Amanda Monaco: Glitter
Amanda Monaco is deserving of much more extravagant celebrity than she is accorded as a musician as well as a rather intrepid guitarist, who seeks to explore not only the very fringes of her instrument, but to also redefine its fashionable purpose in the mainstream. To be candid, not all of the nine items on this recording seem glamorous at first blush. However, that could be said of almost every diamond in the rough. Similarly the preciousness of each of these pieces is revealed in all its majesty as Amanda Monaco dusts off what’s extraneous and strips songs down to its innate “glitter”. The melodically and harmonically noble “Freight Trane” is a perfect example of how to pay homage to one’s ancestors, one where Monaco’s guitar is visually and aurally a fine instrument which speaks with great clarity and brightness, although never that piercing brightness which interferes with the greater scheme of how melody and harmony melt into stream-of-consciousness narrative. Monaco’s “Mimosa Blues” is beyond perfect. And by the end of “Glitter” one is struck by the unforgettable nature of Amanda Monaco’s technique and musicianship. Of course, it helps enormously to have baritone saxophonist Lauren Sevian, drummer Matt Wilson and multi-instrumentalist, Gary Versace on the same page.
Track List – 1: Dry Clean Only; 2: Freight Trane; 3: Gremlin From The Kremlin; 4: Girly Day; 5: The Mean Reds; 6: Step Counter; 7: Theme For Ernie; 8: Mimosa Blues; 6: Glitter.
Personnel – Amanda Monaco: guitar; Lauren Sevian: baritone saxophone; Gary Versace: organ; Matt Wilson: drums.
Vinnie Sperrazza: Juxtaposition
Saxophonists, pianists, bassists and drummers who excite the imagination of the listener have been valued like pure gold in the world of Jazz music as far as the listener is concerned. All of the above do this in the grand manner. It’s no wonder why this is so. Any supergroup that includes drummer Vinnie Sperrazza hosting saxophonist Chris Speed, pianist Bruce Barth and bassist Peter Brendler is licensed to thrill. And there is more than mathematics and physics at work in this repertoire. To experience this every aspect of this we must exercise creativity, that marvellous capacity that enables us to grasp mutually distinct realities and draw a spark from their Juxtaposition. These aren’t my words, but I have paraphrased them from the original by Max Ernst, credited with the only liner notes on the inside of this album cover. It’s a specialty of Posi-Tone packages and although it clear the way for the ultimate experience of Vinnie Sperrazza’s music on Juxtaposition. What it does so magically, though, is to spur the minds of the listener – as it does the musicians – to experience a sort of listening and musical nirvana. And so we enjoy the rich timbre of each instrument, breathy phrasing of the saxophonist, the eloquent intonation of the pianist, the rumbling gravitas of the bassist and the mastery of a drummer who is as thrilling with sticks and brushes as he is with mallets. To that end, “Chimes” and “Somewhere” are truly miraculous examples of Juxtaposition.
Track List – 1: Chimes; 2: St. Jerome; 3: House On Hoxie Road; 4: Juxtaposition; 5: Alter Ego; 6: This Night This Song; 7: One Hour; 8: Somewhere; 9: Warm Winter; 10: Hellenized; 11: Solitary Consumer; 12: Say the Secret Word
Personnel – Vinnie Sperrazza: drums; Chris Speed: tenor sax; Bruce Barth: piano; Peter Brendler: bass
Jordan Young: Jazz Jukebox
The drummer Jordan Young leads this organ trio that is occasionally augmented by the tenor saxophonist Nick Hempton. The likely mesmerism by Young is also augmented with the denser clusters of notes on the Hammond B3 by “the prodigious” Brian Charette whose own ability to hypnotise almost at will is something to contend with on Jazz Jukebox. From the rocking “Son of Ice Bag” by Hugh Masekela through Wayne Shorter’s “ESP”, Thelonious Monk’s “Rhythm-a-Ning” to Tadd Dameron’s “Tadd’s Delight” and Matt Dennis’ instrumental version of “Will You Still Be Mine” the listener will be held at the edge of the seat by Young’s drumming and the robust flair of Brian Charette; both in bountiful measure as they dig into both delicate and sinewy melodies, charming the listener with the scintillating melodic and rhythmic adventures of each piece. Throughout, the musicians ornament with stylish sensitivity, savour the expressive sophistication and achieve utmost clarity of texture. Charette uses vibrato sparingly, while he, guitarist Matt Chertoff, tenor saxophonist Nick Hempton and Young find a spectrum os shadings to colour phrases. With Jordan Young contributing his own brand of articulate and glistening artistry, the quartet turns this delectably considered soirée into a performance to cherish.
Track List – 1: Son of Ice Bag; 2: Paris Eyes; 3: I’m Only Sleeping; 4: Sao Paulo Nights; 5: ESP; 6: Eight Counts for Rita; 7: Rhythm-A-Ning; 8: Time in a Bottle; 9: Tadd’s Delight; 10: Giant Deconstruction; 11: I Want a Little Girl; 12: Love Boat; 13: Will You Still Be Mine.
Personnel – Jordan Young: drums; Matt Chertkoff: guitar; Brian Charette: organ; Nick Hempton: tenor saxophone (2, 4, 6, 9).
Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records