Carmel DeSoto
JMA Jazz Reviewer ·
Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 5 days ago

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13 reviews/ratings
SCOTT REEVES - Portraits & Places Progressive Big Band | review permalink
GENE ESS - Absurdist Theater Classic Fusion | review permalink
COREY KENDRICK - Rootless Post Bop | review permalink
TROY ROBERTS - Tales & Tones Post Bop | review permalink
TONY LUSTIG - Taking Flight Hard Bop | review permalink
LARRY CORBAN - Corban Nation Hard Bop | review permalink
GREG HATZA - The Greg Hatza ORGANization : Diggin up My Roots Soul Jazz | review permalink
CAROL MORGAN - Post Cool Vol. 1: The Night Shift Post Bop | review permalink
BILLY CHILDS - Rebirth Post Bop | review permalink
LEIGH PILZER - Strunkin’ Hard Bop | review permalink
MAC GOLLEHON - Mac Gollehon & The Hispanic Mechanics Latin Rock/Soul | review permalink
REBECCA KILGORE - Moonshadow Dance Vocal Jazz | review permalink
CHRIS ZIEMBA - Manhattan Lullaby Post Bop | review permalink

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Post Bop 5 4.60
2 Hard Bop 3 4.50
3 Latin Rock/Soul 1 4.00
4 Classic Fusion 1 5.00
5 Progressive Big Band 1 5.00
6 Soul Jazz 1 4.50
7 Vocal Jazz 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews


Live album · 2016 · Hard Bop
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Robust tonality, and clearly articulated lines are what you can expect from this baritone horn player. Though this is Pilzer’s debut offering, it is a long awaited one. A regular member of the DIVA Jazz Orchestra and a member of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, and Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes. Pilzer has already enjoyed countless performances and touring opportunities with SJMO, DIVA, and the National Symphony Orchestra, she has toured across the United States and in Austria, Canada, Croatia, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Holland, and Russia. She also freelances with a variety of ensembles in the mid-Atlantic region.

Her debut album Strunkin’ is a wonderful collection of straight-ahead originals that swing with a deep rooted historical understanding of the tradition. Each player is a centered and focused player in their own right, but together, they exhibit and unit prowess that locks very tightly.

The title track begins with a harmonized melody between bari, trombone and arco bass, creating an immediate signal to the listener they are in for a be-bop journey. Pilzer uses her entire horn range with ease and digs deep into the low notes as Sherrie Maricle swings hard, and Jackie Warren comps with well-placed ideas to create a fabric that weaves nicely with bassist Amy Shook. If you are sitting still at this point, please check your pulse, you might need to be revived. Krupa weighs in with an inspired solo, dipping and loping with curvatures and command, then weighing in with quick witted lines, searing and soaring.

“Brag Time,” offers a slinky ala Fever type groove – it is sensuous and seductive and the group sells it nicely. On this tune, Maricle’s drumming is in full display; and you are quickly treated to why she is such a lauded drummer. Warren is front and center on this one, and her fingers glide across the keys not only with nimble agility, but with soul for miles. Trombonist, Jen Krupa offers up a saucy muted solo, honestly equal, if not better than many of her male counterparts in the industry.

Another highlight is “Duel at Dawn.” A contrafact of Donna Lee, which begins with Maricle swinging the brushes and joined by Krupa, eloquently improvising, then joined by the solid bass playing of Shook, who swings like a timeclock with soulfulness. Pilzer creates counterpoint lines to Krupa, then an answer and call type approach, landing into a harmonized melody. Pilzer is a generous leader, each tune is about the tune itself, she gives each musician their highlight depending on the tune. Truly it’s about the group sound and the overall success of the tune that is at stake here. This tune features an almost Nawlins vibe as the it progresses; joyful, fun and filled with many wild adventures.

One point I kept forgetting was, this is a live recording, the sound was outstanding and it reminded me how amazing these players really are. Can I say it - basically this album is a live clam-less recording, these ladies are tight and on the mark. The chemistry is unmatched and the audience response shows it. Hot damn, well done ladies this offering is smoking.


Album · 2017 · Post Bop
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Since his first recordings of the 1980s, Billy Childs has developed into a individual and notable composer. An accomplished symphonic writer, he has also created a career’s worth of jazz originals that speak volumes for themselves.

Recently signing onto Mack Avenue’s roster, this marks his debut with the label. His album Rebirth, finds Childs reaching back to the start of his almost astoundingly varied musical career.

“Tightrope” features a immediate recognition of Child’s innate love of classical music. While Childs devotees will recognize three tunes from his Windham Hill tenure of the 1980s: “Stay,” “Backwards Bop” and “Starry Night.” All are featured with a freshened recasting to reflect his continued journey as an exploratory artist. While his compositions and orchestrations have taken Childs into a realm that transcends jazz venues, still in nature Childs is the total sum of his experiences all rooted in jazz.

The rhythmic expression of “Backwards Bop” and “Dance of Shiva” tap into his jazz pedigree developed by J.J. Johnson and Freddie Hubbard as a young member in their groups for his musical upbringing. Childs expands “When Eric Harland’s drums not only push the ensemble along, but fire back at the players in challenging ways, it’s not hard to imagine the creative tension of the Hubbard and Johnson performances.”

"The Starry Night" sets up with a dreamy piano foray, while Steve Wilson’s soprano sax blasts off into the stratosphere like an exploding star of sound. His solo is divinely keen and Childs and Wilson set the tone for a profound journey, as exhibited in "The Windmills Of Your Mind" an intense composition filled with deep colors and textures While Horace Silver’s “Peace” settles the listener into a duo take of piano and saxophone, for a serene moment.

What is so unique about Rebirth is it allows the listener to see the full picture of Childs abilities, whether attracted by his composing, his arranging or his sheer command on piano, the listener is treated to a Rebirth. A long look at a continued journey, and one that is taking a turn towards all of his talents in one release. Truly his tour de force in his immense discography.

CAROL MORGAN Post Cool Vol. 1: The Night Shift

Album · 2017 · Post Bop
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Carol Morgan is a jazz trumpeter, composer, educator and author who resides in NYC. Originally from Texas, she is a Juilliard graduate who has worked with many remarkable teachers including Chris Gekker, Mark Gould, Ingrid Jensen, and Dennis Dotson.

Carol’s discography includes six CDs as a leader. The much-anticipated POST COOL (2017) is a return to the Carol Morgan Quartet flavor of her celebrated Blue Glass Music. As a composer, she has been commissioned by DiverseWorks, the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble, the Arch-diocese of Houston/Galveston and St. Thomas Presbyterian Church, Houston. In 2008, Carol authored what is now a highly-regarded method for jazz improvisation--a textbook entitled The Practicing Improviser.

Post Cool is a definitive calling card for Morgan, her warm and inviting round trumpet sound is uniquely identifiable from the first notes and is what continues to uplift Morgan among trumpet players of this era. Uniquely tasteful in her note choices and approach, Morgan is an excellent foil to her compadres namely Joel Frahm: tenor sax; Martin Wind: bass; and Matt Wilson: drums; the quartet is a dream team of jazz in a post-cool era.

“Strolling” kicks off the festivities with an easy going swing that features Morgan and Frahm in a counterpoint approach. The melody is wistful and Frahm executes a solo that is chalk full of arpeggios and skillful sets, building a likeable interest for the listener. Morgan’s quick runs, offset by tasteful elongated lines builds the solo with tension and release. Wind and Wilson show their salt with inventive rhythms and dynamism that adds to the elevation of swing and sound.

The classic “Night in Tunisia” is given a respectful run, with Wilson creating interesting rhythm textures, while Morgan sticks to the melody and Frahm creates interesting accompaniment dialog under Morgan. The take is reverential, yet interesting enough to be an original version, not just a rehash.

Two originals adorn this offering, one by Morgan “Night,” and the other by Frahm “Song for Mom,” both full of beauty and depth. Morgan’s tune has dark chocolatey notes dripping with highs and lows, Martin Wind’s bass solo is filled with anticipation and beauty. On Frahm’s tune, a lilting melody is presented, and you can almost hear the story of mom unfold through the music. Frahm’s sax is commanding and full of passion, as he digs into the story with his horn. Morgan in toe also creates impassioned lines and fire. The group pushes to the climax of the song while Morgan creates the beauty in the accompaniment on this tune for Frahm, who holds the melody role. One would expect nothing less from Morgan but a fruitful beauty that lingers long past the listen, and once again this trumpeter has delivered. Another gleaming win in an ever-growing discography of potency. Highly recommended.

TROY ROBERTS Tales & Tones

Album · 2017 · Post Bop
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Saxophonist Troy Roberts lives up to his reputation as one of the leading young saxophonists on the scene today. A regular member of The Jeff “Tain” Watts Quartet, The Jeff “Tain” Watts Blue 5, and the newest member of Joey DeFrancesco’s new quartet, The People. Roberts’ seventh record as a leader, Tales & Tones (Inner Circle Music) is smokin'.

Nine songs adorn this new offering, and the ensemble sports a who’s, who of today’s jazz greats including Silvano Monasterios on piano, Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums together with longtime friend on bass, Robert Hurst. The instinctive dynamism from this ensemble is profound as Troy Roberts puts his pen to the paper and challenges his fellow musicians with creative, and well-conceived ideas. In their hands these musicians put forth depth and clarity of steadfast moods and tonal colors. The tempo of each song is varied, from swingin hardness to soft playful introspection. Offering the listener deliberate, yet vivid rhythmic journey’s through Roberts visionary ideas. Tales & Tones focuses on the chronicle aspect of Roberts’ playing while it also highlights his ability with reed instruments.

The soundscape traverses, an almost patchwork of the most beautiful quilt you have ever seen. Stitched together with plaintive reflective pieces such as “Rivera Mountain” where Watts shows his mastery to create time, space and texture while Hurst creates the connection of sound and movement with his supportive, warm sound. Roberts reacts to the nuances and push and pull created by Watts and Hurst. Pianist Monasterios, presents a laid back buoyant touch that deepens the beauty of Roberts soprano solo. The ensemble is supportive of the overall group sound, each understanding the partnership of the journey. I was especially taken with Billy Strayhorn’s “Take The ‘A’ Train,” the ensemble kicks off with an almost train sound calling the listener aboard, with creative embellishments to the melody; the group truly makes this their own unique take. Filled with swinging tempo changes, it’s a narrative to how well-worn standards such as this can still be given a freshened life while still showing respect. “Cotu Chi, Chi, Chi,” a Roberts original displays mature finesse, giving the ensemble an opportunity to open up the throttle and exhibit the restrained gravitas of seasoned players that makes jazz a prime listen. In the hands of this ensemble the high paced, high flying tune is bold and Roberts sound is big, brazen and focused. With no hesitation, he expresses and builds his solo with glowing dynamism.

A group of players each in their own careers, known to be robust players – now coming together, offer a deeper grasp of sound. They interlock so tightly, yet so respectfully you, instantly recognize the comradery and care of the journey together, which creates a depth and breadth of the experience. Well done, highly recommended listen.

GREG HATZA The Greg Hatza ORGANization : Diggin up My Roots

Album · 2017 · Soul Jazz
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A native of Reading, Pennsylvania, Greg Hatza’s musical instincts came to him as early and as naturally as the ability to walk, around age four he began formal lessons. The Hammond B-3 became his life’s obsession as a teenager. Because there were no jazz organ instructors at the time, Greg was largely self-taught, picking up most of his insider knowledge from the organ players at jam sessions at a local club called the Grand Hotel. It was the Grand that Baltimore Colts football great and jazz fan Lenny Moore asked the teenager to perform at a club he was opening in Baltimore. Moore became Greg’s manager and Baltimore became Greg’s home. The organist played at the club for four years and was something of a young jazz lion himself, recording two albums for MCA subsidiary label Coral Records, The Wizardry of Greg Hatza and Organized Jazz.

In the late sixties, Baltimore was still an organ town and had its share of great players. It was here that Greg really got a chance to hone his jazz organ skills by playing with the best musicians in town. Lenny’s club was a great stopping point for national jazz artists who came to Baltimore to perform. It was here that Greg met his mentor Jimmy Smith and got to play with him. Smith later advised Greg on his soon to be recorded albums. He also met and got to play in jam sessions with such personalities as Kenny Burrell, Groove Holmes, Damita Joe, Philly Joe Jones, Roland Kirk, Les McCann, James Moody, and Sonny Stitt.

Greg Hatza’s formal education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Composition from the Peabody Conservatory and a Master’s from Towson State University, where he subsequently taught jazz, piano composition, improvisation and music theory for many years. He also performed with the Towson Jazz Faculty Quartet in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Diggin’ Up My Roots, is Hatza’s Lucky 13 album, featuring a greasy groovy good time. Hatza and his crew really serve up a rollicking good-time sound and the nord C2D Organ is steaming hot. The first cut is “Baltimore Strut,” it seems a fine tribute to his roots in Organ jazz/blues. A swingin’, deeply groovin’ sound that instantly sets the tone of what is to come. Saxophonist, Peter Fraize gives an outstanding solo with full throttle lines and a round warm sound. Guitarist, Brian Kooken digs in with jazz/blues lines that are soulful yet delicious jazz lines all sewn up into a canvas that allows organist Hatza to wail and shout atop, with quick building lines and trills, it’s the best of blues and jazz rolled into one, and if your pulse hasn’t jump started by now; check it – as I guarantee your feet are already moving.

Another pleaser in the mix is “High Healed Sneakers,” a mid -tempo slinky groove written by Robert Higginbotham and made famous by Tommy Tucker in 1964, the group definitely kept the original essence of the tune, and its authenticity rings through. Again, Fraize rails off a high-flying solo, with Kooken using a highly-sophisticated jazz/blues vocabulary in his note choices.

I have always had an affinity for “Back at the Chicken Shack” and Hatza has learned his history well, a Jimmy Smith classic, Hatza lays it out soulfully and with absolute authenticity. This organist truly grew up through the ranks, he is dripping with soulful elongated lines and links the lines between jazz, blues and soul with rarity of execution. Smith is a hard act to follow, but Hatza certainly is no slouch, and you can tell, he has put the time in the trenches to pull off this tune.

Overall, Diggin’ Up My Roots is a worthwhile offering that should stay in the forefront of your mind long after you take a listen. Hatza has created a lasting sound, and his ensemble of compadres, add to the depth of the overall enjoyment. A highly enjoyable release, that features an exceedingly tight group sound.

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