Cody Carpenter is at it again with his sophomore release “Force Of Nature” on Blue Canoe Records. This stunning instrumental prog-rock, fusion effort is the follow-up to the outstanding "Interdependence" (2018). This prolific songwriter and keyboardist has teamed up with some old friends and new to bring the listener into the prog glory days of Yes and Emerson Lake and Palmer.
Cody Carpenter is the son of Adrienne Barbeau, a star of film, television and the Broadway stage, and legendary Academy Award winning writer, actor, composer, producer and director John Carpenter. The Senior Carpenter is best know for classic horror films (Halloween, The Fog, The Thing) and sci-fi thrillers (Escape From new York, Starman). As a composer, he is known for synthesizer-based pieces and is perhaps best known for the theme song to the movie Halloween (1978). It is not difficult to see how Cody Carpenter comes by his synthesizer based compositions. Cody was introduced to his first musical instrument around the age of three and has been playing and composing original music ever since. In addition to contributing music for two of his father’s films, Vampires (1998) and Ghosts of Mars (2001), Carpenter composed and performed the full-length score for “Cigarette Burns” and “Pro-Life” in Showtime’s Masters of Horror (2005) movie series. Cody co-wrote, co-produced, and performed on the acclaimed Lost Themes (2015) and Lost Themes II (2016) with his father and Daniel Davies. In 2016 and 2017 Cody toured North America and Europe with his father and a six piece band, performing material from both Lost Themes albums and his father’s films. In 2018, Cody (along with John Carpenter and Daniel Davies), helped to compose the music for the latest Halloween movie released on October 19th, 2018, starring Jamie Lee Curtis.
Mr. Carpenter opens like a tornado with the expansive track "Transcendence". He plays all the instruments on this firestorm except the drums contributed by Grammy nominated (with Tenacious D) artist Scott Seiver (Jason Mraz, Ed Sheeran). "Transcendence" pulls no punches and sets up Cody Carpenter's blistering pace for the rest of the "Force".
Cody brings in some friends on "Fantasy of Form". He rounds out the rhythm section with multi-Grammy winner Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets founding member). Mr. Carpenter starts things off with a bouncing keyboard lead and Grammy winner John Konesky (Tenacious D, John Carpenter) responds with a singing solo. Mr. Haslip lights things up with a riveting solo about midway through just before Mr. Carpenter takes over and brings things home. The interplay between rhythm section and the soaring keyboard work is mesmerizing.
Cody Carpenter’s "Force of Nature" is an incredible second effort. The years of absorbing the influence of his father and the fusion masters have certainly brought sonic fruit in this 50-minute demonstration of power. There is clearly no slowing down this "Force of Nature”.
Low end powerhouse and former Yellowjacket backbone, Jimmy Haslip collaborates with Scott Kinsey (Tribal Tech) and Hungarian superstar and session guru Gergö Borlai to create the best jazz release of this decade. ARC Trio features guest appearances by Vinnie Colaiuta, Gary Novak, Steve Tavaglione and Judd Miller and delivers unbelievably listenable virtuosity.
Jimmy Haslip was a founding member and 32 year band mate of The Yellowjackets. Mr. Haslip has been nominated for 22 Grammy awards and has won 3. Over his 50+ years of playing, he has contributed to the biggest names in music over a plethora of genres. To list a few:
• Jazz: Al Jarreau, John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Bill Evans, Randy Brecker, Toots Thielemans
• Smooth Jazz: David Sanborn, Kenny G, Michael Bolton, The Rippingtons
• Fusion: The Yellowjackets, Peter Erskine, Bela Fleck, Jeff Lorber, Allan Holdsworth and Alan Pasqua
• Rock: Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart, George Harrison, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jerry Garcia, Joe Walsh, Tommy Bolin and Gary Wright
• Pop: Randy Newman, Bruce Hornsby, Kenny Loggins, Dusty Springfield, Gino Vannelli and Herb Alpert
• Soul: Chaka Khan, Diana Ross, Anita Baker and Roy Ayers Ubiquity
• Blues: Robben Ford, Oz Noy, Robert Cray and Harvey Mandel
A two-decade veteran of Tribal Tech, one of the most influential electric jazz groups, keyboard wizard Scott Kinsey has worked with many of the world’s greatest musicians including Scott Henderson, John McLaughlin, Oz Noy, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Gary Willis, Mike Stern, Matthew Garrison, Michael Landau, Nicholas Payton, Hadrien Feraud, Louis Cole, Tim Lefevbre, Dave Weckl, Dennis Chambers and many others. He is considered a protégé of jazz icon Joe Zawinul, with whom he collaborated for several years.
Hungarian drummer Gergö Borlai began playing at age 3 and has appeared on more than 300 albums. Since 2012, Mr. Borlai is a professor at the Liceu Academy/Jazz Departement in Barcelona and has received two lifetime achievement awards, the Golden Drumstick Prize and the Artisjus Lifetime Achievement Award in Hungary. He has played with greats such as Al DiMeola and Hiram Bullock.
ARC Trio opens with "Owosso" as Mr. Borlai places the listener under his spell with a rhythmic trance-like groove. Slowly, Mr. Haslip enters with his hypnotic response in lock-step with Scott Kinsey's subtle assurance on keys. When asked about Arc Trio, Mr. Haslip says, "I wrote music that deals with deeper emotional experiences...searching for knowledge and opening my awareness of a world in need". Certainly, a song like "Owosso" fits this bill and is timely in these contentious times.
The dynamic flow of ARC Trio leads followers skillfully to track four, "Viera", a song about Mr. Haslip's mother. At this point, the core trio makes introduction to guests that need no introduction. The soulful strength of Vinnie Colaiuta (Frank Zappa, Sting, Herbie Hancock, Jeff Beck, many others) on drums and Latin fusion hero Steve Tavaglione (Jorge Strunz, Eduardo Del Barrio, Dave Weckl, Sly & The Family Stone, Steve Winwood) on flute. This powerful tribute starts with distinct Latin rhythm and brings in Mr. Tavaglione' soaring injections. It is chaotic at first before locking in tightly and fusing genres and styles. The interplay of flute and keyboard melody is masterful on the a palette of constantly evolving drum and bass improvisation.
ARC Trio is the biggest sound you will hear this year. The fusion of gratifying sounds, feels and styles leaves one satisfied yet craving more. When asked about live performances relating to this masterpiece, Jimmy Haslip exclaimed without hesitation, "ROCK THE HOUSE". Hold on...it's going to be wild ride!
Artist Page: Jimmy Haslip | Scott Kinsey | Gergo Borlai
Album Page: ARC Trio
Nineteen year old Kalen Henry explodes onto the scene with her debut album, “Not Forgotten”, an exploration of the love songs from the catalog of Nat King Cole. Ms. Henry explores these classic love songs with spacious country and pop instrumentation that perfectly supports her sultry Norah Jones-style voice. The result is a current presentation of classic jazz standards that intimates at every turn Joni Mitchell’s folk-pop exploration into the jazz world.
The idea for this project came simply from a high school choir final that Ms. Henry performed with her father, Trey Henry. The duo performed “Orange Colored Sky” (track 3) and the response encouraged her to explore her growing love of Nat King Cole’s work. “I decided to take the ten love songs that I love the most and order them in a way that depicts a love story”, says Ms. Henry.
“Not Forgotten strikes the perfect balance between old and new”, says Trey Henry. Mr. Henry, Kalen’s father, is a renowned bass player, arranger, producer and performer. He has logged performance credits over the years with Henry Mancini, Johnny Cash, Linda Ronstadt, Quincy Jones, Ray Charles and Natalie Cole to name just a few. Performing with the Tierney Sutton Band, he has recorded eight albums earning five Grammy nominations. Mr. Henry produced, arranged and played bass on “Not Forgotten”.
“Not Forgotten” opens with “Straighten Up and Fly Right”, written by Nat King Cole in 1943. The song spent ten weeks on the Hit Parade and was number 1 on the pop charts. It is based on a folk tale that Mr. Cole’s father told as a theme for one of his sermons. The track opens to an ambient, ringing foundation when Ms. Henry enters with the fable. Her sultry jazz-pop, resonant mood is immediately head-turning. As the song builds, the listener is treated to bluegrass-tinged, guitar and mandolin (Paul Viapiano - The Chemistry of Crying, LA Philharmonic) based feel and a groove that really moves the audience.
The fourth track on “Not Forgotten” leads with a rhythmic acoustic guitar and follows with Kalen Henry’s haunting expression of awe at the purity and emotion in her love’s eyes. Simple and sweet, the song builds with bass and drums (Ray Brinker - Maynard Ferguson, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole) supporting perfectly the pulsating guitar. The mood escalates but never spills over and leaves the audience captivated as Ms. Henry sails the mystery of “your eyes...your eyes...your eyes...”.
“Not Forgotten” by Kalen Henry is the best debut album that you will hear this year. It is the most listenable fusion of jazz, pop and country since Alison Krauss burst onto the scene...and pop-folk radio is long overdue. Kalen Henry’s tribute raises the bar to ensure that Nat King Cole is “Not Forgotten”.
“I'm living the dream, I'd say” - Kalen Henry