This autumn has a harvest of surprising new CD releases for you to gather and enjoy. Here are some that we feel may add to your listening enjoyment in a wide range of styles. Chris Botti
When I Fall In Love
This latest outing by trumpeter Chris Botti has to be the best thing he’s done to date. Yes, it’s a romantic album, but Botti plays with such a hauntingly rich and mellow tone it’s almost flugelhorn-sounding.
If anyone doubted Botti’s ability to play straight-ahead jazz, listen to arranger Billy Childs’ Gil Evans-style version of “Let’s Fall In Love.” Botti’s understated swinging solo is a bow to Miles Davis. The lush orchestral sound of the London Session Orchestra gives Botti a huge cushion for his cool musical forays that are sung with depth and feeling. Botti even does a duet with vocalist Paula Cole on “What’ll I Do?” Sting makes a guest appearance on his composition “La Belle Dame Sans Regrets.” Sade’s classic “No Ordinary Love” shows Botti as a strong storyteller of ballads; he really glistens on this. Botti is magnificent, especially on ballads in the tradition of Bix, Chet and Miles, but he can shout when it’s time.
Rating: (4 stars) This is an exceptional CD for those pensive moments to share with someone special — and it’s a grand outing for Botti.
The Dana Owens Album
Latifah has a musical stunner with this release. In real life, Dana Owens is Latifah’s given name. The former rapper has been hiding her passion as a serious jazz-oriented singer who is knowledgeable about the art of jazz.
She surrounds herself with top-flight jazz musicians and arrangers, with guest appearances from Herbie Hancock’s piano on a sensuous “I Put a Spell On You,” James Moody’s alto sax on the bop classic “Moody’s Mood For Love” and David “Fathead” Newman’s flowing alto sax on “If I Had You.”
It’s a moving performance by Latifah in a duet with Al Green on his classic “Simply Beautiful.” Latifah shows her jazz chops and scats down with Meryn Warren on a swinging version of “Close Your Eyes.” She shouts some spirited blues on “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” almost quoting Cannoball Adderley’s spoken hip verse at the start and shouting out some enthusiastic blues choruses on top of a punching big band.
Whether in front of a big band, a large string orchestra or a combo, Queen Latifah has got a pristine voice with a beautifully controlled vibrato; she feels the lyrics and delivers them no matter what the material. She hit a home run with this CD.
Rating: (5 stars) Welcome home Dana Owens! They should call you Empress Latifah after this.
Jazz data The Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra will open its 2004-’05 season at the Indiana Historical Society Sunday, Oct. 17 with “Old Bottles, New Wines,” a musical tribute with fresh arrangements of the music of the big band era, featuring classic songs associated with Stan Kenton, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey. Performances are at 2 p.m. and at 7 p.m. For tickets call 317-464-5388. For further information log onto www.bwjo.org.
The Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra will perform “Big Band Tribute to Indiana’s Best,” honoring Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael Friday, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. in the Freemason Hall Theater. Tickets available by phone, 1-800-595-4849, or the Internet, www.indyjazz.org, click on “BUY TICKETS.”
Jazz Happenings Downtown
Chatterbox, 435 Massachusetts Ave. Friday, Bill Lancton Quartet. Saturday, Kevin Kouts Group featuring guitarist Paul Holderman. Music 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., with a cover charge.
Circle City Bar & Grille, 350 W. Maryland St., Marriott Downtown. Friday, vocalist Betheny Dunlap with Glenn Dunlap on keyboards, Kenny Phelps on drums, Frank Smith on bass. Music 7 to 11 p.m.
Jazz Kitchen, 54th Street and College Avenue. Friday, pianist/singer Jeff DeHerdt’s Group, mixed jazz and contemporary sounds. Saturday, eclectic party sounds by Dog Talk. Sets are 8:30 and 10:30 p.m., cover charge.
Sullivan’s Steakhouse, 3316 E. 86th St., Keystone at the Crossing. Hot jazz Friday, Steve Corn, piano, and Joe Deal, bass. Saturday, Claude Sifferlen, piano, and Joe Deal, bass. Music 5 to 11 p.m.
D’Vine A Wine Bar, 86th and Keystone Avenue, Woodfield Shopping Center. Friday, vocalist Goldie Johnson with keyboards. Saturday, keyboards and vocals by Don Ellman, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday, solo guitar by Bill Lancton, 7 to 11 p.m.
Smokehouse Cafe, County Line Road and Meridian Street. Sunday Jazz Brunch showcases The Impulse Trio, Steve Watts, bass, Kathryn Ryan, keyboards, Matt Price, drums. Music and brunch 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Pauly’s Italian Restaurant, Southport Road and Highway 37. Saxophonist Sophie Faught and Maiden Voyage play Wednesday, 6:30 to 9 p.m. and Friday, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Chuck Workman is the producer/host of the Sunday Morning Jazz Show at 107.9 WTPI.