with his love of jazz.

His approach as a pianist and composer is like a creative caldron that intuitively merges intuition with a broad sonic palate. Lyricism and abstraction find a shared home. It should come as no surprise that the title of his upcoming book is "You'll Know When You Get There: Herbie Hancock and the Mwandishi Band" (forthcoming, University of Chicago Press). Gluck's two new recordings on FRM records plus an Innova release of music by Neil Rolnick, coming in January 2011, add to his previous four CDs. These include The Bob Gluck Trio, "Sideways" (2008). Gluck, a natural communicator, teaches music at the University at Albany. Keyboard magazine named him June 2009 "Unsigned Artist of the Month." observes: "Gluck never uses a sound in isolation - each tone is part of the picture, providing context and comprehension."

Joe Giardullo is a soprano saxophonist/ composer whose work encompasses avant jazz, new complexity, indeterminate and new music genres. Although he began his music studies in elementary school, he is primarily a self-taught instrumentalist, with isolated studies with Don Cherry and Leo Smith. However, in 1967 he began his study of Indian music. Those studies, over a period of seven years, became primarily focused on rhythm. At the conclusion of those studies Joe began intensive private study of the Lydian Chromatic Theory of Tonal Organization as developed by composer George Russell. In 1976, Joe began composing what he considered to be "experimental" works; those pieces remained unplayed for 2 years. A chance meeting, however, with pianist Paul Bley, resulted in a recording of those compositions, collectively called "Gravity" (1979), works for Creative Chamber Ensemble. That recording met with both commercial indifference and critical acclaim. At the same time, unknown to Joe, his Indian music teacher sent copies of the Gravity scores to Nadia Boulanger, her former teacher. Madame Boulanger responded by inviting Joe to attend her classes at the Paris Conservatoire. However, Joe's circumstances prohibited him from attending.

From 1977 to 1980, Joe divided his time between New York and Europe, working on his Gravity compositions in private and publicly performing as an avant jazz instrumentalist. He became involved with the composer Anthony Braxton, doing pre-production work on Braxton's Music For four Orchestras (Arista) and through his association with Braxton, became familiar with the work of Stockhausen and Berio, among others. Joe received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1979, sponsored by Mr. Braxton. Joe retreated from public performance in 1981 and did not emerge again until 1991. During this time, he played privately and the evolution of his Gravity compositions for Creative Chamber Ensemble continued. It was again a chance meeting, this time with the internationally known multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee that brought Joe back to performance, and also introduced his music to composer Pauline Oliveros. Ms. Oliveros has commissioned 2 works from Joe and she has performed numerous of his compositions in the last 15 years. A series of residencies, commissions, recordings and international performances have followed. As an instrumentalist, Joe has performed throughout the US, Canada and Europe, and with artists Pauline Oliveros, Stuart Dempster, The Deep Listening Band, Joe McPhee, Steve Lacy, Carlos Zingaro, Milford Graves, Bill Dixon, Marilyn Crispell, Vinny Golia, Bobby Bradford, Thomas Buckner, and Lori Freedman, among many others, including Lester Lanin and Peg Leg Bates.

Christopher Dean Sullivan is a renowned bassist of many musical languages: Jazz, Funk, Reggae, Latin, Fusion, Caribbean, Indian, African, and Eurocentric perceptions, rock, country, and more. He has shared the stage with Stanley Jordan, Pete Seeger, Archie Shepp, Charli Persip, Yusef Lateef, Grant Green, Horace Parlan, Joe McPhee, Sonny Simmons, Cecil Payne, Joe Lovano, Roy Campbell Jr., to name a few, and led his own ensembles within the U.S. and abroad. Sullivan can be heard on records and CDs from jazz and blues to acoustic folk, funk and gospel. He has recorded with reedist Michael Marcus and drummer Codaryl Cody Moffett; reedist Joe Giardullo, singer Sheila Jordan, as well as Carl Grubbs, Odean Pope, Newman Taylor Baker, and others.

Chris Sullivan also performs with the Cotton Club All Star Orchestra and he has toured with 50's/60's groups including the Marcel's, The Drifters, and the Sharelles. He is also an educator and actor. He has been producer/host of his own Warner Communication award winning television show, "The Tree of Arts Alive," which features performances and interviews with musical figures including Max Roach, Chick Corea, Stanley Clark, George Duke, Patrice Rushen, Chaka Chan, Lenny White, and Betty Carter. Chris Sullivan has received several community and arts services municipal and congressional awards.