CD Review: ‘Nothin’ But Love,’ Kathy Lyon

Pensacola jazz activist and vocalist has just recorded a CD entitled “Nothin’ But Love — featuring Houston Person.” This was recorded in April 2019 in studios in Teaneck, N.J.

Kathy tells us that tenor saxophonist Houston Person was helpful in getting this project to completion. Her other artists include pianist Lafayette Harris, Jr., guitarist Peter Hand, bassist Matthew Parrish and drummer Vince Ector.

Kathy is featured on all 12 numbers but all the musicians all have their opportunity in the musical spotlights. Veteran saxophonist Person, of course, is strongly featured. All the tunes likely will be familiar to even the casual jazz listener. Kathy’s vocalizing will be familiar to Pensacola jazz fans, of course. But for those who are not, she delivers the vocals in a precise, delicate and melodic way. Some of the selections: I Remember You; Come Rain or Come Shine; Good Morning Heartache and Everything Happens to Me.

Kathy will be a featured performer at the Roswell, N.M., Jazz Festival Thursday-Sunday Nov. 17-20. And I understand that she is to be a featured performer on a Jazz Cruise later in the year.

For Kathy’s local schedule, see her website KathyLyonMusic.com. There, one may sign up for notification for her upcoming engagements. Kathy appears locally approximately monthly at the Seville Quarter Sunday brunch. To purchase a CD, contact Kathy through her website or directly at her gigs. This CD soon will be available for check-out at the Jazz Room in downtown West Florida Public Library. A previous CD of Kathy’s, “Here’s to Life,” already is in the collection.

CD Review: ‘Keep Talkin’,’ Yoko Miwa Trio

YOKO MIWA TRIO
KEEP TALKIN’
Ocean Blue Tear Music—www.yokomiwa.com

This is the eighth album Ms. Miwa has recorded as leader. It is in standard piano trio format with Yoko on piano, and husband drummer Scott Goulding and bassist Will Slater on all tracks except Brad Barrett on final track. It is a lovely mix of 11 tunes, more than one hour of delightful music—with about half original tunes and the rest by Monk, Mingus, Lennon & McCartney, Marcelo Camelo and Joni Mitchell.

At least some readers will be, like me, unfamiliar with Ms. Miwa’s background; perhaps a brief biographical sketch is in order. She was born in Kobe, Japan and was classically trained on piano. Her interest in jazz was initiated when she studied with Minoru Ozone, late keyboardist, educator-club owner and father of pianist Makoto Ozone. She subsequently enrolled in Koyo Conservatory of Music, a Berklee affiliate school. She later auditioned for a scholarship to Berklee. To her surprise, she won it! On moving to Boston, she met and married her classmate, drummer Scott Goulding.

The tunes selected are varied in tempo and quality but are always listenable. It is apparent that this group has worked together harmoniously for some time as each performer contributes to the quality of the whole.

One mild drawback, from this reviewer’s viewpoint, is the lack of extensive liner notes. This, I believe, would enhance the appreciation for this excellent CD. There are, however, good examples of her work on YouTube and a bio on the internet. It is recommended that the reader sample some of Ms. Miwa’s work on the internet.

Song list:
Keep Talkin’–Yoko Miwa
In Walked Bud—Thelonious Monk
Secret Rendezvous—Yoko Miwa
Sunset Lane—Yoko Miwa
Boogie Stop Shuffle—Charles Mingus
Golden Slumbers/ You Never Give Me Your Money—John Lennon & Paul McCartney
Tone Portrait—Yoko Miwa
Casa Pre-Fabricada—Marcelo Camelo
Conversation—Joni Mitchell
If You’re Blue—Yoko Miwa
Sunshine Follows the Rain—Yoko Miwa

Pensacola residents will find this recording at the Jazz Room of the downtown West Florida Public Library.

CD Review: ‘Tenormore,’ Scott Robinson

SCOTT ROBINSON; TENORMORE
Arbors Records

Some reviews almost write themselves; this is a prime example. Scott Robinson has produced a CD about his longtime love affair with his 1924 Conn tenor saxophone. Excellent liner notes by longtime jazz author and critic, Doug Ramsey, also make this CD special for me.

Robinson assembled an excellent small group which included Helen Sung on piano and Hammond B3; Dennis Mackrel on drums; and Martin Wind on string bass. Scott’s wife, Sharon, appears as special guest for one number on flute. About half the numbers are originals by Robinson with a lovely original, Rainy River, by bassist Martin Wind.

Sanford Josephson, in his excellent book about Gerry Mulligan, tells the story about Mulligan’s papers and his baritone saxophone being deposited posthumously at the Library of Congress. Robinson was selected to play one number on Mulligan’s baritone saxophone at that ceremony. Scott brought his own mouthpiece and reed to use when he played Mulligan’s horn. In the transfer from rehearsal space to stage, an L of C assistant helped to transport the horn and set up on stage. Much to Scott’s anxiety and disappointment, Mulligan’s mouthpiece and 25-year-old cracked reed was on the horn; and, there was no time for Scott to rescue his own mouthpiece set-up. But, trooper that he is, Scott got through the piece satisfactorily!

Tunes that most readers will recognize are Lennon and McCartney’s And I Love Her; The Good Life; and Hoagy Carmichael’s The Nearness of You. Bassist Martin Wind’s Rainy River has a lovely melody and the tenor sax and Wind’s bass blend marvelously. Scott’s original The Weaver is an excellent showpiece for a duet with wife Sharon’s flute.

This CD should be especially appealing to reed players but also to the casual fan who likes good music.

Thanks to all who helped make this CD possible, including Rachel Domber of Arbors Records. Scott gives special acknowledgment in the liner notes about her encouragement of the project.

This CD will be available for check-out by patrons in the Jazz Room of West Florida Public Library, downtown Pensacola.

Note: The hat worn by Robinson on the cover of “Tenormore” was created by him from some of the many reeds with which he’s performed over the years.

CD Review: ‘The Definition of Insanity,’ Tony Monaco

The Definition of Insanity
Tony Monaco- Hammond B3, piano, accordion and voice
Chicken Coop Records—Release date January 18, 2019

Monaco, a Hammond B3 artist, has done it again. With his usual small-group format, which includes guitarist Derek Decenzo, and drummer Tony McClung, he also uses his wife Asake Monaco on piano on a single number, Never Let Me Go.

Monaco is a personal favorite and he earned more converts when he was a featured soloist with his trio at a Pensacola JazzFest in the early 2000s.

The selection of 11 tunes is eclectic. Cars, Trucks and Buses, by keyboardist Page McConnell, is the opener on the CD. Jimmy Smith’s “Root Down” is executed more or less faithfully to the Smith version except that Smith used a bass player whereas Monaco plays the bass part with left hand. Never Let Me Go is a lovely ballad by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans and features Monaco also on vocals and his wife Asake on piano.

Monaco’s only original tune, Awar Athar has a Middle Eastern flavor and uses the Turkish scale, which he learned from one of his Turkish students. He sings in Italian and also plays accordion on Non Ti Scordare Di Me a traditional Neapolitan song. Monaco’s rendition of Floyd Cramer’s big hit, Last Date is also memorable. His finale, A Song for You, Leon Russell’s composition, which has been frequently recorded by many artists, is rendered as a vocal as well as keyboard piece.

This CD was a joy to hear and to review. It will be placed in the Jazz Room of the West Florida Public Library for patrons to check out and enjoy as well.

CD Review: ‘Eric Dolphy, Musical Prophet’

There’s a saying some circles: There are two kinds of music, TRAD and STAD. (S—t, that ain’t Dixieland.) If you’re a strict adherent to the former, then this review won’t appeal to you.

However, for the rest of you musically adventurous souls, this may or may not appeal to you. I was aware of Eric Dolphy’s multi-instrumentalism and his important place as a jazz icon, but that was about the extent of my knowledge. The full title of this three-CD set is “Eric Dolphy Musical Prophet; The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions.” It is released by Renaissance Records and produced by Zev Feldman and flautist James Newton. The set is accompanied by a 100-page CD size booklet complete with commentary by various artists. Two of the three recordings are reproduced on CD with supplemental recordings to make an approximate one hour each. The third CD features alternate takes from the previous two recordings, previously unreleased. All are mono-track recordings.

The two recordings previously released are entitled Conversations and Iron Man. The accompanying 100-page booklet includes photographs, description of how the recordings came to be made as well as commentary from various artists about Dolphy’s life and musical artistry. Besides Dolphy, who performs on alto sax, flute and bass clarinet, are the following: William “Prince” Lasha, flute; Huey “Sonny” Simmons, alto sax; Clifford Jordan, soprano sax; Woody Shaw, trumpet; Garvin Bushell, bassoon; Bobby Hutcherson, vibraphone; bassists Richard Davis and Eddie Kahn; and drummers J.C. Moses and Charles Moffett.

Several personal take-aways: the previously unreleased “Muses for Richard Davis” was intriguing duet for Davis’ bass and Dolphy’s bass clarinet. Also, a discussion about how Dolphy would practice flute and birds would respond, so Dolphy’s practice might be interrupted by a flute-bird conversation. This reminded me of my own flute and chromatic harmonica bird conversations. Dolphy was a straight-arrow who avoided the drug/alcohol problems of so many musicians of that era. He was engaged to a Parisian dancer but died in 1964 at age 36 of undiagnosed, untreated diabetic coma in a Berlin hospital.

This is not a recording that is likely to leave the casual listener humming a familiar tune. But it will leave the perceptive listener was a greater appreciation of the talent and skill of multi-instrumentalist Dolphy and his talented performers.

Pensacola library patrons may check out this valuable recording from the Jazz Room of West Florida Public Library.

CD Review: ‘Standard Deviations 1 & 2,’ Tobin Mueller

Standard Deviations, Volumes 1 and 2
By Tobin Mueller
Album available CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes

Interestingly, I had reviewed a previous two-CD set, “Afterwords,” exactly one year previously. On receiving this one, my expectations were pleasantly fulfilled. But, first some words about this unusual multi-talented man. In addition to being a pianist/composer/vocalist, he’s a playwright and sometime actor.

The current two-CD set features Tobin on piano, keyboard or organ. Some of the selections have an added instrumentalist such as saxophonist or guitarist. Then Mueller might add vibraphone, drums and/or bass. All selections on this album will be familiar to most jazz listeners. To name a few: God Bless the Child, St. Louis Blues, Take the “A” Train; Autumn Leaves, Stardust, My Funny Valentine and Georgia On My Mind.

All are performed tastefully and in Mueller’s unique style. Hence, his appropriate title of “Standard Deviations.”

So, this is a recommended album for those willing to listen to standard jazz tunes presented in a tasteful yet different style.

See www.tobinmueller.com to get more details on this album and other interesting projects of Mr. Mueller. One can purchase from the usual mail order sources as well as directly from this website.