Tag Archives: CD Releases

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



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



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



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.

Jon Sheckler Trio: Cityscapes


A brand new album comes from drummer and composer Jon Sheckler. It’s called “Cityscapes” and it features

  • Steve Denny – Fender Rhodes
  • Aron Caceres-  Double Bass
  • Jon Sheckler – Drums

Official release date was October 19 and Jon Sheckler celebrated it with a release show at the Nublu Classic. The album is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.

This album has a special setup: all songs have been written by drummer Jon Sheckler and sound is dominated by a Fender Rhodes.

I have to admit that the Fender Rhodes piano is one of my personal favorites. For me, it still has this modern electric sound compared to a piano or grand piano. So good preconditions for me to listen to this album.

The first song “Right Side Up” starts with an easy and melodic theme with nice rhythmic breaks, played very relaxed in medium-up tempo.  The first solo goes to the piano, Steve Denny gets great support from Jon Sheckler and Aron Caceres stays focused. A bass solo with nice interplay with the piano comes next. Jon Sheckler plays the last solo of this tune. His excellent drums solo is straight and dynamic at the same time. Jon says about that song:  “I wanted the first track to be an example of the whole album.  It has a good singable melody that seems less complicated then it is.  You don’t really feel the key changes and abnormal form.” And yes, this first song sets the stage for the whole album. It lasts a little bit over 7 minutes but is entertaining and diversified.

“Cold Reading” is the second tune. It has a much slower and heavier groove. It becomes softer for a extensive bass solo and tension rises with the piano solo that follows. The song ends with a very nice and dynamic outro.

The song “Junction Junction” is one of my favorites on the album. It is a 24-bars moll blues played in up-tempo. We hear a great piano solo, where Steve Denny is again fully supported by bass and drums and then Jon gets his chance to shine with a another perfect drums solo.

The title song “Cityscapes” comes next. This is not really just a song only, it’s more like a suite. It has three different parts plus a drum solo between the second and third part. The first part lasts about 4 minutes, the second goes for 5 minutes, followed by the drums solo of about 2:30 minutes before the final part comes.  The total playtime of this masterpiece is 15:47 minutes. Jon gives more details: “The three sections each represent a neighborhood in New York and New Orleans. The first section is based around Ridgewood in Queens, the second is inspired by Midtown Manhattan and the final act is meant to sound like the Garden District in New Orleans. The tune is so sprawling and the title invokes so much imagery that it had to be the foundation of the record.” The Ridgewood-section is quite contemplative and features Aron Caceres on bass. Midtown Manhattan starts soft before it really picks up and ends with piano and drums enlivening each other. The drums solo leads over to the Garden District part which is a sunny, almost Caribbean theme played with variations by the piano.

The album continues with the tune “CBR”. Another highlight for me. A neat theme played in straight swinging style in the sound of a Jazz standard. Piano and bass play very good solos and the drummer has two 8-bar solo breaks, in typical jam style.

“Each Others”, a beautiful ballad, comes next.  According to Jon it is one of the songs that are “landing very well” with the audience. Especially the bass solo is very catchy.

The last tune on the album is “3rd Floor Walk Up”. A steady 7/8 groove lays the foundation of this song. Steve Denny takes again the opportunity to play a fantastic piano solo and Jon Sheckler follows with an impressive and very dynamic drums solo. The song and the album fade out with a pulsating bass. Very cool.

“Cityscapes” is an excellent album with a distinct sound. The Fender Rhodes piano creates this special and unique touch. All compositions have tonal centers and give the listener an easy access to the songs. The musicians are masters on their instruments and manage the up-tempo tunes in a very relaxed and easy way. The interplay is also remarkable and shows that these guys have spent a lot of time together and understand each other very well. So a clear recommendation from my side.

More information about upcoming shows are found on Jon’s website: https://www.shecklermusic.com/

And finally a playlist on Spotify: