Since this is a holiday weekend, I decided to move my usual Sunday review feature to Monday and stretch out a bit. What's more, I had a bunch of new discs to share with you, so making this a day's post rather than a squeezed-in feature made the most sense:
You've got to sample Chico Pinheiro's There's a Storm Inside. If you dig Chet Baker, you're going to love this Brazilian singer-guitarist. He has enormous taste and delivers lyrics with the breathy laid-back phrasing of the West Coast trumpeter. Several tracks also feature rich string arrangements, such as Our Love Is Here to Stay, orchestrated by Oscar Castro-Neves. As you'll hear, this album just keeps getting better and better as Pinheiro slips into a Rio groove and swings song after song without pandering. Except for the first Gershwin track, this is a pure samba play, smartly avoiding the hackneyed American Songbook standards so common on Brazilian efforts. Actually, there's one other song by an American composer: Pinheiro made a brilliant choice in covering Stevie Wonder's As from Songs in the Key of Life with Dianne Reeves on the vocal. Special guests on the album include tenor saxophonist Bob Mintzer and vocalists Luciana Alves and Reeves. You'll find Chico Pinheiro's There's a Storm Inside (Sunnyside) at iTunes or here.
Nat King Cole recorded three albums in Spanish between 1958 and 1962. While the U.S. market shrugged off the LPs, the albums had a profound effect on the Latin-American and South American markets. In tribute to Cole's outreach to Hispanic record buyers yearning for a stake in the American post-war experience, Cuban vocalist Issac Delgado has released L-O-V-E, a tender and passionate collection of songs that Cole recorded in Spanish. On two tracks Delgado is joined by Freddy Cole, Nat Cole's honey-voiced brother. Tenderly sounds steamy in Spanish, as does I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face and Green Eyes. Delgado brings enormous heart to every track. You'll find L-O-V-E (Calle 54) at iTunes or here.
Saxophonist Matt Garrison's Familiar Places is quite something. Not only does he exhibit a big, strong sound on the tenor and baritone saxes, but he's joined by some impressive guests, including Claudio Roditi, Don Braden, Michael Dease and Sharel Cassity. Most of the songs and arrangements are by Garrison. Try sampling A Thoughtful Attempt to see what I mean. Or check out Jimmy Heath's Without You—No Me (To Dizzy). Garrison is a major force to watch and listen to carefully. You'll find Matt Garrison's Familiar Places (D-Clef) at iTunes or here.
Working with Eyvind Kang on viola and Rudy Royston on drums, guitarist Bill Frisell has produced a fascinating folk-fusion album in Beautiful Dreamers. The angst of the electric guitar against the cut-grass sound of the country viola makes for quite a pairing. You hear this sound on It's Nobody's Fault But Mine and No Time to Cry. One of the most interesting executions of this town-country approach appears on Going Out of My Head, which features Frisell and Kang employing pizzicato throughout the Little Anthony pop hit. You'll find Bill Frisell's Beautiful Dreamers (Savoy) at iTunes or here.
Drummer Chris Massey's Vibrainium is a smart contemporary hard-bop album that grabs your attention from the first track—Massey's Galactus. Massey enjoys diving in but fortunately he's a masterful drink-stirrer who would rather empower his group than turn the session into a slam-bang drum showcase. Listen to Massey's shimmering cymbal-playing on the title track or how he enhances Chick Corea's Windows. Pianist Evgeny Lebedev also is a standout here. You'll find Chris Massey's Vibrainium (ChrisMasseyJazz) at iTunes or here.
Sid Selvidge's I Should Be Blue is a different type of album. It's country-folk and offers many joys. Selvidge's music reminds me of one of those back-porch sofas that swing back and forth. Songs like Catch the Wind, Dimestore Angel and I'll Be Here in the Morning with Amy Speace as well as The Dolphins show off Selvidge's Southern roots and interpretation. My favorite track is the country-soul Fine Hotel. Sample for yourself. You'll find Sid Selvidge's I Should Be Blue (Archer) at iTunes or here.