Chris Walden Big Band – Full-On!


Originally posted on Smooth Jazz Daily:

The title says it all. Full-On! (Origin Records, 2014), by the Chris Walden Big Band, is a full-on thriller for fans of this style of music.

Walden has done orchestral arrangements for mainstream pop stars like Stevie Wonder and Neil Young, as well as jazz artists such as Michael Buble and Diana Krall. When he’s not doing that, he’s doing this. Full-On! features six original songs, including one co-written by Walden with Courtney Fortune, and Walden’s arrangements of several genre-crossing selections: pop, standards, country and jazz.

The band consists of Jeff Driskell, Bob Sheppard, Rob Lockart, Brandon Fields, Tom Peterson and (two tracks only) Kim Richmond, saxes; Wayne Bergeron, Kye Palmer, Ron King and Kevin Richardson, trumpets; Bob McChesney, Alex Iles, Paul Young, Rich Bullock and (two tracks only) Andy Martin, trombones; Mitch Holder and (“Sir Duke”) Andrew Synowiec, guitars; Alan Steinberger, piano and keyboard; Kenny Wild, bass; Ray…

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Robin Eubanks and Mental Images: Get 2 It


Originally posted on Jazz You Too:

Eubanks is for jazz lovers a family name that comprises a trombone player, Robin, a trumpet player, Duane and a guitar player, Kevin. Robin uses electronics to add some warmth to the jazz world, showing a solid respect for the tradition and at the same time exploring new ways of expression.

robin eubanks

Track Listing: Metamorphos, Get 2 It, Essie, REM State, Blues For Jimi, Cross Currents, RNB-First Take, Sabanna, House Of Jade, Reunion, Indo, Audio Notes

Personnel: Robin Eubanks, trombone; Duane Eubanks, trumpet; Kevin Eubanks, guitar; George Colligan, Michael Cain, piano, organ; Lonnie Plaxico, Dave Holland, bass; Gene Jackson, Billy Kilson, drums; Mino Cinelo, percussion; Maya Azucena, vocals

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PASTORAL ELEGANCE: CHRIS DAWSON at FILOLI (August 8, 2014)


Originally posted on JAZZ LIVES:

Last August, I was privileged to watch another of Mike Lipskin’s Stride Summits, this one at the gorgeously pastoral Filoli in California, part of their jazz series.

Here are four performances from that afternoon, featuring the remarkable Chris Dawson.  (I will be sharing other performances by Mike and by Dick Hyman — now 87 — in future postings.)

Honoring Teddy Wilson, Chris offers a lightly orchestral style — always mobile, always swinging, but with an elegant classical restraint balanced against an essential gaiety. The music is dense but appears crystalline.  The astute listener will also hear he is not bound by older harmonic conventions (as in the coda Chris creates for IT HAD TO BE YOU).  I hear subtle hints of Waller, Hines, Tatum, Nat Cole — but the sound Chris gets from a piano is singular and recognizable.  And the result is floating melodies in a wonderful pastoral setting.

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