2009 Contemporary Jazz Preview

One constant in the contemporary jazz world is the planning and reliable execution of Heads Up recordings. I just got the list for 2009 and it’s another winner for contemporary jazz fans. I’ll elaborate more in later posts but here’s what’s on the schedule:

January
Incognito – More Tales Remixed – remixes of songs from the latest Incognito release;
Ladysmith Black Mambazo – Live;
Walter Beasley – Free Your Mind

February
Joe Zawinul – 75 – two-disc live set;
Pieces of a Dream – Soul Intent;
Mike Stern – New Morning The Paris Concert;
The Bad Plus Joined by Wendy Lewis – For All I Care

March
Marion Meadows – TBD;
Chuck Loeb – Between 2 Worlds;
Yellowjackets – New Morning The Paris Concert

April
Candy Dulfer; Hiroshima

May
Spyro Gyra; Zap Mama; Stanley Clarke/Hiromi/Lenny White

June
Alexander Zonjic, Andy Narell

August
Najee; Mike Stern; Joe Zawinul DVD

September
Take 6 – a new holiday recording

Mushroom Jazz 6 Out Today

It’s very rare that I buy entire recordings these days. After checking out the samples of this latest Mark Farina compilation, I will be buying Mushroom Jazz 6. Twenty tracks for $9.99 and I liked all but five of these acid jazzy/nu jazzy works.

Marcus Johnson – FLO Series Includes Acid Jazzy Chill, Romance, and Standards

Marcus Johnson is presenting three new recordings under the brand FLO – For the Love Of.

FLO: Standards covers classics like “On Green Dolphin Street,” “Body and Soul,” “My Funny Valentine,” and “Goodbye Port Pie Hat” and features Johnson, Bobby Lyle, Michael Price, and drummer Lenny Robinson.

Like FLO: Standards, the title of FLO: Romance speaks for itself. It includes a number of Johnson compositions and performances by Johnson and vocal stylings of Frank McComb, Keith Ailer, Alyson Williams, Stoney Ellis, and YahZarah.

The subtitle for FLO: Chill is “lounge vibes and dance grooves with the right touch of jazz.” That got my attention. Johnson adds electronica elements to his music creating some interesting sounds. Some of it falls in the acid jazz category. I’ve already added “Another Planet” to the ContemporaryJazz.com Radio playlist and it won’t be the last cut I pull from this release.

Get more information on the FLO recordings on MySpace. Discs are available only at Circuit City but you can sample and buy digital versions at iTunes:

FLO: Chill | FLO: Romance | FLO: Standards

September 30 New Releases – Lorber, Take 6, Bernard…

Jeff Lorber – Heard That
Some nice pop-jazz gems; guests include Rex Rideout, trumpeters Rick Braun and Ron King, and Gerald Albright.
Buy the CD or DRM-free download at Amazon
Buy the download from iTunes

Will Bernard – Blue Plate Special
Buy the CD at Amazon
Buy the download from iTunes

Take 6 – The Standard
A good Take 6 recording, enhanced by guest artists George Benson, Al Jarreau, Jon Hendricks, Roy Hargrove, Till Brönner, Aaron Neville, and the late Ella Fitzgerald. “While we sing lyrics that always exemplify our spiritual and moral convictions, what we really are at the core is a jazz vocal group,” says Dave Thomas, a member of the Take 6 lineup since 1985. “So we decided to do an album of jazz standards, a record that will stand up as the jazz vocal album for all time.”
Buy the CD at Amazon
Buy the download from iTunes

Jason Miles – 2 Grover With Love
Follow-up to the best-selling tribute to Grover Washington, Jr., To Grover With Love
Buy the CD or DRM-free download at Amazon
Buy the download from iTunes

Bela Fleck & the Flecktones – Jingle All the Way
read my post on this