Grace

One of the strongest songs I have in my contemporary jazz library is “Grace” from Nelson Rangell’s 1995 recording Destiny. Here’s what Nelson had to say about it in his liner notes from that release:

Grace has a few definitions. Among them is this one I’ve been thinking about: the giving of free and unmerited favor and love … that sure is nice to receive, and a pretty great thing to be able to give. When we extend grace to another, it can only help to make our collective road ahead easier in these complicated times -for truly wc arc all in this together, dependent on one another. Remember to try to “see” the ones beside you, and think of those far away in distant places.

Nelson revisited Grace in one of his latest albums. “Some Next Grace,” from his pop-jazz sax release Red, is a follow-up of sorts. I asked Nelson about grace. He replied:

I think we are in short supply right now…..”Some Next Grace” is a type of follow up and continuation on the theme of Grace. I think that we should try to reflect upon the profound idea and truth that we are often the recipients of Grace that we are hardly aware of, sometimes even totally unaware of. “Some Next Grace”, maybe seemingly almost mundane that actually changed our life early one morning or at 4:12 in the afternoon on a Thursday when by a second we didn’t step in front of a car or make a fateful move or decision for some unknown reason that changed everything, or never knew how close we came to a terrible accident or avoided getting terribly sick — never even having a clue. I hope I will be able to just feel more and proceed with more easy gratitude for each day, for the things I know and the things at work that I don’t. : – )

Nelson Rangell portrait

George Benson in session

I’m pruning my large CD library, archiving some discs and preparing to give away or sell others. I’m grabbing information off of those enhanced discs which were seemingly popular around 2000. I uploaded this clip of George Benson, Joe Sample and Christian McBride from a session from Absolute Benson, a good George Benson recording from the year 2000.

Contemporary jazz 25 years ago – May 11, 1991

Looking back at the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Albums chart from May 11, 1991, you see some of the first recordings from the post-MCA acquisition of GRP Records. Greenhouse by Yellowjackets, Love and Understanding by George Howard, and Healing the Wounds by the Crusaders were all in the top ten.

album cover to the 1991 recording Greenhouse by the Yellowjackets

Greenhouse was the first recording featuring new saxophonist Bob Mintzer. The music continued the trajectory away from pop-jazz that had most evident in their previous recording The Spin. Mintzer is still with the quartet as is founding member Russell Ferrante and, several years away from the band, William Kennedy.

Healing the Wounds was a complete surprise when it came in to the radio station where I was volunteering. No advance notice or hype. You could pull that off in 1991. Produced by Marcus Miller, Healing the Wounds featured band founders Joe Sample and Wilton Felder in great form. I still love the opening track “Pessimisticism.” Continue reading “Contemporary jazz 25 years ago – May 11, 1991”

ABC to air International Jazz Day concert!

The 2016 International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert will be broadcast on ABC on April 30 at 7 p.m. CST followed by an on-demand webcast at 8 p.m.. The concert will feature a cast of internationally renowned jazz artists including Joey Alexander, John Beasley (Music Director), Kris Bowers, Chick Corea, Robert Glasper, Herbie Hancock, Danilo Perez , Chucho Valdés, Terence Blanchard, Till Brönner, Hugh Masekela, James Morrison, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jamie Cullum, Kurt Elling, Aretha Franklin, Al Jarreau, Diana Krall, Sting , Eli Degibri, David Sánchez, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Watson, Christian McBride, Marcus Miller, Esperanza Spalding, Ben Williams, Buddy Guy, Lionel Loueke, Pat Metheny, Lee Ritenour, Brian Blade, Terri Lyne Carrington, Kendrick Scott, Zakir Hussain, Trombone Shorty, and the Rebirth Brass Band. This year’s concert will be hosted by President Obama and Michelle Obama at the White House.

True Stories from the Rippingtons


True Stories
, the new recording from Russ Freeman and the Rippingtons is out on June 24. I love the fun new cover, presumably done by the masterful Bill Mayer who has done every Rippingtons “jazz cat” illustration.

True Stories album cover from the Rippingtons

The band has been announcing tour dates on Twitter so you will be able to hear the new songs live at some locations around the States. Attendees at the Berks Jazz Fest have already heard some of them – check out Peter Boehi’s recap of the performance. See them from Berks playing the new “Wild Tales” – I like it!