"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.
"Symmetry", the debut of jazz trumpeter Thomas Heflin, explores the vast possibilities of contemporary post bop jazz through a carefully balanced program of original compositions and thoughtfully selected cover tunes. The self produced cd admirably showcases Heflin's brilliant, highly praised improvisational skills as well as the formidable talents of his band, including four tracks featuring the late world renowned pianist James Williams.
A rising star in the jazz world, Heflin made waves on the international jazz scene in 2005 when he placed second in the prestigious Carmine Caruso International Trumpet Solo Competition in Seattle. One reviewer described his playing as "a very fluid approach... generating lines in a seamless, highly polished manner that is really a joy to experience."
Among the original compositions are "Symmetry", the title track which opens and closes the album; "Salutation", a piece based on Kalidasa's poem "Salutation to the Dawn", and the ballad "Eastern Star", dedicated to James Williams. Heflin also covers material ranging from Louis Armstrong's anthem "When It's Sleepy Time Down South" to Cole Porter's "Night and Day" to Stevie Wonder's "Ma Cherie Amour".
"Symmetry" is aptly titled: Thomas Heflin has achieved a fine sense of proportion through his original pieces and covers. And though it is one of the last recordings James Williams made before he passed away, perhaps a new jazz legend, Thomas Heflin, is emerging in his own right.
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)
EJ Hughes has Something To Say
"E.J. Hughes is a talented musician who understands the beauties and intricacies of the music, an artist destined to make a valuable contribution to this art form" - Sam Rivers (Grammy Nominated Artist)
EJ Hughes has performed with:
* Joe Lovano
* Sam Rivers RivBea Orchestra
* Speech & Arrested Development
EJ Hughes CD, "Something To Say" is an amazing array of original tunes that will inspire the avid jazz fan and novice alike. "Something To Say" is a refreshing CD from this uniquely original saxophonist.