December 5th 2002
…Ascetism – A Portrait of Jazz by pianist Mark Adams.
This debut CD by
Mark Adams on New York’s MCC Recordings contains a few surprises.
groove-laden opener Der Grüner Mann showcases Adams’ lush
piano sound well. His
soloing is remarkable. This
track is a real grower. Adams
Apple also lets that “hear-every-note” technique shine through
and guitarist Dominique Kanza sounds great on here.
There are sombre
moments on Seeing in the Dark, which has a mournful alto sax and
classy string arrangement. Colors
is a pretty Latin-tinged tune where Ken Adams’ sexy flute is the star.
changes again with Freedom from Freedom. I love this, with Dave Jones’ funky bass and the way the
song branches off in different directions.
It takes time to get into – but stick with it. I confess that I still can’t get into the reggae-flavoured Club
Carib. My favourite
song – and I wish it were longer – is the jazz trio treatment of Nat
Adderley’s classic Work Song.
It takes a while to build but it’s simple, respectful and
Best of Sipho Gumede – Part 1
you’ve read my review of Paul Hanmer’s “Playola”
CD on this site, you’ll know how much I rate the output of South
Africa’s Sheer Sound Records. This
14-song set by bassist Sipho Gumede was released in 2001 and if you ever
thought you’d like to hear some African music, this would make a great
thought of African music as music to dance to.
And that’s what you can do when you hear Please Don’t
Dance with its nice light touch and neat brass section.
You’ll also be on your feet for Don’t Mess With Me and
the bright and breezy Township Jive.
Country Side has a super-tight picked bass sound and
superb horns. Louis
Mhlanga’s guitar work on here is astounding.
It’s my favourite song.
has a gentler groove with subtle piano and guitar work.
Stokvel Gumba is irresistible – great guitar and sassy
brass again. Nozipo the
Dancer is gentle and swaying. The
production values are very high – as they are throughout the CD in
fact. The stereo panning of
the percussion and that rock-solid bass made me smile.
can Gumede play it solid, he can be lyrical.
The lovely woody sound of his bass as it carries the melody on I
Love You Too is something you’ll remember…
by TC Carson on the specialist UK label Expansion Records.
The debut CD by a
real stylist is danceable, smooth and just that bit quirky – it stands
has a heavily tribal intro – which I love and was ready for because I
heard and wrote about these CD’s in sequence.
This track could – and should – become a soul classic. The
strings, backing vocals and Byron Miller’s fluid bass make this
inspirational cong complete.
The riotous Lordy
Please is funky – but not in the usual sense – you have to hear
it. It’s nuts!
Carson can be
mellow though. Can’t
Wait is Latin-tinged and it’s daring in the way that Al
Jarreau’s music is daring – it’s really got under my skin.
The breathy vocal on the swaying and sexy This Time is
instrumentation is beautiful – as the players include my beloved
Patrice Rushen, drummer Ndugu Chancler and percussionist Munyungo
Jackson, is that surprising?
percussion appears again on Life is Just a Dance, and Al Jarreau-style
scatting opens up this light-hearted, quirky and very catchy song.
The classy feel
continues on the title track and Warm is the Rain shows off
Carson’s vocal range.
I’ve had to
listen to this CD a lot before I fully appreciated it and was happy to
voice an opinion. I’m
pleased that I have because my favourite tracks have emerged and they
Beach Recordings’ Darius Rucker.
first single Wild One is a lazy soul tune with the hookin’-est
hook and great brass. The
vocal phrasing on Exodus and the backing vocals are superb and Sometimes
I Wonder is smouldering and moody – it showcases Rucker’s
gravelly voice perfectly.
On the mellow
side – Ten Years is very moody too with a very stripped-down
production which leaves Rucker and his strong backing singers to shine.
I like it though
when the tempo picks up – Back to Then is what I call a
“slow-fast” song with its loping rhythm and double-time percussion. Butterfly has a more rocky feel with guitar more to
the fore. It’s also
timeless – if you didn’t know this was a 2002 release, you
joins Rucker for Sleeping in my Bed, which has a nice disjointed
funk groove and a whole lot of attitude!
Like the TC
Carson CD, the sound is original and it also has a harder edge than much
soul and R & B material. You
certainly won’t be falling asleep while this is playing!
finished version of Plan9‘s The Nine Days of Christmas.
guitarist Drew Bentley promised me that Santa would come early after I
reviewed the promo
on this site recently.
I’m happy to
tell you that the remaining three of the anticipated nine songs – and
the two bonus ones – were worth waiting for.
They are delivered in the same creative and humorous style as the
tracks I heard earlier.
heard that Bondi FM in Australia is playing this CD.
Doesn’t that conjure up a great picture? Sitting on a beach, with the sun on your toes and your
favourite glass of something nice, listening to Away in a Manger.
Happy Holidays to smooth jazz fans and their families everywhere!