Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Stan Getz - Bossas And Ballads, Jazz As Good It "Getz"

Gems From The Record Room: If you'd like to fall in love with jazz, this is the album for you. Late in his amazing career, Stan Getz recorded this little platter of perfection, Bossas and Ballads. Getz was a tenor sax player and band leader whose career spanned the 1940's through the 1980's and Getz played with nearly all the greats. He was most well known for his huge bossa nova hit "The Girl from Ipanema" with Antonio Carlos Jobim and Astrud Gilberto.

Produced by Herb Alpert, Bossas and Ballads is not only a great sax album; it's also a great piano record, by virtue of the majority of the tracks being composed by piano player Kenny Barron. This quartet also featured the brilliant rhythm section of George Mraz on bass and Victor Lewis on drums. They were not flashy, but played the most solid rhythm you could want to hear. "Sunshower" shows all the attributes of this fine album right there in the lead track. It begins with the main line of the song contained in a beautiful saxophone solo by Getz; next, a similarly melodic piano solo by Barron. After that comes a solo by Mraz on the upright bass; then they bring it home with the sax and piano playing together. Have a listen below. Many thanks to RDS from Potomac, MD for recommending this album.

Listen to "Sunshower"

Stan Getz - Bossas And Ballads: The Lost Sessions
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"There has been no lack of previously unissued material by the late Stan Getz coming out on CD, but the opportunity to get a further taste of the great tenor saxophonist's exceptional final period is not to be passed on. Recorded two months before his death in 1989 (and two years after the brilliant club dates documented on Anniversary and Serenity), Bossas and Ballads finds him in top form, continuing his memorable association with pianist Kenny Barron. Produced for A&M by Herb Alpert, but shelved in favor of the synthesizered Apasionado, this is vintage Getz: cool and relaxed but possessed of a sneaky explosive power. The man's lyricism could be devastating, and knowing he would be soon gone adds to the potency of his expression on songs such as "Sunshower" (one of five tunes by Barron), Mal Waldron's "Soul Eyes" and Sam Rivers' "Beatrice." A quarter century after spearheading the bossa nova movement in America, he brings a bit less lilt to the form, but more body, never resting on his inventions" -Lloyd Sachs

Photos Courtesy of Verve Records

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Laura Marling, Union Transfer, Philadelphia, 8/01/2015, An Extraordinary Night of Music Included Johnny Flynn & Marika Hackman, Watch Videos

Take The Night Off>I Was An Eagle>You Know>Breathe

"Hello. Hello, Philadelphia. You've got bigger. That's nice. You've been telling your friends. Good, good, good, good. My name's Laura". - Laura Marling, to her adoring audience, Union Transfer, Saturday 8/01/2015.

Marling set the bar quite high when she opened with the first four songs from Once I Was An Eagle, performed as a suite (above). The beautiful intensity continued as she then gave us three from Short Movie, her latest. Marling's 21 song set surveyed all of her albums, including two rare tracks from Short Movie ("David" and "Daisy" which came on a bonus 7 inch single with the vinyl LP). There were two from her debut, Alas I Cannot Swim, and three from I Speak Because I Can. Six songs were drawn from Once I Was An Eagle, and a total of six from Short Movie.

There was but one song from A Creature I Don't Know, and it was a good one. During the opening verse of "Sophia", when Marling sang "who's been touching my skin" someone from the audience yelled out at that moment, catching her by surprise. She laughed and coughed and had to reset her composure to continue the song; that little moment so humanized the song I still smile thinking about it.


At someones suggestion, Marling also performed a song that she hadn't planned to do on this tour, "Failure". The humor of this fine performance was met with an equal measure of crowd reaction (watch the video). In addition to her original material, she did three cover songs. After an interesting story about performing at the Townes Van Zandt festival, Marling then sang "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind", written by Dolly Parton.

She covered The Foo Fighter's with "Tired of You". Marling's style of songwriting is like no other; somewhere between folk and rap, her words can come like rapid fire, every shade of emotion, every shade of motivation, it's all on the table. This girl is, well, complicated. Marling's voice alone with the guitar is so powerful that she can command a room like Union Transfer, but for this tour she also brought her band which consisted of Nick Pini on double bass and Matt Ingram on drums.

When she mentioned that there were only two songs left, she explained that she doesn't do encores. Then from the totally unexpected category, for her last song she pulled out the classic Steely Dan song "Dirty Work" with assistance from opening acts Johnny Flynn and Marika Hackman. It was a nice long set that was satisfying in every way. The lighting and the sound were excellent, as was the camera work by Bev​ Kates, and video production assistance by Lindsey Mitchell.

See more video from Marling's set:
David>Howl>Walk Alone
Master Hunter
How Can I
I Speak Because I Can
Do I Ever Cross Your Mind (Dolly Parton Cover)

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Photos Courtesy of Laura Marling

Openings Set - Marika Hackman & Johnny Flynn

Photo Courtesy of Marika Hackman

Marika Hackman - Cinnamon

Elizabeth Mazenko wrote a nicely detailed review in The Key of the opening sets by Marika Hackman and Johnny Flynn. I am pleased to reprint it here.

“I’ve known Johnny since I was 16,” Laura Marling laughed as her tourmate Johnny Flynn picked up the violin to join her onstage. “And we both look exactly the same.”

Saturday night, Union Transfer was host for a delightful evening with these two icons of modern British folk. Joined by emerging UK singer songwriter Marika Hackman, the night was filled with an enchanting performance of raw images and old memories.

Her first time touring in Philly, Marika Hackman took over the stage with an earnest sense about her. However, I believe the entire crowd would agree that what came out of her mouth was practically time suspending. At least she was the first opener I’ve heard where the audience chatter seemed to cease.

Fashioning a very relaxed look (which she admitted were her pajamas, apologizing for not coming better prepared for the heat), Hackman stole the crowd’s attention with dissonant, guitar-plucked tunes that counteracted the delicate image we saw on the stage. A silky voice spilled over dismal, lullaby-like melodies singing harsh lines like “Oh to drown in your mind / I would I know I would / To suffocate in your smoke / I’d choke on you if I could,” (“Drown”) or “As blood runs down my face / I love that iron taste / If you’d just let me in / I’ll bandage up my face and hide away,” (“Cannibal”). Hackman released her debut album We Slept At Last in February. Despite the grisly imagery, her somber yet impressive tunes are ones worth listening to.

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Courtesy of Johnny Flynn

Johnny Flynn - Lost and Found

Elizabeth Mazenko's review continues:

Next on the bill was Johnny Flynn. With no hesitation, he immediately swung into favorites like “The Wrote and the Writ,” “Mumeration,” and “Brown Trout Blues.” The crowd sang along as Flynn’s guitar-plucked folk tunes swelled the hall. After finishing “A Lady Is Risen,” Flynn introduced a new song he hasn’t quite finished, but wanted to test out on the stage. Not long after, Laura Marling joined Flynn on the stage for a sensational performance of the duet, “The Water.”

Johnny Flynn & Laura Marling - The Water

I saw Flynn play “The Water” last time he was in town, and the song itself is a beautiful tune to witness live. But his sold out North Star Bar show was solo, and despite the crowd helping out Flynn with the harmonies, it simply lacked the luster that only Marling’s voice could bring. Saturday evening though, Marling at her mic and Flynn at his, it was simply brilliant to see.

Before Marling took over the stage, Flynn had Marika Hackman come back out and all three finished out Flynn’s set with the bouncy crowd favorite, “Tickle Me Pink.”

Johnny Flynn - Tickle Me Pink featuring Laura Marling & Marika Hackman

See more video from Flynn's Set:
The Wrote and the Writ
New Song (Untitled)

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bluebirds Of Paradise, Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3, 6/25/2015, In a Night EP Release Show

"Singer/songwriters Ari Hest and Chrissi Poland create this scintillating duo, an infusion of jazz, indie-folk, and pop steeped in Brazilian rhythms and overtones. With enchanting vocals and romantic yet often comedic lyrical sentiments, this powerful pair draws you in and leaves you wanting more!" -Buddy, Chrissi's supportive cat

Brilliant, brilliant show by Bluebirds of Paradise at Rockwood Music Hall stage 3. The official EP release show brought together most of the musicians who played on the record, which was produced by Will Lee. All songs were written by Chrissi Poland and Ari Hest. Chrissi and Ari shared all vocals, Chrissi played piano and percussion, Ari played all guitars, Will Lee played bass, Doug Yowell played drums, and Gary Schreiner played harmonica and accordion.

The band played all six songs on the EP in sequence. Then they treated the sell out crowd to four additional songs to round out the set quite beautifully.

The Bluebirds of Paradise started when Chrissi and Ari realized their love for brazilian jazz and pop by writing, recording, and releasing "Snow" as a single in time for the 2013 holiday season. The following year they realized their love for each other by getting engaged to be married. Oh, and they also recorded their debut EP, In a Night. The sessions took place at a wonderful recording studio in Stamford, Connecticut called the Carriage House. Producer Will Lee couldn't find enough nice things to say about working with Chrissi and Ari, which is really saying something considering that Lee has quite literally played on hundreds and hundreds of recording sessions in his storied career. For the EP, they recorded a new version of "Snow" which was released as a single to warm the 2014 holidays. The new version features a nice bit of harmonica played by Gary Schreiner. Here, from the release show, is "Snow", complete with Schreiner on harmonica.

See more videos from the show:
"World We Have Made"

Bluebirds of Paradise - In a Night
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Photos courtesy of Bluebirds of Paradise

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