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Hadley Caliman - Straight Ahead

Hadley Caliman | “Straight Ahead” – [Origin 82551 – 2010]
From Dexter Gordon to Freddie Hubbard to Santana through to his recent critically-acclaimed “Gratitude,” Hadley Caliman’s 78 years has been filled with the kind of personal achievement that all creative artists strive for. On “Straight Ahead,” Caliman visits some of his favorite tunes including his old friend Harold Land’s “Rapture,” the Lee Morgan classic “Totem Pole,” and with his own original “Cigar Eddie,” he provides a spirited opening to another classic recording. Featuring his working Seattle band with trumpeter Thomas Marriott, pianist Eric Verlinde, Phil Sparks on bass, and Matt Jorgensen on drums, “Straight Ahead” is another clear example of a living legend in top form. —AllAboutJazz.com

Dan Dean - 251

Dan Dean | “251” – [Origin 82552 – 2010]
With pianists George Duke & Kenny Werner, organist Larry Goldings, and pianist/accordianist Gil Goldstein, Seattle bassist Dan Dean brings together some of the top keyboard talents in the world for an intimate set of duo performances, each displaying an abundance of spontaneity and spirited exchanges. With Goldings, the duo explores the bop of “In Walked Bud” to the funk of “I Feel Good.” Pianists Kenny Werner & George Duke take on standards such as “Stella By Starlight” and “S’Wonderful,” while Gil Goldstein adds accordian to the mix with a look at “Lover Man.” With the performer’s varied and singular styles, and the mix of instruments, there’s great textural variety and the emphasis is aways on musical conversation with a lot of deep interplay. For many years an award-winning composer and producer of music for film, TV and advertising, Dan Dean was always a remarkable bassist and has a rich history of performances with Shelly Manne, Howard Roberts, Ernie Watts, Dave Grusin, Eddie Harris and countless others.

Aaron Immanuel Wright - Eleven Daughters

Aaron Immanuel Wright | “Eleven Daughters” – [Origin 82553 – 2010]
New York-based bassist and composer Aaron Immanuel Wright’s dynamic debut recording features the lyrical piano work of Darrell Grant, along with his fellow Portlander on saxophone Tim Wilcox, and the Philadelphia-bred drummer Brian Menendez. Wright penned, or co-wrote all of the music, and arranged the standard “Laura.” From the opening bass line of “Something Mainstream,” it’s clear Wright has ideas that quickly move beyond the mainstream as the band explores his compositions in a truly modern vein. The lush arco tones of Wright’s bass, blend with Grant’s sensitive piano work on the title track, and the searching melody of “Late Goodbye” has an inspired European jazz aesthetic. On “Eleven Daughters,” Wright carries on the tradition of the great jazz bassists – Mingus, Holland, Gress, Formanek – who have a very natural knack of crafting superlative and nuanced ensemble recordings.

Gail Pettis - Here in the Moment

Gail Pettis | “Here in the Moment” – [OA2 22059, 2010]
With an exquisitely subtle three-and-a-half-octave approach to the Great American Songbook, Gail Pettis developed a loyal following as her debut recording “May I Come In?” received international play throughout 2007. Now she returns with “Here in the Moment,” a collection of 11 songs including a 5/4 arrangement of “Who Can I Turn To,” a rousing Latin treatment of “I Could Have Danced All Night,” and a duo with bass on the Nashville hit “Snap Your Fingers.” With a recent award of “Northwest Vocalist of the Year” from Earshot Jazz, “Here In The Moment” reflects an exciting period in this singular vocalist’s musical career. —Don Heckman, International Review of Music

Vince Norman - Joe McCarthy Big Band - Bright Future

Vince Norman / Joe McCarthy Big Band | “Bright Future” – [OA2 22060 – 2010]
Saxophonist, composer and arranger Vince Norman teams up again with the recent Grammy-winning percussionist Joe McCarthy for a strong follow-up to their 2007 OA2 release, “Words Cannot Express.” With “Bright Future,” the duo once again calls on their band of top-flight Washington D.C.-area musicians for a swinging performance of Norman’s arrangements. Stanley Turrentine’s “Sugar” is the only standard, and features solos from Norman, on both alto and soprano sax, Ben Patterson on trombone, tenor saxophonist Luis Hernandez and guitarist Gary Malvaso. Trumpeter Tim Stanley is featured throughout the record, and Norman even plays melodica on his tune “Katelyn.” “Bright Future” is another great look at one of America’s finest Big Bands.