CD Reviews

Women in Jazz: The Instrumentalists

There are probably more women instrumentalists on the current jazz scene than at any other time in the music’s history. Thomas Cunniffe and Amy Duncan offer capsule reviews of new CDs led by Sarah Elgeti, Jessica Jones, Virginia Mayhew, Roberta Piket and Anne Sajdera.

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Women in Jazz: The Vocalists

Jazz is an adventure, and that spirit highlights the music of Sara Gazarek, Carol Saboya, Nicky Schrire, Sara Serpa and Judi Silvano. Thomas Cunniffe and Amy Duncan review the latest albums by these talented vocalists.

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Vocalists at the Edge

The spirit of adventure is omnipresent in the latest albums by vocalists Clare Wheeler, Kaylé Brecher, Sara Serpa, Jay Clayton and Andrea Wolper. Thomas Cunniffe explores the fascinating and unpredictable music of these five talented musicians in this month’s feature CD review.

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Vocal Jazz Roundup 4

This month’s vocal jazz reviews include an intimate solo recording by Andy Bey, a tribute to veteran composer Harry Warren by Jay Clayton and a vocal showcase for trombonist Pete McGuinness. Thomas Cunniffe offers capsule reviews of these three fine recordings.

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Vocal Jazz Roundup 2

Every month, Jazz History Online receives several new vocal jazz releases. Here are capsule reviews of a half-dozen CDs, contributed by principal writer Thomas Cunniffe and our newest staff member, Stacy Riley.

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Vocal Jazz Roundup 3

This month’s vocal jazz reviews cover a wide range of styles and material. Thomas Cunniffe reviews an elegant collection of standards by Tine Bruhn, an adventurous debut from Molly Holm, a suite of music from Black Orpheus featuring Gretchen Parlato and Leny Andrade, and a humorous tribute to hipsters by Ben Sidran.

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Vocal Intimacy

While many singers are very comfortable singing in front of an orchestra or big band, there’s something special about working with a small group.The five CDs reviewed this month feature vocalists performing in intimate duos, trios and quartets. Thomas Cunniffe discusses these albums by Karrin Allyson, Laurie Antonioli, Sinne Eeg, Elisabeth Lohninger and the New West Guitar Group (featuring Gretchen Parlato, Sara Gazarek, Peter Eldridge, Becca Stevens and Tierney Sutton)

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Vocal Jazz Roundup

Thomas Cunniffe reviews a cross-section of new vocal jazz albums, including Cheryl Bentyne’s Gershwin Songbook, Sachal Vasandani’s Hi-Fly, Katchie Cartwright’s Tales and Tongues and Brigitte Zarie’s Make Room For Me.

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Un-easy Listening

The title of this review is not a reflection on the musical quality of the latest albums by Patricia Barber, Mostly Other People Do The Killing and Wayne Shorter; rather, it speaks of the uncompromising attitude that all of these artists share. Thomas Cunniffe offers his reactions in this feature review.

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Tributes and Collaborations

Many current jazz albums are either collaborations or tributes, but the four vocal CDs reviewed this month fall into both categories. Judy Niemack and Dan Tepfer’s duet disc, Listening to You salutes Lee Konitz, while a bevy of top-name singers take part in The Passion of Charlie Parker. The New York band Swingadelic offers a sampler of Johnny Mercer songs, and Mark Winkler remembers his late husband on The Company I Keep. Thomas Cunniffe offers his thoughts on these recordings.

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Voices of Experience

The three veteran singers spotlighted in this month’s vocal CD reviews bring their wealth of personal and professional experiences to the music. Freddy Cole eclipses the shadow of his famous older brother Nat on the tribute album He Was the King; Barb Jungr offers a salve for the world with Shelter from the Storm, and the late Mark Murphy performs a stunning collection of Miles Davis standards on Live in Athens, Greece. Thomas Cunniffe reviews the discs.

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Vocal Potpourri

Vocalists from all over the globe highlight this month’s vocal CD reviews. Swiss vocalist Beat Kaestli offers a wide range of songs on his disc Live in Europe, Australian vocalist and pianist Sarah McKenzie draws from a rich set of vocal and instrumental influences on We Could Be Lovers and from here in the US, Kurt Elling joins Branford Marsalis for a brilliant collaboration on Upward Spiral. Thomas Cunniffe notes the highlights in his reviews.

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Vanessa Perea: “Soulful Days” (Zoho 201406)

New Jersey vocalist Vanessa Perea’s debut CD, Soulful Days is as remarkable for its understatement as it is for its musicality. This month, JHO reviewer Thomas Cunniffe focuses on this stunning album, and speculates that Perea could become jazz’s next major vocalist.

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Tribute Albums with a Difference

In their celebrations of George Gershwin and Bill Evans, pianist Ted Rosenthal and bassist Martin Wind offer tribute albums that present the music in new and surprising ways. According to reviewer Thomas Cunniffe, the surprises start with the instrumentation and get better from there.

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