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November 1st, 2021

Nicole Henry - Time To Love Again (Banister)

Vocalist Nicole Henry has been off the scene for a while, but this listener is glad to have her back with a new album. Time To Love Again is a far reaching album, tackling standards (“I Didn’t Know What Time It Was”), R&B classics (Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed” and Sade’s “Is It a Crime” are standouts in this regard) and a few obscurities from Buffy Sainte-Marie and Joan Armatrading, too. I’m glad to report that Ms. Henry is still in fine voice, and the songs are further buoyed by a guest appearance by saxophonist Troy Roberts that really take these songs to the next level.


Gerry Eastman Trio - Trust Me (self-produced)

Guitarist Gerry Eastman has a new album out that absolutely smokes. It’s called Trust Me, and trust me, this is a fantastic disc. Joined by Greg Lewis on the organ and Taru Alexander on the drums, this all original program is stacked with some great playing from first note to last. The organ playing and drumming is certainly influenced quite a bit by Larry Young and Elvin Jones (a potent team if ever there was one), but Gerry Eastman has a unique thing going on with the guitar, and overall, it makes for quite the compelling listen.


Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers - First Flight to Tokyo – The Lost 1961 Recordings (Blue Note)

We Jazz fans have been spoiled by a treasure trove of lost archival releases over the course of the past few years. First Flight to Tokyo is a great example of that. Arguably the finest edition of the Jazz Messengers, with Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Timmons and Jymie Merritt joining Blakey for a setlist that looks back to Be-Bop with “Now’s The Time” and “A Night in Tunisia” and looks forward with a couple of Bobby Timmons’ compositions (“Dat Dere” and “Moanin’”). The band is at the peak of its powers here, and I can guarantee you’ll be hearing this one quite a bit on DCB Jazz.