COUNTING BEATS

Reviews and Recommended Jazz by Nick Bewsey

Tag: Smoke Jazz Club

HAROLD MABERN, AFRO BLUE

A WRTI CD RECOMMENDATION. Pianist Harold Mabern is a two-fisted swinger, a legendary presence presence on the many great Blue Note dates of the 60s who continues to add his distinctive groove to his many solo projects. Read my full review at www.wrti.org

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

ORRIN EVANS’ CAPTAIN BLACK BIG BAND, MOTHER’S TOUCH

A TOP JAZZ RECORD OF 2014: Orrin Evans is a true jazz advocate. One of the busiest leaders on the scene, with more than 20 solo albums in his discography along with countless sideman appearances, Evans has a second-to-none work ethic in and around New York as well as his hometown of Philadelphia. An industrious musician with an impetuous streak (despite recognizing the economies of scale, he stated that he “can’t stand the trio format” in a July 2012 Village Voice interview), Evans thinks bigger, refusing to see limitations in presenting jazz or performing it. Pairing once again with Posi-Tone Records, Evans’ sophomore studio recording of his Captain Black Big Band is a particularly satisfying album that challenges the status quo. Leading a big band within today’s economic realities seems to defy reason, but Mother’s Touch marks a magnificent return of the CBBB and it scores in every way imaginable.

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