Elvin Jones may have established himself as one of the greatest drummers of all time, but equally important to him was his nurturing of young musicians. His Jazz Machine opened the door to several upcoming musicians, including Delfeayo Marsalis, Antoine Roney and Ravi Coltrane. He characteristically took delight in their playing, thus forging an emphatic bond. His attitude also served to enrich the music of the band.
Hailed by Jazziz magazine as the "voice of her generation" and a "national treasure," Chicago-born, Durham, North Carolina-based Dr Lenora Zenzalai Helm is a jazz vocal musician, composer, lyricist, bandleader, and a dedicated educator at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). Helm encompasses all of the inventions and dimensions of jazz and the African Diaspora on her new recording, Journeywoman, featuring her Tribe Jazz Orchestra Nonet. Helm's new CD, her eighth as a leader, is a compelling 65-minute, multi-movement 12-track work, where she sings about the life of an allegorical woman named Journey, and her struggles with abuse, birth, death, self-definition and her victories through self-love, perseverance, and affirmation.
This album was released on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the North Sea Jazz Festival. It contains live recordings of John Patitucci, Spyro Gyra, Russ Freeman & The Rippingtons, B.B. King, Chick Corea, Robben Ford and Gary Burton. All songs were recorded live during various editions of this festival.
Further distanced in time from John Coltrane's spiritual new-jazz and the influential second Miles Davis quintet, Doug Carn showed a close affinity with r&b when recording his fourth and final Black Jazz album Adam's Apple. Sharing his interest in r&b was a platoon of committed, resourceful jazz musicians including young star-in-the-making Ronnie Laws, who'd worked with Earth, Wind & Fire before that band's big commercial breakthrough. Of the others, ace guitarists Nathan Page and Calvin Keys had acquired intimacy with the soulful properties of African-American music of the time performing with the premier jazz organist Jimmy Smith.
The premiere Cuban music group Irakere has played Ronnie Scott's club in London regularly since 1985. Their Jazz House CD starts out with a throwaway salsa vocal piece, then has two impressive showcases for German Velazco (one apiece on alto and soprano). "Stella By Stalight" (which in Spanish is "Estella Va A Estallar") is swung hard and the closing, nearly 17-minute rendition of Dave Brubeck's "The Duke" has explosive yet lyrical piano playing by Chucho Valdes and some shouting choruses worthy of the Count Basie Orchestra. Overall this is one of Irakere's jazz recordings that is easily recommended.
An octogenarian jazz master who exerted an influence on not just other pianists, but most prominently on Miles Davis, Ahmad Jamal has remained a vital presence on the music scene since the 1950s. His nuanced 2017 album, Marseille, finds him drawing upon his years of experience with a set of originals and covers that reveal just how vital and creative he remains. Primarily, the album showcases three distinctly varied interpretations of the title track, a hypnotic, modal ode to a city he loves, and to a greater extent a country that awarded him the prestigious Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et de Lettres in 2007. In fact, Marseille was even recorded in France; specifically in the Parisian suburb of Malakoff. Joining Jamal are several longtime associates including bassist James Cammack, former Jazz at Lincoln Center drummer Herlin Riley, and percussionist Manolo Badrena.
Fred Nardin, the winner of the Prix Django Reinhardt 2016 of the French musician of the year, is a composer, musician, performer and an authentic Jazzman. His last album «Opening» features personal compositions and arrangements, was recorded with Leon Parker, a drummer with whom he has been playing for six years, as well as with Or Bareket, a promising bass player from New York. The teriﬁc playing of this Trio, their complicity, musicality and creativity make this album a marvel which ought to be on any jazz lover's shelf and will certainly lead to more successful enjoyable and vibrant albums together. A true sense of swing, groove, bop, with the elegance of the very few.