CapRadio’s jazz hosts eat, sleep and breathe jazz, so it makes sense that they would have a treasure trove of amazing jazz tunes on their list of personal favorites.
Gary Vercelli, Avery Jeffry and Andrew Mills are here to share some of these tracks with you, from their ears to yours, in this month’s Jazz Ear to Ear playlist.
Antonio Adolfo — “Hello, Herbie”
In 1962, 15-year-old pianist Antonio Adolfo discovered Rio’s Beco das Garrofas (Bottle Alley) district. It was in the clubs of this alley that he absorbed jazz and samba. Antonio came of age backing singer Leny Andrade and trombonist Raul de Souza. Adolfo, who now divides his time equally between Florida and Brazil, has written many bossa nova classics, including some popularized by Sergio Mendes. On his new album, he salutes piano giant Herbie Hancock with a swinging original that features a great trumpet solo by Jesse Sadoc. The chemistry between Adolfo and Sadoc, is not unlike that between Hancock and the late Freddie Hubbard.
Chick Corea & the Spanish Heart Band — “Armando’s Rhumba”
Chick Corea has always been one of my favorite artists, so I was excited to hear that he had a new album out with the Spanish Heart Band and that we'd be spinning it on CapRadio. My first exposure to Corea was his eponymous Elektric Band album from 1986. Eventually that led me to his album from 10 years earlier, “My Spanish Heart.” "Armando's Rhumba" was instantly my favorite track. The playful back and forth between Chick's piano, Stanley Clarke's bass and Jean-Luc Ponty's violin was one of the coolest things I had heard at the time. To see that they had revisited the song with a whole octet on “Antidote” was wonderful, and it's still just as cool as the first time I heard it.
Marcus Shelby Orchestra — “On a Turquoise Cloud”
This album is my first exposure to bassist Marcus Shelby and his San Francisco based orchestra. Big bands give some of the best representations of jazz in my opinion, and this one is no exception. It features an original four movement suite in tribute to the all black baseball leagues of the early 20th century entitled "Black Ball," as well as some vocal arrangements of jazz standards. My favorite piece on this album, however, is their arrangement of a lesser known Duke Ellington tune called "On a Turquoise Cloud." Ellington was one of the greatest composers of all time and Shelby certainly does the composition justice. It's truly a beautiful song featuring Mads Tolling on the violin.
I’ve been listening to a lot of solo guitar music recently. As a working guitarist who performs at a fair number of weddings and other similar events, I am always on the lookout for more repertoire and inspiration. What follows are three great standards performed by three exceptional guitarists that particularly caught my ear this month. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Kenny Burrell – “But Not For Me”
This is one of Burrell’s earliest recordings, but it easily holds up as one of the more beautiful and creative renditions of this great Gershwin standard. His utilization of drop D tuning gives the guitar a full sound that serves the performance well. In short, it’s a wonderful recording by a wonderful guitarist.
Lenny Breau – “What Is This Thing Called Love”
Lenny Breau brought solo guitar to a whole new level. He frequently used a seven-string guitar, which was revolutionary. His seemingly endless stream of creative ideas would flow from his guitar as easily as you or I might write a grocery list. “Cabin Fever” is an album of very informal recordings that capture Lenny’s genius in a unique and intimate manner that is a joy to listen to. The album is best experienced as a whole, but this Cole Porter standard happens to be my favorite part.
Julian Lage – “Where or When”
Julian Lage brings a plethora of influences that give his solo guitar work a sound that is uniquely his. His rendition of this great Rodgers and Hart tune is certainly no exception. Julian’s fluency in jazz harmony is front and center, but the simple fact that he chose a 1939 Martin 000-18 guitar gives the performance a folk quality that is warm and welcoming. At the same time, his world class proficiency on the instrument reminds me of listening to an Andrés Segovia recording. It’s a wonderful combination that I’m sure you will enjoy.
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