Thursday, July 29, 2021

Check Out Upcoming Jazz Releases from Wayne Alpern, Kenny Shanker and the Billy Test Trio

New York City composer, arranger Wayne Alpern is raring and ready to release his latest album titled "Frankenstein." He describes his work on these new tracks as "bits of brawn and brains and bones dug up from the dirt, reconstructed and revived." The eleven song album kicks off with an experimental jazz version of Carole King's "You've Got A Friend," which keeps the energy high and incorporates snippets of speeches from President Obama. Next, Alpern conducts his A-class of musicians through the smooth jazz sounds of Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud," before finding the perfect niche with Herbie Hancock's "Cantaloupe Island." Another masterpiece that Wayne Alpern makes his own is the Duke Ellington classic "Black Beauty," as he gives respect to the master with this top-notch rendition. Wayne and his band finish up the album with the mellow meshing of jazz and R&B on Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," along with the funky, upbeat deliveries of "Dancing In The Street" and "Gimmie Some Lovin'." To find out more about Wayne Alpern and his latest release "Frankenstein," please visit waynealpern.com.

Next on the horizon is the latest release from saxophonist Kenny Shanker titled "Beautiful Things." It features a dozen new track, beginning with the swinging melody of "Cool Things" and the up-tempo, energetic blast of "Prestissimo," before slowing down for the mellow jazz of Rodgers & Hart's "It Never Entered My Mind." The tempo picks back up with the back and forth of "Orange And Gray" with Mike Eckroth on piano and Kenny Shanker on sax, as the two waltz around your speakers in a dance of power and grace. Next, Kenny delivers the feel-good sounds of the classic "Without A Song," which has been performed by a number of artists including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Perry Como just to name a few, but here Kenny adds his own touches to make it his own. The album finishes with the swift-moving melody of "Softly As In A Morning Sunrise" and the gentle, flowing sounds of "Beautiful Things." To find out more about Kenny Shanker and his latest release "Beautiful Things," please visit kennyshanker.com.

Last, but not least, we have the new album titled "Coming Down Roses" from the Billy Test Trio. This is Billy's debut as a band leader, as he guides them through these nine tracks, which are mostly originals with a couple of covers thrown in. The album begins with one of those covers, Cole Porter's "All Of You," which continues to build with excitement, as the trio inject every emotion into the song. The Billy Test Trio keep it smooth and simple on the gentle touch of "Spinning," before ramping the energy back up with the intense delivery of "Hardly." They once again showcase their more elegant side with the mellow touch of "Empty Spaces," while also giving respect to the late, great jazz pianist John Coastes Jr. with a beautiful rendition of his song "The Prince." The Billy Test Trio close out their new album with the quiet, emotional touch of "Belonging," which is how Test feels as a composer on his first album as a bandleader. To find out more about The Billy Test Trio and their latest release "Coming Down Roses," please visit billytest.com.

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