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July 26th, 2021

Kyle Asche Organ Trio – Five Down Blues (Cellar Live)

Guitarist Kyle Asche went into the studio the week before the lockdown began in 2020 with organist Pete Benson and drummer George Fludas, and the results are now in our hands and ears with Five Down Blues, recently released on Cellar Live. With two originals, two tunes from Mel Rhyne’s pen (“Dorothy” and “Light, Life, Love”), a classic from Horace Silver’s catalogue (“Pretty Eyes”), a jam from Big John Patton (“Dirty Fingers”) and one standard (“Never Let Me Go”), Asche has put together a program that is heavy on the swing and on the grease.

Lauren Henderson – Musa (Brontosaurus Records)

Vocalist Lauren Henderson’s name flies under the radar, and that should change. Blessed with a gorgeous voice, impeccable phrasing, and a musical vision that melds straight ahead and Latin Jazz in always interesting ways, each of her albums is an enjoyable listening experience. Her latest, Musa, is an all-star affair, with pianist Sullivan Fortner and trumpeter (and Chicagoan) Marquis Hill among the stellar cast of characters. This is an eclectic album. The jumps from Afro-Caribbean ballads (“La Marajada” or “Corazon, No Llores”) to Brazilian grooves (“Luz”) to downtempo arrangements of standards (“Wild is the Wind,” “I Concentrate on You,” or “The Sweetest Sounds”) make for a fascinating listen. Musa is an exceptional album that I, for one, look forward to playing a lot during DCB Jazz.

Orrin Evans – The Magic of Now (Smoke Sessions)

Pianist Orrin Evans just released a new album, The Magic of Now, on Smoke Sessions Records. Joined by young saxophonist Immanuel Wilkens, bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Bill Stewart. Evans has always written great tunes, and it’s nice to see a few of his compositions on here. “Libra” is an especially endearing mid-tempo groover. Wilkins’ songs, like “Levels” are a bit more exploratory, and they’re fascinating listens, buoyed by a rhythm section that can help move things along. The Magic of Now is at times exciting, invigorating and swinging.


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