"Good, very good Latin Jazz pianists and their music don’t come across my desk all that often. When something does, I take notice. Such a pianist, who is around 30 and already very accomplished, is Harold López-Nussa. You can hear him to excellent advantage on his album New Day (Jazz Village 570021)…
The set here is an excellent one. The originals have substance and originality. Harold drives without especially emphasizing the left-hand chording a la McCoy Tyner or Eddie Palmieri, which distinguishes him in part from some of the contemporary Latin jazz pianists out there, though his comping remains strong, just a bit more brittle and varied. There is a well-developed musicality that is apparent and marks him as special.
He is on tour throughout North America this September and October, so if you like what you hear, go to it! The album is a winner on all fronts, a landmark Latin jazz piano album of the last few years, surely.”
"Now to Natalia M. King, singer extraordinaire who was born in Brooklyn and found herself in Paris years later launching a career. Her latest puts her in a mode that works quite well for her, with a small, talented, soulful band…
She has a voice that pleases without rehearsing the ways of her forebears. And that makes her rather special. I expect she will develop further as she goes along her path. For now she has carved her own niche. Listen!”
"There are a select few musicians in the world who elicit a combination of awe, respect and joy from their listeners while simultaneously knocking their socks off. Chucho Valdés is one of those rare artists who has not only garnered accolades for his enormous talent but also for his forward-thinking contributions to the Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz musical canons, and at age 72, he is sounding better than ever!
This past weekend, the SFJAZZ Center was honored to host the Maestro with his extraordinary quintet of young powerhouse players - the aptly-named Afro-Cuban Messengers - for four incredible nights as well as an afternoon master class in which he traced the evolution of Cuban popular music in a 90-minute lecture-demonstration. The highlights from the class are represented in these few photos, but nothing comes close to adequately describing the musical amalgam that is Chucho Valdés and the journey the audiences were treated to night after mind-blowing night.
As the blogger du jour I should state for the record that I am extremely biased, having been a fan and friend of Chucho’s for over 25 years, but there is no denying the jaw-dropping performances that he and his Messengers gave us, as was evident with the multiple standing ovations the band received. From explosive percussion-laden grooves to tender ballads sprinkled with echoes of Bill Evans and Brubeck to Bach and beyond, to the thrilling tango-timba-blues he composed for his wife Lorena (who was in the house along with their son each night)…every piece was a gem, and each night a magical exploration of Valdés’ compositional legacy…”
"Regardless of the role of genetics, Lucky Peterson is one convincing bluesman. “The Son of a Bluesman” lets him sing and play guitar and organ on a collection of 11 tunes that range from originals to covers of “Funky Broadway” by Wilson Pickett and Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now.” The performer is the son of Buffalo blues star and club owner James Peterson, but the success of the album is a Lucky happening. He has a powerful voice and convincing style that give life to material such as “Boogie Woogie Blues Joint Party” and “Blues in My Blood,” a song he should have written because of the way it deals with music being handed down.
One of the best offerings is “I’m Still Here,” a song that deals with the ability to survive the tests of life. Most of the songs are of Peterson singing in a quartet with guitar, bass and drums, but two have a horn section and three a small group of background singers.”
Catherine plays Harlow's in Sacramento on August 8!
Coming in September on Jazz Village is Live at l’Olympia by Ahmad Jamal & Yusef Lateef!
This set documents an historic concert that took place in Paris on June 27, 2012. The great Ahmad Jamal, enjoying a return to the jazz charts thanks to his recent releases on Jazz Village, began by playing selections from his album Blue Moon. Then the pianist was joined on stage by the equally legendary Yusef Lateef, who had played with Jamal in the glory days of the Atlantic label. These two artists channeled the past and reinvented the future as they worked their musical magic. The album features two audio discs and a DVD of the complete concert.
Preorder now on Amazon!