COUNTING BEATS

Reviews and Recommended Jazz by Nick Bewsey

Tag: Jazz Piano

JOE ALTERMAN, GEORGIA SUNSET

Pianist Joe Alterman is a preternaturally gifted musician who, at 26, seems to have absorbed the soulful style of Ahmad Jamal and Ramsey Lewis without impinging on his own tasteful straight-ahead arrangements of easy listening standards. Continue reading

MARCUS ROBERTS, ROMANCE, SWING AND THE BLUES

A WRTI CD RECOMMENDATION. A TOP RECORDING OF 2015. There are jazz pianists who lead their own bands and then there is the innovative Marcus Roberts, an Ellington acolyte and original Young Lion along with his peer, bandleader and collaborator, Wynton Marsalis. Though some critics shrugged when Roberts released his early opus, Deep In The Shed (Novus, 1998), many – including me – found that work exhilarating and an essential jazz recording. Read my full review at www.wrti.org

ART HIRAHARA, LIBATIONS & MEDITATIONS

As interesting and involving as pianist Art Hirahara’s debut recording, Noble Path (Posi-tone, 2011) was, his sophomore release gives him the chance to expand his creative palette. The intriguingly titled Libations and Meditations pairs Hirahara with superior musicians, the much in-demand bassist Linda Oh and furiously creative drummer John Davis. As a unit, they open up the leader’s compositions to their fullest, improvising together with a capacious degree of ingenuity. Continue reading

KENNY BARRON & DAVE HOLLAND, THE ART OF CONVERSATION

A TOP JAZZ RECORD OF 2014 and WRTI CD RECOMMENDATION.

Two superior musicians, pianist Kenny Barron and bassist Dave Holland, have a beguiling rapport on The Art Of Conversation, a lively and hauntingly beautiful duo recording that elicits not only good feeling and intimate swing, but also a profound, seemingly effortless grasp of why melody and rhythm matter. It also makes for a fun listen. Read the complete review at www.wrti.org

71Tsisu7bKL._SL1286_

JASON MORAN, ALL RISE: A JOYFUL ELEGY FOR FATS WALLER

A TOP JAZZ RECORD OF 2014. Sometimes jazz has to open doors to invite new fans and listeners in, an idea that visionary pianist Jason Moran approaches squarely and adroitly on All Rise. It’s an album unlike anything else he has produced. Continue reading

THE FRED HERSCH TRIO, FLOATING

A TOP JAZZ RECORD OF 2014. Floating marks a triumphant return to the studio for pianist Fred Hersch and his trio, and the album’s title is a perfect expression for the record’s feeling and his interaction with bassist John Hebert and drummer Eric McPherson. The format is a good one — Hersch programs the date to mirror his typical set list in a club setting and it’s one that grabs you at the outset with a bewitching “You And The Night and The Music,” an arrangement that skips along to a percussive beat, and closes with a Monk tune (“Let’s Cool One”), both tracks a primer for appreciating what Hersch refers to as “intelligent melody.” Continue reading

ELLEN ROWE QUINTET, COURAGE MUSIC

Here’s a genuine discovery that turns out to be honest, top-tier modern jazz from an artist deserving of wide recognition. Pianist, composer and arranger Ellen Rowe is a Professor and Department Chair of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at University of Michigan’s School of Music in Ann Arbor who infuses her fourth CD, Courage Music, with colorful texture, palpable feeling and masterful interplay. Continue reading

HAROLD MABERN, RIGHT ON TIME

Pianist Harold Mabern’s Right On Time is an exuberant trio disc recorded live at Smoke Jazz and Supper Club on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, one of four exceptional debut releases from the club’s new label documenting their live shows. The initial offerings include albums by saxophonists Vincent Herring (The Uptown Shuffle), Javon Jackson (Expression) and pianist David Hazeltine (For All We Know), each of which capture that quintessential New York jazz club experience. Smoke owners and producers Frank Christopher and Paul Stache couldn’t have picked a finer talent than Harold Mabern to include in the launch of their venture. Continue reading

KRIS BOWERS, HEROES + MISFITS

A TOP JAZZ RECORD OF 2014. An emerging artist with a deliberative edginess, the promising young pianist Kris Bowers is full of surprises on his debut disc, Heroes + Misfits, an eclectic thrill ride through amped-up electronic keyboards, soaring saxophones and acoustic piano played over lush soundscapes. Continue reading

© 2017 COUNTING BEATS

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑