Thursday, July 17, 2014

CDs of Note - Short Takes

Taking a closer look at CDs by the Larry Goldings-Peter Bernstein-Bill Stewart trio, and singers Sherie Julianne and Lisa Thorson ….

Larry Goldings - Peter Bernstein - Bill Stewart, Ramshackle Serenade (Pirouet)

Twenty-plus years of collaborations in their own bands, and others, have bonded Hammond B-3 organist Larry Goldings, guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Bill Stewart with a mighty special creative glue. The treats here, layering spunk and subtlety, include Jobim’s “Luiza,” Bernstein’s “Simple As That,” Goldings’ “Mr. Meagles” and Horace Silver’s classic ballad “Peace.” This one will stick with you. 

Sherie Julianne, 10 Degrees South (Azul do Mar)
There is something mighty special about Brazil’s breezy rhythms. The bossa nova and the samba, among many others, can be musically intoxicating – in a good way.
San Francisco Bay-area singer Sherie Julianne has absorbed much from the Brazilian Songbook, and found a way to make it her own. 

Her supporters on this project include one of her musical mentors, pianist-arranger Marcos Silva, who hails from Rio, as well as flutist/saxophonist Mary Fettig, guitarist Jeff Buenz, drummer Phil Thompson and bassist Scott Thompson. Her honeyed voice and her uncanny use of time are great assets here. Favorites: “Bananeira,” “”O Pasto,” “So Many Stars” and Silva’s ballad “Painting.” (This is a July 29 release.)

Lisa Thorson, Lisa Thorson Quartet Live (Birdfeeder Music)

Boston-based singer and educator Lisa Thorson is out with her first recording in over 10 years, and it is a most-welcome display of the no-frills singer’s art. This session was recorded live at Scullers Jazz Club in Boston in 2009. This, her sixth CD as a leader, teams Thorson with her longtime bandmates Tim Ray (piano), David Clark (bass) and George Schuller (drums). They’ve been a team for more than 20 years – and it shows. 

Thorson’s clear and crisp diction, uncanny sense of swing and skillful role as a musical interpreter, with understated scatting at times, come into play here. This is no “chick singer” fronting a band. She’s deeply enmeshed in the collective band sound, and what a sound it is. Favorites: their takes on Charlie Parker’s “Blues for Alice,” the wistful standard “There’s a Lull in My Life” (kudos here for shining new light on a gem), their moody take on Duke Ellington's "Mood Indigo," and a medley consisting of guitarist Garrison Fewell’s “Hearing Things Too” (with lyrics by Thorson) and Aldir Blanc’s “Chorado.”

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