The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra’s debut cd for Blue Canoe Records, “Blues Man from Memphis”, is a most adventurous big band effort featuring the work of Donald Brown. The recording also highlights the prodigious talents of three other world renowned artists: bassist John Clayton, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, and saxophonist Greg Tardy.
Pianist Donald Brown (who also produced the cd) is considered to be one of the most innovative composers in the field of jazz today. Among the many accolades Brown has received, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis says: “Donald Brown is a genius.” Bassist Ron Carter adds: “For those who look around and ask, ‘Where is the next great jazz composer? Who is going to lead the music into the twenty-first century?’ Look no further. Donald Brown is here.” Brown’s compositions have been recorded by many artists. Wynton Marsalis’ recording of “Insane Asylum” on “J-Mood” was nominated for a Grammy, as was Donald Byrd’s recording of “Theme for Malcolm”.
As a testimonial to Donald Brown’s expertise as a piano player, the late Art Blakey professed: “Donald Brown is one of my favorite accompanists with The Jazz Messengers since Cedar Walton and Walter Bishop, Jr.”
The KJO is a supercharged, motivated ensemble formed in 1999 by trumpet player/arranger Vance Thompson. Although a large group (17+ members), they perform regularly and have played prestigious venues such as The Montreaux Jazz Festival. The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra has a wide fan base, largely due to the enthusiasm incurred by compelling and exciting arrangements and famous guest artists.
All of the compositions on this cd are by Donald Brown. The arrangements and orchestrations are by Vance Thompson and Bill Mobley, respectively.
“Blues Man from Memphis” is an ingenious, inspired work for the contemporary jazz big band. Twenty-first century jazz is alive and thriving.
"It's About The Melody", by Saltman Knowles Quintet, brings tight jazz harmonies and elegant lyrics together in a pleasing, sophisticated fashion. By combining compelling, interesting jazz arrangements and a sense of poetry in a friendly, non-pretentious manner, the group offers a comfortable program of songs that is sure to be in step with listeners and contemporary jazz radio formats world wide.
The ten songs on the cd were composed alternately by bassist Mark Saltman and pianist William Knowles and have a fresh, contemporary jazz feel about them with a hint of Latin grooves lurking throughout. Lori Williams vocals are sensuous and romantic: her clarity of annunciation skillfully brings out the irony of the lyrics in "The Joke's On Me", and the wistful spirit of "My Secret Lullaby". Ms. Williams' warm and inviting stylings are particularly evident on "What About April", which is already getting significant airplay around the country.
Charles Langford's sax work is thoughtful and laid back. His lines deftly shadow the vocals and add counterpoint to Knowles' piano work, while drummer Mark Prince plays tasteful grooves that pull the entire effort together.
Reviewers have described The Saltman Knowles Quintet as "rhythmically infectious" and "colorful", and have mentioned the band always "has the whole house swinging." Saltman and Knowles concur that "we want to be musically challenging ... but entertaining as well."
The Saltman Knowles Quintet has superbly melded together the three main elements that make a great musical experience: good writing, good musicianship, and good lyrics. "It's About the Melody" is just that and more.
Review by: Pete Pardo
Bassist Joseph Patrick Moore’s latest album Live in 05 is a fun and spirited jazz-fusion collection of songs recorded at This House Rocks in Atlanta, Georgia on April 2nd, 2005. Moore has been busy over the last few years, putting out a few albums of his own as well as appearing on various other artist’s recordings. Here, he and his crack band of Al Smith on keyboards, drummer Jon Chalden, EWI player Al Mcspadden, and percussionist Emrah Kotan really give a five performance on eleven tracks of smokin’ and funky fusion, melodic cool jazz, and progressive tinged improvisations.
Moore himself is a very smooth player with some serious chops, whether he is laying down deep grooves or lean melodic solos on electric, fretless, or double bass. Fans of Victor Bailey, Gary Willis, John Pattitucci, Stanley Clarke, and Marcus Miller, will instantly dig Moore’s energetic style. Although there are plenty of great bass solos on the album, the live setting affords his bandmates to also get in on the action, especially keyboard player Smith, who launches into a wild synth frenzy on the funky “Gypsy Moon Father Sun”. He also provides a nice melodic foundation in which Moore can dig into some serious popping bass lines on the light jazz piece “Fall”. Drummers will love the percussion/drum spotlight “Drum Dance”, which allows Chalden and Kotan some room to show off before the song segues into the fine “Datz It (version 2005)”, a song with plenty of funk bass melodies and 70′s styled electric piano.
Ultimately it comes down to compositions, and Moore is no slouch in that department. These are all memorable tunes with catchy melodies, which go along just fine with the solid chops of the band. So if you in the mood for some well played and melodic modern jazzfusion, you can’t go wrong with Live in 05.
3. Prayer of Solitude
4. Chief Dagga
5. Gypsy Moon Father Sun
6. Bless You
8. Bebop Charlie
10. Drum Dance
11. Datz It (version 2005)
William Ellis - drums
Joseph Patrick Moore - bass
Shawn Perkinson - guitar
EMP Project releases sophomore CD dubbed, "Wherever We Go".
E.M.P. Project’s debut and inspiring jazz trio recording, captures the magic, spirit and spontaneity of these gifted young artists. While ensconced in the jazz tradition, they borrow from other contemporary elements and styles to create a musical landscape and wonderland of sounds. Ellis, Moore and Perkinson will have you humming their melodies, dancing to their rhythms, and they’ll dazzle you with their amazing technical abilities. This debut effort from E.M.P. Project will demonstrate why Ellis, Moore and Perkinson are three of the youngest and brightest up and coming names on the jazz scene today.