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Jazz - Released April 8, 2013 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Jazz - Released February 18, 2013 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Jazz - Released January 28, 2013 | Dreyfus Jazz

In this final recording with pianist Michel Petrucciani, saxophonist Grossman's usually more extroverted tendencies are willingly sublimated in order to play more romantically inclined mainstream jazz. Many of the tunes are ballads, embellished by Petrucciani's languid or forceful pianistics, while solid bassist Andy McKee and drummer Joe Farnsworth keep the flickering flame alive with their steadying rhythms. Of course the fire has to be stoked on occasion, and Grossman really digs in on the Sonny Rollins evergreen "Why Dont I?" It's perfectly played, a flawless uptempo swinger with head nodding, bluesy elements. Contrasting easy swing with double timed tenor on "Don't Blame Me" shows Grossman as riled up as he gets on this date. There's a samba take of "You Go To My Head" with Petrucciani's solo sporting 16th note flurries, and a moody, pensive waltz version of McKee's "Inner Circle" similar to "You Go To My Head." Two tunes go from ballad to swing and back, Grossman's "Song For My Mother" with the pianist quite animated in the bridge, and Petrucciani's "Parisian Welcome" brought in exclusively for this session, with Grossman the torch burner. The others are straight ballads including classic takes of "Body & Soul" and "Theme For Ernie," the lugubrious interpretation with a highly restrained Petrucciani on "Ebb Tide," and the sax-piano only rendition of "In A Sentimental Mood" as the CD's closer. Fans of Grossman should not wince at this apparent taming of the shrew. In fact, Grossman's pungent tone, never smeary or over pronounced, retains its rich, expressive listenability and tunefulness. It's a beautifully understated recording that is easily recommended, especially for those just discovering veteran Grossman. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Gypsy Jazz - Released January 28, 2013 | Dreyfus Jazz

The Gypsy swing music of Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli of the 1930s has been kept alive by various European jazz musicians in the decades since Reinhardt's death in 1953 and Grappelli's in 1996. For the most part, the young guitarist Rocky Gresset continues Reinhardt's approach in his debut effort as a leader, utilizing a quartet with violinist Costel Nitescu and rhythm guitarist Matheu Chatelain, with bassist Jeremie Arranger taking over on two tracks. Gresset doesn't really break new ground in his treatments of standards like “Time on My Hands," “Just One of Those Things," and “Blue Skies." One of Reinhardt's songs, “Webster," is an obscurity dating from the guitarist's post-World War II years; Gresset and Nitescu offer impressive solos. While most of the music is Gypsy swing, Gresset switches to electric guitar for an impressive rendering of Wes Montgomery's “Jingles," which adds some Gypsy elements into the driving bop vehicle. He also plays electric guitar in an upbeat swinging setting of “Here's That Rainy Day" and the late Michel Petrucciani's upbeat Latin-flavored gem “Looking Up." This is an impressive beginning for Rocky Gresset. © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 28, 2013 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Jazz - Released January 28, 2013 | Dreyfus Jazz

Roy Haynes' 2000 trio outing with Danilo Perez and John Patitucci had a tribute theme at its core. So too does this all-star quintet outing for Dreyfus. Here the subject at hand is Charlie Parker, with whom Haynes played for several years beginning in the late 1940s. Joining the 75-year-old Haynes for this tribute are bassist Dave Holland, altoist Kenny Garrett, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, and pianist David Kikoski. Having spent over ten years performing and recording with Haynes, Kikoski is especially in tune with the leader's every move. Some tracks are fairly typical Bird fare: "Moose the Mooche," "Yardbird Suite," "Diverse" (aka "Segment"), "April in Paris." Others, however, are off the beaten track: Billy Reid's "The Gypsy," Gerry Mulligan's "Rocker," Cole Porter's "My Heart Belongs to Daddy." In addition to the often fiery playing, there are a number of unexpected arranging twists. Haynes' take on "Ah Leu Cha" is an intriguing hybrid of the Charlie Parker and Miles Davis versions -- played fairly slow and with a straight repeat on the A section (Parker), but using "Scrapple From the Apple" changes rather than rhythm changes for the solos (Davis). Haynes also lengthens the form of "Now's the Time," Parker's anthemic yet simple blues, giving it a vamp-based flavor that recalls Eddie Harris' "Freedom Jazz Dance." The Cole Porter tune, similarly, becomes an occasion for modal stretching. There's also a blistering exchange between Hargrove and Garrett toward the end of "What Is This Thing Called Love" -- the album's big payoff. Despite these and other subtle touches, Birds of a Feather doesn't quite have the creative spark of Haynes' previous album. That was a working band; this comes across as a casual blowing date, albeit an illustrious and sometimes surprising one. © David R. Adler /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 28, 2013 | Dreyfus Jazz

During his long career, André Ceccarelli has recorded sporadically as a leader, but this studio affair should open a few doors. Accompanied by the talented Gypsy guitarist Bireli Lagrene and organist Joey DeFrancesco, the drummer puts together a wide-ranging set, delving into standards, swing, bop, jazz fusion, and more. His approach to Duke Ellington's gorgeous "Sophisticated Lady" is soft, as he provides minimal brushwork to back his musical partners. The decades-old chestnut "Summertime" slowly simmers in a thoughtful arrangement honoring the organist's mentor, the late Jimmy Smith. The leader finally cuts loose with the brief "Prelude," which segues into a romp through "April in Paris," while Jaco Pastorius' "Three Views of a Secret" showcases both Lagrene's lyrical side and his virtuosity. The one disappointment of the date is the rather lame Norah Jones composition "Sunrise," which pales in comparison to the other tracks on this enjoyable CD. © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 28, 2013 | Dreyfus Jazz

Chet Baker is in lyrical form throughout this Dreyfus CD, performing six of keyboardist Rique Pentoja's compositions plus two other obscure pieces. None of the laidback performances are all that memorable and Baker's vocal on "Forgetful" lives up to that piece's title. It is unusual to hear Baker joined by both an electric keyboardist and an accordion player although Richard Galliano (who is on the latter instrument) is only heard from occasionally. The results are quite musical and not without their moments of charm but fall very much into the easy-listening vein and are overly sleepy. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 28, 2013 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Jazz - Released January 28, 2013 | Dreyfus Jazz

It's easy to like a number of things about Rosario Giuliani's More Than Ever, but it's the album's unusual surprises that put it over the top. On the album's first two cuts, the title track and "Seven Thoughts," saxophonist (both alto and soprano) Giuliani is joined by bassist Rémi Vignolo, drummer Benjamin Henocq, and pianist Jean-Michael Pilc. The style here lies somewhere between mainstream and post-bop, and Giuliani and Pilc's methods, alternately passionate and abstract, make them satisfying counterparts. This alone would make for a good album, but Giuliani mixes things up by switching Pilc out for accordion player Richard Galliano on four tracks. Clearly, accordion jazz musicians are in short supply, so much so that it would be easy for many jazz lovers to have never heard one. But far from a novelty, Galliano's accordion fits right into the program, adding a warm, friendly vibe to his self-penned "I Remember Astor" and "J.F.," two of the three pieces not written by Giuliani. Both combos are woven throughout the recording, and the fact that they are both underpinned by Giuliani, Vignolo, and Henocq gives the album -- despite the slightly different feel of each combo -- an overall unity. For fans of Giuliani's previous albums and for anyone who likes stimulating contemporary jazz, More Than Ever is a strong entry. © Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 28, 2013 | Dreyfus Jazz

For his second Dreyfus Jazz album, Grossman ventures into New York's Sweet Basil club, with a stellar piano trio (McCoy Tyner, Avery Sharp, Art Taylor) in tow. With this kind of firepower, the listener is usually guaranteed a satisfying level of cooking jazz, and that's certainly what we get here, though it seldom rises above that into a higher region. Grossman's tune choices are mostly predictable standards, the one exception being his own cheeky title "Love for Sal," a bop-style number where the bass and then the piano double the tune's lead sax statement. Throughout, Grossman likes to fire away the eighth notes in that pungent, Sonny Rollins-influenced tenor tone, with Tyner often temporarily (and generously) dropping out so that the saxophonist can develop freer melodic patterns over the bass and drums. "Impressions" -- taken virtually at Tyner's late employer John Coltrane's tempo -- does achieve a special ignition, driven hard by Taylor, with some exploration of multiphonics by an inspired Grossman. Otherwise, a mostly solid live session of post-bop. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 28, 2013 | Dreyfus Jazz

Drummer Roy Haynes chose a perfect title for this album: at 79 years of age, he is an undisputed elder statesman of jazz and one of the few surviving ambassadors from the bebop past; at the same time, he plays with the kind of energy and unflagging invention that would be the envy of a drummer one-third his age. Fountain of Youth was recorded live in December of 2002 at the legendary Birdland club in New York City. Haynes leads a quartet that also features pianist Martin Bejerano, saxophonist Marcus Strickland, and bassist John Sullivan. The program opens with a brilliant jazz-waltz setting of the traditional English tune "Greensleeves," and then proceeds to survey both bebop standards (there are no fewer than three Thelonious Monk compositions on the nine-track program), Tin Pan Alley classics (Irving Berlin's "Remember"), and even a Pat Metheny tune (the lovely "Question and Answer"). Everyone plays with both fire and elegance, especially on the dancing "Butch and Butch" and a lovely, meditative rendition of Monk's "Ask Me Now." And while Haynes always plays with consummate taste and never consciously upstages his young bandmates, a listener paying any attention at all will be constantly surprised by his inventive and exquisitely tasteful rhythmic exclamations and subtle prods. Very highly recommended. © Rick Anderson /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 28, 2013 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Jazz - Released January 28, 2013 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Jazz - Released January 28, 2013 | Dreyfus Jazz

The Italian alto and soprano saxophonist Rosario Giuliani has proven his chops in a series of recordings for Dreyfus Records including More Than Ever, Luggage, and Mr. Dodo. Giuliani is joined on 2007's Anything Else by a crack band including bassist Rémi Vignolo, drummer Benjamin Henocq, trumpeter Flavio Boltro, and pianist Dado Moroni. While the solos are intense on pieces like "Walking Around" and "Conversation," it is interesting that few of the compositions are long by jazz standards, which keeps the structure of each piece tight. Most of the pieces are Giuliani originals, save for "Three Angels" and "Hagi Mistery," written by Moroni, and "Invisible," by Ornette Coleman. The album starts strongly with the free-flowing title track, with both Boltro and Giuliani offering intense solos against the backdrop of a propulsive rhythm section. Within these three- to six-minute pieces like "Blowout," the players pack a full though never crowded sonic impact, providing solid band support for individual flights of fancy. Giuliani is also smart to vary the pacing, pairing pieces like "Blowout" with the gentler "Danae." Anything Else closes with Moroni's bouncy "Hagi Mistery," featuring an incredible bassline by Vignolo, and a real workout by Moroni. Anything Else proves to be a fine follow-up and an intensely performed set. © Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 28, 2013 | Dreyfus Jazz

Rosario Giuliani is one of Europe's top alto saxophonists, possessing a bright, happy tone much of the time while eschewing for the most part rapid-fire theatrics. Joining him is pianist Pierre De Bethmann, bassist Darryl Hall, and drummer Joe La Barbera. Several of the pieces are interpretations of well-known works. Giuliani has a blast in his wild workout of Lennie Tristano's challenging "Lennie's Pennies," while the loping setting of Joe Zawinul's "74 Miles Away" is full of fireworks. The saxophonist doesn't just stick close to the melody of Jimmy Rowles' lush ballad "The Peacocks," but introduces an introductory riff that is incorporated by the bass throughout much of the piece, while he detours from the theme in an expressive improvisation. The standards are fairly straightforward, with an emotional "Love Letters" and brisk "How Deep Is the Ocean?" The originals are strong as well. The leader's jazz waltz "Dear Father" and intricate uptempo cooker "Over Lines" shine, along with De Bethmann's haunting ballad "Patience." Recommended. © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 28, 2013 | Dreyfus Jazz

Roy Haynes celebrated his 86th birthday on March 13, 2011. Had the veteran drummer retired from music 30 or 40 years earlier, he still would have gone down in history as someone with a long list of accomplishments. But thankfully, Haynes continued to perform well into his eighties. Recorded in early 2011 (when Haynes was still 85), Roy-Alty is a solid hard bop/post-bop outing that boasts well-known guests like Chick Corea (who is heard on acoustic piano) and trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Corea is featured on two selections: the dusky "All the Bars Are Open" and Thelonious Monk's "Off Minor," while Hargrove is heard on six of the ten tracks (including the insistent "Passion Dance," the standard "These Foolish Things," the Afro-Cuban favorite "Tin Tin Deo," and Miles Davis' "Milestones"). It should be noted that the "Milestones" that Haynes performs on Roy-Alty is the bop standard that Davis played with Charlie "Bird" Parker in 1947, not the modal standard he unveiled in 1958, and playing something with a Bird connection is quite appropriate, given that Haynes was a member of his quintet from 1949-1952 (when the drummer was in his twenties). Most of the songs on Roy-Alty find Haynes employing a group that he bills as the Fountain of Youth (alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, pianist Martin Bejerano, and bassist David Wong), and while the personnel can vary from track to track on this 66-minute CD, the constant is Haynes' skillful drumming. After all these years, Haynes hasn't lost his touch as either a drummer or a group leader, and his skills in both of those areas is evident on Roy-Alty, which falls shorts of essential but is nonetheless a pleasing addition to his catalog. © Alex Henderson /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 28, 2013 | Dreyfus Jazz

One of the numerous Chet Baker recordings that appeared for the first time following his mysterious death in 1988, this 1991 release was taped the day after his long unavailable Broken Wing (last available on Inner City). Primarily a set of standards, the quartet (with pianist Phil Markowitz, bassist Jean-Luis Rasinfosse, and drummer Jeff Brillinger) starts with "Two a Day," a brisk but brief original blues by the leader. Baker is at his lyrical best as a trumpeter on the foot patting take of "If I Should Lose You," while his hushed vocals prove effective during an otherwise rather long "This Is Always." Markowitz is an especially sensitive accompanist through this studio session. With well over 40 dates as a leader by Chet Baker recorded between 1970 and the end of his life (with more to appear for the first time, no doubt), this release may not be an early priority for the typical fan of cool jazz, but serious jazz collectors will want to acquire it. © Ken Dryden /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 28, 2013 | Dreyfus Jazz

Although early in his career tenor saxophonist Steve Grossman showed off the strong influence of John Coltrane (particularly when he was in Elvin Jones' group), by the time he recorded Bouncing With Mr. A.T. in 1989 he sounded very close to Sonny Rollins. Showcased in a pianoless trio with bassist Tyler Mitchell and drummer Art Taylor, Grossman shows that he is quite capable of playing lengthy improvisations that never lose one's interest. Often building his solos from the melodies of the pieces, Grossman thoughtfully comes up with one fresh idea after another, performing music that is unpredictable but ultimately logical. Even though his sound is not his own, this is one of the finest all-round recordings of Grossman's career. © Scott Yanow /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 28, 2013 | Dreyfus Jazz