Kurt Elling, the supreme jazz poet, is all about love and romance in this, his latest on Concord.
A careful hearing will take the listener on a love journey as well as a trip to self-discovery. He begins with the title tune, "Nightmoves," an ode to fantasy romance. He stops briefly for his own version of Betty Carter's "Tight" which is a tribute to singleness complete with desperation.
A medley of "Change Partners," and "If You Never Come to Me" cast Elling into the classic balladeer role. Its slow tempo simmers with the assistance of pianist Laurence Hobgood, bassist Christian McBride, drummer Willie Jones III, guitarist Guilherme Monteiro and Howard Levy on harmonica.
Elling writes new lyrics for the traditional ballad "Body and Soul" doing it with vocals based on Dexter Gordon's improvisation from his 1976 album, "Homecoming: Live at the Village Vanguard." While similar to Elling's reconstruction of John Coltrane's "Resolution" from "A Love Supreme," it's an easier listen but no less intricate. This is an album that will likely have its own place vocal jazz history.
"IF DREAMS COME TRUE"
GEORGE GEE SWING ORCHESTRA
If you want a nostalgia trip back to the late 1930s and early 1940s, this is a sure fire fit.
Gee reaches into the Count Basie bag and extracts "Sent for You Yesterday" with a convincing vocal by John Dokes. The Gee aggregation is large, plays with power and exhibits a great ability to infuse life into long ago dance hits.
Other tunes include, "Lulu's Back in Town," "Puttin' on the Ritz," "It Had to Be You," "Topsy" and more.
"FOR SENTIMENTAL REASONS"
KIND OF BLUE
The reigning king of the vibes, Bobby Hutcherson, explores the depths and nuances of a fine group of standard ballads on this Kind of Blue label release.
Hutcherson begins with "I Love You for Sentimental Reasons," with a seemingly effortless interpretation of the 1940s pop hit. The slow and easy mood continues through each of the eleven cuts.
Next is "Ode to Angela" followed by the classic "Embraceable You." Hutcherson is accompanied by an acclaimed group of players with Renee Rosnes, piano, Dwayne Burno, bass and Al Foster, drums. In the main, they keep a low profile supplying either just the right solo or playing the frame for Hutcherson's forays.
Tunes include "Along Came Betty"; "Jitterbug Waltz"; Don't Blame Me"; "Spring is Here"; "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?" and more.
Exposing New LOCAL Artists
Beginning July 17, a new series of late shows designed to expose young up and coming jazz musicians to Portland audiences will take place at Jimmy Mak's and are sponsored by the club and Diatic Records.
After the Mel Brown Septet wraps up its Tuesday night sets at 11 p.m., the scene will change and the young bands will take over until closing. First on the schedule is the Ben Macy band. Appearances by the Dusty York Trio, and Farnell Newton-Marcus Reynolds Quintet are schedule for subsequent Tuesdays.