What a joy to be surrounded with such great music––here are two of the more delightful releases of 2023!
|Photo: Erika Kapin|
For her latest venture, "Acrobats" (Whirlwind Recordings), Ms. Lawry joins forces with bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Allison Miller to create a fascinating program that ranges from standards to two special pieces either written by an Australian composer (the title track comes from the pen of Gian Slater) or made a big hit on the Aussie scene (John Farnham's anthemic "You're the Voice"). Don't be put off by the spare instrumentation as the music is so intimate, delightful, emotional and adventurous that the 43-minute goes by way too quickly. When you listen to this music, you'll hear how melodic all three artists. Both Ms. Han Oh and Ms. Miller certainly know how to swing; right from the voice/bass opening moments of the opening track, Frank Loesser's "Traveling Light" (from "Guys and Dolls", one hears the delightful give-and-take of Ms. Lawry with the rhythm section.
|Photo: Erika Kapin|
There is nary a weak track on "Acrobats". While her previous album tilted towards folk and pop, it's really great to hear Jo Lawry as a jazz singer (her scat feature on Lennie Tristano's "317 East 32nd Street" is a treat as is the sparkling bass solo). Adding Linda May Han Oh and Allison Miller to this project is a stroke of genius––you'll not hear a better trio album this year!!
For more information, go to www.whirlwindrecordings.com/release-day-acrobats-by-jo-lawry-out-now/ and to www.jolawry.net/media. To hear more and to purchase the album, go to https://jolawry-whirlwind.bandcamp.com/album/acrobats.
Let's hear the album's title track:
For his third album on Edition Records, tenor saxophonist Chris Potter recorded several nights of his February 2022 gig at the legendary Village Vanguard. Six songs from the multi-night engagement make up the program for "Got The Keys to the Kingdom: Live at The Village Vanguard." For the gig, Potter put together an ensemble featuring Craig Taborn (piano), Scott Colley (bass), and Marcus Gilmore (drums). The set is bookended by two long blues/gospel tunes with the first being Mississippi Fred McDowell's "You Gotta Move." The leader goes it along for the first 30 seconds then introduces the blues groove that the rest of the ensemble picks up on. They run the first three verses with Potter adding more energy each time until they break into a short bridge and the saxophone solo commences. It's a tour-de-force, filled with ideas and turns-of-phrases, reminiscent of a Sonny Rollins-like playfulness. Taborn is next and he digs into the song's blues groove. After a quick return to the theme, Gilmore gets the spotlight and, with the help of Colley's short background figure, kicks the heck out of his drums.
"Got The Keys to the Kingdom" is a delight from start to finish. If you love high-energy creative, the album has numerous examples. If you need a heartfelt ballad that explores many emotions, that's here as well. Rhythmic adventures? Yes! Great solos? Yes! Chris Potter and his excellent ensemble shine throughout–don't miss this splendid live album!
For more information, go to https://editionrecords.com/releases/chris-potter-got-the-keys-to-the-kingdom-live-at-the-village-vanguard/. To hear more and purchase the album, go to https://chrispotterjazz.bandcamp.com/album/got-the-keys-to-the-kingdom-live-at-the-village-vanguard.
Here's Chris and the band on Charlie Parker's "Klactoveedsedstene":
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