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Album Review: Major Influence from Graham Dechter

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Album:  Major Influence Artist:  Graham Dechter Label:  Capri Records Website:  https://www.grahamdechter.com https://www.caprirecords.com The smooth jazz trimmings of guitarist-bandleader Graham Dechter are aurally gratifying on his latest release Major Influence from Capri Records.  Geared for cultivated audiences, Dechter is accompanied by Tamir Hendelman on piano, John Clayton on bass, and Jeff Hamilton on drums. Influences of straight-ahead jazz are lodged in the rhythmic pattering of "Moonithology," as Hamilton's perky brushed strokes are pleated into the bopping pulse of Clayton's bass and Hendelman's twirling keys.  Dechter's guitar licks ignite a sizzle in the strutting riffs along "Minor Influence," imbuing the track with a bluesy smoothness.  Elements of smooth jazz are heard in the serene atmospherics of "Pure Imagination" and the bouncy guitar licks of "Reference."  The bopping beats of "Bent on Monk" perva

Album Review: Hermanos from Cortez-Williams Project

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Album:  Hermanos Artist:  Cortez-Williams Project Label: Blue Bamboo Music Website: https://bluebamboomusic.net/cortez-williams-project https://www.orlandoatplay.com/event/cortez-williams-project-4 The Latin flavors and nocturnal ambiences of guitarist Chris Cortez and percussionist/trumpet player Larry Williams are honed into a verdant field of feel good expressions throughout the duo's release Hermanos from the Blue Bamboo Music label.  From the sprightly gait of the title track, spruced in the frilly keys of pianist Bob Thornton, to the trundling stride of "Melody Makes It Happen," buttered in the bourbon tones of Dan Jordan's tenor saxophone, the recording serves listeners with a bounty of pleasing aesthetics. Williams's star-gazing twinkles scrolled on the trumpet give "Glorious!" a refined luster as Cortez's sensitive musings on the guitar burnish an introspective atmosphere.  The bossa nova sway of Williams's trumpet emblazes "Un Ped

Isolation Emancipation from Mace Francis Plus 11

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Album:  Isolation Emancipation Artist:  Mace Francis Plus 11 Label:  Self-Released Website:  http://macefrancis.com Trombonist and bandleader Mace Francis celebrates the virtuosity and uplifting spirit of big band music with his latest endeavor Isolation Emancipation .  Joining Francis is Plus 11, comprised of 11 musicians who stoke the embers of swing jazz, a timepiece that Francis believes is a bygone era though he proves its principle idioms transcend the ages.  Adorned in catchy rhythms and attractive harmonies, the music's appeal is noticeable from the start, crafting a slew of subliminal, melodic passages. The sinewy bursts of the brass and woodwinds, constituted of saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and Tahlia Denn on French Horn is bountiful, thrusting ardently while delightfully splayed across the title track.  Harry Mitchell's piano keys bolster a gleeful prance as the steady drumbeats of Bronton Ainsworth are partnered with the bopping pumps of Alistair Peel's bas

Album Review: Σymposium For Peace from George Nazos

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Album:  Σymposium For Peace Artist:  George Nazos Website:  https://www.georgenazos.com An agreeable mixture of folkloric jazz, ambient acoustics, and improvised phrasing, Σymposium For Peace from guitarist, composer and bandleader George Nazos is an enterprising venture.  Accompanied by Harvie S on bass, Joe Abba on drums and guest vocalist Tamuz Nissim, Nazos flexes his instinct for theatrical flourishes, threading chords that sow together into searing stories. Nazos's strumming tenderly treads across "I See You" brandishing an ambient texture that's bolstered by the light strokes of Abba's drums and soft throbbing of Harvie S's bass.   Nazos changes course on "Santie" displaying a nimble flutter that wields a folkoric twinkle, which transitions into the gentle glittering effects strewn across "Lonely Moon."  His guitar strings weave searing messages as though groping in the darkness, grasping for something in the distance and wandering

Album Review: Imaginary Worl from Randal Clark

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Album:  Imaginary World Artist:  Randal Clark Label:  Blue Hour Productions Website:  http://randalclarkmusic.com As a debut effort, Imaginary World from saxophonist, keyboardist, composer, and bandleader, Randal Clark is an exciting addition to the smooth jazz catalog.  Contributing to his outing are several seasoned artists including keyboardists Jeff Lorber and Scott Kinsey, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist Jimmy Haslip, and trumpet player Randy Brecker.  His support system is a dream team of jazz pop sophisticates and practitioners of the smooth jazz style, making Clark's first step as a solo artist offering the best he can. Shepherding his crew to channel positive energy from start to finish, Clark achieves delivering an uplifting spirit that is entrancing.  His track "Discovery," composed by himself and Lorber, is studded in synth-pop shimmers with Clark's saxophone flickering and tweeting like sparkling crystals set in a field of sand dunes.  The R&B groov

Album Review: Distant Voices from David Janeway

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Album:  Distant Voices Artist:  David Janeway Label:  Distant Voices Label/Steeplechase Lookout Website:  www.davidjaneway.com Pianist-bandleader David Janeway presents his third recording, Distant Voices , with a jazz trio.  Released by the Steeplechase music label, the recording features Cameron Brown on bass and Billy Hart on drums.  Included on the recording are 13 selections, four of which are tributes written by Janeway for Ahmad Jamal, Larry Willis, Cedar Walton, and Herbie Hancock.   The remaining 9 tracks are retweaked by the trio covering works by Woody Shaw, Gus Amheim, Hank Jones, Walter Bishop Jr., Arthur Altman, Gary Peacock, Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter, and Mercer Ellington.  Offshoots of bebop like hard bop and post bop are found on the recording, as well as traits of swing and Latin-imbued trimmings, making for a complimenting bouquet of jazz. Shuffling beats recur throughout the release, making for compositions that are on the go.  Sometimes listeners find themselv

Album Review: Body and Soul from Alexander McCabe

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Album:  Body and Soul Artist:  Alexander McCabe Label: WAMCO Website:  www.amccabemusic.com Body and Soul is Alexander McCabe’s 6th album as a leader.  His credits additionally include pianist, saxophonist and composer.  Joining McCabe are his frequent collaborators, Paul Odeh on piano, Ugonna Okegwo on bass, and Craig Wuepper on drums.  The 6-track CD includes four originals penned by McCabe and his re-worked arrangements of Johnny Green's "Body and Soul" and John Coltrane's "Countdown."  Oftentimes, the music takes listeners back to 1960's jazz rooms where lofts and supper clubs were filled with the sounds of traipsing keys and strolling horns cradled in a chassis of steady beats pumping from the bass and drums.  Such easy listening bodywork structures McCabe's daydreamy musings along "Elena," named after his niece, and his softly bobbing "If I See Her."  It's the type of music that makes audiences fall in love with jazz. T