Now that we are into the chill of mid-winter, there are some new jazz CDs appearing on the scene, adding warmth to the seasonal blahs. Kevin Mahogany
If there is such a thing as a redeeming album, welcome back Kevin. This is a steamroller of powerhouse vocals over a smoking Frank Mantooth Jazz Orchestra. Mahogany is at his vocal peak on every track. "Moonlight In Vermont" gets a hip, bouncy treatment. There's a brilliant tenor sax solo by Scott Robinson with Mahogany's out chorus scatting over a wailing ensemble. Mahogany shouts some serious big city blues on "In the Evening" and "Centerpiece" that ring of Joe Williams with the Basie Band. Enough cannot be said about Mantooth's arrangements on each song; they ignite excitement and power. This has to be among arranger/educator Mantooth's last recordings; he died shortly after this.
Rating: four stars. This is an awesome tribute to both Mahogany and Mantooth.
There has been a resurgence of guitarists playing the New Flamenco style with its fiery, passionate style and grooves. Jesse Cook's latest release, recorded live at last year's "Le Festival International de Jazz de Montreal," shows that he ranks at the top of the crop. This is a blazing recording and Cook just burns away with some jaw dropping solo runs over his stoking band's rhythm and heated tempos. The live audience is swept away and openly cheering and time-clapping on every tune, from the opening track of "Beloved" to the closing cut of "Fall at Your Feet." Cook's performance here is spellbinding.
Rating: four stars. New Flamenco, World Beat ... it doesn't get much better than Cook's tour de force here.
The Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra plays a special three hour Valentine Concert Sunday, Feb. 13, at the Indiana Roof Ballroom starting at 7 p.m. Singer Joe Girard will be featured in a one hour tribute to Frank Sinatra.
Monday, Feb. 14: The Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra holds its annual Valentine Concerts at the Indiana Historical Society. There will include a 2 p.m. matinee performance and 7 p.m. concert. Vocalist Cynthia Layne and Everett Greene will be featured.
Art & Soul at the Indianapolis Artsgarden will feature The Indiana Avenue Jazz Legends on Wednesday in a free concert at 12:15 p.m.
Monika Herzig and the Acoustical Project will present a Free Friday Jazz Concert at North United Methodist Church at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11. The church is located at 38th & Meridian Street.
Coaches Tavern, 28 S. Pennsylvania St. now has Jazz on Wednesday featuring the Sound Crime Trio from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
The Velvet Lounge, 3407 E. 86th Street showcases jazz with vocalist Kelleen on Fridays from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.