Tag Archives: CD

2015 CD Releases – Dave Stryker: Messin’ With Mister T

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Today I want to start presenting CD’s that have been released this year.
We all enjoy the recordings from the great masters, like John Coltrane and Miles Davis but some of these records are already 50 years old.
I think we should also be able to see what is currently going on and so I started to look around for new CD releases. There are records from major labels like Concord, ECM and there are also records from well-known names like Diana Krall or Gregory Porter.

But there is also a lot of new stuff from artists in the second row and I would like to start today with a CD from Dave Stryker called “Messin’ with Mr T”. The CD is a reminiscence to Stanley Turrentine, who died 15 years ago. Dave Stryker was playing with Stanley Turrentine for many years and recorded two albums with him.

The CD contains 10 songs and features 10 different  saxophone players including Chris Potter, Bob Mintzer, Eric Alexander and Steve Slagle.

The rhythm section includes the finest musicians from the New York Jazz scene with Jared Gold on hammond B3 organ and McClenty Hunter on drums.

It’s an excellent CD with very good music, including all-time classics like “In a Sentimental Mood” or “Impressions” and also some very groovy played tunes like “Side Steppin’” or “Don’t Mess With Mr.T”.

If you like hammond trios plus excellent saxophone playing then this CD is the right choice. Never boring, great artists and great soloing. Definitely one of my personal favorites of this year.

The CD made #1 on JazzWeek Radio chart and has been on the chart for more than 20 weeks.

Lucky me a got a signed CD from Dave Stryker when I saw him playing this spring at Marian’s Jazzroom in Bern.

Here is again the  iTunes playlist if you want to hear yourself:

DANIEL BENNETT GROUP – THE MYSTERY AT CLOWN CASTLE

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Here’s a new CD from the Daniel Bennett Group from New York, officially released on February 5. The setup of the band already makes clear that this is not another ordinary or traditional jazz band. Guitar, bass and drums together are  typically found in pop or rock bands and Daniel Bennett plays alto saxophone and all kinds of other woodwinds like oboe, clarinet and flute (Alto sax with guitar is also a perfect combination since they use a different frequency range and get the necessary space to shine). All songs on the album have been written by Daniel Bennett and his style and his taste are strongly influenced by classical saxophone literature (where he actually holds a master degree), minimalistic composers like Philip Glass and all those “little bits from here and little bits from there” influences you’ll pick up in the capital of jazz music.

The songs are quite structured, arranged and do not follow the standard schema of jazz standards. Improvisational parts are included but limited. That also means that a song on the CD lasts between 3 and 4 minutes.

The sound of the band is compact and distinct, Daniel Bennett’s alto saxophone sound is beautiful and the quality of the recording is excellent.

Let’s take a closer look at the songs on the CD:

The first three songs “The Clown Chemist”, “The Spinning Stood Still” and “Paul Platypus” are all played in the default line-up with Nat Janoff on guitar, Eddy Khaimovich on bass and Matthew Feick on drums.

“The Clown Chemist” already shows the ability of the band to play complex rhythm patterns with a shining saxophone flying over the grooving band, changing grooves and instruments, when Daniel Bennett picks up his flute playing like the Pied Piper of Hamelin bringing us all into his musical cosmos.

This journey continues with “The Spinning Stood Still” where guitar and bass get a chance to show their virtuosity as soloists.

The next song is, according to Daniel Bennett, the most popular song on the album. “Paul Platypus” was picked as “Jazz Track Of The Day” at All About Jazz (www.allaboutjazz.com). It has a catchy melody

But Daniel is not stopping here, continuing on the path he outlined. He jumps into something different: “Minor Leaguer” is a poem by Britt Melewski set to music with Britt himself reciting his words. A very unique acoustic art work.

The next two tunes “Nine Piglets” and “Strange Jim and the Zebra” are again very Daniel Bennett-ish. The title of the songs remind me about funny or mysterious stories from children books and the songs itself have a strong melody played in a very elegant and harmonic way.

Britt Melewski gets a second chance to present one of his poems. In “Morning” however the words are more shouted than spoken over a steady riff played by the band.

With “Inside the Outside Interlude” and the last song on the CD called “Outside the Inside Outro” we get to know another facet of this CD, the “Free Jazz” side of Daniel Bennett, featuring Jason Yeager on piano.

Jason Yeager gets his big moment in “Uncle Muskrat” which is the most down-to-earth title on this CD. This song is rather bluesy and straight played with a soft double bass and smooth percussion background. Very classy.

Daniel Bennett takes us on this CD on a journey to rather different shores. Songs like mysterious children stories, poems and free jazz music show the many facets of what Jazz is all about: Express yourself.

“The Mystery at Clown Castle”  is a true colorful piece of contemporary jazz and I would recommend that you to take some time and listen to the CD more than once to comprehend his music.

More information on tour dates of the Daniel Bennett Group are found on their website www.danielbennettgroup.com

Here is an interview with Daniel Bennett on NBC 12 – Florida with a live performance of “Paul Platypus”:
Daniel Bennett Group on First Coast Living (NBC 12 – Florida)

And finally a playlist on iTunes: