COUNTING BEATS

Reviews and Recommended Jazz by Nick Bewsey

Category: Corey King

TAKUYA KURODA, RISING SON

A TOP 10 JAZZ RECORD OF 2014: For listeners who want to put the usual standards and post bebop swing on pause, the 33 year-old trumpeter Takuya Kuroda stands tall on his Blue Note debut, Rising Son, a polished set of jazz tunes with retro R&B riffs and de rigueur hip hop sonics. Produced by singer/songwriter José James whose own records, particularly 2013’s No Beginning, No End (Blue Note), smartly braid jazz with pop-glazed rhythm and blues, Kuroda’s album sets an after-hours party mood that starts with the rousing title track and flows throughout. Kuroda’s compositions fuse infectious urban rhythms with in the pocket Afro-centric grooves inflated by keyboardist Kris Bowers (an artist blowing up on the national scene with his Concord Jazz debut CD, Heroes + Misfits), electric bassist Solomon Dorsey, drummer Nate Smith and the satiny tones of trombonist Corey King. Kuroda and King redefine the classic two-horn frontline architecture that Blue Note built their reputation on. As a player, the trumpeter falls somewhere between Lee Morgan’s sound and Art Farmer’s supple capacity for storytelling, especially on the closing track, “Call,” an opus of sorts characterized by a classic CTI-style arrangement melded with a Prince-like jam coda.

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JOSE JAMES, NO BEGINNING, NO END

The Blue Note debut of the pop and jazz singer José James, No Beginning, No End, so resolutely taps into the vein of classic American soul music that he invites impulsive comparison to artists like Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers and Al Green.

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REGGIE QUINERLY, MUSIC INSPIRED BY FREEDMAN TOWN

Drummer and composer Reggie Quinerly is the latest shining star from Houston, a town that’s deeply connected to jazz and counts musicians such as Joe Sample, The Crusaders, Kirk Whalum and Robert Glasper among its many famous sons and daughters. For his debut, Quinerly zeroes in on Freedman Town, the former name of Houston’s current Fourth Ward where newly emancipated African Americans settled after the civil war. Currently settled in New York and active on the scene there, Quinerly has created a memorable, swinging recording that’s easy on the ears and inspirational as well.

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