Klugh, Corea, Koz, BWB, Midón and Fonseca providing a cool finish to a hot summer of jazz
Summer Jazz CDs abound and each mentioned here is distinctive although the artists are very familiar. The sounds go from the traditional that are plush and sweet, and make you want to swing and sway with memories, to musical explorations and adventures that just might help you find your new groove. No matter what, with jazz always expect the unexpected when you least expect it.
Earl Klugh’s summer contribution is that plush and sweet sound that deserves a sunset and a cool drink. The title, “HandPicked”, is the ultimate double entendre beginning with these being the wonderful, handpicked personal choices of Mr. Klugh. Then, combine this with his flawless interpretation on acoustic guitar, and “HandPicked” is a timeless collection and performances of some great music that even includes a jazz waltz, “In 6”, which is not unlike the notable “Bluesette” (1962) by jazz legend Toots Thielemans.
For a bit more nostalgia with a bit of melancholy thrown in, listen to “BWB”—
Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum, Norman Brown, reimagining the music of Michael Jackson. It’s all here, and each song given a sensitive interpretation, especially the haunting “She’s Out of My Life. It is this sort of tribute that reminds us of the great legacy in the canon of contemporary music contributed by Michael Jackson.
Continuing with some great covers of great tunes, “Dave Koz and Friends — Summer Horns” heats up the summer with a concert tour based on these performers and music from this album. Koz’s friends include jazz greats Mindi Abair, Richard Elliot and Gerald Albright. Besides giving us more great Michael Jackson, there’s some Brubeck, Chicago and Beatles. You can’t ask for more than that on one album – great music and the great horn playing.
Raul Midón’s “Invisible Chains – LIVE FROM NYC” gives us the intimacy of a live performance with the music of this one of a kind lyricist and guitar virtuoso. His performances, whether on this CD or live, include creating his own percussion while scatting at the speed of light. Spend some time with Raul (http://www.examiner.com/review/raul-mid-n-new-cd-invisible-chains-live-f...) and let him transport you to his special world.
Roberto Fonseca’s album, “Yo” (http://Roberto Fonseca "Yo") takes us to a special world. His original music takes us from our sometimes too secular world to his music, which has a spiritual and uplifting quality while remaining true to jazz qualities. “Mi Negra Ave Maria” is just such a musical journey and well worth the experience as is “80’s” and “Bibisa”.
Lastly, there is Chick Corea’s “The Vigil”. Long time Corea fans will recognize his sound that he is true to, but this album truly seems to be taking it to a different dimension. “The Vigil”, also the name of his new group, explores very unfamiliar territory, and while “Pledge for Peace” is truly astounding, some of the group’s fusion forays seem tentative at best. “Outside of Space” featuring a vocal by his wife, Gayle Moran Corea is complete puzzlement. One can only hope it was meant to be slightly off-key in keeping with most of the album. “The Vigil” is a good way to update one’s jazz sensibilities, and followers of Corea will be happy to have the adventure of listening to this.
All in all, there is something for everyone in these five albums from smooth jazz, to “comfort food music”, and thought provoking musical explorations, which all can take the listener somewhere else for that brief listening experience which will stay with them afterwards.