Pianist Ramsey Lewis has returned to the electric side on his funkiest recording in years. Taking Another Look is in part a revisiting of Lewis' highly-regarded 1974 classic Sun Goddess. On that album Lewis demonstrated his chops on a level approaching Herbie Hancock's. Lewis' performances on ARP synthesizers and Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer electric pianos, as well as acoustic piano and electric guitar, earned the already-successful keyboardist and composer scores of new fans the way Hancock's first Headhunters albums had cast a net out to funk lovers a year earlier.
Over the past few months we’ve heard a lot from 70 Strong, the recent issue from the Steve Gadd Band, an electric quintet led by the now-legendary drummer and completed by Walt Fowler (trumpet, flugelhorn), Larry Goldings (keys, accordion), Jimmy Johnson (bass) and Michael Landau (guitars). This show features the cut “Desu.”
On this show you can hear “Barangrill” from pianist Robert Glasper and his acoustic trio (bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Damion Reid) on his new album Covered. Glasper applies his elegant jazz skills to “an inviting tracklist that was mostly written to be sung,” wrote The Guardian in a glowing 4-star review.
This edition of SNJ features the song Such Is Life (sung by Alexis Cole) from Harold Mabern’s new CD, Afro Blue (John Webber, bass, Joe Farnsworth, drums, Eric Alexander, tenor sax, Jeremy Pelt, trumpet).
The program features the song “Favor” from Terell Stafford’s new CD, BrotherLee Love: Celebrating Lee Morgan. (Terell Stafford – trumpet; Tim Warfield – saxophone; Bruce Barth – piano; Peter Washington – bass; Dana Hall – drums)
Terell Stafford is the perfect player to do a long overdue tribute to one of Philadelphia’s greatest jazz legends, Lee Morgan. Though not raised in the City of Brotherly Love, Stafford cut his jazz teeth in Philly working behind Shirley Scott and Mickey Roker. For over 20 years he’s been the Director of Jazz Studies at Temple University.
Includes singer Rachel Caswell doing “Tell Him I Said Hello” from her new CD, All I Know on Strikezone Records. Strikezone specializes in creative music produced by the musicians themselves. It’s run by jazz guitarist Dave Stryker. Another recent Strikezone recording, heard extensively on SNJ, is Messin’ With Mr. T, featuring Stryker doing the music of Stanley Turrentine, with whom he played for many years. Dave Stryker grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and moved to New York City in 1980.
Several exciting new releases are featured, including “Say When” from trombonist Steve Davis in his tribute to trombone legend J.J. Johnson, “The Thompson Fields” from the Maria Schneider Orchestra, and “Jazz From Poland” with trumpeter Fortuna Maciej and his Quartet.
One of the highlights this week is a cut from trumpeter Terence Blanchard’s new release Breathless, featuring his group, the E-Collective. Blanchard explores the intersection of jazz, R&B, funk and jazz fusion with his bandmates Fabian Almazan (piano), Charles Altura (guitar), Donald Ramsey (bass) and Oscar Seaton (drums).