Now that the humidity of summer is on us, it’s time to chill out with some new summer jazz CD releases.
One of the pioneers of contemporary jazz, David Benoit is a serious jazz musician who became a household name, inheriting the musical voice of Charlie Brown. Over the past two years, Benoit has fulfilled his dream of composing, performing and recording his classical symphonic pieces, hence the title of his latest CD. He’s back to square one with Full Circle. Fans of Benoit will not be disappointed; he is a prolific provider of varied musical moods. From the opening street samba of “Cafe Rio” to the nostalgic melody of “First Days of School” and the haunting theme of “Chasing the Tides,” with Benoit’s most eloquent solo, there is something here for a wide range of listeners.
Former Pacer and NBA star Wayman Tisdale’s latest release continues his excursions into soul and funk with Tisdale showing he is a more aggressive developing player. He stretches out dueling with Kirk Whalum on “If You Want Me To Stay” and he plays the lead on all tunes with guests Dave Koz, Johnathan Butler, Bob James, Jeff Lorber and Eric Benet. It’s a diverse offering of wholesome soulful and R&B grooves.
Chembo Corniel & Andre Brachfeld
The ties binding Latin and jazz music are even stronger today with this offering by a group of strong New York-based players. Percussionist Wilson “Chembo” Corniel and Andrea Brachfeld, a fabulous flutist, co-lead this innovative session. Trombonist Steve Turre, who is on four of the 11 cuts, plays an outstanding solo on a cha cha tempo of Coltrane’s “Naima.” Pianist Hilton Ruiz just comps and cooks away in all tempos and he lights up Coltrane’s “Transition” with a fiery solo. This is one of his last recordings before his passing earlier this year. Brachfeld should become a household name with her robust and passionate solos on flute and piccolo. Tunes from Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington, George Shearing, Wayne Shorter and Eddie Harris make up the exceptional level of musicianship fusing jazz with challenging Latin rhythms. This is an exhilarating group and direction.
Rendezvous In Rio
The vocal king of cool is back. Michael Franks has returned with as much wit and sophistication as ever after a run-in with radio programmers that kept his recordings off the air. Franks has a quiver full of arrows — some loaded with love, some proudly declaring his musical philosophy and the rest loaded with sardonic lyrics declaring his maverick approach to jazz. Franks is a linguistic genius and is amazing in his phrasing on this outing. Check out “The Critics are Never Kind,” which is a direct slam, or the gentle dig of “Scatsville.” He shows his love affair with Brazilian music in romantic originals like “Samba de Soho,” “Under The Sea” and “Rendezvous in Rio.” Like a surfer, he glides over the waves of strong sensitive musical support, darting over, around and through chord progressions with thoughtful vocal expressions. Michael Franks is a great way to cool off.
• Melvin Rhyne Group will play “Blues in the Neighborhood” 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, July 9 at Watkins Park, 2360 Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. The free concert is sponsored by Indy Parks and American Legion Post 249.
• Jazz on the Point at Eagle Creek Park Marina will feature The Oliver Nelson Jr. Quartet Tuesday, July 11. The free concert starts at 7 p.m. and goes to 8:30 p.m.
• Michael White Band will play “Lunchtime Concerts on the Canal” at the Indiana History Center, 450 W. Ohio St., Friday, July 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free admission.