Issue 139 reviews

Our latest and greatest reviews for your reading & listening pleasure

Billy Mintz – John Gross – Roberta Piket – Putter Smith – MINTZ QUARTET:  This is the kind of jazz that is in an “eternal” zone…  as you listen to the short “Beautiful“, you’ll hear why I say that!  Astounding players all (John Gross: tenor saxophone; Roberta Piket: piano, organ (and vocal on track 4) Putter Smith: bass; Billy Mintz: drums, percussion, compositions), who click like a well-oiled machine on tunes like “Cannonball” – definitely one of the meatiest pieces of jazz I’ve heard (yet) in 2014!  It was the deeply moving “Haunted” that caught my fancy as favorite track, but with an even dozen tunes, each listener may find something that whets their whistle even more (the rambunctious “Shmear” came in a close second)!  I give the Mintz Quartet a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  Get more information at the Billy Mintz Quartet page for this album.       Rotcod Zzaj

Mintz Quartet: Mintz Quartet

Scott Ramminger – ADVICE FROM A FATHER TO A SON:  If bright & boogie-full blues is what you want queued up, this CD will stay on your playlist(s) for years to come.  The opener, for instance, “I Really Love Your Smile“, will make you think you’ve passed on over to down-home heaven, ‘specially when that rockin’ piano kicks in!  Groove is on the order of galactic on the bluesy “The Other Man’s Shoes“… funkified, for sure!  It was th’ bass strut feeling on “Magic In The Music” that won my vote as favorite, though… this sucker won’t “fall off” your playlist – it’ll be there forever!  I give Scott & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at Scott’s pages.      Rotcod Zzaj

Scott Ramminger: Advice from a Father to a Son

Tatmavasi – PARTS OF THE ENTIRETY:  Truth be told, this is the first time (in a very, VERY long time) I’ve reviewed jazz from Poland.  The founder, guitarist Grzegorz Lesiak, definitely knows how to put together music that will hold you spellbound… just check out the finely executed changes on “An Eccentric Introvert In a Study Filled With Broken Mirrors” – it does NOT get any better than this for jazz/rock aficionados!  The other thing that is very noticeable about this quartet is that they are like a sort of “21st Century psychedelic”… if you want proof of that, scope out the stellar energy & contact high on the closer, ‘Buy 2, Take 3“, – absolutely smokin’ – my favorite track on the 7-song album!  I give these folks a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” rating of (the TOP) 5.00.  That means they also get the “PICK” of this issue for “best innovation in jazz”.  Get more information at their too-cool website.       Rotcod Zzaj

Dewa Budjana – JOGED KAHYANGAN:  What’s so absolutely cool about Dewa’s guitar work is that it crosses over styles, making them non-existent for the listener.  As you listen to the opener, “Foggy Cloud“, you’ll immediately fall in love with the fact that jazz is right at the forefront & in the classic mode!  Dewa is joined on this one by Larry Goldings (acoustic piano, Hammond organ); Bob Mintzer (tenor/soprano sax & clarinet); Jimmy Johnson (bass guitar); Peter Erskine (drums) & Janis Siegel doing vocals on track 4, “As You Leave My Nest” – one of the grooviest jazz vocal pieces I’ve heard in the last several years.  My personal favorite of the eight full-bodies tracks offered up for your long-term aural enjoyment, though, was the intricately evolved “Erskoman“, which has some of the coolest Hammond on the scene – the changeups between the organ & the guitar on this track are priceless!  I give Dewa a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED on this excellent jazz CD, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.    Get more information at the MOONJUNE Records page for this album.      Rotcod Zzaj

Perpetual Motion – STRING THEORY:  This great little CD came in as part of a package for guitarist Tom Carleno… on this earlier outing (2006), there are a whole host of players, too many to itemize here, but you can check them out at the CREDITS page.  Songs like the high-energy “Spring Fever” will have you listening to this tune over & over again.  There were some similarities to works I’ve heard by David Friesen (in the way back), but on a much brighter scale!  The 6:42 “Jungle Spirits” was the clear winner for my pick as favorite of the ten tracks offered up – the changes are intricate and beautiful (though with that many, you may well find a different tune that’s your favorite).  I give Tom & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for this CD, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97.  Get more information at the ALLMUSIC page for this album.       Rotcod Zzaj

Perpetual Motion: String Theory

Sly5thAve (aka Sylvester Uzoma Onyejiaka II) – AKUMA:  This CD, to be released on February 11th, 2014, is a true jazz gem… the title track, “Akuma“, is the only one I could find a sample for (perhaps because this is a self-released effort…. but don’t let that stop you – this is one you will HAVE to have in your collection if you’re even a lil’ bit serious about jazz!  Also be sure to check out Sylvester’s BANDCAMP site, where you can pre-order a copy of the CD.  I haven’t heard jazz this creative & stunning since my earliest listening adventures in the genre!  My personal favorite of the dozen tunes offered up was “Basslude”… very sensitive and (at the same time) energizing!  I give Sly5thAve a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of (the very top) 5.00, and the “PICK” of this issue for “best new jazz”!   Get more information at  the Sly5thAve site.    Rotcod Zzaj

Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet – LATIN JAZZ/JAZZ LATIN:  If there’s any player who knows what “latin jazz” means, it’s Wayne Wallace!  We’ve reviewed Wayne’s superb jazz trombone work here more times than I can count – and “La Habana” stands out as jazz that will stay right up at the top of your playlist, whether “jazz latin” is your forte, or not.  There’s a sense of deja vu at the same time you’re discovering new sound territories in Wayne’s weave on the classic “Giant Steps“.  It was the intimate and lovely “Melambo” that captured my vote for favorite of the ten exciting tunes, though… if any music will steer you towards Latin jazz – this is it!  I  give Wayne & his high-talent crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for this one, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at Wayne’s website.       Rotcod Zzaj

Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet: Latin Jazz Jazz Latin

Greg Lewis – AMERICAN STANDARD:  For jazz organ lovers, Greg’s excellent Hammond B3 work will become the “standard” for today’s listeners… Greg is joined by another favorite player, Ron Jackson on guitar, as well as trumpet from Riley Mullins, tenor sax from Reggie Woods and drums by Jeremy Bean; a superb quintet!  Pieces like the jumpin’ “Dinah” will hold your aural appendages at attention for days after the 8:13 span of the tune.  It was the stunning opener, “Liza“, that captured my vote for high-energy, high-talent favorite, though – this one will stay on your jazz organ playlists for the foreseeable future!  I give Greg & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97.  Get more information at the Organ Monk website.      Rotcod Zzaj

Greg Lewis: Organ Monk: American Standard

Rich Rosenthal – FALLING UP:  The promoter’s cut-sheet sums it up quite nicely – “the music you are about to hear is not easy listening”.  You’ve got Rich on guitar, Joe Giardullo on soprano sax, Craig Nixon on bass and Matt Crane on drums – and they’re taking you in directions you never realized you could travel in.  Just scope out the very together opener, “Powder Hysteria“… all four players are totally synched at the mind & carry you off to the up-zone.  It was the epic (11:45) closer, “Eternal Meltdown“, whose changes made it my favorite of the six tracks offered up for your aural adventure   What’s so cool about the music Rich & his cohorts play is that you can hear the struggle to achieve musical perfection… I give Rich & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, though if you’re of the “straight jazz-easy-listening” mind-set, you may not understand why.  “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 4.99.  Get more information at Rich’s website.     Rotcod Zzaj

Richard Rosenthal: Falling Up

The Claudia Quintet – SEPTEMBER:  John Hollenbeck, drummer extraordinaire, is no stranger in our pages, having been reviewed in many contexts over the years since I started this magazine.  Saxophonist Chris Speed and vibraphonist Matt Moran are original members of the group, joined this time around by accordionist Red Wierenga, and bassist Chris Tordini.  just listen to the marvelous tones on “September 12th:  Coping Song” to get a taste of how intriguing this quintet can be.  It was the vibrant interaction and high energy on “September 18th: Lemons” that got my vote for personal favorite of the ten tracks offered up for your aural pleasure… intense from the first note and all the way through to the 10:35 conclusion.  I give the quintet a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at the Cuneiform Records page for this release.       Rotcod Zzaj

Jon Rose – ROSIN (60TH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION):  If you just can’t go a day without improv – here’s 60 years worth of absolute strange packaged in a 60-year collection you won’t forget (for at least 120 years, & by that time we’ll all be gone anyway, right?).  Jon’s violins paint images over the years that will overwhelm you, even if you’re an improvisation addict.  It’s not complex to listen to, but when you listen to all 3 discs, you will find yourself catching different little nuances each time you listen – even on simple tunes like “Thank You Very Much“.  Most of the pieces are short, lengthwise, but if you imbibe any “time enhancers” as you listen to this with your headphones on, they will feel like eons… a great example of that is “The Ntaria Aboriginal Ladies Choir, Hermansburg“…. absolute zoom, with a church feeling!  My personal favorite of the abundance of tracks (far too many to count) was the 4:00 “Chainsaw Tribute“… representative of the true “odd-istry” Mr. Rose is capable of!  For listeners who are inclined toward the “other direction”, this gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 5.00 (the top of the scale).  Ergo, it also gets the “PICK” of this issue for “best improvised work”!   Get more information at Jon’s website for this project.      Rotcod Zzaj

Frank Potenza – FOR JOE:  Frank’s tribute to one of his mentors, Joe Pass, is clearly among the best (of many) I’ve reviewed by him.  As you listen to the opener, “A Foxy Chick and A Cool Cat“, you’ll hear why my ears have been attracted to Frank’s guitar for a long time.  The swaying blues of “Blues For Joe” is (absolutely) the smoothest jazz guitar blues I’ve heard (yet) this year.  Frank assembled high-talent support with guitarist John Pisano, bassist Jim Hughart and drummer Colin Bailey – & you’ll definitely recognize that high-energy talent flow as you listen to my favorite track of the 10 offered up, “Catch Me” (a Joe Pass original)…. about as upbeat as you’ve ever listened to.  This one will stay on your playlists forever, I’ve no doubt… I give Frank & his crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  Get more information at Frank’s website.       Rotcod Zzaj

Mike Jones – PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS:  If high-talent piano jazz is what you’re thirsting after, Mike & his crew (drummer Jeff Hamilton & bassist Mike Gurrola), this CD will be your ticket for 2014!  Especially on tunes like the great (left-hand stride) “Obscure Blues”… I absolutely loved Mike’s firm bass line on this one (unfortunately, I couldn’t find a sample for this one anywhere)!  A mighty mellow tune you’ll enjoy did have a video – “Detour Ahead” is one of the classiest piano jazz tunes I’ve heard (yet) this year.  My absolute favorite on the 13-song CD is “I’m Walkin‘”, though… totally reminds me of the boogie/blues I grew up learning how to play.  I give Mike & his cohorts a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at Mike’s website.      Rotcod Zzaj

Jonathan Moritz’ Secret Tempo – SECRET TEMPO:  Jonathan’s tenor sax on this excellent trio effort is beyond reproach.  Support from Shayna Dulberger on acoustic bass and Mike Pride doing drums makes the CD among the best jazz efforts I’ve heard yet in 2014, especially on tunes like the well-woven “Melody“!  What’s clearly unique here is that there is no “rush to judgement”… they’ve got time to do this tuneage at their own pace, and they let nothing get in the way of that – and, they are TOGETHER all the way through the 7 songs offered up for your listening pleasure.  My personal favorite on the album was “Rhythm” – it’s more than you’d expect, and certainly different that what the title implies.  I give Jonathan & crew a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at Jonathan’s website.      Rotcod Zzaj

Jonathan Moritz Trio: Secret Tempo

Matt Wilson Quartet + John Medeski – GATHERING CALL:  Matt plays some of the finest jazz drums you’ll ever hear, and when joined by keyboard star John Medeski, reedman Jeff Lederer, cornetist Kirk Knuffke and bassist Chris Lightcap – it’s a jazz combo that can’t be beat!  The lively opener, “Main Stem“, makes it worth the purchase price – this tune just COOKS!  The CD will be released on January 21st, so cadge your copy now.  Their rendition of Hugh Lawson’s “Get Over, Get Off and Get On” is totally solid and will stay right up at the top of your playlists!  It was the 8:23 “Pumpkin’s Delight” (by Charlie Rouse) that got my vote for favorite, though – killer energy, & the changes are superb!  This is the best jazz CD I’ve listened to (yet) in 2014, bar none!  I give Matt & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  Get more information at Matt’s website.        Rotcod Zzaj

Kevin Coelho – TURN IT UP:  When it comes to keyboard jazz, there’s nothing better (in this listener’s ear, anyway) than the Hammond B-3 – & Kevin is (even at his ripe young age of 18) a true master!  His rendition of the Beatles “Come Together” will put you right in your jazz comfort zone – just SUPER energy!  He’s joined again by guitarist Derek DiCenzo and drummer Reggie Jackson – the same lineup as his first CD (also reviewed here, of course – just SEARCH for it).  It was the opener, Jimmy Smith’s “Root Down“, that captured my aural vote for favorite track of the 10 tunes offered up… one of the funkiest renditions I’ve heard (beside Jimmy’s, of course).  I give Kevin a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, especially for listeners who just MUST have a lil’ B-3 to make their day.  “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is a top-o-the-line 5.00, which means it also gets the “PICK” of this issue for “best organ jazz”!    Get more information at Kevin’s website.        Rotcod Zzaj

Kathryn Kaye – WHAT THE WINTER SAID:  Solid piano, no matter the style, is always welcome here…. of course, that’s partially because that’s the instrument I play.  At any rate, Kathryn’s talent is clear on this 15-song solo piano and orchestral opus, especially on beauties like “A Slow Walk Into The Dusk“.  I can somehow hear the honest and joyous outlook of her Kentucky upbringing on pieces like “Brightest and Best“…. beautiful violin on this one!  It was the perfect synchronicity of “The Shortest Days” that got my vote for favorite track on this one, though.  If you’re “strictly jazz”, you may move on to another CD, but for those who love well-played piano, I give this great CD a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at Kathryn’s website.     Rotcod Zzaj

Kathryn Kaye: What the Winter Said

George Cotsirilos Trio – VARIATIONS:  Jazz guitar trios without keyboards are often hard to pull off, but George’s talent and his cohorts (Robb Fischer on bass and drummer Ron Marabuto) make this 10-song CD sound like it was effortless.  Tunes like the energetic “A Walk For Ethel” will stay in your head & on your playlists for months (if not years) to come.  Timing is the key on a trio effort like this, where the guitar would sound totally “out there on it’s own” if every note weren’t blended flawlessly… when you listen to the 5:12 “Blues For The J Man“, you’ll hear why it was my favorite tune on the CD…. execution is perfect, and reflects the very best of what jazz is about.  I give George & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners who just must have a bit of guitar in there jazz; “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 4.99.  Get more information at George’s website.       Rotcod Zzaj

David Buchbinder – WALK TO THE SEA:  Jewish trumpet by David Buchbinder and piano from master Hilario Durán of Cuba make for a sweet cultural jazz mix that will make your ears stand up and take notice.  The best thing about experiments like these is that they can’t be pigeonholed (in any way, shape or form)… what you hear is what you get, especially on tunes like the excellent opener, “Coffee Works“… you’ll be dancin’ to this for days before you even figure out what “genre” it is – lol!  From a “true jazz” perspective, though, it was the title track, “Walk To The Sea” that got my vote as favorite of the 9 tunes offered up – that flute is superb!  I give David & Hilario a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at the Odessa/Havana website!        Rotcod Zzaj

Jeff Hamilton Trio – WILFORD AND TRIO:  Everyone who reads this ‘zine knows that jazz is one of my first loves – but when you pair that up with one of the heroes of my generation (Boomers) doing vocals (that’s Wilford as in Brimley) – it’s just too cool!  Just scope out their performance of “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face” to hear why I fell in love with this one right away.  When I was growing up with Wilford, I was watching him be the “common-sense old guy” in adventures like “Cocoon” and “Hard Target”, as well as numerous TV appearances; I’d not heard him doing cool jazz, but his rendition of “Pick Yourself Up” made it my favorite of the 15 songs offered up!  I give Wilford & Jeff’s trio a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97.  Get more information at Jeff’s page.         Rotcod Zzaj

Mark Lettieri – FUTUREFUN:  Mark’s high-flight guitar work on this second CD release will have you signing up for the voyage he’s piloting – to the very edges of the universe!  As you listen to the 5:26 “Catboy“, you’ll hear what this cat is all about – & it’s a scorcher, I’ll tell you!  Truth be told, it would be nice to have more than 7 tracks on the CD, but he said his focus for this CD was “quality over quantity”, & the quality is definitely in full evidence on tunes like “Extraspecial“.  It was the laid-back bass weave on “Stinger“, and slow build to guitar pandemonium, that won my vote for favorite, though!  I give Mark & his crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners who just must have a dose of high-energy guitar rock/jazz to keep their day going.  “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 4.98.  Check out more detail about this CD and Mark’s players at the release site for this CD.      Rotcod Zzaj

Mark Lettieri: Futurefun

Bob DeVos – SHADOW BOX:  Jazz guitar lovers the world over will flock to this excellent September 2013 release from Bob & pals Ralph Bowen (tenor sax), Dan Kostelnik (Hammond B-3 organ) & Steve Johns (drums).  This quartet is able to consistently crank out high-energy jazz – you’ll surely agree when you hear the killer organ on the opener, “After Burner“… man, this rocks! I also dug deeply on the groovy funkiness on “The River’s Invitation“… subtle and seductive, to be sure.  If you’re in a really pensive mood, you’ll love “The Wizard“, as did I.  My personal favorite, though, was the title track, “Shadow Box“… for jazz guitar lovers, this is the perfect CD to kick off 2014 with.  I give it a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  Get more information at Bob’s web page for this release.      Rotcod Zzaj

Cosmo Frequency – SOUNDTRACK TO LIFE:  With “energy” being a supreme focus at this magazine, this CD is an absolute essential for listeners who want to experience sonic creativity at it’s best.  Very tastefully done, and with all the power that creative energy produces, tunes like “Apollo Skies” will hold your ears spellbound, and help you sense the transitions that are required in a life well-lived.  Paul Martinson and Brent Vincent sponsor you on this enjoyable ride through the sonic universe, and you’ll be glad they did – especially when you listen to tunes like my personal favorite, the down/funky “Chillaxin“… definitely a “different beat” on this one!  I give Paul & Brent a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at their web page for this CD.      Rotcod Zzaj

Cosmo Frequency: Soundtrack to Life

David Nevue – OPEN SKY:  You won’t have any trouble figuring out the theme with a title (and CD cover) like that… David’s solo piano is simply beautiful and full of creative power on tunes like “The Sound Of Sunshine“… just excellent recording!  The 3:31 “Butterfly Dance” is full of the kind of sonic images you’d expect to see in a landscape like the one pictured on the cover.  Is this jazz?  Hardly.  Is it energy-filled and driven with the beauty of music?  Through and through, especially on pieces like my favorite of the 17 offered up for your listening pleasure, the mirage-like “Eclipse“…. if you’re going to “trip out”, do it to music like this – then you won’t need any substances to aid you!  For lovers of powerful solo piano, this CD comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  Get more information at David’s website.      Rotcod Zzaj

David Nevue: Open Sky

Ivy Joe Milan – BEEN DOWN LOW:  One thing about Huntsville players & musicians that I can attest to (having lived there for over a dozen years) is that if they’re good, “they real good”!  When Ivy Joe sings about “down low” on the title track, “Been Down Low“, you just know he’s been there – you know, that he woke up on the FLOOR of  the “Chicken Shack” (& yah, I’ve been there, too)!  When he sings about love, as on “Come On Back“, you know he’s walked the walk… this is “the real stuff”, folks, & I’m diggin’ it way down deep – especially the scat right at the end of the track.  It’s Ivy Joe’s hard-hitting lyrical style on the closer, “Wise Up“, that’s got the “hook”, though, & this one captured my vote for favorite of the 13 offered up – probably ‘coz he’s singin’ about all those fools we know!   This is one funky CD, & it gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from these ol’ ears.  “EQ” (energy quotient) rating is 4.98.  Get more information at the Ivy Joe Milan site for this CD.       Rotcod Zzaj

Ivy Joe Milan: Been Down Low

Ian Hendrickson-Smith – TONIGHT IS NOW:  Though there are only 6 tracks on this CD, it’s a killer, any way you listen to it!  Tunes lie “Brother Ed” will NOT drop from your playlists any time soon if you love great flute & heavy keyboard work (both Hammond B-3 – Adam Scone; and Wurlitzer electric piano – Loston Harris).  In point of fact, though this one was a 2013 release, it’s timeless & (I predict) will become a jazz classic.  Ian says that his “number one concern” is “thinking about how what he’s doing makes people feel”… & he’s clearly learned his lesson well on that… if you’re not absolutely astounded by Ian’s alto sax, Philip Harper’s trumpet & Charles Rugiero’s drums on my favorite track of the half-dozen offered up, “The Sorry For Laughing Blues”, you’re not worthy of being called a jazz/blues aficionado (+, those keyboards just SHINE on this track, peepz)!  This is a beautiful way to bring in a jazzy 2014; Ian & his crew not only get a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of (a perfect) 5.00, they also get the “PICK” of this issue for “most vibrant jazz”.  Get more information at Ian’s Bandcamp page for this CD.     Rotcod Zzaj

Ghost Train Orchestra – BOOK OF RHAPSODIESBrian Carpenter is back with his second release of imaginative and most interesting arrangements of 1930’s bands; the first round was “Hothouse Stomp” (also reviewed here – use our SEARCH to find it).  A true marriage betwixt classical and jazz, you’ll hear it in all the glory on cool tunes like “Dance Man Buys A Farm”, one of my favorites on the 12-song CD.  Brian & crew have been working together as GTO since 2006, and have honed their energies to fever pitch… lots of fun music here.  My absolute favorite of the dozen songs was the choir-backed “Revolt of the Yes Men“… takes you back a few decades in jazz.  I give Brian & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97.  Get more information at Brian’s Ghost Train Orchestra site.       Rotcod Zzaj

Ann Licater – INVITATION FROM WITHIN:  As I sit here on the eve of 2014 listening to Ann’s wonderful Native American flute work, it’s easy to hear the coming of good things, especially on pieces like the opener, “Angels On The Wind“… no “hither/yon” here, there’s a definite sense of direction she is conveying!  Total relaxation ensues as I listen to the intrigue and deep sensitivity on “Cradle of Light“.  It’s a shorter piece that I find my ears falling in love with in the immediate, though… “Woven Echoes” has some subtle percussion that drove it right to the top of my playlist (for days).  Any of the dozen beauties Ann offers up on this adventure makes it worth the purchase price.  I give Ann & crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at Ann’s website.     Rotcod Zzaj

Ann Licater: Invitation from Within

Paul Spaeth – REDEMPTION:  I’ll tell you right now – this is one of the most powerful young pianists I’ve heard in 2013 (or any other year).  You’ll hear fully devoted talent on tunes like the opener, “A Lifetime Spent“, no doubt in my mind. You don’t necessarily need to do this one with headphones – though it will help you absorb the redeeming stories Paul tells through his fingers.  Paul has a piano style all his own, and will thrill your ears (and your heart) with great pieces like “Lullaby for the Mending Heart“… this one is so good that it captures my vote as favorite of the 11 tunes offered up for your aural enjoyment.  I give Paul a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information at Paul’s FB page.     Rotcod Zzaj

Uwe Gronau – FLIGHT 14:  I’ve been listening to & reviewing Uwe’s music for some many years now… the third track in on this new release, “Night Train“, truly sums up the power he’s able to project with his talent (too bad it’s so short; could have done with another two minutes, I’d say).   His super-solid keyboard on “Lend Me Your Heart” will allow you to find the beauty you’ve been seeking all this time.  The 4:22 title track, “Flight 14” has great movement, as you might feel it should – but it’s the groove on “Can’t Explain” that captured my vote for favorite of the 20 tracks offered up for your personal joy.  Another MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for Uwe, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98.  Get more information on Uwe & his projects at Uwe’s website for this CD.    Rotcod Zzaj

Uwe Gronau: Flight 14