Issue 136 Reviews

Our latest reviews for your reading and pleasure!!

Diane Hubka – WEST COAST STRINGS:  Some great jazz vocal work from Diane (as well as some mighty cool guitar) is a perfect way to close out an issue… just scope out here very hip performance on “Peace“; you won’t soon forget this one, and I can guarantee that it will continue to stay on your playlists for female jazz vocalists!  If you’re like me, though, you’re gonna’ want some tunes with beat that’s up & swingin’… you’ll surely find that on Diane’s rendition of “It Ain’t Necessarily So“…. what pure & unadulterated fun.  The guitar intro set the scene for my personal favorite track on the 13-song CD – “Moon Ray“… if this ain’t “left coast”, then I don’t know what is!  I give Diane & her crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient of 4.97  Get more information at Diane’s website.       Rotcod Zzaj.

Diane Hubka: West Coast Strings

Peter Sterling – TWILIGHT SERENADE:  For times when you need to “change pace”, Peter’s new 7-song release will help you do that!  As you listen to his beautiful harp/string work on “Walk With Me“, you will understand why I’m enchanted by his excellent and talented work!  Peter weaves spells as adroitly as a magician, and easily wraps you into his shining  aura, all without pretense or (in any way) being hurried!  I was especially impressed with the beautiful “Dream Catcher Suite“; you’ll want to ensure that you’re listening to this with your headphones on, as it is music you must be involved with in order for it to have the full effect.  This definitely is not jazz, but the energies expressed meet all the criteria for review here… I give Peter a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, particularly for listeners who want to explore the universe and the spiritual avenues open to them.  “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 4.97. Get more information at Peter’s website page for this release.       Rotcod Zzaj

Peter Sterling: Twilight Serenade

Meg Okura & The Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble – MUSIC OF RYUICHI SAKAMOTO:  Although Sakamoto’s music isn’t jazz (it’s more like techno-pop), in Meg’s skilled arrangements, the playing of them infuses clear & tasty elements of jazz into them – and brings new life to pieces like the 2-cool “Riot in Lagos“… this has EXCELLENT energy (and when Meg’s violin kicks in, the tune just SOARS)!   The constant sense of movement on “The End of Asia“, and the superb changes woven through the arrangement made it my favorite tune of the even-dozen on the CD.  No, the CD isn’t “strictly jazz”, but the jazz spirit is there in spades… for dedicated jazz fans with a sense of aural adventure, this gets my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at Meg’s website.      Rotcod Zzaj

Meg Okura: Tribute to Ryuichi Sakamoto

The Stephen McQuarry Trio – AZURE:  Stephen’s keyboards are elegant, but are surely rooted firmly in jazz, & that will make all the difference for listeners around the world… after you listen to the title track, “Azure“, you’ll know that you’re in the presence of one of the new masters!  Stephen is joined by Greg German on drums and Ted Burik on bass in a jazz adventure you’ll not soon forget.  “Lunar” was smooth and sophisticated all the way from note 1, and takes me back to my first introductions to jazz (way back in the ’60’s).  Of the nine tunes offered up for your (long-term) aural pleasure, though, it was the high-energy “Blues for Jack” that got my vote for personal favorite track… solid jazz, great listening & just plain fun!  I give Stephen & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at Stephen’s website.      Rotcod Zzaj

The Stephen McQuarry Trio: Azure

Marlene Ver Planck – BALLADS …MOSTLY:  This is my first exposure to Marlene’s superb jazz vocals, but I’ve no doubt it will happen again.  While I was able to find the CD cover, unfortunately I couldn’t find any samples, so I can’t link them in.  Of the 15 ballads she spins out for you, I found “Love Dance” and “Baby, Dream Your Dream” to be most likeable.  Marlene’s style goes far beyond “lounge” – she makes those tunes stick in your mind, much like Frank (Sinatra) & Sammy (Davis) were able to do.  I give Marlene a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (would have been higher if there were digital samples available), with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.95.  Get more information at Marlene’s website.    Rotcod Zzaj

Sachal Studios Orchestra – JAZZ AND ALL THAT:  There are quite a few of these tunes that fall into the “all that” portion of the title, but there are also several of the 13 tracks offered up that clearly are – and especially on pieces like Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo A la Turk“, they are very, VERY well played… heavy strings and energy not often heard  (except perhaps on the original Brubeck recordings).  There are just a ton of players on this one, so I can’t itemize them here, but you can check/find much more about them at their Sachal Music website.  My personal favorite on this grand CD is “To The End of the World“… a marvelous excursion that will have you leaving your headphones on for days!  I give this project a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, especially for listeners who want something “different” in their listening fare.  “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 4.98.       Rotcod Zzaj

simakDialog – 6TH STORY:  This CD in from the MOONJUNE label is (unquestionably) one of the best jazz CD’s I’ve listened to (yet) in 2013!  I’ve been following this group for a long time now, and it’s tunes like the mighty mellow (yet ever-changing) “Lain Parantina” that get my motor running… some excellent keyboard work (Riza Arshad) here, and every note/phrase is executed flawlessly!  The percussion and guitar combos on the superbly written “What Would I Say” will have you spinning this tune over & over again.  As often happens, the band saved their most uniquely crafted closer, “Ari“; it’s definitely my favorite, and will hold lovers of music with the mind in mind spellbound for all 9 tracks.  They get a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from me, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 5.00 (the very top of my scale) – which means they also get the “PICK” (of this YEAR) for “most unique and interesting jazz work”!    Get more information about this great band at the MOONJUNE label site for this CD.        Rotcod Zzaj

Jason Lee Bruns Jazz Collective – LIVE AT CATALINA JAZZ CLUB:  It’s been awhile since I reviewed a live show… Jason’s super drumming style, as well as the high energy he’s assembled on these 9 songs from the show will stay high on your playlists – particularly if you’re in a “road trip” frame of mind.  The opener alone, “Cissy Strut“, is worth the price of the entire CD.  The mood mellows a bit on the piano solo into on “Autumn Leaves“, but the energy revs right back up again when Kevin Bachelder’s vocal kicks in!  There’s a lot to like on this one, but my personal favorite was the magnificent percussion (oh, those bells) on “Impressions“… this one JUMPS, volkz!  I give Jason & his players a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED on this one, with an “EQ” rating of 4.98.  Get more information at Jason’s site.        Rotcod Zzaj

Jason Lee Bruns Jazz Collective: Live At Catalina Jazz Club

Louis Colaiannia – THE NEXT STAGE:  I reviewed one of Louis’s CD’s (A Moment Between Eternities) a while back – as the title of this most current release implies, he’s movin’ on – & this case, that definitely means UP!  As I listen to the third track, “Ramp It Up“, the energy levels are right up there at the top, and it’s clear Louis is in love with performance (I really like this tune)! If you’re looking for a tune you can carry with you into the 22nd century, though, you’ll find “Ancient Voices” much to your liking… though you can hear the sweat lodge coming through, this takes it many steps further.  It was Louis’s piano on the live performance of “Dancing Snowflakes” that got my personal pick as favorite of the 9 tunes offered up.  I give Louis a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, especially for folks who have to have elegant and stylish piano in their listening lineup!  “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 4.98.  Get more information about Louis at the press release page for this CD.       Rotcod Zzaj

Louis Colaiannia: The Next Stage

Glenn Cashman’s Southland Nonet – MUSIC WITHOUT BORDERS:  When the keyword is “jump”, all you have to remember is Glenn’s smokin’ tenor sax (& a whole host of other players in this Nonet, far too many to itemize here).  The unobtrusively named “Fall Color” is the perfect example of a high-energy tune that will sneak up on you & simply knock your socks off!  Though this is definitely “straight-ahead” jazz, there’s a feeling of much of the tuneage being “on-the-fly”, & that’s a splendid feeling for the listener, indeed.  There are ten full-blown high-talent and explosive tunes that will be a pleasure to add to your library, including my personal favorite, the great “Sumo“… you won’t have a hard time at all catching the images of pure power the players project for you on this one!  I give Glenn and his Nonet a 100% qualified MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  Get more information about Glenn at Glenn’s website.        Rotcod Zzaj

The Chris Parker Trio – THE CHRIS PARKER TRIO:  What shines through Chris’s drumming, Kyoeke Oyobe’s keyboarding and Ameen Saleem’s bass playing on this recently released jazz CD – they’re comfortable playing together!  Our readers know that if the energy is there, a CD will be recognized here, and as I listened to the closer “RockHouse“, I heard just the kind of jazz I started out with… boundless creativity with high spirited licks (from all three players) – you’ll think you’re in a speak-ez or a roadhouse.  On the other hand, when they opened with an original “C’est Possible“, I knew (right then) that I had found my favorite on the 11-song CD… wistful mood, but forward-looking enough to convey hope in a big way!  .I give Chris’s trio a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for any listener who wants only “keepers” in the collection.  “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 4.97.  Get more information at Chris’s site.        Rotcod Zzaj

Matthew Finck and Jonathan Ball – IT’S NOT THAT FAR:  You’ll seldom hear such splendid guitar (Matthew) and tenor sax (Jonathan) together these days… & that’s clear from the opening note of the title track, “It’s Not That Far“, a 5:58 hotbed of jazz energy… volcanic is the way I’d describe it!  When you add drummer Adam Nussbaum, bass by Jay Anderson eand a guest shot on 3 of the tunes by Randy Brecker, you’ve got a CD that’s just unstoppable.  The big city groove they create on “East 86th” (6:29) will make you feel like you’re right at home on the street with them!  It was the sneaky bass intro to the scorching “Geppetto” that made it my favorite track of the 9 offered up… cookin’!    I give Matthew and Jonathan a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  Get more information at Matthew’s site.       Rotcod Zzaj

The Matthew Finck Jonathan Ball Project: It

Hristo Vitchev Quartet – FAMILIAR FIELDS:  Yes, there are hints that you are listening to somewhere you’ve been before sonically… yet, each note and phrase that Hristo’s marvelous guitar plays for you leads to new imagery, especially on tracks like the absolutely adventurous “Wounded By A Poisoned Arrow“… wondrous weaves, to be sure!  This quartet (also featuring Weber Iago’s piano, Mike Shannon on drums and bass by Dan Robbins) continuously amaze my ears, and I’m oh, so glad to have made Hristo’s acquaintance many issues back!  My personal favorite of the 9 offered up on this fresh outing is the haunting structure and execution on “The Mask of Agamemnon“… absolutely one of the tastiest tunes I’ve listened to (yet) in 2013!   I give Hristo and the quartet a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, particularly for lovers of music that doesn’t stop at the “norm”!  “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 4.99.  Get more information at Hristo’s website.        Rotcod Zzaj

Hristo Vitchev Quartet: Familiar Fields

Dave Askren & Jeff Benedict – IT’S ALL ABOUT THE GROOVE:  Yes, indeed, friend Dave, you’ve got THAT right… & it’s totally clear that guitarist Dave, saxophonist Jeff & their compatriots Ramon Banda (drums) and John Belzaguy (drums) were riding the wave of the grooves through all 10 songs on this monster CD!  Scope out one of the best renditions of “Monk’s Mood” you’ll ever hear to get an idea of what I mean – totally mellow, right?  If you want to hear what my favorite track on the album was, be sure to dwell on “McCannism” – this takes me way back to the “best old days” of jazz, without doubt… some of the best groovin’ you’ll hear this year (or any other, for that matter).  I give Dave, Jeff & the rest of the crew my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information about this great release at the promoter’s site!     Rotcod Zzaj

Dave Askren: It

Carol Morgan – RETROACTIVE:  The key part of the title is “active”… Carol’s new (September 2013) release features some stunning guitar work by Mike Stern, and as you’ll hear on the opener, “Stern Language“, their work together really “works” – I’m almost reminded (retro, of course) of the taste of some of Miles’ work with Jack Johnson on this one)!  Things are a little more trad on “Tea For Two“, but the group makes it a “brand new” experience for your ears – Carol’s trumpet just shines on this cut.  It was the high-energy jazz float on the very classy “Jitterbug Waltz” that got my vote for favorite of the 10 tracks offered up for your aural pleasure… all the players blended together really well here!  I give Carol & her crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98 on this one.  Get more information & listen to the samples at the Blue Bamboo label site.      Rotcod Zzaj

Wouter Kellerman – MZANSI:  One key to great music here is the energy it generates for the listener… that could mean one thing to one and something else to another, but in this case (for me) it was the “danceability” of the music Wouter’s flute and his wonderful crew project!  On one of the best tunes I’ve heard (yet) this year, “Khokho“, is a perfect example of what happens when  the vocals carry you to your feet and have you stomping ’round the room (it certainly did that for me, lol); there is just a sense of JOY coming from this tune!  The haunting flute intro to “After Hours” was totally attractive to my ears (as well as my spirit), and I’ve no doubt it will do the same for you!  It was the high-flying vocal and percussion energy (not to mention the underlying bass) of “Fire Drill” that made it my favorite track of the 13 offered up, though; definite jazz influences here – too cool!   I give this CD a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners who love high-energy and joy in their music.  “EQ” (energy quotient) is 4.99.  Get more information & watch the vids at Wouter’s website.        Rotcod Zzaj

Wouter Kellerman: Mzansi

Sketches – VOLUME ONE:  There are only a few that “jump” forward in my queue… those exceptions are based on superb energy and talent, and this 8-song master recording is one of those… Jarrett Cherner (piano) sent it my way for review, and as soon as I heard the first tune, “Trust“, I knew this one was going to go right to the top (in more ways than one).  Matt Holman’s trumpet, Jeremy Udden’s alto sax, Martin Nevin’s bass and Ziv Ravitz’s drums all blend together seamlessly to give you an idea of how superbly their one-year project came together, and that’s especially true on pieces like the down & bluesy “Dusk On The Porch“, my personal favorite on the CD.  This November 5th 2013 release gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 5.00 (the highest)!  That means it also gets the “PICK” of the issue for “best new jazz”!   Get more information & listen to samples at the ITunes store page for this release.        Rotcod Zzaj

Eddie Daniels / Roger Kellaway – DUKE AT THE ROADHOUSE:  One of our favorite duos, Eddie & Roger are back for your pure jazz pleasure, with a live recording from Santa Fe that will thrill you just as much as (I’m sure) it did the audience!  The opener, “Beginning To See The Light” already had the audience rockin’ when we tuned into the recording.  The good ol’ boogie/blues riffs are abundant in the simple, yet straight-ahead “Creole Love Call“!  These gents are jazz pros in every sense of the word, so you’ll not have to worry about “lame” tunes; every track is a winner (& I’ve no doubt from the audience reactions that they felt the same way).  My personal favorite of the 10 tracks was the full-bodied & soulful “Mellowtone“… this personifies what jazz should be all about.  I give this great duo another MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at the IPO label site.       Rotcod Zzaj

Albare – THE ROAD AHEAD:  If the path we’re moving along is as smooth and beautiful as guitarist Albare sonically paints it on this June 2013 release, we are in for good times indeed!  This Australian player’s deft strings take me back to my earliest lessons in jazz listening… especially on tunes like the elegant “The Gift“… jazz-wise, it just doesn’t get any better than this!  He’s joined by pianist Phil Turcio, bassist Yunior Terry, with drums by Pablo Bencid (& a special vocal appearance by Allan Harris).  Of the 13 splendid tunes offered up, my personal favorite was the full-bodied “New Signs“… definitely fresh approaches.  These all-original compositions get a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 5.00… top score, ergo the “PICK” of this issue for “best guitar jazz”.  Get more information at Albare’s website!        Rotcod Zzaj

God of Drum – GET TRIBAL:  If, like me, you believe that percussion “drives” music, then you’ll love this marvelous 10-track adventure into the chakra-roots of music and spirit from ’round the globe.  One of my personal favorites was the excellent (and driven) “Passion Rising“; per the liner notes, the Chakra awakens you to newly discovered abilities (be sure to listen to this tune, and the others, with your headphones on).  If it’s true “power” you’re seeking out, though, you will fall in love (right away, I might add) with the fourth track, “Awakening Power“… one of the most powerful drum works I’ve heard in the last 10-15 years (and believe me, I’ve heard a LOT).  Though this is not “pure jazz”, it is still in the criteria zone for reviews here, because it has the “true energy” behind the playing and the spirit of the playing.  I give this great CD a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  Get more information at the God of Drum website.        Rotcod Zzaj

Tom Goehring – A REFLECTED JOURNEY:  Tom’s excellent trumpet leads this quintet down jazz paths that will be familiar, as well as blazing new trails for the listener!  All 9 tunes are vibrant and full of the kind of energy that will make your ears sit up and hear what’s going on!  You’ll certainly believe that as you listen to the opener, “A Reflected Journey“… mellow, but with an undercurrent of razor-sharp insight and beauty!  The up-tempo “Clarion Call” is a killer 5:57 tune that will haunt your aural appendages for days & months to come. It was Tom’s original, “The Walkdown“, that captured my vote for favorite, though… a truly powerful tune!  I give Tom & his crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at Tom’s website.        Rotcod Zzaj

Tom Goehring: A Reflected Journey

Cheryl Bentyne and Mark Winkler – WEST COAST COOL:  “Cool” doesn’t really describe it – more like “iceberg-ed”…. my impressions may have something to with their opener, “Take 5/Drinks On The Patio“, but any way you listen, this is one chilly set!  I’ve listened to (& reviewed) quite a bit of Mark’s work before, but this is my first listen to Cheryl – the duo ramps up the energy even more than before!  The title track, “West Coast Cool” (lyrics by Mark) exemplifies the spirit they were trying to convey, I think… laid-back, but “charged”, to be sure!  The swingin’/hip tempo on “Hungry Man“, made it my favorite of the 14 tracks on the CD… slick & sweet!  I give this excellent duo a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for old-school jazzers who can’t do without some uptempo vocal energy in their listening experience!  “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 5.00, which means that they also get the “PICK” of this issue for “most energetic vocal jazz”.  Get more information at the Summit Records page for this CD.         Rotcod Zzaj

Autumn in Augusta – SONGS MY MAMA WOULD LIKE:  If you don’t feel better after listening to Lucy Smith’s powerful vocals on these 5 songs, you never will!  Especially old standards like “Wayfaring Stranger“… what’s most noticeable about Lucy’s voice is that it’s all natural – no hint of being rushed, or afraid – & Marcin Fahmy’s piano/keyboard work is superb – just like church (in a way).  The only drawback is that there were only 5 songs… I’m surely hoping that she will release a longer CD next time.  Her vocal on “How Long, How Long Blues” is among the best I’ve ever heard, making it my favorite on the CD.  I give Lucy & crew a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (& it would have been higher if there had only been one or two more songs)… “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 4.98 (very high for female jazz vocals).  You can get more information about her at Lucy’s website.       Rotcod Zzaj

Autumn in Augusta: Songs My Mama Would Like

Paul Stapleton and Simon Rose – FAUNA:  ’tis always a pleasant surprise to get new works in from the pfMentum label… and this modular musical instrument excursion.  Simon’s reeds and Paul’s “bonsai sound sculptures” (BoSS).  The multi-faceted “Felt” gives you a glimpse into a sonic world you never knew existed – somewhere between cave-days and the deepest, darkest jungles of today, inhabited by strange creatures you’ll never find in a zoo.  I’ll tel you right up front, though, if you’re an “MOR” (middle of the road) listener, you’ll never make it out of the forest!  That’s especially true when tunes like my favorite of the 8 on the CD, “Zwischenfall” are trippin’ you out… leave the acid in the closet – you won’t need it!  I give this duo a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for those into the “far out” spectrum of music, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 5.00 – which, of course, means that they also get the “PICK” of this issue for “best strange music”.   Visit the label site linked above to get more information!     Rotcod Zzaj

James Zollar – IT’S ALL GOOD PEOPLE:  When I reviewed James fantastic trumpet work  the first time (issue # 101), he got (very) high marks… the ten songs on this CD are even more vibrant & energy-filled!  Just scope out the funky opener, “The Mo’ Doctor” – excellent bump’n funk, to be sure!  If it’s laid-back & groovy you want to hear, James & crew have that in spades on the bouncy “Imagine Me“… jazz with intestinal fortitude.  If you’re in a dancin’ mood, you’ll surely dig down deep into “Kansas City Cha-Cha“.  My personal favorite on the album was the slinky & suave “Sermaj“… this one brings back mem’ries of the heydays of old-school jazz energy, with some cool rappin’ mixed in!  James & his folks get (yet) another MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  Get more information at James’s FB page.       Rotcod Zzaj

James Zollar: It

The David Ricard Big Band – HEY, I KNOW THIS SONG:  If you’ll do anything “big band” as part of your listening adventures, you’ll find this one an interesting listen.  David takes classical tunes and revs them up a bit… ergo, “So Bright, So Blue“, something to do with Blue Danube.  I also enjoyed “Peer Pressure” – though based on Grieg, this reminded me in spots of the Peter Gunn theme.  My personal favorite of the 10 tracks offered up was the rollicking “Dodging The Bull“… high-energy to be sure.  For those who’ll do anything to get their fix of big band, this comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.96.  Get more information at David’s website.       Rotcod Zzaj

The David Ricard Big Band: Hey, I Know This Song! Vol. 1

Mary Ann Redmond, Paul Langosch And Jay Cooley – COMPARED TO WHAT:  When I cracked this CD open and listened to (just) the first few notes, I dashed off a request for an interview with Mary Ann – she is nothing short of VOLCANIC!  She sings in so many styles, you can’t pigeonhole her vocal work into any specific cubbyhole… as evidenced by her “Dance Me To The End of Love“; since there are an even dozen tracks, you WILL find one (or more) that you can’t do without at least once a day.  For me, that was Mary Ann’s rendition of the great title track, “Compared To What“… this has been a favorite of mine ever since I heard Eddie Harris & Les McCann do it on their album… but she packs this one with a NEW PUNCH – it’s on my playlists two or three times a day!  I give Mary Ann & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating right at the top – 5.00!  She also gets the “PICK” of this issue for “best all around jazz vocals”!    Get more information at Mary Ann’s KICKSTARTER page.        Rotcod Zzaj

Frank Wess – MAGIC 101:  Frank’s great reeds and flute have been reviewed here before, of course – in fact, he’s one of the best jazz flute players I’ve ever listened to… this June 2013 release is among the most solid I’ve heard him playing on before.  Frank does tenor sax throughout the album, Kenny Barron is on piano, Kenny Davis on bass and Winard Harper does drums on the 7 great songs offered up for true jazzoids.  “Come Rain or Come Shine” will give you a very comforting & easy listen… and you’ll hear (in the immediate) why I like Frank’s playing so much.  I found “Blue Monk” to be my favorite of those offered up… sophisticated blues groove, to be sure.  I give Frank a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97.  Get more information at the CD Universe page for this CD.      Rotcod Zzaj

Mike Wofford – IT’S PERSONAL:  There just couldn’t be a better title for Mike’s brand-new CD… as I listen to the title cut, “It’s Personal“, I’m reminded of why solo piano was my first choice as a player – because it allows you to express SO much; and Mike gives you clear insight into his inner workings on this great tune!  The lively “Spin” will knock your socks off, too… your inner self will feel like a whirligig as Mike toys with your emotions.  It was the beautiful (& very, VERY jazzy) “Nica’s Tempo” that got my vote for favorite of the dozen pieces offered up for your long-term aural pleasure… intricate, yet with very personal touches.  I give Mike a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  Get more information at Mike’s pages.         Rotcod Zzaj

Resonance – INTRODUCTIONS:  If you want to get your ears acquainted with some mighty fine jazz, this is a perfect CD for such!  What’s so nice about the dozen tunes this San Francisco/Bay-area octet offers up is that they’ve been doing this together for such a long time (since 2006) that there’s no “competition”, no “pushing or shoving”… as evidenced by the very cool track, “Gemini“… great jazz with the key element – FUN!  Everything blends together perfectly on “The Journey of Each Other“… each note is part of the larger whole on this one, to be sure!  My personal favorite was “Gaviota“; light, but full of movement as well (I just loved the violin on this one).  I give these folks a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at the Resonance site.       Rotcod Zzaj

Resonance: Introductions