Monday, August 17, 2015

These Ladies are Live (and More)!

The Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme presents vocalist and composer Marianne Solivan in concert this Friday (8/21) at 8:30 p.m.  Ms. Solivan, born in Queens, NY, but raised in Venezuela, New Jersey and Massachusetts, studied at the Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music.  She moved back to New York City in 2007 and, slowly but steadily, has been working and garnering critical attention.  She's worked with trumpeters Jeremy Pelt and Roy Hargrove plus recorded with clarinetist Darryl Harper, releasing her first solo CD, "Prisoner of Love" in 2012 and her second, "Spark", in 2014, both on HipNOTIC Records.  What you will hear is a singer well-versed in blues and jazz, one who inhabits her songs with great spirit, never "phoning it in."

Her Quartet includes Hartford-natives Dezron Douglas (bass) and Sharp Radway (piano) plus Darrell Green (drums). Doors open at 7:30 p.m.  For tickets and more, call 860-434-0886.  To find out more about this fine vocalist, go to

Here's some music to whet your appetite:

On Saturday, percussionist Steve Kroon returns to the Old Lyme venue with his fine Sextet. Born in Harlem and raised in Queens, NYC, Kroon grew up in a household filled with Latin music. Along the way to his career, he studied with percussionist Dom Um Romao (Weather Report).  He toured and recorded with vocalist Luther Vandross for 2 decades plus spent time in bands led by bassist Ron Carter and Diana Krall.  He's recorded 5 CDs as a leader, the latest being 2014's "On the #1".

He's bringing his fine Sextet, an ensemble that features Craig Rivers (saxophone, flute), Igor Atalita (piano, keyboards), Waldo Chavez (bass), Diego Lopez (drums) and the fine vibraphonist Bryan Carrott (Ralph Peterson's Fo'Tet, Don Byron's Quartet). They'll take the stage at 8:30 p.m. and I expect your feet will be tapping a few seconds into the first song.  To find out more about Mr. Kroon and his music, go to

For tickets and more information about The Side Door, go to

The 2015 New Haven Jazz Festival takes place this Saturday from 6 - 9 p.m. on the New Haven Green.  Organized by Jazz Haven (click the name to find out more), this year's Fest is titled "Celebrating Women in Jazz" and features 2 fine performers.

After a short opening set by the Jazz Haven All Star Youth Band (they are well worth getting to the Green by 6 p.m. to hear), vocalist, composer, and pianist (not to forget she has a degree in Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering) Isabella Mendes takes the stage at 6:45.  Ms. Mendes, born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, moved with her family to the United States when she was 15, settling in New Haven. She attended the Educational Center for the Arts (ECA) in the Elm City before heading off to college.

Returning to New Haven after college, she started both her engineering and musical career (reality is that you have to have a "day job" to be a musician). Ms. Mendes came to critical and popular notice as a member of Sambaleza and that's the excellent band performing with her in New Haven. The ensemble includes Joe Carter (guitar), Jeff Fuller (bass), Adriano Santos (drums, percussion) and the excellent reed player Paul Lieberman (saxophones, flute, percussion) plus special guest vocalist George Lesiw. Chances are quite good they'll play music from her fine new CD (released just last month) "Blame Destiny."

To find out more and hear tracks from the new album, go to

At 8 p.m., vocalist and pianist Karrin Allyson takes the stage with her Quartet (see below) and she, too, is celebrating the release of a new recording.  Ms. Allyson, who has spent the past 2 decades plus on the Concord Jazz label moves to Motema Music for her next project, "Many A New Day - Karrin Allyson Sings Rodgers & Hammerstein". Recorded with pianist Kenny Barron and bassist John Pattituci, the album (scheduled for release on 9/18) features 14 songs from one of the greatest teams to write for Broadway.

Still, the vocalist has a large repertoire to choose from and an excellent Quartet to support her endeavors, Joining her onstage will be Ted Firth (piano), Sean Smith (bass), Mark McLean (drums) and Randy Napoleon (guitar).  Don't be surprised if she plays plenty of music from Brazil and the Caribbean as well as a number of jazz standards.

To fond out more about Ms. Allyson, go to

And, to find out more about this free Festival and the upcoming New Haven Jazz Week, go to

Here's the title track of the new CD:


One of my all-time favorite guitar trios is Gateway, the convergence of John Abercrombie, Jack DeJohnette and David Holland.  They recorded 2 Lps in the 1970s and 2 CDs in the 1990s, all of which are worth (to my mind) poring over for hours on end. I was reminded - and pleasantly, at that - of Gateway while listening to the trio of Marc-Andre Drouin (bass), Wayne Eagles (guitar) and Ian Froman (drums) who have released their debut recording, "trio\DEF" on the TetraArtist label.  Drouin, a Montreal, Quebec resident first met Eagles in 2013 at a workshop at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, where the guitarist has been on the faculty since 1992. Eagles was eager to play with the bassist and drummer Lee Fish and they hooked up after the conference. When offered a slot at the 2014 Ottawa Jazz Festival, Fish was not available and Eagles contacted his friend Froman, an Ottawa native now living in New York City.  They worked together ever since.

Ottawa Jazz Fest
The trio's music blends jazz, blues and rock influences in a seamless and playful manner.  "OmniMouse" opens the proceedings in a quiet manner, the band feeling its way into the song. When the drums and bass lock into the groove, the guitarist flirts with a melody before playing the central theme.  His solo flit and darts over the easy rhythms, Froman's cymbals decorating the proceedings as Drouin creates a mysterious yet sweet bass line. The sweeping brushwork creates an intimate setting on the ballad "NEME" and the "clucking" single-note runs intermingle  with chordal sections on Eagles' fine solo. Drouin's melodic electric bass work brings Steve Swallow on this tracks and throughout the album, especially on the solos. The other ballad on the program, "JDJ" opens with chords and the bass tone reminiscent of that other Canadian guitar-bass-drums trio, Rush.  Eagles' handsome melody  takes its time to unfold but it's one of the best on the CD.  The band brings the heat on "At Most" and on the final track.  The former builds to 2 climaxes, first after the blazing bass solo and the second during Froman's solo near the close of the track. The latter cut (and the last on the album), "Or Not", is a treat, complete with snaky guitar lines, rumbling and walking bass lines plus fiery drumming.

trio\DEF, while reminding this listener of Gateway (especially their 90's albums), is successful in its own right. Still, like Abercrombie, Holland and DeJohnette, this music is definitely interactive, pulling you in and keeping you listening.  It's a relatively short program (7 tracks in under 41 minutes) but, overall, is quite satisfying.

For more information, go to

Here's the trio in action:

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