I subtitled this Jazz Update "Hello Ladies" but looking over the selections, it could as easily be "In a Sentimental Mood." What can I say? It's summer, so sue me already.
Listen to the segment:
Artist - Sara Gazarek
CD - Return to You (Native Language)
Track - Make Me Feel This Way
More evidence for the ongoing evolution of the jazz standard. On her first album Yours (2005) Gazarek and company featured a selection of standard standards (Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye, Cheek To Cheek, You are My Sunshine, etc.) in addition to four originals. That's what you expect from a young jazz singer's debut disc. This time around the originals are still solid but the cover choices a bit more adventurous: Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Paul McCartney and Billy Joel. Gazarek's technique is exquisite: cool the rain in her native Seattle but tight as a snare drum. As with Erin Bode, there is much "next Norah Jones" talk, but I wouldn't wish that on anyone.
For a sample of Gazarek's live chops, check out this performance of I'm Old Fashioned.
Artist - Waverly Seven (featuring Anat Cohen)
CD - Yo, Bobby! (Anzic Records)
Track - I Guess I'm Good For Nothing But The Blues
About Anat Cohen: A native of Tel Aviv, Cohen studied at Berklee College of Music where she says became intrigued with bossa nova and other forms of Latin Jazz. She later made the inevitable move to New York where she's picked up notoriety for her reed work. She was recently voted Best Clarinetist of 2007 by the Jazz Journalists Association and this seems appropriate. Her work on the various saxes is excellent but, for me, the clarinet is where she really shines.
About The Waverly Seven: The two-disc tribute to Bobby Darin brings together some of the bright young things of the current New York scene to record songs that are at least twice if not three times as old as most of the performers. In addition to Anat Cohen, the ensemble features her younger brother, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, Joel Frahm, Manuel Valera, Barak Mori, Jason Lindner and Daniel Freedman. Scott Robinson guests on bari sax and Vic Juris on guitar. The youth factor helps out here I think. While they're not breaking any ground, they are putting a nice polish on the old ballroom.
Two numbers from the Waverly Seven's debut performance:
Artist - Deborah Cox
CD - Destination Moon (Decca/EMI)
Track - I Don't Hurt Anymore
Originally from Toronto, Deborah Cox had a gajillion seller in 1998 with "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here," one of those mechanized Mariah-esque late 90s make-out songs. Here she's back with something that makes better use of her admirable pipes, a tribute to Dinah Washington. No small challenge that, but Cox is definitely up it. In fact, you have to wonder why she it's taken this long. The string arrangements are a tad gooey, but the swinging big band numbers harken back to the days of Basie and Sinatra at the Sands.
Listen: An interview with Cox on NPR's News & Notes
Artist - Hiromi's Sonicbloom
CD - Time Control (Telarc)
Track - Real Clock Vs. Body Clock = Jet Lag
And now for the palate cleanser. Hiromi Uehada, like Anat Cohen is grad of Berklee, who works comfortably in both acoustic and electric settings. And like another prodigy named Eldar, she was originally inspired to take up jazz by Oscar Peterson records. They've both absorbed other influences into their styles, while maintaining the OP flair. Hiromi's Spiral was one of my favorites of 2006. This project features a new set of co-conspirators, including guitarist David “Fuze” Fiuczynski (of the Screaming Headless Torsos, etc.) and a lot more electrification, but the results are similarly spirited.
Download yourself an EP - 6 tracks from two of Hiromi's earlier releases.
Hiromi in performance:
A piano duet with some guy named Chick Corea
The next TNLD Jazz Update on Up to Date will be in the 3rd week of August (I've been promised more than 23 hours notice this time). As always, if you like these segments, please let us know. Email the show at email@example.com.