Blue Camel is the pinnacle to date of Lebanese oud player Rabih Abou-Khalil's achievement as a jazzman. In both mood and scope, it can almost be characterized as a new Kind of Blue. Both tense and reflective, it is perfect for listening after midnight. Abou-Khalil brings back Charlie Mariano on alto sax and Kenny Wheeler on flugelhorn and trumpet, and they generally alternate solos with Abou-Khalil himself. Rounding out the roster is Steve Swallow on bass, Milton Cardona on congos, Nabil Khaiat on frame drums, and Ramesh Shotham on South Indian drums and percussion. They form a tight ensemble and play comfortably with each other.
Gil Evans released two records on World Pacific in 1958 and 1959. They were among his earliest dates as a leader. Gil Evans & Ten was issued by Prestige in 1957, but these dates stand out more. New Bottle, Old Wine was the first of the pair and the band included four trumpets, a trio of trombones, French horn (played by Julius Watkins), a pair of tubas, Cannonball Adderley as the lone saxophonist, and a rhythm section that included either Philly Joe Jones or Art Blakey on drums, Paul Chambers on bass, and Chuck Wayne on guitar.
On his fourth studio effort and first for Blue Note Records, 2017's Parking Lot Symphony, New Orleans singer, songwriter, and brass wizard Troy Andrews (aka Trombone Shorty) fully embraces the organic '70s-style R&B he’s heretofore only touched on. Ever since officially debuting in 2010 with Backatown, Andrews has moved ever closer to that '70s soul aesthetic with each subsequent album. Backatown even featured contributions from both Lenny Kravitz and legendary New Orleans pianist Allen Toussaint. In fact, his previous effort, 2013's Say That to Say This, had a similarly old-school bent courtesy of neo-soul master and co-producer Raphael Saadiq. But for Parking Lot Symphony, Andrews dives into the sound full-force, paired with producer Chris Seefried (Fitz & the Tantrums, Haley Reinhart, Andra Day) on a set of songs that bring to mind the earthy, vinyl-laden vibe of '70s artists like New Orleans own the Meters..
Don't ya just love 'em? Jazz critics that is. I was reading just the other day what a complete waste of Lou Donaldson's ample talents his late 60's boogaloo beat records are. Well I am sorry - but I think they're great! It's all an attitude - sure LD's blowing is represented better elsewhere - but that just isn't the point. What we have here is archetypal party music, be it a scene from a 1960's movie or the Wag one Monday in the late 80's bursting at the seems as "Rev. Moses" shifts up a gear.
The opening tom hits and fuzzbox riffs that start Indigo Meadow give the indication that this is yet another turn on the Black Angels' merry-go-round of stoner rock and neo-psychedelia. However, the third song, "Don't Play with Guns," takes a decided turn with its big pop single hook, and the follow-ups "Holland" and "The Day" follow suit, as songs that are more carefully structured than the usual two-chord repetition that we've grown to expect. Not that there's anything wrong with the sound of bands like Spacemen 3 and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, but after several albums based on repetition, this is a pleasant, unexpected change for the Austinites.
Recorded in 2010 over three nights during the Orchestra's week-long residency at the theater, Live in Cuba showcases the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis in concert at Havana's Teatro Mella. This is a dynamic two-disc collection that finds Marsalis and the JCLO celebrating the longstanding ties and creative synergy between American and Afro-Cuban jazz traditions.
Its stick or twist for GoGo Penguin as they release this, their Blue Note debut and the first of a reputed three album deal. Do they push ahead, expanding their palette of electronica seen through the prism of acoustic jazz, or retreat a tad in deference to their new paymasters by emphasising the more traditional jazz elements of their sound. Should we be concerned that the two years since their breakthrough v2.0 album suggest a creative block or difficulty coping with the raised stakes? While they would hardly be the first act to lose their nerve on entering the major label big league, it is thankfully and emphatically not the case here as "Man Made Object" develops and builds on their early promise.