Download Hot House Pdf Here:  May Hot House Jazz Guide

 


Shayna Dulberger

Fresh Takes By Nick Dunston

Bassist Shayna Dulberger is ubiquitous in the subcultures of jazz and contemporary music. However, pinpointing the totality of what she does is difficult.

For her residency at Roulette, she’ll feature three of her own projects. Shayna explains, “Hot Date, in duo with Chris Welcome, is an exploration of musique concrete and other influences. Chris gave me my first four-track tape recorder for my 20th birthday back in 2003, after expressing a lot of interest in his work with musique concrete and noise, which were exciting to discover as a jazz bassist. Warrior of Light, my most performance-based project, with dancer, choreographer, filmmaker Djassi daCosta Johnson, has been one of the most wonderful projects of my life. Our connection was instantaneous. For our fourth WoL piece, our theme is ‘Balance.’ We are both always so busy with a million projects, motherhood, love and the struggle with self-care that this is the perfect concept for us to breathe life into WoL’s new chapter. Dromedaries is an explosive free jazz trio with Keir Neuringer and Julius Masri. I have always loved listening and playing in saxophone trios. I’m looking forward to playing bass for the final set, and who better to do it with than with wonderful players and people?”

Shayna Dulberger performs at Roulette on May 14. 

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Mary Stallings

Winning Spins By George Kanzler

The world of jazz singing encompasses myriad approaches and possibilities, especially these days when jazz is a worldwide enterprise. The two singers whose new albums are considered here present a study in contrasts. Mary Stallings came up during the hard bop and soul jazz years in the midst of the last century, while Camila Meza, 45 years Mary’s junior, hails from Chile, moving stateside in 2008, at age 23. Mary honed her art on the jazz scene in the San Francisco Bay area when the Fillmore District was still known as the “Harlem of the West,” before it became the domain of rock and hippies. Camila refined her vocal, guitar and composing talents at the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music at Manhattan’s New School. Mary’s album tells her story through songs she’s encountered through the years, while Camila’s mixes originals with, mostly, songs from Latin America.

Her new release, Songs Were Made to Sing (Smoke Sessions), features Mary Stallings in a small band setting with pianist and arranger David Hazeltine, bassist David Williams and drummer Joe Farnsworth, with contributions from trumpeter Eddie Henderson, alto saxophonist Vincent Herring and percussionist Daniel Sadownick. Mary’s tart, bluesy voice recalls Carmen McRae and the late soul jazz singer Etta Jones, as does her repertoire, which includes “Blue Monk,” a tune Carmen covered on her Thelonious Monk songbook album. Works by other musician-composers include Oliver Nelson’s “Stolen Moments,” Tadd Dameron’s “Lady Bird,” and Stanley Turrentine’s “Sugar.” Duke Ellington’s “Prelude to a Kiss” is given an unusual swing treatment, with a double-time solo from Vincent. Another ballad, “Lover Man,” is treated to a medium tempo tropical rhythm, as Mary adds melismatic touches to the lyrics.

Mary favors standards that were popular on the jazz and soul jazz club circuit in the 20th century such as “Give Me the Simple Life,” the only CD’s duet with David’s piano. Others include “When I Close My Eyes” and “Ill Wind,” distinguished by Eddie’s pensive Harmon-muted trumpet obligati and solo, a role he also plays on “’Round Midnight.” Vincent’s alto sax shines on “Blue Monk,” “Soul Mates” and especially “Sugar,” Stanley’s signature song; it’s refreshing to hear the rarely sung lyrics. We can say the same of Mary Stallings, who is still refreshingly rewarding to hear on this highly successful outing.

Mary Stallings celebrates the release of Songs Were Made to Sing with pianist and arranger David Hazeltine, bassist David Williams and drummer Joe Farnsworth at Smoke Jazz Club & Lounge on May 16-18.

Photo Credit:  Jimmy Katz

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Brandee Younger

Another Reason To Celebrate By Elzy Kolb

Old and new dreams

Harpist Brandee Younger’s soon-to-be-released album, Soul Awakening, has been a long time coming. Recorded in 2012 and completed in 2013, she intended it to be her quartet’s first release. Instead, it’s the fourth. It ended up on the shelf for several years while she put out her debut CD, Live at the Breeding Ground, followed by Supreme Sonacy and Wax & Wane.

Among the mix of material on Soul Awakening are compositions by legendary jazz harpists Dorothy Ashby (“Games”) and Alice Coltrane (“Blue Nile”). The title track is an original by the album’s bassist and producer Dezron Douglas; he also composed “Soulris,” featured on his 2018 EP, Black Lion.

Perhaps unexpectedly, Brandee says her original pieces are the ones she is least familiar with. “They’re some of the newer ones,” she notes. “I play ‘Blue Nile’ all the time, I’ll play it till I die. It’s like a reflex at this time. Some of the others I play regularly, and I’m revisiting the material I never play at all.”

Brandee’s composition “Love’s Prayer” is one of her favorite tracks on Soul Awakening. Dezron came up with the name for the piece in the studio when he got tired of referring to it by its track number. “I’m in the habit of writing tunes and not having a title,” she admits. When she does have a moniker for a tune, you can bet there’s a story behind the choice. The title “Respected Destroyer” came from inputting her brother’s name into the Wu-Tang Clan name generator (https://wutangclan.net/name-generator/). “Linda Lee” is titled for her mother. “Lee is her middle name, and I put her on blast with that: She doesn’t use it, and now everyone will know it,” Brandee says with a laugh. “My father said, ‘You wrote a song for your mother, I’m not jealous.’ I promise that eventually there will be a song named for everybody!”

She credits Dezron as the “catalyst behind the arranging, except for ‘Save the Children.’ I thought, What am I going to do with the harp on this one?” Brandee worked out her version of the Marvin Gaye classic shortly after the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre.

“Sandy Hook completely shook us all. For the situation as a whole, there are no words for it,” Brandee says. “I always loved ‘Save the Children,’ and decided to do it. One of the things about the harp, you can’t sustain notes. You can play the melody, but you can’t sustain. It meant so much to me to do the song; as soon as I recorded the track, I called a singer friend in L.A., Niia, then sent the track to her to do the vocal.”

The piece is dedicated to the memory of Ana Grace Marquez-Greene, a victim of the Sandy Hook carnage. The harpist is a long-time friend of the little girl’s parents, saxophonist Jimmy Greene and Nelba Marquez-Greene, stretching back to their days at the Hartt School in Hartford, Connecticut.

In addition to vocalist Niia, other special guests on Soul Awakening include saxophonists Ravi Coltrane, Antoine Roney, trumpeters Freddie Hendrix and Sean Jones, and more. “Ravi and Antoine have been huge mentors for me and it means a lot to have them as part of this.”

Soul Awakening is set to drop early in June, but Brandee Younger and Friends have a pre-release gig scheduled for the Blue Note on May 21-22; this is her first time at the club as a leader. Joining her onstage will be Dezron, saxophonist Chelsea Baratz, flutist Anne Drummond and drummer Allan Mednard, along with special guests Ravi Coltrane and Nicholas Payton. In addition to the tunes from Soul Awakening, listeners can expect to hear material from Brandee’s earlier releases, as well as the debut of some brand-new compositions. Advance copies of the new CD will be available at the gig.

Photo Credit:  Erin Patrice O'brien

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Camila Meza

Winning Spins By George Kanzler

The world of jazz singing encompasses myriad approaches and possibilities, especially these days when jazz is a worldwide enterprise. The two singers whose new albums are considered here present a study in contrasts. Mary Stallings came up during the hard bop and soul jazz years in the midst of the last century, while Camila Meza, 45 years Mary’s junior, hails from Chile, moving stateside in 2008, at age 23. Mary honed her art on the jazz scene in the San Francisco Bay area when the Fillmore District was still known as the “Harlem of the West,” before it became the domain of rock and hippies. Camila refined her vocal, guitar and composing talents at the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music at Manhattan’s New School. Mary’s album tells her story through songs she’s encountered through the years, while Camila’s mixes originals with, mostly, songs from Latin America.

Ámbar (Sony Music Masterworks), the latest from Camila Meza & The Nectar Orchestra, showcases Camila’s vocals—in three languages—and her impressive guitar amid a hybrid ensemble led by bassist and arranger Noam Wiesenberg, with pianist/keyboardist Eden Ladin, drummer/percussionist Keita Ogawa and a string quartet. There are precedents in jazz for Camila’s clean, high, almost vibratoless voice, such as Astrud Gilberto, although Camila’s rich clarity more closely recalls Esther Satterfield’s work with Chuck Mangione. Camila is also a double talent who often sings wordlessly in unison with her guitar solos.

One of Ámbar’s unique aspects is how integrated the string quartet is into the music’s texture. The title song, in Spanish, opens with the strings arco, caressing Camila’s voice before the rest of the band introduces a fast, buoyant rhythm, the whole song culminating with soaring strings and voice. For a stirring climax, “This Is Not America” excels. The song, by Pat Metheny and David Bowie (for the movie The Falcon and the Snowman), builds to rising crescendos of strings and repetitions of the title line before Camila reels off a guitar-voice solo while the strings bow the song’s refrain. Camila’s guitar-voice tandem soloing is also heard to advantage on her English-language “Awaken,” as she trades fours with Eden’s horn-like, piping keyboard. Another original with English lyrics, “Fall,” contrasts the strings, first only cello, with Camila’s delicate vocal. Her voice is spectral bordering on ethereal in her wordless crooning on Milton Nascimento’s “Milagre dos Peixes,” and dreamy embellishments to Antonio Carlos Jobim and Chico Buarque’s “Ohla Maria.” While the string quartet and band are pivotal components of the album, Camila ends it with an intimate solo rendition of the Mexican huapango-style 1954 song “Cucurrucucú Paloma,” accompanying herself on acoustic guitar.

Camila Meza and The Nectar Orchestra play Rockwood Music Hall on May 22.

Photo Credit:  Chris Drukker

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