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Flux Music Essentials

Greeting’s jazz enthusiasts, I’m back with five more invigorating selections featuring Orrin Evans, Stefon Harris, Cannonball Adderley, Manu Katché, and Maurice Brown from the sea of infinite treasures in music to expand the provocative and youthful voices as we encounter them on this wonderful musical exodus of tantalizing yet satisfying blend of original jazz that’s shaken and stirred to perfection from the shelves of “Flux Music Essentials.

Stefon Harris - The Grand Unification Theory (Blue Note, 2003)

Stefon Harris -\\- The Grand Unification Theory – [Blue Note Records, 2003]

Stefon Harris pulls off a stunning record for Blue Note Records here with his musical epic “The Grand Unification Theory”, a theme-based album observing the cycle of life (both physical and metaphysical). This music is easily accessible on every track, and would have to be viewed as an interaction between freedom and structure. Every selection on this album will one day be viewed as a classic.

Personnel: Stefon Harris (vibraphone, marimba, percussion and voice), Xavier Davis (piano), Tarus Mateen (bass and vocals), Terreon Gully (drums), Kahlil Kwame Bell (African percussion, concert bass drum), Anne Drummond (flute and alto flute), Douglas Purviance (bass trombone), Steve Turre (trombone and shells), Derrick Gardner (trumpet and flugelhorn), Tim Warfield (tenor sax), Mark Vinci (clarinet) and Myles Weinstein (tympani). —Amazon.com

Orrin Evans - Faith in Action

Orrin Evans -//- Faith in Action – [Posi-Tone, 2010]

Orrin Evans hits the ground running with “Faith in Action,” his first date for Posi-Tone. Listeners are invited to kick back and dig the sounds as Evans bravely embarks on an interpretive exploration of the music of his friend and mentor Bobby Watson. This trio date features the solid harmonic foundation of bassist Luques Curtis and the bombastically explosive metrics of drummer Nasheet Waits. Many jazz fans may already be familiar with Orrin and his earlier work, but now it’s all hands on deck as the piano trio steers steadily into the familiar landscapes of the straight ahead concept before heading out beyond into the uncharted depths of modern collective improvisation.

“Faith in Action” is the sincere exploration of an forward minded artist seeking to pay respect and homage to the music of a dear friend. Orrin utilizes his visionary talents as a bandleader and musician to uncover the hidden possibilities latent in the compositions and to make a bold and original statement while ultimately remaining true to himself. Whether one is already familiar with the music of Orrin Evans or Bobby Watson, or discovering it for the first time, this session is sure to bring a smile to serious listeners everywhere. —Amazon.com

Cannonball Adderley Quintet - Live at The Lighthouse

Cannonball Adderley Quintet -][- At The Lighthouse – [Blue Note Records, ]

Of all the amazing recordings Cannonball did with his many great quintets/sextets, this I feel is the best. In my opinion, the Adderley quintet records best when live, as this wonderful album proves. It all starts out with the finger-snapping groove of “Sack O’ Woe”, Cannonball’s most famous composition. Every soloist really swings hard, and sets the tone for the rest of album. “Big ‘P'”, a Jimmy Heath tune written about his brother Percy, continues with the driving feel. Things then slow down a bit with the lovely jazz waltz “Blue Daniel”, which shows a more sensitive side to Cannonball and the gang. Victor Feldman, the pianist on this recording, is the only new member of the quintet for this album (the rest are the same as in “Them Dirty Blues“, another masterpiece”) and he really shows off his compositional skills with the next two numbers, “Azule Serape” and “Exodus”, two up-tempo burners.

The album then comes to a swinging finish with an amazing version of “What is This Thing Called Love?” and a bonus track of Tadd Dameron’s “Our Delight”. If you’re a fan of any of Adderley’s work or just love music that really swings, you’ll love this one, guaranteed. —Tom B. /Amazon.com

- Manu Katché - Neighbourhood (ECM, 2005)

Manu Katché -\\- Neighbourhood – [ECM, 2005]

“Neighbourhood” by Manu Katché, with Jan Garbareck, Tomasz Stanko, Marcin Wasilewski and Slawomir Kurkiewicz – 2005, ECM Label.

Drummer, Manu Katché, has been making a name for himself as one of the world’s better drummers. That may be a matter of opinion but I confess I do like him pretty much. I would describe his style as `soft-spoken’. I first heard the cut “February Sun” from this CD on Cable Radio before I ordered it. I love the Scandinavian Jazz genre from the ECM label so when I saw the incredible artists accompanying Katche, ordering this CD was a no-brainer for me.

This CD is a bit of a departure from the typical ECM album. This is an easy album to listen to, maybe a little too easy for some. The music is quiet, moody, melodic and perhaps not-very-challenging for some of you. When my wife first heard a few cuts, she said “that’s nice music”. She hates avant guard jazz so that should give you an idea just how smooth this CD is.

Some negative reviewers complained that this CD was nothing more than smooth jazz but that misses the mark. There’s more here than just smooth jazz. Jan Garbareck, Tomasz Stanko and Marcin Wasilewski on piano keep it interesting enough. Manu Katche’s drumming is quite good and he manages to stay out of the way of the other musicians. I like bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz playing on this CD as well. The group as a whole reminds me a bit of the Swedish group E.S.T.

If you can imagine, Jan Garbareck, and Tomasz Stanko, playing with E.S.T. then you can imagine what the group sounds like. Those two horn players do some really nice work together and are worth the price of the CD alone.

My modest system (hybrid tube-integrated and MMG speakers) gives a very nice sweet presentation of this type of music. It’s detailed enough to bring Katche’s percussion forward and give the horns a biting presence. Plus it does a fantastic job of realistically imaging small jazz groups like this.

I recommend the CD for those that want a laid back change of pace, especially if you’re a Jan Garbareck, and/or Tomasz Stanko fan. —MP3 Support/ Amazon.com

Maurice Bown - The Cycle of Love (Brown Records, 2010)

Maurice Brown -][- The Cycle of Love – [Brown Records, 2010]

If your hips are swaying, fingers are snapping and heart is skipping, don’t call the doctor just yet—It might be the Maurice Brown Effect. Feeling good has become symptomatic of audiences from the banks of the Mississippi to the streets of New York, courtesy of soulful jazz trumpeter Maurice “Mobetta” Brown.

Exciting the ears of bebop enthusiasts and hip-hoppers alike, Maurice’s passionate and improvisational rhythms have been electrifying the music industry. Innovation is the key to Maurice’s soulful melodies, which have graced both legend Aretha Franklin and urban legend Talib Kweli’s versatile recordings. The response from both old and new schoolers pushed Maurice’s 2004 debut album, Hip to Bop, onto top ten charts across the country.

Maurice is an unpretentious, cultured soul with a strong musical backbone. Raised in south Chicago, Maurice was awarded a full music scholarship to Northern Illinois University upon graduating from Hillcrest High School. After winning first place in the esteemed National Miles Davis Trumpet Competition, Maurice found new flavor in the heart of Louisiana, where he continued his studies at Southern University—and captivated audiences weekly, headlining at New Orleans’ premiere jazz club, Snug Harbor. —Maurice Brown.net (BIO)