Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Music that Engages the Soul

A Song of Love's Color - Gabriele Tranchina (Jazzheads) - This German-born vocalist has really pushed herself on this, her second release under her own name.  With a band led by her accomplished pianist/composer husband Joe Vincent Trachina and co-producer/drummer Bobby Sanabria, this program features 11 tracks with songs sung in 6 different languages.  Sanabria drives the band hard on the opening "Chante Comme Si Tu Devais Mourir Demain", imbuing the piece with a Brazilian "parade" feel.  He, then, really shines on Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Samba De Uma Nota So", setting a breath-taking pace. Yet, Sanabria can be calm and colorful as he displays on the other Jobim work, "Inutil Paisagem" which also serves as a spotlight for the smooth, cool, tones of bassist Santi Debriano.
Among the highlights is the inventive "Asato Maa (Sat Chit Ananda)", a Hindu prayer and chant atop Latin rhythms and featuring a "rap" section in English. There are several pretty ballads throughout the program, including the traditional Spanish folk song "Duermete Nono Bonito" and the sweet "Sing a Song of Children."    German poet Else Lasker-Schuler (1869-1945) is the basis for a lovely melody (by Mr. Tranchina) - "Siehst Du Mich" is a love song sung in Ms. Tranchina's native tongue, a quiet and serene close to the CD.
Gabriele Tranchina has a fine, clear,voice, is articulate and knows how to put a lyric over and how to work with a band, whether it's swinging hard or cooing a ballad.  The sheer variety of her material is certainly a point in her favor (although it might drive radio programmers crazy.) Kudos to the fine rhythm section (percussionist Renato Thoms works well alongside Sanabria and Debriani) and the handsome piano contributions of Joe Vincent Tranchina.  To find out more, go to www.sollatimusic.com.

Give a listen to "Asato Maa (Sat Chit Ananda)" courtesy of IODA Promonet.
Asato Maa (Sat Chit Ananda) (mp3)

Home - Aaron Goldberg (Sunnyside) - For the past 15 years (or so), pianist/composer Goldberg has graced the groups of such fine musicians as Nicholas Payton, Madeline Peyroux, Wynton Marsalis & The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Tom Harrell, Freddie Hubbard and, most notably, Joshua Redman.  Besides leading his group, he's worked alongside bassist Omer Avital and percussionist Marc Miralta in the OAM Trio, an ensemble that also added saxophonist Mark Turner for several European recordings.
"Home" is his 4th CD as a leader and certainly his most accomplished. Working with the stunningly good rhythm section of Reuben Rogers (bass) and Eric Harland (drums), Goldberg explores many different styles of music, ranging from Brazilian to standards to Thelonious Monk (a blazing reading of "I Mean You") to Stevie Wonder ("Isn't She Lovely" with an opening reminiscent of Randy Weston that carries over to the solo section.)  There is also a heartfelt reading of Avital's "Homeland", with a long melody line that shows the influence of composer's native Israeli music.  Tenor saxophonist Turner joins this band for 3 tracks, including the lovely opening track "Cancion Por La Unidad Latinoamericana" (composed by Cuban native Pablo Milanes and recorded, most notably, by Chico Buarque.)  Turner's clear, clean, lines work well with this band and he really lets loose on Goldberg's "Aze's Blues", a romp that changes directions a number of times. 
Having seen the pianist perform "live" a number of times, one knows he's such an engaged accompanist and intrepid soloist.  He rarely, if ever, overplays and he's got chops to burn. His ode to practicing, "Shed", has a really fine unaccompanied section in which he rolls out the rhythm and solos with glee. When the rhythm section returns, his phrases get longer and his comping more minimal. The poetic "The Sound of Snow" has a pretty melody and quite the impressionistic solo - the piece never descends into the mundane.
Credited to Aaron Golberg, "Home" is one fine group recording.  He's the producer and chose the material but this is no ordinary CD of piano with bass and drum accompaniment.  Goldberg, Rogers, and Harland often seem to breathe as one, inspire each other and have created a most pleasing program.  To find out more, go to www.sunnysiderecords.com.

Anima - Mike Fahie (BJU Records) - Trombonist/composer Fahie (pronounced "Fay") has lived in New York City since the turn of the 2000s and is an integral member of several large ensembles (includng Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, Rob Mosher's Storytime and the Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra.)  His debut CD features a smaller yet quite explosive and exploratory ensemble including Bill McHenry (tenor saxophone), Ben Monder (guitar), Ben Street (bass) and Billy Hart (drums) - guess one's first name has to start with a "B" to be in this quintet. There is so much to enjoy on this program, starting with the impressive original compositions and intelligent arrangements.  The rhythm section really kicks this music, especially Hart's dramatic drive and support throughout the program (listen to how he can be melodic as well as percussive.)  Monder can really "wail" when he wishes (the high-energy "Democracy" being the primary example) yet his more subtle playing also stands out (Paul Simon's "Cecilia" and Fahie's "An Axe to Grind" among the highlights.) The Simon tune, cleverly rearranged, is pleasing for many reasons, from the highly active drumming to the solos to the way the piece unwinds, introspectively as opposed to the "poppiness" of the original version. McHenry is such a wonderfully understated soloist, at all times. Listen as he strolls his way through the group's take on Thelonious Monk's "Work" (great bass and drum work here as well) and his long tones mixed with short phrases on "Village Greene."  Fahie is a strong soloist, whether riding atop Hart's snare on "Village Greene", on his own reading the melody for the opening 90 seconds of "The Journey" and flying through the changes on "Seven Sisters."
After hearing Mike Fahie as a member of trombone sections on several fine recordings, it's such a treat to hear his music and playing on "Anima."  This is the sort of program that just gets better with each listen.  For more information, go to www.mikefahie.com.
There is a CD Release Party on Sunday April 25 at the Cornelia Street Cafe, with the rhythm section section of bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Jochen Reuckert replacing Street and Hart.  The Cafe is located at 29 Cornelia Street, Greenwich Village in New York City.  For more information, go to www.corneliastreetcafe.com.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your continued support of Darcy James Argue and his Secret Society! You might be interested in another up-and-coming New Amsterdam artist, Corey Dargel; his latest album hits streets at the end of the month: http://ow.ly/1HsHX