Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Brandi Disterheft "Gratitude" and Quadro Nuevo "Grand Voyage"

A couple more CDs arrived in my mail slot recently and I've finally gotten around to giving them a spin.

First up is bassist, composer, bandleader and vocalist Brandi Disterheft. I've long been a fan of her athletic playing style and knew she was one to watch. She gets better with each recording and this one features a number of her own compositions. Particular standouts :  the swinging "Portrait of Duke", the lovely "Blues for Nelson Mandela" , a reverent "Gratitude" and Brandi's gorgeous sensitive vocals on that classic "But Beautiful".  She is in some very stellar company as well: Renee Rosnes on piano, Sean Jones on trumpet, Vincent Herring on alto sax, Gregory Hutchinson on drums, and Jane Drummond on flutes. I see a Juno nomination in her future for this one...

And now for something completely different - Quadro Nuevo and the aptly titled "Grand Voyage". It is indeed like being transported to a far off land "Die Reise nach Batumi" conjures up images of sitting in a Rick's Cafe in "Casablanca" and observing all the local colour. A fun and electic assortment of instrumentation from Glockenspiel to bouzouki, harp to saxophone and accordion makes this recording a constant aural discovery. " Cancao do Mar" whisks you away to Brazilian beaches and the playful "Krim" and "Meteora" hints of an adventure in Istanbul, "Aus der Still der Nacht" a dreamy evening in Vienna,perhaps and "Secret Garden" - pure enchantment
This recording makes it easy to travel the world without leaving your living room or your iPod.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New CDs from Halie Loren and Ranee Lee

An up and coming jazz artist and a well loved Canadian jazz icon - what a treat to receive these two recordings in the mail recently.

As you may know I am a big fan of Halie's - please go and see her live at Hugh's Room as part of Jazz FM's cabaret series in October - her warm and sultry vocals come across even better in person. This release "Stages" captures some of that magic as it is a live recording. She includes such standards as the wrenching"Cry Me a River" and "Summertime" and her own compositions, the yearning "Danger in Loving You" and "More". I was particularly delighted with the playful Caribbean rhythms on Pete Seeger's "My Rainbow Race" and a touching "I'd Rather Go Blind" made famous by the late Etta James.

Ranee Lee's album is a tribute to another jazz legend one Billie Holiday. "Deep Song" is like Miss Lee herself, a class act. Supported by such luminaries as Oliver Jones on piano, Milt Hinton on bass, Richard Ring on guitar and Archie Alleyne on drums, this seamless album should have your undivided attention and not as background music. Of note: a silky "I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone", a swinging "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" and  a beautiful rendition with Richard Ring's solo guitar on "Strange Fruit" - Ranee caresses each note on this and in fact every tune she covers on this album. I also enjoyed the sultry "Fine and Mellow". Miss Billie is smiling down on you Miss Ranee.

Both CDs are available from the Justin Time label.

I have a couple more CDs to review as well - Quadro Nuevo and Brandi Disterheft's.