Like the season of falling leaves, there is an abundance of new-release autumn CDs. There’s wide variety of jazz and related music genres to pick from.
Duets, An American Classic
Tony’s 80? It doesn’t seem possible — not by the 19 cuts and guest artists included here. This is a something-for-everybody party that celebrates Bennett’s turning the big 8-0. For jazz lovers, he swings away on standards with Diana Krall, James Taylor and has a blast with Michael Buble on “Just in Time.” For extreme guests, how about The Dixie Chicks, Barbra Streisand or 14 other pop celebs? Bennett is the life of his party, blending and singing away.
Rating: Four stars for an American icon
Category: Easy listening/pop with some jazz overtures. RPM/Columbia has also released two other CDs of Bennett hits of the ’50s and ’60s.
The Carnegie Hall Concert
Another live solo piano excursion by Jarrett in this two-CD set. It’s fascinating how Jarret can consistently take the listener on his travels of emotional improvisation. “Time On My Hands” is a wonderful example of Jarrett’s timbre, taste and lyrical construction in this extensive live set.
Rating: Three and a half stars. Elegant, enthusiastic and empathic performance by a masterful artist.
Category: Solo jazz piano
Turned To Blue
This is a perfect mood-setting recording for this time of year with Nancy Wilson. She sells stories of love, passion and nostalgia with her ability to bend a note or twist a phrase that touches one’s emotions. There are bright moments with an all-star big band on “Taking a Chance on Love” featuring an excellent James Moody tenor sax solo. A wide variety of musical settings with top guest soloists gives Wilson a flexible framework.
Rating: Four stars. Like the leaves of autumn, Wilson delivers a mellow and gently glowing performance.
Category: Vocal jazz Additional CD releases of merit
Mort Weiss, The B-3 and Me, SMS Jazz
Rating:Four stars. Clarinet & Joey D, B-3 organ, straight-ahead
Michael Lington, A Song For You, Rendezvous
Rating: Three stars. Smooth jazz Danish saxophonist performing contemporary pop hits with strings and hornsDavid Arkenstone, Sketches From An American Journey, Gemini Sun RecordsRating: t A colorful musical excursion of 13 New Age originals for the season.