New Releases Fall 2018

Again, a lot of new material has been released in the last few months. Here comes a short list of albums which are really remarkable.


Max Moran & Neospectric

 

Neospectric

Release date: October 12

New Orleans based bassist Max Moran presents a great funk album that combines a blink to past legendary funk and groove bands with his own perspective, largely shaped by experiences while recording and out on the road. Both the band and sound grew out of a jam session, nearly ten years ago, at the home of guitarist Cliff Hines in New Orleans. In addition to Hines, the jam session also included drummer Joe Dyson and pianist Conun Pappas, Moran’s childhood friends and longtime bandmates, all of whom are prominently featured on this debut effort. Guests include Donald Harrison and Nicholas Payton.

“Something just clicked in the way that we were playing and gave me an idea in how I could structure a band,” said Moran. “I decided to put those guys [on a gig] together and that’s when I made up the word ["neospectric"] and named it. The concept of the first gig was that I had one or two songs. I knew what I wanted to do at the beginning and end of the show, but in the middle, I just wanted to improvise.”


Elliot Deutsch: Make Big Band Great Again

 

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Release date: November 6

Elliot Deutsch is an active composer, arranger, and big band leader in Los Angeles, CA. His band, called Elliot Deutsch Big Band is one of the most exciting and inventive big bands in the greater Los Angeles area.
“My plan was to write an album to pay tribute to my hometown, Los Angeles. The first song I wrote was “Pink Sunset (Over Gray Skies),” with reverence to our beautiful evenings that are ironically decorated by pollution. After writing a draft of the melody (that was later revised heavily by Bob McChesney), I experienced a bit of writer’s block. I put it aside and began another piece. This piece became “Fake News.” It was much darker, heavier, and more energetic than typical large ensemble jazz music. The piece combines elements of many of my favorite non-jazz music, Chase, Tower of Power, Rage Against the Machine. I wasn’t writing this piece for any particular listener, rather writing music that would speak to me and my feelings about the political climate that was at the front of my mind.”
So expect a unique and intensive big band album.


Mark Winkler & Cheryl Bentyne: Eastern Standard Time

 

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Release date: August 13

Vocalists Mark Winkler and Cheryl Bentyne teamed up to record “Eastern Standard Time”, a sophisticated project of songs picked from known standards and several less familiar songs of the Great American Songbook, as well as a couple of originals by Winkler. This is their second CD together. The first, “West Coast Cool” , was released in 2013 and received critical acclaim.  For this second album they’ve chosen songs that you would hear if you habituated jazz clubs in New York City back in the late 50s and early 60s. Although the CD comprises mainly duets, they each perform two solo pieces as well.  “Eastern Standard Time” is a cool and cultivated project by two stellar vocalists who can transform whatever they sing into a statement of great emotional depth.


Sarah Eyden: Love Is In The Room

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In June 2018, UK based session singer and concert artist Sarah Eyden has released a beautiful album called “Love Is In The Room”.

It is a collection of original songs written by English award-winning composer, singer and actor Denis King and arranged by Denis and Sarah for small ensemble – piano, bass, drums and Sarah on vocals.

Denis King began his musical career at the age of thirteen with his two older brothers, Mike and Tony, in one of the most successful pop groups of the 1950s and 1960s, The King Brothers — considered to be Britain’s first boy band. Denis played the piano, Mike the guitar and Tony the double bass.

In the 1970s Denis studied orchestration and had his first success writing the music for “The Adventures of Black Beauty”, a television series which I remember from my childhood. He has continued to work in the television business and to date, he has created themes and incidental music for over two hundred television series. He also worked as a theatrical composer, musical composer and performing artist.

Sarah Eyden is usually the person who lends her voice to produce the perfect film soundtrack. The list of appearances on those productions is endless and includes basically all blockbusters like “Harry Potter”, “Pirates of The Caribbean” and “Shrek”. She is also a performing artist but typically with larger ensembles like symphony orchestras.

Sarah explained to me: “Denis and I met in 2017 on a Saga Cruise. We were both performing separately, and met up in the bar to sing songs around the piano. We found an instant connection musically and when we left the ship kept in touch.”

Sarah created a small video with some more details:

Out of this loose connection grew a collaboration where Denis King literally started digging in his bottom drawer to rescue songs which seemed to be waiting there for Sarah to sing them and they decided to do an album.

Sarah adds: “Then as we progressed musically we thought it would be great to invite some amazing players to join us. But to keep it small so easy to tour.” The result is “Love Is In The Room”, Sarah Eyden on vocals, Denis King on piano, Dave Olney on bass and Mike Smith on drums. The album contains 14 songs in total, the title song comes in an English and as encore in a French version.

The album is like an unplugged song book, really back to the basics of a song, its harmonies and lyrics, no wrapping in fancy arrangements has been done, this album captures the essence of each song. The booklet that comes with the CD gives some additional information about each tune, the lyricist, when and for which occasion it was written and when it was recorded before, so a lot of material to discover.

The album starts with “Here And Now” a very energetic swing tune, that prepares us for the things to come with Sarah singing: “Let’s get the party started here and now.”

“The Joke’s On Me” is a sad song about the end of a relationship presented in a humorous way, nice and easy swinging.

“By The Way” is a soft ballad, another sad love song, with sweet rhymes, a pleasure to listen, my first highlight on the album.

“The Crazy Part” is arranged in Latin-style and gives a lovely variety after the three swing tunes.

“Who Would Have Dreamed”  is a freely played ballad with piano and vocals introduction, later with bass and just a little bit of drums accompaniment. This ballad has quite complex harmonic changes which are mastered perfectly by Sarah.

“Something You Learn To Live” is a groovy pop song, very entertaining, my second favorite on the album.

“Love Is In The Room”, the title song of the album comes next. A ballad, starting with piano and vocals only. The song has great dynamics and we can enjoy Sarah’s clear voice and impeccable intonation.

The band returns to straight swing style with “I’m Nobody’s April Fool”. Witty lyrics, and very relaxed sung. Excellent swinging by bass and drums during the piano solo.

“How About” is another ballad this time with piano and vocals only which gives Sarah Eyden another opportunity to deliver a brilliant performance.

“Never Feel The Same Again” might make a great pop song, we hear backing vocals from Sarah Eyden and Anna Ross, surprising and a nice soul-topping for this song.

“The World Was Changed This Morning” is a relaxed swinging tune. It was written for a musical and it has this special musical-touch, a wonderful entertaining tune with a committed and convincing Sarah Eyden.

“The Lady’s Still Around” starts as a soft ballad with piano and vocals. Bass and drums support Sarah when she reaches the peak of this song. Great dynamics and another opportunity for Sarah to show her mastery.

The last highlight of the album is “Two of A Kind”. We are surprised by Sarah Eyden and Denis King in an amusing duet.  Perfect entertainment and big fun for singers and audience.

As an encore we hear “Love Is In The Room” in French as “L’amour bienvenue chez nous”. The arrangement is identical to the English version but it is a nice homage to all the French chanson singers.

As said before, this album is an excellent unplugged songbook with music from Denis King who is an experienced and inventive composer, very much based in the tradition of musical composers like Cole Porter or George Gershwin. The songs on the album are all perfectly played and presented. As you can see from the cover, this music requires a special classy ambiance, but it is more than just background music in hotel bar. You should listen to these songs in a concert, because Sarah Eyden is able to sing clearly and precisely and that allows you catch the funny or profound lyrics.

If you’re out looking for new and undiscovered songs, here is your chance to find another treasure box.

Sarah Eyden and Denis King have produced a nice promotional video:

This project has it’s own website. I guess any public appearances will be listed there. Sarah told me that there are plans to go on tour in 2019.
https://www.loveisintheroom.com/

Denis King has a website where you find audio samples of many of his songs including some lovely big band arrangements of some of the songs from the album:
http://www.deniskingmusiclibrary.com/showContent.aspx?id=69

And finally a playlist on Spotify: