Category Archives: CD-Reviews

Review a CD / album

Ken Fowser: Now Hear This!


Once or twice a year I order the newest CD releases from posi-tone records. I like their work very much, the quality of the material is very good and I know it is contemporary jazz music from the finest musicians in the US, especially from New York.

In this year’s package the album “Now Hear This!” from tenor saxophonist Ken Fowser made it on top of my playlist. Ken comes originally from Philadelphia where he started his studies. He moved to New York in 2005, and attended graduate studies at SUNY Purchase College where he received his masters degree in 2008.

Becoming more visible on the live music scene, in the latter 2000s Ken Fowser enjoyed residencies at iconic New York venues. Hosting the session at Smalls Jazz Club every Tuesday for four years, and playing the late set at Smoke Jazz and Supper Club every Friday for two years, he followed headlining sets of such masters as the late Cedar Walton, Buster Williams and perhaps his greatest influence, George Coleman.

The line-up for this album is identical with the line-up from his 2016 posi-tone release “Standing Tall”, with Josh Bruneau on trumpet and flugelhorn, Rick Germanson on piano, Paul Gill on bass and Jason Tiemann on drums, which means that the band is very well-rehearsed.

The line-up and the style of the music follows very much the classical hard-bop bands from Horace Silver, Art Blakey or Lee Morgan.  All tunes on the album have been written by Ken Fowser, so this all original material, but it’s truly inspired by the masters.

I enjoy listening to the more bluesy tunes like “Blast Off”, “Blues for Mabes” or the title song “Now Hear This!”.

The band is able to swing hard like in “Ready the Mops” or to play light and easy as in “Her And Now” or “One And Done”.

While saxophone, trumpet/flugelhorn and piano play solos in most of the tunes, you hear a drums solo in “One And Done” and “The View from Below”.

Paul Gill on bass gets his chance to shine in “Fair to Middlin’” and “Ready The Mops”.

As said, I like the album very much because it has this rather straight-forward hard-bop approach. It is played brilliantly and very down-to-earth at the same time.

I haven’t found a video where the band plays one of the tunes from the album, but this version of “Black Orpheus” is also quite nice


Finally a playlist from iTunes to give you a chance to listen to the songs from the CD:

Wayne Tucker: Wake Up And See The Sun

Wake Up And See The Sun

Around a month ago trumpet player Wayne Tucker released his album “Wake Up And See The Sun”.

Wayne Tucker is a 30 year old trumpet player/composer/arranger based in New York City. He is a 2009 graduate of the Jazz Studies program at SUNY Purchase under the direction of Todd Coolman. Wayne has played with many of today’s current Jazz stars including Kurt Elling, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Cyrille Aimee, and Pop stars like Taylor Swift, Elvis Costello, Matt Simons and Ne-Yo.

He just returned from a European tour with drummer Al Foster.

His new album is a mix of Jazz, Pop, Hip-Hop and some classical elements. All the material is very well arranged, excellently played and perfectly recorded and mixed. Each time you listen to the CD you will find new interesting elements, so this is an album that unfolds its class only after you have listened to it multiple times.

I asked Wayne about what inspires him when writing songs and his simple answer was “for each of the songs I was inspired by my life’s experiences”. Looks like he has a colorful life.

The first song on the CD is called “Bad Religion” and starts slowly with a poem from Dev Avidon, the sound engineer of the album, which he wrote “for the sense of imagery and imagination”.

The title song “Wake Up and See The Sun” comes with very nice horn arrangements and is in Wayne’s words  “about a girl that I used to date and takes us through the ups and downs of the relationship”.

Wayne has also the talent to write catchy pop songs and he proves it with the song “Little Buddy” where he sings together with Cyrille Aimée.  A very light and easy song which crawls into your ear and brain and you don’t want it to end. Lucky enough we get a reprise of this song in “Little Buddy Reprise”.  Wayne produced a video for this reprise and you find the link below.

Wayne became an actor in the short film “Hotel Bleu”. He also wrote the music for this film and you find the opening score called “Tears” on the album.

The song “Humans Groove Harder Than Robots” a Salsa-inspired funky groove tune is according to Wayne “about the wave of technology that we’re currently experiencing. In my perception the thing that separates humans from robots is emotion, which is what gives music character and emotion.” Absolutely right and the solos on this tune are the best evidence for this argument.


The album is available on CD Baby (my favorite online CD store). Please use the link below to listen to the tracks and to order the CD: