As the volume of falling autumn leaves is increasing, the volume of jazz CDs across my desk seems to be keeping pace. Here are some we raked in for your consideration.
Got You Covered
This is a personal musical journey through Eric Marienthal's all-time favorite tunes. That list encompasses a wide range from Paul McCartney to James Moody and the Gibb Brothers to Bach, just to name a few. The Yellowjackets' Russell Ferrante arranged and played on most cuts with a duet guest appearance from Marienthal's former boss Chick Corea, who challenges Marienthal to match his piano explorations.
There is a classical counterpoint jaunt played in a swinging waltz time on Bach's "Two Part Invention #4 in D Minor." The rest of the disc pays tribute to a pair of jazz classics with "Moody's Mood for Love" and "Compared to What." For the pop side, Marienthal smooths over the Gibb Brothers' "Emotion" and Lennon and McCartney's "I Will." But he happily swings away on the standard "I've Got the World on a String."
Steady and sensitive support from Russ Freeman's guitar, Peter Erskine's drums and Dave Carpenter's bass give him the legs to bounce.
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Nothing musically earth-shattering but good playing by Marienthal with top performers done live.
Artizen Music Group
Smooth jazz trumpeter Rick Braun has resurfaced on his new label. Like Marienthal, he has made this a nostalgic musical journey.
For laid-back jazz fans, Braun grooves on EW&F's "Shining Star" and Lisa Stanfield's "All Around the World." He pays tribute to his former boss Sade on a mellow version of "Kiss of Life." He plays eloquently and passionately on Michel LeGrand's classic "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life," with a full string orchestra arranged by David Benoit, who also plays on this cut. As Braun points out in the liner notes, "These are songs from my life that have made up a special part of my musical landscape for various reasons."
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Braun's musical journey shows a sensitive artist who takes the rock and pop of three decades and bends it to his personal jazz sensibilities.