Swing and Soul is an album by jazz saxophonist Lou Donaldson recorded for the Blue Note label and performed by Donaldson's Quintet with Herman Foster, Peck Morrison, Dave Bailey, and Ray Barretto.
The creative young voices of Jazz have been the lifeblood of Blue Note Records throughout its storied history, from Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock to Freddie Hubbard and Joe Henderson, all of whom made their debut albums for the legendary label. The Blue Note All-Stars continue that legacy with the September 29 release of Our Point of View, the debut recording from a supergroup of young visionaries that formed in 2014 for a series of live performances in honor of Blue Note’s 75th anniversary. Featuring trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, keyboardist Robert Glasper, bassist Derrick Hodge, guitarist Lionel Loueke, drummer Kendrick Scott, and tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland, the album also boasts a special guest appearance by Blue Note legends Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, and is dedicated to the memory of beloved longtime Blue Note President Bruce Lundvall, who passed away in 2015.
Guitarist Stanley Jordan (the master of tapping, making his instrument sound like two or three at once) has a wide definition of standards, ranging beyond jazz. His second official Blue Note release therefore not only includes "Georgia On My Mind" and "My Favorite Things," but Paul Simon's "The Sounds of Silence," "Moon River," the Beatles' "Because," and "Silent Night." But no matter what the tune, the main reason to acquire this set of unaccompanied guitar solos is to hear how here remarkable and versatile Jordan's technique is.
So Far So Close is the fourth studio album by Brazilian jazz artist Eliane Elias. This album is great. It is mainly straight ahead jazz with touches of fusion due to the use of synthesizers along with her fantastic piano playing. Like most of her earlier albums her signing is minimal and mainly adds another musical sound more than anything else. Surprisingly, this album has barely a hint of Latin or Brazilian flavor.
This concert was originally intended to be a video release showcasing Stanley Jordan in acoustic, electric and solo settings. His tight rhythm section – including Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums, Kenny Kirkland on piano and Charnett Moffett on bass – drives his complex and moving guitar playing through the standout acoustic tracks "Impressions" and "Cousin Mary," both by John Coltrane. But concert highlights are Jordan's two solo pieces, the bluesy "Willow Weep for Me" and classic show tune "Over the Rainbow," where he performs with an exhilarating freedom and virtuosity. Jordan resists the temptation to slip into the then-ubiquitous smooth jazz sound, making this a timeless release.
This trio set with bassist Charnett Moffett and drummer Kenwood Dennard features the tapping guitarist Stanley Jordan during a typical live show from 1990 playing many songs that he had previously recorded. While "Stairway to Heaven" is treated as very credible rock and "Lady in My Life" gets funky, "Autumn Leaves" really cooks and Jordan fares well on "Stolen Moments" (during which he does a strong imitation of a keyboard) and "Impressions." Jordan's lone original, the rock-ish "Return Expedition" is, at 15 minutes, way too long and serves primarily as an opportunity for his two fine backup players to take lengthy solos. Jordan's unaccompanied display on the concluding "Over the Rainbow" compensates. An interesting program.
This release is a change of pace for Eliane Elias. Instead of interpreting Brazilian songs, fusion, or modern bop, Elias shows off her classical technique on a set of acoustic solos plus six duets with Herbie Hancock. She really digs into the standards (sometimes sounding a little like Keith Jarrett) and creates some fairly free and unexpected ideas while putting the accent on lyricism. Some of the music is introspective, and there are wandering sections, but the net results are logical and enjoyable. As for the duets, Elias and Hancock mostly stay out of each other's way, which is an accomplishment when one considers that the four-part "Messages" is a series of free improvisations. There are playful spots (particularly on the adventurous ten-minute rendition of "The Way You Look Tonight") and, since Elias knows Hancock's style well (and was clearly thrilled to have him on the date), their collaborations work quite well.
Most John Patton albums are hard-driving, edgy soul-jazz and funk, and the title of Accent on the Blues makes the record seem like it would be no different than his other sessions. Of course, that isn't the case. Accent on the Blues is among the most atmospheric music Patton has ever made. While it stops short of being free, it's hardly funky soul-jazz, and that may disappoint some fans of his rip-roaring style. Nevertheless, the album is a rewarding listen, primarliy because it displays a more reflective side of his talent, demonstrating that he can hold his own among the likes of guitarist James Blood Ulmer and saxophonist Marvin Cabell.