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Flux Music Essentials


Greeting’s fellow jazz aficionados, I’m back in the mix with another tantalizing yet satisfying blend of original jazz that’s shaken and stirred to perfection from the shelves of “Flux Music Essentials.”

Roberto Occhipinti - Yemaya

Roberto Occhipinti -||- Yemaya – [Alma Records, 2008]

Bassist Roberto Occhipinti was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada March 25, 1955. He comes from a prominent musical family that includes two guitarists; younger brother Michael and cousin David. Michael Occhipinti is a well known sideman and co-founder of NOJO – the Neufeld-Occhipinti Jazz Orchestra.

At the University of Toronto, beginning in 1972, Roberto Occhipinti studied under Thomas Monohan, was mentored by Joel Quarrington and especially the acclaimed jazz bassist Dave Young. He was a member of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in the mid-70s, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra in the early-to-mid ’80s, the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra in the mid-to-late ’80s, was principal bassist with the Esprit Orchestra from 1986 to 1994, and long standing member of Arraymusic from 1979-2000. –Michael G. Nastos/Roberto Occhipinti.com

Brian Blade - Perceptual

Brian Blade -||- Perceptual – [Blue Note Records, 2000]

As a rule, drummers don’t make good bandleaders, because nobody wants to hear drum solos all the time. But what makes Louisiana-born Brian Blade special is that he is more of a colorist than a showman, a drummer who, like Billy Higgins, prefers to set moods that go with the grooves. Perceptual is his second outing with the Fellowship ensemble and is a satisfying follow-up to the band’s Blue Note debut. With Myron Walden and Melvin Butler on saxophones and bass clarinet, Chris Thomas on bass, Daniel Lanois, Dave Easley, and Kurt Rosenwinkel on steel and electric guitars, and Jon Cowherd on keyboards, Blade and company create jazz textures that evoke America’s wide-open spaces.

Think of Pat Metheny’s Bright Size Life and American Garage and you’ll get the band’s futuristic folk vibe on the title cut and the sly, shifting tempos of “Crooked Creek” and the three-part suite, “Variations of A Bloodline“–a poignant, musical comment on ethnic strife. Blade’s melodic gifts got him work with Joshua Redman, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, and Joni Mitchell, who lends her wispy vocals to “Steadfast”–an elegiac meditation on the late-1990s rash of U.S. school shootings–and the CD’s coda, “Trembling.” If you ever plan to travel across the U.S., this recording will make an excellent soundtrack. —Eugene Holley Jr./Amazon.com

Ivo Neame Trio - Swirls and Eddies

Ivo Neame Trio -||- Swirls And Eddies – [Loop Records, 2007]

Dynamic and textural variation are the main concerns of Ivo Neame’s piano trio, and on this aptly titled album he, bassist Phil Donkin and drummer George Hart alternately drive, dance, muse and occasionally power their way through an intelligently selected programme of Neame originals, plus Sam Rivers’s ‘Beatrice’ and Wayne Shorter’s ‘Miyako’.

Neame (who also plays saxophone, though not on this recording) is a resourceful pianist, capable of moving uncontrivedly between the musical poles of hushed contemplation and rollicking exuberance; Donkin (as amply demonstrated on, for instance, Gwilym Simcock’s latest album) is a lithe, supportive and subtly propulsive bassist; Hart is muscular yet intelligently responsive ° overall, this is an accomplished, intensely listenable album, pleasingly varied, punchy yet thoughtful, another fine production from the excellent Loop Collective stable. —Vortexjazz.com

Nicola Conte, Rituals

Nicola Conte -||- Rituals – [Emarcy, 2008]

This album is basically very good jazz ,some with his almost trademark Latin grooves. There are no samples, just great music played by very good players from the Italian jazz scene. There is very strong soloing on sax, trumpet , trombone and piano. The music is heavily influenced by 60’s Blue Note. Very interesting on this record are vocals by Jose’ James, from Bronx, USA. He does three tunes. He reminds me of Gill Scott Heron.He has an album out on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Records.

There are some excellent but less distinctive female vocalist on the recording also. This is a very cool and beautiful album but if you do not like jazz, and I do not mean smooth jazz, you will probably not dig it. I did not care for the vocalist on Caravan but the music is first rate. —S. Pettis/Amazon.com

Hubert Laws - Afro Classic

Hubert Laws -||- Afro Classic – [CTI, 1970]

Internationally renowned flutist Hubert Laws is one of the few classical artists who has also mastered jazz, pop, and rhythm-and-blues genres; moving effortlessly from one repertory to another. He has appeared as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta, with the orchestras of Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Cleveland, Amsterdam, Japan, Detroit and with the Stanford String Quartet. He has given annual performances at Carnegie Hall, and has performed sold out performances in the Hollywood Bowl with fellow flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal and was a member of the New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera Orchestras. In addition, he has appeared at the Montreux, Playboy, and Kool Jazz festivals; he performed with the Modern Jazz Quartet at the Hollywood Bowl in 1982 and with the Detroit Symphony in 1994. His recordings have won three Grammy nominations.

Mr. Laws has been involved in unique projects such as collaborations with Quincy Jones, Bob James, and Claude Bolling for Neil Simon’s comedy California Suite, a collaboration with Earl Klugh and Pat Williams on the music for How to Beat the High Cost of Living: and film scores for The Wiz, Color Purple, A Hero Ain’t Nothing but a Sandwich, and Spot Marks the X.

There are 20 albums in Mr. Laws’ discography for such record companies as: Atlantic, CBS, CTI, including: “My Time Will Come,” and “Storm Then The Calm” for the Music Masters record label. —Hubert Laws.com