Thursday, February 27, 2014

Brazilian Carnival 2014 in Hollywood!

30th Annual BRAZILIAN CARNAVAL 2014 IN HOLLYWOOD @ Lure Nightclub (1439 Ivar Ave, Los Angeles). Celebrating the World Cup in Brazil!

Saturday, March 1
9pm to 2am / 21 & over
For online tickets, VIP tables, more info, go to:

UNIDOS DA BAHIA with legendary members of OLODUM & ILE AIYE
SAMBA'DA - # 1 Brazilian band in the USA from the San Francisco area
BATUKAXE - Legendary L.A. based Bahia band.
RIO SAMBA SCHOOL - Samba Enredo, Batucada
ANDREA FERRAZ - Marchinhas
SOL ROMERO - Electro Carnaval
Plus: Electrifying Samba Dancers from Rio and Flying Cirque Capoeira Artists!

Electronic Dance Music DJs with Brazilian percussion!

GENERAL ADMISSION: $25 in advance
VIP tables: $60 per person
Supermercado Brazil in Culver City - 310 837 4291
El Camaguey Market in Culver City - 310 839 4037
Brasil Mania Market in Torrance - 310 212 6040
Brasilian Blowdry Bar in W. Hollywood - 310 858 8136
Affirmative Insurance in N. Hollywood - 818 997 7879
El Gaucho Market II in Anaheim - 714 776 6400
Puerto Madero in Santa Ana - 714 547 5900

For online tickets, VIP tables, more info, go to:

1439 Ivar Ave, Los Angeles 90028

Anne Sajdera live in Berkeley, this Sunday

A concert featuring brilliant pianist/composer Anne Sajdera's newest ensemble project will be presented this Sunday, March 2, @ the Jazzschool (2087 Addison St, Berkeley) in California. The program includes beautiful contemporary arrangements of American and Brazilian jazz with compositions by Herbie Hancock, Stefon Harris, Chico Pinheiro, McCoy Tyner, Egberto Gismonti as well as Anne's originals and originally arranged standards.

Featuring: Peter Barshay (bass), Greg German (drums) & Harvey Wainapel (sax) plus special guests:
Erik Jekabson, trumpet; John Douglas, sax; Adam Theis, trombone; Joyce Lee, violin; Christina Simpson, viola; and Ariella Hyman, cello. 

Gina Saputo live @ Steamers, Feb. 28th

Win Tix To Screening of "Marketa Lazarova"


Peter Jay Sharp Building, BAM Rose Cinemas

30 Lafayette Ave. 

Brooklyn, NY

This Friday, February 28, BAMcinématek begins its weeklong run of Frantisek Vlacil's medieval epic, Marketa Lazarova, a crowning achievement of Czech cinema from 1967, and screened on a freshly struck 35mm print. Other Music is giving away one pair of passes, redeemable for any one of the showings through March 6. To enter for your chance to win, email

Wild Beasts In-Store Performance


Free Admission | Limited Capacity

Don't miss this special acoustic performance from Wild Beasts, this Monday at Other Music. The band will be celebrating the release of their new album, Present Tense, and if you purchase the CD or LP that evening, you'll be entered for a chance to win a pair of tickets to their sold out show the following night at Music Hall of Williamsburg!

Jamie Baum live w/ Richie Beirach

Don't miss the upcoming performances by flutist supreme Jamie Baum in duo with veteran piano master Richie Beirach in Baltimore, Boston and NYC. Last year, Baum won the 35th Annual Jazz Station Poll, conducted by jazz historian Arnaldo DeSouteiro, topping the Flute category. Beirach is one of DeSouteiro's favorite pianists since his memorable "Forgotten Fantasies" (1976) duo album with Dave Liebman.

Starting on Sunday, March 2nd, 2014, sets at 5 & 7pm @ An Die Musik
409 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, Maryland
(410) 385-2638

Then, on Thursday, March 6th, 7:30pm @ The Regattabar at the Charles Hotel
One Bennett Street
Cambridge MA
(617) 661-5000

And, finally, on March 7th, two sets at 8 & 10pm @ Jazz at The Kitano
66 Park Ave (at 38th St.)
New York, NY
(212) 885-7000

CTI All Stars' legendary 1972 LA concert, "CTI Summer Jazz At The Hollywood Bowl" back on CD!

The three landmark albums titled "CTI Summer Jazz At The Hollywood Bowl," never reissued on CD format here in the U.S. and reissued only twice in Japan ages ago, will be once again available in the Asian market as bonus releases of the "CTI Supreme Collection" series. Previously reissued there as 2-CD sets, the three volumes are now scheduled for release in June as three separate Blu-spec CDs, with the subtitles used in the original 1977 LP issues: Live One, Live Two and Live Three.

Recorded during a bigger than life concert by the CTI All-Stars on June 30, 1972, but only issued five years later when producer Creed Taylor took the tapes (recorded by Wally Heider) to the Electric Lady Studios, where they were mixed by engineer Dave Palmer.
The line-up of the CTI All Stars that year consisted of: Bob James, Eumir Deodato, Johnny Hammond, Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Airto Moreira, George Benson, Esther Phillips, Milt Jackson, Hubert Laws, Freddie Hubbard, Grover Washington Jr., Stanley Turrentine, Hank Crawford and Joe Farrell. Leonard Feather and Rick Holmes were the MCs of that unforgettable afternoon.
When announcing a previous release, the guys at Dusty Groove once wrote: "Man, it's like a talent bomb exploded! This set's stuffed with work by some of the greatest jazz funk players of the early 70s – Johnny Hammond, Bob James, Deodato, Benson, Farrell, Turrentine, Hubbard, Grover Washington Jr, Hubert Laws, and others – all playing together at a massive live concert recorded in Hollywood in 1972! And although you might worry that the collection of so many great talents on one stage might just create confusion – don't! The quality of the work is excellent – almost better than the best of the CTI studio sides, with a lean, clean sound that's really really tight – never overblown, just sweet electric funk with loads of great space for solo work." Did you get the idea?

CD Compilation of the Month - "Jazz District: Best of CTI"

CD Compilation of the Month (2-Disc Set)
"Jazz District - Best of CTI" (Kultur Spiegel)

Original tracks produced by Creed Taylor and recorded by Rudy Van Gelder
Compilation Produced by Gerry Wetzel
Arranged by Don Sebesky, Bob James, Deodato, Lalo Schifrin, Joe Beck & David Matthews

Including tracks performed by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Astrud Gilberto, Hubert Laws, Jim Hall, Don Sebesky, Ron Carter, Milt Jackson, Eumir Deodato, Airto Moreira, Hank Crawford, Stanley Turrentine, Idris Muhammad, Esther Phillips, Nina Simone, Lalo Schifrin, Paul Desmond, George Benson, Freddie Hubbard, Randy Weston, Kenny Burrell, Gabor Szabo, Johnny Hammond, Joe Farrell, Fuse One, Chet Baker & Gerry Mulligan.

Featured sidemen: Dom Um Romão, João Palma, Sivuca, Gene Bertoncini, Ray Barretto, Herbie Hancock, Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Connie Kay, Will Lee, Gary King, Stanley Clarke, John Tropea, Urbie Green, Jeremy Steig, Joe Beck, David Sanborn, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Roland Hanna, Steve Gadd, Ed Bickert, Keith Jarrett, Bernard Purdie, John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Dave Holland et al

Blu-spec CD of the Month - "Hank Crawford: I Hear A Symphony"

Blu-spec CD of the Month
Hank Crawford: "I Hear A Symphony" (Kudu)

Produced by Creed Taylor
Arranged & Conducted by David Matthews
Recorded & Mixed by Rudy Van Gelder
Featuring: Leon Pendarvis, Richard Tee, Gary King, Steve Gadd, Bernard Pretty Purdie, Idris Muhammad, Ralph MacDonald, Eric Gale, Barry Rogers, Fred Wesley, Frank Floyd, Patti Austin et al.
When I produced the first CD reissue of "I Hear A Symphony," over a decade ago, I've asked my dear friend, jazz connoisseur and CTI expert Douglas Payne to provide the liner notes. His brilliant text follows:

If the sound of soul is not much in evidence today, stalwarts like Hank Crawford are keeping it alive. There are not too many left like Hank. You don’t hear many with that deep down, heartfelt sincerity that Hank Crawford puts into his music. No matter what bag he’s in – jazz, swing, R&B, funk or groove – Hank Crawford’s got soul. He’s super bad. 

Benny Rose Crawford, Jr. was born in Memphis back in 1934 and took up the sax when he was 13. Ray Charles heard him playing around Tennessee and by 1958, recruited the 24-year old into his small group. Almost immediately Charles appointed Crawford as his musical director, a position he held until 1964.

By the time of Crawford’s first solo record on Atlantic in 1960, Benny became Hank and the sax man had already procured one of jazz’s most distinctive and easily identifiable sounds on alto – quite an accomplishment in the wake of Bird and the dawn of Cannonball. Throughout the next decade, Hank recorded a dozen solid sets for Atlantic Records, often with a variation of “soul” or “blues” in the title.

And then, in 1971, famed producer Creed Taylor launched the Kudu label.  Kudu seemed tailor-made for the soulful gifts of Hank Crawford. Creed Taylor designed Kudu as a subsidiary of his CTI label with the intent of producing some of the successful soul grooves that were keeping the Atlantic and Prestige labels alive at the time.

Hank Crawford came over from Atlantic and recorded eight records for Kudu between 1971 and 1978 – just as many records, in fact, recorded on Kudu by Grover Washington, Jr,, whose first record and big hit, Inner City Blues, was actually intended to be Hank Crawford’s Kudu debut. 

I Hear A Symphony, from 1975, is the fifth of Hank’s Kudu records and his first with James Brown’s former musical director, David Matthews.  It’s also Hank’s first journey into “disco” – an emerging and still rather exciting soul innovation back then.

The big challenge for Matthews, indeed, was to build the right settings for Ray Charles’s former arranger. You don’t mess with the man who laid out “What’d I Say.”  Matthews immediately recognized that Hank Crawford is best partnered with an equally distinctive soloist, as he is and was elsewhere with either David “Fathead” Newman or Jimmy McGriff.

Here, the unbilled “partner in crime” is the great guitarist Eric Gale (1938-1994). It’s Gale’s melodic, bluesy wailing that provides the intoxicating rhythmic drive and, in solos, a fiery, insinuating wail - the perfect complement to Crawford’s sensual soul.

With the title track, a cover of The Supremes’ huge 1966 hit and the one 45 released from this record, Matthews introduced his affinity for giving the Motown sound a 1970s spin. He would disco-fy even more Motown grooves with his own 1976 Kudu record, Shoogie Wanna Boogie. Hank sounds tight throughout this pop concerto with the guitarist, himself a veteran of the Motown sound.

Hank settles into the section for Matthews’s original, “Madison (Spirit, The Power),” blasting his commentary briefly at the end. It’s a sort of discreet social anthem with the soul and spirit of a Marvin Gaye classic that elicits its most powerful statement from Eric Gale. Hank’s back out front for Matthews’ soulful original, “Hang It On The Ceiling,” getting down in fine style with the “do, do, do, do, do it.”

Crawford and Matthews then conspire to fashion David Rose’s bawdy “The Stripper” into a surprisingly successful disco anthem. Hank sounds right on and right in his element here – with his boldest playing on the entire set. It works much better than it should, with Matthews’s clever arrangement anticipating David Shire’s Saturday Night Fever score (particularly “Manhattan Skyline”).

Up next is the album’s best and best-known piece, Hank Crawford’s totally righteous and perfectly titled “Sugar Free.” It’s pure fatback, cop-show funk – with a seemingly built-in chase sequence – that became a dance floor staple two decades after its release. Everything Crawford, Matthews and Gale do best, they do on “Sugar Free.”

Hank comes back home for his romantic and erotic take on Major Harris’s #1 hit “Love Won’t Let Me Wait.” Surely, this is among Hank’s greatest ballad performances, with beautiful signature support from Stuff mates Richard Tee on electric piano and Eric Gale on guitar.

Hank and Eric combine again for the pretty soul funk of  “I’ll Move No Mountain” and come back, trading fours, on Minnie Ripperton’s mellow groover, “Baby, This Love I Have.” Here, Hank and Eric are propelled by Bernard Purdie’s driving rhythm – and coerced by Matthews’s impressive “roar” (a clever homage to the aggressive lion on the cover of Ms. Ripperton’s 1975 album, Adventures In Paradise, on which this tune first appeared). “Baby” found new life recently on the UK dancefloors with the trip-hop cover by Desert Eagle Discs.

Hank Crawford and Matthews would go on to work three more times together at Kudu (most memorably on 1976’s Tico Rico). But financial difficulties brought about the demise of the Kudu label in 1978. Indeed, Crawford’s Cajun Sunrise was the final “new” recording released by Kudu Records.

Crawford would leave Kudu to do session work for Mario Sprouse’s very CTI-like Versatile Records label (Grant Green, Buster Williams, Carmen McRae) until his next record, the fine Centerpiece (1980 - Buddah), a reunion with guitarist and fellow Memphis native Calvin Newborne.

Then, in 1982, Crawford settled into Milestone Records with producer Bob Porter, where the sax man has thus far waxed a dozen consistently soulful, bluesy discs (including many with I Hear A Symphony drummer Bernard Purdie). The sax man also continues to play a variety of sessions, lending his signature sound to such bluesman as B.B. King, Ronnie Earl and Johnny Copeland and such singers as Lou Rawls, Janis Siegel and Little Jimmy Scott.

Crawford began his most famed musical partnership in 1986 with organist Jimmy McGriff. The dynamic duo has recorded seven discs together for the Milestone and Telarc labels and continues to be a very popular act at local clubs and on jazz cruises too.

Even after four decades in the business and a quarter of century since I Hear A Symphony, Hank Crawford stays true to his soul. Pick up the needle from a Crawford/McGriff set, then drop it on I Hear A Symphony – or pick up an old Ray Charles side, and you’ll always know where you are. Hank Crawford signs everything he does with his own sound. It’s a sound of the soul, beyond fads and trends, and what makes music like I Hear A Symphony timeless.

Douglas Payne
May 2001

Mini-LP CD Reissue of the Month - "A Bossa Moderna de Luiz Henrique"

CD Reissue of the Month (Miniature LP)
Luiz Henrique: "A Bossa Moderna de Luiz Henrique" (Philips/Think! Records; distributed by DiskUnion)

Produced by Armando Pittigliani
Engineered by Celio Martins & Sylvio Rabello
Featuring: Copa Trio (Manuel Gusmão, Dom Um Romão, Toninho Oliveira), J.T. Meirelles and Raul de Souza

Brazilian CD of the Month - "Clarineteando"

Brazilian CD of the Month
Sérgio Albach e o Trio de Ouro Catuaba Brasil: "Clarineteando" (Na Catêga)

Featuring: Sérgio Albach (clarinet & bass clarinet), Daniel Migliavacca (bandolim), Fabiano Silveira aka O Tiziu (7-string guitar), Cristina Loureiro (percussion)

Beyond CD of the Month - "Dewa Budjana: Joged Kahyangan"

Beyond CD of the Month
Dewa Budjana: "Joged Kahyangan" (MoonJune)

Featuring: Dewa Budjana (electric guitar & synth guitar), Larry Goldings (Hammond organ, acoustic piano), Jimmy Johnson (electric guitar), Peter Erskine (drums), Bob Mintzer (tenor & soprano saxophones, clarinet, bass clarinet) & Janis Siegel (vocals)

Produced, Composed & Arranged by Dewa Budjana
Executive Producers: Bagus Wijaya Santosa & Leonardo Pavkovic
Liner Notes: John Kelman
Recorded on June 7, 2012 @ Firehouse Studio (Pasadena, CA) by Rich Breen
Overdubs @ Temple Island Studio (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Mixed & Mastered @ Dogmatic Sounds by Rich Breen
Artwork: Aga Dilaga
Photos: Bambang Taruna
Boasting a stellar lineup of modern jazz icons Larry Goldings, Bob Mintzer, Jimmy Johnson and Peter Erskine (and featuring guest vocalist, the fabulous Janis Siegel), Indonesian guitar maestro Dewa Budjana's sixth solo album -- his second for MoonJune Records -- is a progressive jazz master-class session of huge proportions. Overflowing with moments of elegance, grace, depth and invention, Joged Kahyangan is Dewa's musical interpretation of the beauty of heaven.

Featuring eight exquisitely-crafted, -arranged and -executed gems, Budjana and friends have raised the bar for the genre; each song is performed with a profound sensitivity and diction unquestionably worthy of the project's lofty ambitions. The scope of this album is reflected in the album's liner notes, from quotes from the Bali native, himself:

Kahyangan is the Indonesian word for "heaven." Naturally, it is believed to be a place of great beauty. (... and, for me, Indonesia is Kahyangan!) This album, Joged Kahyangan ("Dances of Heaven"), is my musical interpretation of this beauty; it is a music that is shaped by my native cultural roots.

My vision for this album was to collaborate with some renowned musicians in the US, whose work I have long admired, and capture their spontaneous interpretations of these songs, heavy with jazz flavorings and nuance -- incorporating their cultural roots.

Fusing elements of Dewa's Indonesian roots with advanced melodic and harmonic sensibilities and subtle-yet-sophisticated, organic arrangements, Joged Kahyangan, once again, showcases the multifaceted character of his extraordinary talents as a composer and arranger, as well as a world-class guitarist [as did his previous album (his fifth solo album and MJR debut), this year's magnificent Dawai In Paradise (MJR051)].

The album finds all of its legendary participants in exceptional form, with understatement and reverence of the moment clearly trumping any thought of flaunting chops. (... and this is a collection of superlative, articulate musicians who clearly have huge respective vocabularies from which to draw.)

Joged Kahyangan solidifies Dewa Budjana's rightful place among the world's most elite musicians and the genre's most original and compelling newly-emerging voices. It is an intricately-woven tapestry of supreme modern jazz, eclipsing borders as it transports listeners to truly heavenly destinations.

This is an album not to be missed for any fans of modern jazz, progressive and world music ... it simply doesn't get any better.
Guitarist, composer and producer Dewa Gede Budjana was born on August 30, 1963, in Waikabubak, West Sumba, Indonesia, in the region known as Bali. (It is an area considered by those who know it to be a tropical paradise.)

Dewa has established a solid body of work as a jazz artist on numerous solo albums (featuring a "who's who" list of current jazz luminaries), while also being the lead guitarist and songwriter of the Indonesian nationally-celebrated pop/rock band, Gigi. His fluidity and grace in both rock and jazz idioms has firmly established his position among the very elite guitarists in the world, as well, perhaps, as Indonesia's most well-known and highly-regarded guitarist ever.

Dewa’s journey as a musician started at the early age of eleven, when he bought his first guitar. His passion and talent for the instrument was further nurtured when the Balinese native moved to the city of Surabaya. During this period, his tendencies varied from jazz-rock to progressive music -- influenced by John McLaughlin of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Yes, Gentle Giant, ELP; and later by Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek, Chick Corea, Bill Frissell, Jeff Beck, Pat Metheny and Weather Report, as Dewa became steadily more drawn to jazz.

Both Dewa’s intrepid experimentations -- blending jazz with traditional sounds -- and his hunger to pursue his gift were evident early on in his career. Upon graduation, Dewa aggressively pursued his dreams, making the decision to relocate to Jakarta, to further his musical ambitions and embark on a career. While there, Dewa met and tutored under Indonesian jazz legend, Jack Lesmana, who introduced him to the principles and basics of jazz.

It was Jack Lesmana’s son, Indra, who suggested to Dewa that he should become a session player. This period was the beginning of his first professional performances. It was a time which saw him become very busy, where Dewa was featured on "Isbandi in Telerama" -- a popular musical show broadcasted regularly on national TV.

Dewa Budjana first earned international fame and celebrity as the founding member of Gigi, in 1994. The band has released 22 albums to date, firmly establishing Gigi as one of the biggest, most successful pop rock bands in the region.

Dewa is also an accomplished producer, a role which began with the release of his first solo album, "Nusa Damai," in 1997, and continued with guitarist Balawan’s album "Globalism," the following year.

The common thread connecting his body of solo works is the merging of multiple musical elements: incorporating jazz, pop, rock and traditional sounds, producing music that is personal and intimate in its delivery, yet universal in its appeal.

With the release of his solo fifth album, "Dawai in Paradise," Dewa introduces new compositions and visits earlier ones, all in contemplation of his musical journey thus far. This album includes collaborations with Grammy-winning artists drummer Peter Erskine and multi-instrumentalist Howard Levy, the renowned Indonesian jazz keyboardist and producer, Indra Lesmana, his Indonesian contemporary, celebrated pianist Ade Irawan, and the late legendary jazz bassist, Dave Carpenter, among others.

Jazz Instrumental CD of the Month - "Camille Thurman: Origins"

Jazz Instrumental CD of the Month
Camille Thurman: "Origins" (Hot Tone Music)

Featuring: Camille Thurman (tenor & soprano saxophones, flute & voice), Enoch Smith Jr. & Luis Perdomo (piano), Corcoran Holt (bass), Rudy Royston (drums), Shirazette Tinnin (drums & cajón), Brandee Younger (harp)

Recorded @ Samurai Studio (Queens, NY) on January 3 & 4, 2013
Engineer: Dave Stoller
Recorded @ Kaleidoscope (Union City, NJ) on October 3 & 4, 2011
Engineer: Sal Mormando
Mixing & Mastering: David Kowalski
Photo: Phillis Kwentoh
Graphic Design: Christopher Drukker
On her Origins CD, Camille Thurman performs 11 original compositions, plus one apiece by Fats Waller ("Jitterbug Waltz," which I first learned in a 1971 album by Dizzy Gillespie with Bobby Hackett and Mary Lou Williams titled "Giants") and Saul Chaplin/Sammy Cahn ("Please Be Kind"). Thurman has major chops on all four of her instruments -- tenor and soprano saxophone, flute, and voice -- and an abundance of imagination to go along with them. She's also an outstanding writer, two of whose tunes, "In Duetime" and "Origins" -- both on the new CD -- were recognized by the ASCAP Foundation with Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer awards, in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Thurman was born in St. Albans, Queens, NY in 1986 and was introduced by her mother early on to the great vocal artists. She began playing flute at age 12, alto saxophone at 13, and switched to tenor at 14 after hearing Dexter Gordon. She went on to earn a B.A. in Geological and Environmental Sciences from Binghamton University before deciding to become a full-time musician. Currently a member of Jones's group and the leader of her own quartet, Thurman has worked in the big bands of Charli Persip (former Dizzy's drummer), Nicholas Payton, and DIVA Big Band; recorded with Dianne Reeves on her upcoming Beautiful Life CD; is in the all-star house band on BET's "Black Girls Rock" award show; and was the second runner-up for a Sassy Award in last month's Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition.

Mimi Jones, Camille Thurman, and Shirazette Tinnin performed together at APAP, New York last January, and with their respective bands at the Hot Tone Music CD release show in February @ Le Poisson Rouge, in NY.
Camille Thurman Origins EPK (HD Version)- Release Date February 2014
Camille Thurman EPK

Vocal CD of the Month - "Suzanna Smith: Halfway Between Heaven & Love"

Vocal CD of the Month
Suzanna Smith: "Halfway Between Heaven & Love" (Ink Pen Records)

Produced by Suzanna Smith
Co-Produced by Kitty Margolis
Recorded on April 18 & 19, 2012, January 20, 21 & 22, and February 25 & 26, 2013 @ New Improved Recording (Oakland, California)
Recorded & Mixed by Mark Allen-Piccolo
Additional Engineering: Dan Feiszli
Mastered by Jeremy Goody @ Megasonic Sound

Graphic Design: Suzanna Smith
Photos: Lone Morch
Back Cover Photo: Mark Allen-Piccolo
Liner Notes: Kitty Margolis

Featuring: Suzanna Smith (vocals), Michael Coleman (piano, Wurlitzer & Fender Rhodes electric pianos, Hammond organ), Brandon Essex (acoustic bass), Mark Allen-Piccolo (electric bass), Hamir Atwal & Jon Arkin (drums), Jordan Glenn (percussion & marimba), Ken Husbands (guitar & bouzouki), Rob Ewing (trombone), Cory Wright (tenor sax, clarinet & flute)
Suzanna Smith has been a creative force on the rich Bay Area jazz vocal scene since 2005 -- as a performer and songwriter as well as founder/producer of San Francisco's long-standing Savanna Jazz vocal jam session and co-founder of the nonprofit Bay Area Jazz & Arts, Inc. Her constant efforts to nurture local jazz have redounded to the benefit of many artists, including Smith herself. With Halfway Between Heaven & Love, released by the singer's Ink Pen Records, Smith delivers one of the year's most impressive vocal projects, an intoxicating mix of original tunes and beautifully rendered standards.

"There is an essential, profound difference between being a singer and being an artist," writes CD co-producer Kitty Margolis in her album notes. "In today's oversaturated music-scape it's wise to be patient when making the maiden recording voyage until one has something unique and compelling to say. Halfway Between Heaven & Love was undeniably worth the wait."

Accompanied by some of the most creative figures on the Bay Area scene, Smith combines the confessional imperative of a singer/songwriter with the rhythmic acuity of a jazz chanteuse. She wrote the lyrics for nine of the album's 13 tracks while collaborating on the music of five songs with pianist/keyboardist Michael Coleman.

Suzanna Smith The album opens with a graceful bebop medley as Smith's clever lyrics link Tadd Dameron's "Lady Bird" and Miles Davis's "Half Nelson." Featuring the album's core trio with Coleman, bassist Brandon Essex, and drummer Hamir Atwal, the piece immediately establishes Smith as a singer of rare poise and presence.

Smith and Coleman's "Paper Boat," "The Man That Broke the Dragon's Heart," and "Comet" more than hold their own alongside the American Songbook gems -- "Hooray for Love," "Alone Together," and Michel Legrand's "Summer Me, Winter Me," from his "Picasso Suite" and usually sung as a ballad by people like Frank Sinatra. Smith closes the album as she started, with an original lyric set to a modern jazz classic, Dexter Gordon's Latin swinger "Soy Califa."

"I'm always looking for ways to play within the boundaries of a song's 'container,'" Smith says. "I think of songs as rooms and the longer you live within them, the more you can move about without bumping into things. I love when I reach that point with a song."

Born in Boulder, CO in 1974 and raised in Livermore, east of San Francisco, Suzanna studied computer science and studio art at Wellesley College. There she got deeply involved in the a cappella scene, a passion she brought back to the Bay Area after graduation. After performing around the region for several years in a five-woman ensemble, she eventually decided to pursue vocal studies at the Jazzschool in Berkeley, where she worked closely with Laurie Antonioli, Madeline Eastman, Maye Cavallaro, and Stephanie Bruce. She also studied privately with Kitty Margolis, resulting in a unique mentoring relationship between the two vocalists.

Suzanna Smith As she gained confidence, Smith started sitting in at open mics, which led to regular engagements and invaluable experience. Her reputation spread with a monthly gig at San Francisco's Savanna Jazz, where she also produced and hosted a monthly vocal jam session that ran for three years. She has also performed at many of the region's top clubs and venues, emerging as a startlingly fine singer with a repertoire that's wholly her own.

Smith lives in Oakland with esteemed jazz vocalist Kenny Washington and their infant son Miles. "This has been a big year for me -- having a baby and working hard to release this album," says Smith. "It almost feels like I'm giving birth to two babies. It has been fascinating to see the meanings of my songs shift in the years since I first wrote them. The songs continue to apply, just in new ways, to all the changes in my life. It has also been powerful to see them become personal anthems for other people's life experiences."

Smith's CD release show took place at Oakland's Sound Room, the home of Bay Area Jazz & Arts, Inc. (BAJA). She was backed by musicians from her new album, including Michael Coleman, piano; Michael O'Neill, tenor saxophone and clarinet; Ken Husbands, guitar; Brandon Essex, bass; and Jon Arkin, drums.

Photography: Lone Morch
Suzanna Smith ??? 'Halfway Between Heaven & Love' album preview 
Suzanna Smith at the Jazzschool, Berkeley 

Big-Band CD of the Month - "Mike Longo: Live From New York!"

Big-Band CD of the Month
Mike Longo and the New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble: "Live From New York" (CAP)

Recorded live @ the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium in the NYC Baha'i Center on July 23, 2013
Produced & Engineered by Bob Magnuson
Arranged & Conducted by Mike Longo, except "I'm Old Fashioned" (arr. by Ira Hawkins)
Liner Notes by Mike Longo & Bob Magnuson

Special Guest: Ira Hawkins (vocals)
Featuring: Mike Longo (piano), Tom Hubbard (bass), Mike Campenni (drums), Chris Rogers, John Repogle, Brian Davis & Waldron Ricks (trumpets), Sam Burtis, Nick Finzer, Nick Grinder & Earl McIntyre (trombones), Bob Magnuson, Frank Perowsky, Lee Greene, Mike Migliore & Matt Snyder (saxophones)

Hghlights: an inspired rendition of Benny Golson's "Whisper Not," and Mike Longo's dazzling originals "Afro Desia," "Yoko Mama" and "Inner City Hues," the latter with great solos by Longo and one of my favorite trombonists ever, Sam Burtis, whom I idolize since his solos on such Deodato's tracks like "Havana Strut" and "Amani."

DVD of the Month - "Sergio Mendes: German TV Special"

DVD of the Month
Sergio Mendes & Brasil '77: "German TV Special" (Monotone)

Blu-ray Audio of the Month - "Jane Ira Bloom: Sixteen Sunsets"

Blu-ray Audio of the Month
Jane Ira Bloom: "Sixteen Sunsets" (Pure Audio Records/Outline)

Rating: ***** (musical performance & sonic quality)
Highlights: "For All We Know," "What She Wanted," "Darn That Dream," "Left Alone," "But Not For Me," "Primary Colors" and "Bird Experiencing Light."
24bit/96 kHz
2.0 Stereo (LPCM) and 5.1 Surround Sound (DTS HD MA)
This is a Blu-ray disc, which plays on every Blu-ray player
Includes m-shuttle technology for CD & mp3 files to copy on computer & mobile devises

Produced by Jane Ira Bloom & Jim Anderson
Recorded (May 20, June 12 & 17, 2013) and Mixed @ Avatar Studios (New York, NY) by Jim Anderson

Featuring: Jane Ira Bloom (soprano sax), Dominic Fallacaro (acoustic piano), Cameron Brown (acoustic bass) & Matt Wilson (drums)
Award winning soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom has always had a special feeling for ballad performances. So much so that she has now finally released: "Sixteen Sunsets," a beautiful new recording featuring expressive interpretations from the American Songbook along with five compelling slow tempo original compositions.

The fourteen tracks on "Sixteen Sunsets" feature nine American songbook classics including: Gershwin's ''I Loves You Porgy,'' Kern's ''The Way You Look Tonight,'' Arlen's ''Out of This World,'' Weill's ''My Ship,'' Jimmy Van Heusen's ''Darn That Dream,'' and Billie Holiday & Mal Waldron's ''Left Alone,'' among others. There are also five originals from Bloom s ballad repertoire including: ''What She Wanted,'' ''Ice Dancing'' (for Torvill & Dean), ''Gershwin's Skyline,'' ''Too Many Reasons,'' and ''Bird Experiencing Light.''

Photographic legend Jay Maisel contributed his breathtaking image: ''Maine Forest At Dawn'' for the album cover art. He picked the image from his archives after listening to the CD and the synchronicity is startling.

The album was recorded in 5.1 high-resolution Surround Sound at New York's famed Avatar Studio B by renowned engineer Jim Anderson who also co-produced and pushed the envelope of how a jazz quartet could sound using this technique. JIB felt that 'Surround' was a perfect match for the soprano sax because the sound doesn't emanate directly from the bell of the horn, it radiates out in all directions from the instrument in a more diffuse way.

The saxophone was literally surrounded by a satellite array of mics for the sessions, and JIB's playing style was very well suited to the technique since she is always moving when playing. She recalls: ''I've always been interested how sound changes when it moves and the doppler-like effect that I create when I sweep the bell of the horn past the microphones really comes through vividly in surround-sound.'' Sixteen Sunsets was nominated for a 2014 Grammy sound surround category.

''An artist beyond category,'' according to veteran critic Nat Hentoff," Jane Ira Bloom has been developing her unique voice on the soprano sax for over 30 years. A pioneer in the use of live electronics and movement in jazz, she is a six-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Award for Soprano Saxophone, winner of the DownBeat International Critics Poll for soprano sax, and a recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim fellowship. Her continued commitment to new music has led to collaborations with Charlie Haden, Ed Blackwell, Kenny Wheeler, Rufus Reid, Matt Wilson, Bob Brookmeyer, Julian Priester, Ingrid Jenson, Bobby Previte, Billy Hart, Mark Helias, Marc Copland and Fred Hersch among others.

''It took a while to get my voice to come through the soprano saxophone, and after all these years I feel like the instrument has really become my voice. I hope when people hear the sax on the new recording they can almost touch the sound, feel the attack, the decay, hear fingers gliding across the keys and get a sense that a voice is coming through,'' she says.

Single of the Month - "Stanley Turrentine: I Told Jesus / Storm"

7" Vinyl Single of the Month
Stanley Turrentine: "I Told Jesus/Storm" (CTI) 

A new "unofficial" CTI release, a 7" single on rare Extended Play format, with unedited versions of two tracks from Turrentine's "Salt Song" 1971 album: "I Told Jesus" (a traditional gospel song adapted by the late tenor saxophonist) and Turrentine's own funkyfied theme "Storm."

Produced by Creed Taylor
Arranged & Conducted by Eumir Deodato
Recorded & Mixed by Rudy Van Gelder @ Van Gelder Studios

Featuring: Stanley Turrentine, Eumir Deodato, Horace Parlan, Richard Tee, Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, Airto Moreira, Eric Gale et al

Film of the Month - "Copacabana Palace"

Film of the Month (DVD)
"Copacabana Palace" (Studio Universal/Surf Video)

Directed by Steno (Stefano Vanzina) in 1963, and filmed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Starring: Sylva Koscina, Walter Chiari, Mylène Demongeot, Claude Rich, Tonia Carrero et al
Besides brief appearances as "actors", Brazilian masters Antonio Carlos Jobim, Luiz Bonfá and João Gilberto also appear on the movie performing the seldom heard "Canção do Mar," written by Bonfá & Maria Helena Toledo. João Gilberto also sings "Só Danço Samba" (Jobim/Vinicius De Moraes) with the legendary vocal group Os Cariocas.

Fusion CD of the Month - "Sergio Galvão: Phantom Fish"

Fusion CD of the Month
Sergio Galvão: "Phantom Fish" (Pimenta Music)

Rating: **** (musical performance and sonic quality)
Highlights: Moacir Santos' "Amphybious" (arranged by bassist Amanda Ruzza) and Galvão's originals "Phantom Fish," "Zuruba" and "Mandruzza."

Produced by Amanda Ruzza
Featuring: Leni Stern, Claudio Roditi, Leo Genovese, Amanda Ruzza, Mauricio Zottarelli, Alex Nolan, Aruán Ortiz and Chris Stover

Recorded @ Kaleidoscope Sound, LoFish & Peter Karl Studios in New York, NY, March 2013
Engineered by Kyle Cassel, Chris Gilroy, Simen Solvang, Matt Graff & John Dukich
Mixed & Mastered @ Bass Hit Studios (NYC, NY), July 2013

Veronica Costa live @ Taverna Espumosa

OK, OK, we live in the USA. But, if some reader is in Italy, don't miss Veronica Costa singing @ Taverna Espumosa (Via Valera di Sopra 74a, in... Parma!) this next Wednesday, March 5.

R.I.P.: Paco de Lucia

Born Francisco Gustavo Sánchez Gomes on December 21, 1947 in Algeciras, Andalusia, Spain;
Died February 25, 2014 in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

One of the world's greatest guitarists ever. And the track that introduced Paco's artistry to me (and to millions of listeners all over the planet, outside Spain) was "Mediterranean Sundance," a song that Al Di Meola composed thinking of him. They recorded it as a duo performance for Di Meola's "Elegant Gypsy" album in 1977, and the track became instantly historic for expanding the traditions of flamenco music, something that made the tradionalists (why traditionalists are always stupid?) feel furious about it, as documented by writer D.E. Pohren on his 1992 book "Paco de Lucía and Family: The Master Plan."
"Despite considerable new interest in flamenco and de Lucia's playing generated by the album, traditionalist flamenco critics did not approve of the piece and hated that many people considered Mediterranean Sundance flamenco music and frowned upon de Lucia. Di Meola informed the critics not to worry and that "Paco is not leaving flamenco, but expanding it."

That track alone was responsible for attracting the attention of all the musicians in jazz circles, and specially to such guitarists as Larry Coryell and John McLaughlin, and eventually led to famous guitar trio recordings and concerts with them. "Friday Night In San Francisco" (1981), recorded with McLaughlin and Di Meola (who replaced Coryell) sold over one million copies. In 1983, they conceived "Passion, Grace & Fire", and released "The Guitar Trio" (which included a wonderful version of "Manhã de Carnaval," the unofficial Brazilian hymn composed by Luiz Bonfa, a guitarist that they idolized) in 1996. The rest is history. Rest in Peace, Paco.  

R.I.P.: Rosana Toledo

Born on September 29, 1934 in Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil;
Died February 9, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Boss Models Fashion Week Party

54 W. 39th Street, New York, NY 10018

Boss Models Fashion Week Event & The Launch Of Rum Golf BeerFriday 
February 7th, 2014
@ EVR 39th st 5th & 6th Ave
Hosted By: Prince Lorenzo Borghese, Jeff Krauss, & Anna Rothschild
Open Bar 10 - 11pm

This event will be filmed for The Esquire Network

Presented By: Boss Models, Rum Golf Beer, The IE Group, A Rothschild & Co, RSVP Spot & EVR