Resolutions for jazz in the new year

As we head into the new year, I decided to take a look back at some of the things I saw dominate discussion as it relates to jazz over the last year, and I must say, I have no issue with many of them never being discussed again.

I know that the topic of finding a way to revitalize the commercial success and popularity of jazz is certainly nothing new. However in 2012, it seemed that many found it necessary to anoint two musicians as saviors for jazz in the mainstream. Bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding beat out pop child Justin Bieber for the 2011 Grammy for Best New Artist (much to the chagrin of 9 year old girls everywhere), and keyboardist Robert Glasper made a musical appearance on David Letterman. Following this, jazz bloggers and writers seemed to suggest that these two young musicians could attract the attention of more than just hardcore jazzheads, and in turn it would/could result in an increase in record sales, concert attendance, and overall acclaim for the jazz industry.

There are so many different things I want to say about this that I hardly even know where to start, but I will try my best.

For starters, I vaguely remember the same sort of suggestions being made when Norah Jones exploded on to the scene with her mega-hit Blue Note album Come Away With Me. I also remember the Herbie Hancock album River: The Joni Letters  winning the 2008 Grammy for Album of the Year, only the second jazz album ever to receive that honor, and writers suggesting that this would launch jazz back into the mainstream.

The recognition that Norah Jones and Herbie Hancock received benefited two musicians: Norah Jones and Herbie Hancock. I have yet to see any evidence that those who ended up purchasing their albums or hearing their music all of a sudden made a huge genre switch in their listening patterns, or sought out other musicians from the jazz genre. In fact (and I have no evidence to support this, only a very strong gut feeling), I would be willing to bet that if you took a poll of 100 jazz musicians, 99 of them would say, without hesitation, that the attention Norah and Herbie received did literally nothing to increase the work or sales for the rest of the musicians in the jazz industry.

Now, somehow, Spalding and Glasper are the fresh faces, and once again, writers are holding them up on high. These two musicians appealed to the mainstream because they produced music with crossover appeal (not to mention that they are young, attractive, and hip). Many jazz musicians (in fact, I would say the majority), either have no interest in producing “crossover” music that appeals to those that might not particularly be attracted to mainstream jazz, or have struggled for years to find out exactly how to create that appealing crossover sound.

What we need to do is be honest. People that have listened to rap, rock and country don’t just wake up one day and decide that today is the day they start listening to jazz. And there isn’t a young, attractive crossover musician that can appear on a late night talk show that will make them do that. While I share the concern with others about jazz radio stations disappearing, record labels dropping their jazz musicians, and jazz musicians in general struggling to get work, trying to attract people through Esperanza and Glasper is not the way to go.

There is no magic bean to make jazz commercially successful again. Those who are going to enjoy it will enjoy it, and those who wont enjoy it wont. But if that is your concern, bloggers, writers, and critics, then there are a few things you can always do to help.

For starters, try taking a friend (or six) to a show. And then another show, and then another show. These shows can be cheap, yet you kill two birds with one stone. You are still financially supporting these musicians with your cover charge, and you are exposing others to their music. Try purchasing albums (especially by jazz musicians who are still living) rather than having your jazz collection be made up entirely of records sent to you for free by labels for review or airplay.

Regardless, I would love this year for writers to be more focused on good, quality music rather than discussions on what pretty face is going to save jazz this year.

On a different note…

I was more or less over reading the writings and Twitter posts of Nicholas Payton, but I was way more over reading the thoughts and responses to Nicholas Payton by everybody else. I may not care for or agree with all of the stuff Payton wrote over the last year, but it is crazy how much people tried to analyze it dissect it. The worst part about it was people deciding on their own exactly why he was writing it. Who cares? Maybe his is mad, maybe he isn’t. But with all the crap that people write on the internet, why does a trumpeter get so much attention and is so scrutinized for it? Politicians and professional athletes barely have their “controversial” public thoughts and comments gone over with such a fine tooth comb.

I will say that one of the best things that Payton wrote this last year was An Open Letter to Branford Marsalis. I didn’t just like this post because he took Branford to task, but because he supported his ideas academically. His arguments were well thought out, his tone was calm, and he used great quotes to support his opinion. Whether you agree with a person or not, this is a great example of how someone should present their side in an argument. Just like in any real life debate, people respond much better to logic and facts rather than anger and yelling.

There are plenty of other things for me to rant about (like how I am convinced that one major jazz blogger is insistent on creating a “best of” list at the end of each year, this year no exception, filled with albums based on how obscure they are rather than if he really enjoys them). Instead, rather than focusing even more on the things I didn’t like about the jazz world from last year, I’m going to open up a new CD and focus on enjoying the jazz world more this year. Hopefully this year we can all focus less on the politics of the music, and focus more on the music itself.

Enough with the search for a ‘Jazz Savior’

Every so often, a barrage of articles and blog posts come out claiming that jazz has found the musician or musicians that are going to “save” jazz. More often than not, these musicians are achieving some current commercial success and popularity among a broad audience outside of the typical “jazz head” community.

The newest jazz savior?

Recently, bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding and keyboardist Robert Glasper have been deemed the new saviors of jazz. Both are very talented instrumentalists, and it is very likely that neither of them, in their attempt to achieve as much popularity as possible, did it with motivation to save jazz from any sort of demise.

In fact, recent albums from the two that have received popularity might not even be translated as jazz to those who end up purchasing it. Spalding’s Radio Music Society might fall more under R&B, while Glasper’s Black Radio certainly demonstrates strong elements of hip-hop.

Who or what exactly are we saving jazz from?

It might be accurate to say that mainstream popularity of jazz ended when people stopped filling the halls to dance to the latest big band hits.

But, does it make sense to ask: Did bebop save jazz as the Big Band Era declined? Did then Brubeck and Getz save jazz after that? How about fusion in the ’70s?

Return to Forever certainly filled the venues. Then there was Grover Washington Jr., Bob James, and the Crusaders. How about Wynton Marsalis? Did he save jazz?

Kenny G sold 75 million albums (somehow). Was his commercial success a saving grace for jazz, even though most jazz purists can’t stand him? You might laugh at that last one, but in a 2010 article in the Pittsburgh Courier, the author actually asked if smooth jazz was the savior of traditional jazz.

Is it ‘real jazz’? Does it even make sense to ask?

I honestly can’t come up with a better idea of what saving jazz means other than commercial success by a current artist appealing to a broad audience. It certainly doesn’t hurt if that audience is young and trendy and is happy buying albums in mass quantity. If so, then it appears that popularity is the road to saving jazz, regardless of the actual music.

I’m not going to get into whether or not the current works of Glasper and Spalding qualify as “real jazz” or not, because frankly, it isn’t all that important. I will include, however, a segment from a very well written post on the blog Mostly Music. It addresses the same topic, and this particular segment from the posts references Robert Glasper’s recent appearance on Letterman:

“There is no way that Robert Glasper’s more mainstream piano trio would ever have been invited onto Letterman. It is precisely because the music he plays with his Experiment band is NOT jazz that it can have mainstream appeal.”

While I agree that Glasper’s trio wouldn’t have ever been invited to do The Late Show but a band featuring a rap vocalist with Glasper at the keys would because of mainstream appeal, I don’t particularly care what label you put on it. Nor do I feel that a professional musician who happens to record jazz needs to be deemed a savior of jazz simply because traditional jazz records don’t sell all that well anymore.

No savior necessary

I remember a line from The Blues Brothers movie when the band arrives at the bar for a performance and they ask what kind of music is played at that bar. The bar owner says:

We have both kinds of music: Country and Western.

While country music is the one genre of music that I overwhelmingly despise, it is a perfect example of a genre that handled change throughout time well. Sure, fans of old country music might hate modern country, and vice versa. But to the best of my knowledge, no musician was ever called upon to save the genre.

That should be the case here.

There doesn’t need to be conversations about jazz being saved, when it is difficult to explain what it even needs to be saved from. There doesn’t need to be ongoing debates about whether or not Esperanza Spalding and Robert Glasper truly are or are not actual jazz musicians.

What I believe allows a genre of music to continue to be produced (as I’ve said many times before) is quality and entertainment. If it is good and enjoyable, people will listen. If it isn’t, then they wont. No savior necessary. No appearances on Letterman required. That is, of course, as long as jazz musicians continue to produce quality, enjoyable music.

To suggest or believe that the “saving” of jazz will be a result of large-scale commercial album sales is to suggest that every genre of music needs to be saved since album sales overall continue to decline.

A jazz declaration

Jazz will not disappear because of lagging sales. Musicians, starting at a young age, will continue to learn it and perform it. Until the last talented jazz musician on earth decides to give up the craft, mainstream commercial album sales – and musicians who may or may not actually be playing jazz – do not need to be looked to to save anything.

‘Radio Music Society’ from Esperanza Spalding misses the mark

There is no doubt that Esperanza Spalding is riding a high. Last year she became the  first jazz musician to ever win the Grammy Award for Best New Artist (sorry, Justin Bieber). Her last album, Chamber Music Society, peaked at number one on the Billboard jazz charts.

So, her popularity is at an all-time high, and the Portland-raised bassist and vocalist seems ready to take her talents to the next level.

Hipsters that feel that you are supposed to like Esperanza Spalding and her music for no other reason than it is Esperanza Spalding and her music will disagree with me, but her new release, Radio Music Society (Concord Jazz, March 20,2012) doesn’t meet expectations.

Spalding assembles a variety of fantastic musicians to take part in Radio Music Society, including the likes of Joe Lovano, Leo Genovese, Terri Lyne Carrington, Jack DeJohnette,  Billy Hart, Jef Lee Johnson, Lionel Loueke, Algebra Blessett, Lalah Hathaway and Gretchen Parlato. Additionally, the album offers those who purchase it the ability to download music videos for each song.

Grooves lack depth

There was no shortage of hard work that went into this album. The compositions and arrangements are certainly creative and thoughtful, and Spalding reminds us that she is one hell of a bass player on both electric and acoustic.

But from the opening track, Radio Song, throughout the finish, I am left needing more. Songs like Radio Song and the Stevie Wonder tune I Can’t Help It are arranged to supply a deep groove, but the grooves that you want, that you could drive a car into, simply aren’t deep enough.

While I felt that in previous albums that Spalding’s voice was  presented like an instrument that was part of the group, here it most certainly takes the lead. And once again, there is no lack of effort or creativity when it comes to her singing. However this may be a case where too much effort and creativity could likely be the problem. The songwriting is average at best, but perhaps seemingly due to trying too hard.

Take out the vocals?

Complex is not always better, and one mistake that can easily be made is to think that the listener cares more about ability and complexity than the simple ability to understand what is being sung and if it sounds enjoyable or memorable. Spalding’s lyrics put to the Wayne Shorter song Endangered Species might be a good example of this.

I remember an established vocalist telling me that a truly talented vocalist best communicates the song they are singing by making the song personal and expressing that emotion through their voice. If the lyrics in the songs on Radio Music Society are personal to Spalding, that gets lost in translation to the listener. I would love to hear an all-instrumental album from Spalding, or at least something with minimal vocals where she can further explore her wonderful talents on the bass.

Following the Grammy win last year, and the minimal odds that a record company would agree to that, we likely wont see that any time soon.

“Now in Stores” XVII

Here are five more recent jazz releases worth giving a listen to:

1. Radio Music Society by Esperanza Spalding (Heads Up – March 20, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY

It has not taken Esperanza Spalding long to emerge as one of the brightest lights in the musical world. Listeners familiar with her stunning 2008 Heads Up International debut, Esperanza, and her best-selling 2010 release Chamber Music Society, were well aware that the young bassist, vocalist and composer from Portland, Oregon was the real deal, with a unique and style-spanning presence, deeply rooted in jazz yet destined to make her mark far beyond the jazz realm. That judgment was confirmed on February 13, 2011, when Spalding became the first jazz musician to receive the GRAMMY® Award for Best New Artist. With the release of Radio Music Society, her most diverse, ambitious and masterful recital yet. Each of the 12 songs are accompanied by conceptual music videos, which further express Esperanza’s inspiration and story behind each track. Shot in various locations including New York City; Barcelona, Spain; and Portland, Oregon; all videos will be available to purchasers of Radio Music Society as a digital download or a DVD on the deluxe version.

2. Accelerando by Vijay Iyer (Act Music & Vision – March 13, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Accelerando sees Vijay Iyer and his telepathic trio mates bassist Stephen Crump and drummer
Marcus Gilmore light up material that ranges from a brace of bold originals and pieces by great jazz composers to surprising interpretations of vintage pop and funk tunes.

3. Floratone II by Bill Frisell (Savoy Jazz, March 6, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY

On Floratone II, Frisell and original members (Matt Chamberlin, Tucker Martine, Lee Townsend) build on the successful concept that NPR proclaimed ‘the most riveting instrumental music to emerge this year. The original Floratone project was released on Blue Note in 2007 and was hailed as one of the best records of the year by jazz and mainstream outlets alike As one jazz’s most prolific and beloved artists, Bill Frisell continues his award-winning streak with yet another stunning body of work on Savoy Jazz.

4. The Well by Tord Gustavsen Trio (ECM Records – February 7, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY

First and foremost it was a very natural process for me. After the release of “Restored, Returned” we did some touring with the full quintet line-up and some touring as a quartet, but the quartet was the formation that kept developing the best as an ensemble. So it felt logical to keep that momentum and to write and build a repertoire for the quartet. Also it is a group of musicians that I really like to travel with and really like to play with, so it has over the past two or three years definitely developed into my main formation for touring.There are definitely strong parallels between playing with Tore and playing with a singer in that Tore is really a strong melodic thinker. He never plays too much. He is extremely into the lyrical side of the themes. And his phrasing is really singing. The way I interact with Tore is very much the same combination of supporting and challenging as you use with singers. But in the relationship between saxophone and piano it is natural to enter even more flexibly in and out of foreground and background roles, whereas the singer’s role almost by definition is in the foreground. Kristin Asbjørnsen did some very beautiful ensemble singing without words on our previous album – and when she does that it is just the same democratic interchange of musical flow as it is with an instrumentalist – but still a singer with words will always be more to the front. So with a sax player it is easier to be flexible in terms of changing roles or changing places within the ensemble.

5. The Continents: Concerto for Jazz Quintet & Chamber Orchestra by Chick Corea (Deutsche Grammophon – February 7, 2012) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Making music for a combination of orchestral musicians and jazz musicians has end-less possibilities. Appreciation for the abilities each has for the other makes for an atmosphere charged with high interest, creative communication and new ideas. This was the setting for the composing and recording of The Continents for me, a dream come true. The process of making the recording was magical. The morale of the musicians plus the recording team was so high that we finished recording the six movements of the concerto a day and a half under schedule. After saying goodbyes to the orchestra musicians, the Quintet had an impromptu jam just for fun. Of course, the recorder was on. I then had the next evening to record some piano solo bits that I thought would fit the cadenza sections of the concerto. After recording those, I felt there was still something incomplete about The Continents recording. So I decided to try to get to what it was by improvising on the piano by myself I felt that the basic material was somehow lacking something was missing.

“Now in Stores” XVI

“Now in Stores” XV

“Now in Stores” XIV

“Now in Stores” XIII

“Now in Stores” XII

“Now in Stores” XI

“Now in Stores” X

“Now In Stores” IX

“Now In Stores” VIII

“Now In Stores” VII

Now in Stores (Late May, June, and July)

“Now in Stores” – 5/16/2010 to 5/22/2010

“Now in Stores” – 5/2/2010 to 5/8/2010

Now in Stores” – 4/25/2010 to 5/1/2010

“Now in Stores” – 4/18/2010 t0 4/24/2010

“Now In Stores” – 5 Noteworthy Jazz Albums Released this Week (4/11/2010-4/17/10)

“Now In Stores” VIII

Here are five more recent jazz releases worth giving a listen to:

1. Chamber Music Society by Esperanza Spalding (Heads Up – August 17, 2010) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Centuries ago, long before the advent of radio or recording technology, chamber music was the music for the masses – the music in which people from nearly every segment of society could find meaning and relevance. A decade into the 21st century, Esperanza Spalding – the bassist, vocalist and composer who first appeared on the jazz scene in 2008 – takes a contemporary approach to this once universal form of entertainment with Chamber Music Society.

Backed by drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and pianist Leo Genovese – and inspired by the classical training of her younger years – Esperanza creates a modern chamber music group that combines the spontaneity and intrigue of improvisation with sweet and angular string trio arrangements. The result is a sound that weaves the innovative elements of jazz, folk and world music into the enduring foundations of classical music.

“So much of my early musical experience was spent playing chamber music on the violin, and it’s a form of music that I’ve always loved,” says Esperanza. “I was very inspired by a lot of classical music, and chamber music in particular. I’m intrigued by the concept of intimate works that can be played and experienced among friends in an intimate setting. So I decided to create my version of contemporary chamber music, and add one more voice to that rich history.”

Chamber Music Society is a place where connoisseurs of classical music and jazz devotees – and fans of other musics as well – can find common ground. The recording offers a chamber music for modern times – one that brings together people of different perspectives and broadens their cultural experience, just as it did in an earlier age.

Esperanza first took the world by storm in 2008 with her self-titled debut recording that spent more than 70 weeks on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart. Two years later, she continues to push the boundaries of jazz and explore the places where it intersects with other genres. Co-produced by Esperanza and Gil Goldstein, Chamber Music Society surrounds Esperanza with a diverse assembly of musicians. At the core are pianist Leo Genovese, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and percussionist Quintino Cinalli. The string trio is comprised of violinist Entcho Todorov, violist Lois Martin, cellist David Eggar and Gretchen Parlato on voice. The great Milton Nascimento also makes a guest appearance on one track.

This is the work of a brilliant young musical talent who isn’t afraid to challenge the limits of jazz and its relationship to other forms of musical expression. Chamber Music Society is the first of two current Esperanza projects. Radio Music Society, set for release in the spring of 2011, features an exciting new repertoire of funk, hip-hop, and rock elements fused into songs that are free from genre. “I’m confident that this music will touch people,” she says of Chamber Music Society. “We all want to hear sincerity and originality in music, and anyone can recognize and appreciate when love and truth are transmitted through art. No matter what else has or hasn’t been achieved on this recording, those things are definitely a part of this music. Those are the things I really want to deliver.”

2. Mirror by Charles Lloyd (ECM Records – September 14, 2010) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Many critics have opined that Lloyd’s “New Quartet”, with Jason Moran, Reuben Rogers and Eric Harland may be the best of all his groups. The quartet’s previous release in this line-up, the live-recorded Rabo de Nube, met with across-the-board approval and was voted #1 album of the year in both the Critics and Readers Polls of JazzTimes.

Mirror is the first studio album by the Lloyd-Moran-Rogers-Harland unit and it features beautiful, transformed versions of favorites including both Lloyd originals and tunes Charles has made his own over the years. There is a pair of Thelonious Monk tunes, “Ruby, My Dear” and “Monk’s Mood”, as well as hymns and traditionals including “Go Down Moses”, “Lift Every Voice And Sing”, and “The Water Is Wide”. Lloyd covers Brian Wilson’s’ “Caroline, No” (the saxophonist guested on several Beach Boys albums in the 70s, including the classic “Surf’s Up”), and plays an achingly lovely version of the the standard “I Fall In Love Too Easily”. Lloyd originals include “Desolation Sound”, “Mirror”, “Tagi” (which includes a Bhagavad Gita inspired spoken-word meditation by Lloyd) and “Being and Becoming”.

The band plays superbly. Interaction between Jason Moran and the elastic rhythm section of Harland and Rogers is agile and alert in every moment. While each of these three players is completely in tune with Lloyd’s way of working, none of them had yet been born when Charles had his idiomatic breakthrough with “Forest Flower” in 1967. Moran recalls that his father encouraged him to listen to Forest Flower when he was just starting to check out jazz, and the album was part of the soundtrack of his childhood.

There is plenty of Lloyd’s graceful, mellifluous and poetic tenor sax: We also get to hear some of his rarely-showcased alto saxophone, the instrument that Billy Higgins called Charles’s “secret weapon”.

“Charles is playing really beautiful,” Ornette Coleman says, in the documentary film The Monk and the Mermaid. “He’s expressing the qualities of what we experience. Trying to make a contribution to the quality of life, to do with knowledge.” The knowledge, experience, and wisdom conveyed through Lloyd’s tender saxophone soliloquies have drawn great musicians to him over the decades, and contributed to a reputation as one of the most insightful band leaders in all of jazz. Those qualities are reflected once more in Mirror, which is perhaps as succinct a portrait of Charles’ music as can be embraced by a single disc.

“Charles approaches the music with such openness”, pianist Jason Moran said recently “I like playing with leaders who let you bring what you’ve got to the table, and interpret the music however you’d like. Charles is a great promoter of free-thinking music, and letting it develop on the spot.”

Reuben Rogers was born in the Virgin Islands and grew up listening to calypso and reggae as well as jazz, exposure that seems to have impacted on the lyrical dancing swing of his bass playing. He works exceptionally well with Harland, exploring loose grooves behind Lloyd’s solos, and speaks of the joy of “being in the music in the moment,” when the Lloyd band is improvising collectively, “without any worries, just giving it all.” A much sought after sideman, Reuben has also worked extensively with Nicholas Payton, Joshua Redman, Dianne Reeves and more.

Eric Harland is increasingly regarded as one of the most important contemporary jazz drummers. In addition to his work with Lloyd in the quartet and in the Sangam trio (with Zakir Hussain) he has played and recorded with McCoy Tyner, Pharoah Sanders, Greg Osby, Dave Holland and many others.

3. Beautiful Dreamers by Bill Frisell (Savoy Label Group – August 31, 2010) CLICK HERE TO BUY

For a long time I’d had the dream of making a trio with Eyvind Kang and Rudy Royston. We’ve known each other for years and worked together in many situations. The idea came about as a result of the power and strength of the connection that happens when we play music together. It wasn’t about the instruments, it was about the people. We played our first gig on June 7, 2008 in Eugene, Oregon and from the first note, it was working. Each time we get together the music feels new…..and old. Backwards and forwards. Up and down. Anything is possible. I can’t wait to hear what happens next. Of course, the next thing on my mind was wishing, hoping we could make an album together of new music. I went to my friend Lee Townsend. Anyone familiar with my music needs no introduction to Lee. Over more than 20 years he has produced many of my albums. We were working together on another project at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley CA. and I started noticing the size, shape, sound, vibe of the room there. It was like it had been custom designed. The perfect set up and atmosphere to record this trio. The next thing I knew, we were in there recording and Savoy came along and wanted to put out the record! I’m so fortunate having the chance to play music with Eyvind and Rudy and having an audience willing to go along for the latest adventure. I’m the luckiest guy in the world being surrounded by all these folks who have so much faith and trust in the music, helping me to make my dreams come true. Beautiful dreamers.

4. Never Stop by The Bad Plus (E1 Entertainment – September 14, 2010) CLICK HERE TO BUY

For the past ten years The Bad Plus Reid Anderson on bass, Ethan Iverson on piano and David King on drums have created an uncompromising body of work by shattering musical convention. Rolling Stone called their amalgam of jazz, pop, rock and avant garde about as badass as highbrow gets, while The New York Times said the band is better than anyone at mixing the sensibilities of post- 60s jazz and indie rock. Few jazz groups in recent memory have amassed such acclaim, and few have generated as much controversy while audaciously bucking musical trends.

Ten years together is a milestone we chose to mark with a set of originals, said Iverson. The new album, NEVER STOP, is a ten-track set, the group s first album of all-original material, strictly an instrumental affair and a collection whose live groove belies its studio origins. It s a rapid-fire succession of engaging performances showcasing the band’s range as well as its three distinct personalities. From gentle and melodic to fierce and abstract, from swing to 80s techno, NEVER STOP does just what the title says: it keeps rolling and flowing, a kinetic playground of new sounds.

With a year-long anniversary tour planned for 2010-2011, The Bad Plus is ready to solidify its status as the go-to band for the ultimate in jazz and beyond. You re going to have to deal with us some time or another,” says Iverson. “We re never going to stop.

5. Providencia by Danilo Perez (Mack Avenue – August 31, 2010) CLICK HERE TO BUY

Danilo Perez’ debut on Mack Ave Records is deeply anticipated by the critical community and while that level of near-academic excitement exists, it is vital to remember that this music is truly moving on visceral, physical and emotional planes. In a nutshell – and from the artist himself – Providencia crosses streams of jazz, classical and Latin American folk music, which Perez refers to as ‘hearing music in three dimensions.’ The title track itself is buoyed by pulsating Latin rhythms and an enticing vocalizes foray. While there is no doubt that talent and technique abound on this record – in Danilo’s facile fingers and players – a great heart also resides in the compositions and performances. The birth of his daughters and his ongoing commitment to education and social change through music spark his desire to make music that matters – music for all to enjoy and hopefully draw inspiration from its vivacity. ‘Daniela’s Chronicles’ is part of an ongoing symphony he’s writing for his daughter and ‘Cobilla’ is a title she contributed to one of the CD’s tunes, a challenging yet playful exploration. This is well worth the 25 years Danilo claims it took for him to create this exemplary music – only you have to set aside an hour to partake in its fruits.

“Now In Stores” VII

Now in Stores (Late May, June, and July)

“Now in Stores” – 5/16/2010 to 5/22/2010

“Now in Stores” – 5/2/2010 to 5/8/2010

Now in Stores” – 4/25/2010 to 5/1/2010

“Now in Stores” – 4/18/2010 t0 4/24/2010

“Now In Stores” – 5 Noteworthy Jazz Albums Released this Week (4/11/2010-4/17/10)