Wednesday, January 14, 2015

CD Review: New Independent Jazz Releases - Part 2

Spin Doctors drummer Aaron Comess has dabbled in jazz music before, but his latest release "Aaron Comess Quintet" is his first full-on jazz album. The new release brings us back to the influential jazz era of the 1960s, when the Miles Davis Group and the John Coltrane Group both featured superstar performers and created some of the greatest jazz music of all time. Comess' new album features himself on drums along with Keith Loftis on sax, Barney McAll on piano, Richard Hammond on upright bass and Teddy Kumpel on guitar. The new six-song release contains that special feeling of authenticity as the music could easily be mistaken for one of the classics. The Aaron Comess Quintet does cover Coltrane's "Resolution" as Comess gives us a taste of his skills on the drums with a short solo, as well as "Freedom Jazz Dance," made famous by Miles Davis, to which McAll's piano keeps the energy going. The music slinks on by with less direction and more innovation in "Catskills Last Waltz," while the album closer "Intangible" tries to finish the night with a relaxing piece of music to just sit back and absorb. The new CD will be released in March and a concert is already planned for the Spring release. To find out more about Aaron Comess latest release, please visit his Facebook page at

Jazz saxophonist Steve Wilson returns with his first new album in twelve years, "Live In New York: The Vanguard Sessions." Along with Orrin Evans on piano, Ugonna Okegwo on bass and Bill Stewart on drums, Steve Wilson & Wilsonian's Grain as they are called took up residence at The Village Vanguard for a couple of dates back in May of 2014. The live album begins with a nine-minute warm-up jam of Thelonious Monk's "Well You Needn't," which got things going in an up-beat, positive direction. The show continues with the smooth, mellowness of the Wilson original "Chrysalis," before they pick up the pace on the slightly chaotic run through of "Perry Street." The album finishes with the nostalgic feel of Migiwa Miyajima's "If I Were A Wind Of Spring" and the roaring conclusion of Paul Chambers' "Patterns" as Wilson leads his band through this night of amazing performances. To find out more about this latest release from Steve Wilson & Wilsonian's Grain, please visit

The big band jazz of Sasha's Bloc return with their latest album "Heart On Fire" as the band continues to carry the torch of the Big Band sounds of the 1920s and 30s. This album also features Grammy-nominated vocalist Jane Monheit performing on four tracks. The new eleven song release begins with the upbeat, Sinatra-like feel of "Day In Paris" as vocalist Nora Rothman shows-off us his vocal talents. Monheit's voice is so silky smooth and sultry on "Feels Like Jazz" that you get wrapped up in her memorizing vocals. Sasha's Bloc takes you down south to the dixieland jazz of New Orleans with the playful "Anything Is Possible" and the lite-hearted, Monheit-led "Breakfast," which instructs you to seize every moment. The band excels during the seven-minute jam of "Take A Chance," before closing with the early blues/jazz of "Sunday Blues" and uptempo rhythm of "Manhattan" inspired by the hustle and bustle of the city. To find out more about Sasha's Block latest album " Heart On Fire," please visit their Facebook page at

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