LINDA HORNBUCKLE AND JANICE SCROGGINS
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Two of Portland's better-known female artists combine their abundant talents for a brand new CD loaded with soul, soul and more soul.
It appears there is nothing Linda Hornbuckle cannot sing. Her program ranges from a heartfelt Sam Cooke tribute of "You Send Me" with a stop along the way for a 1930's treatment of "St. Louis Blues." The very moving gospel hymn, "I Can Hear My Savior Calling" and the medley that follows, "Enter His Gates" and "This Is the Day" create a sanctified respite from whatever travails one is facing at the time.
There is no better example of the blending of these two women's souls than what they do with "Help Me Make It Through The Night." Hornbuckle's pleading is amplified by Scroggins' subtle fills and her powerful left hand.
Of course Scroggins makes all this work. She is perhaps the most musically flexible pianist in the Northwest. She is equally adept playing bebop, post bop, and certainly gospel. As the ultimate accompanist, Scroggins changes modes along with Hornbuckle for the sad jazz ballad "Miss Otis Regrets." Both women reach deep into their personal emotional reservoirs to pull off a magnificent close to a wonderful CD.
A CD release party is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 13 at Jimmy Mak's.
"A RIDE TO THE OTHER SIDE"
DERRICK GARDNER AND THE JAZZ PROPHETS
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This is probably the best straight-ahead release I have heard in the past 12 months.
Trumpeter Derrick Gardner's style has been described as a combination of Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw and Clifford Brown whom he idolized. However this CD is not just about Gardner. It is, in its own way, today's version of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Gardner makes great use of horn voicings with his brother Vincent Gardner on trombone and tenor saxophonist Rob Dixon. They work with a fabulous rhythm section of pianist Anthony Wonsey, bassist Rodney Whitaker and drummer Donald Edwards. Percussionist Kevin Kaiser is on several cuts.
It is extremely difficult to pick a favorite track because each one is five-star quality and has its own message. "Mac Daddy Grip" is a rousing shuffle with Vincent Gardner firm, in control of his trombone, which lays out a challenge for the others. Dixon uses his tenor in a muscular way, building intensity as he solos. Derrick Gardner's trumpet is next with a clear and succinct master's touch. Wonsey gets in before the horns return in unison setting the table for Whitaker's bass solo.
One of the pretty ballads Gardner includes is "Be One." We get to hear a long gorgeous upper register trumpet solo and a fine unison horn interlude with a sound reminiscent of Tadd Dameron. Wonsey is key with is understated work.
This one is a cinch to be on many 2008 top ten jazz CD lists.
"BEFORE LOVE HAS GONE"
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Stevie Holland describes herself as an "old soul' which simply means she takes a mature approach to her art, enunciating clearly plumbing the melody for its' subtleties and making the lyric really personal.
Her accomplices in her mission are perfect for her needs. Pianist Martin Bjerano and bassist Edward Perez set the tone allowing her to enchant on tunes like "Lazy Afternoon," "How Deep Is the Ocean," "Where or When," " Make Our Garden Grow" and more.
There is a significant role for guitarist Paul Bollenback and drummer Willie Jones III which both fulfill with ease. Holland: a fresh voice with old-fashioned sensibilities.