Music Reviews

Four songbirds and two piano players over at MAXJAZZ…

Every now and then, you go to the record store and pick an album just because the cover looks good and gives you the vibe that it sounds even better. This is how I was introduced to MAXJAZZ vocalist René Marie on her debut release “How Can I Keep From Singing” in 2001. Later that […]

Just in time for Valentine’s Day…

Just as you were sitting there anticipating either the joys or anxiety of Valentine’s Day, Verve Records comes out with a compilation of the love songs for the forlorn entitled “When Love Goes Wrong: Songs for the Broken-Hearted.” This album features fifteen of the most thoroughly depressing songs ever recorded collected on one special CD. […]

Introducing Darius de Haas

Introducing Darius de Haas

This is probably one of the more challenging albums that I have reviewed merely because of its greatness. Last year, a friend from New York sent me a copy of Darius de Haas’ solo release “Day Dream – Variations On Strayhorn“. When I picked it up from the post office, I immediately played it in […]

Donnie – “The Colored Section”

Donnie - "The Colored Section"

“Welcome to the colored section | Welcome to the Negro league | Sign your name on the black list and know this | It’s American history | See what is to be blackmailed | See a real live conspiracy | Sign your name on the black list and know this | It’s American history” – […]

Sheree Brown – “The Music”

After coming down from the elation of recently winning my first Ebay bid, I was checking other items on auction from the seller and found the remastered 1982 Sheree Brown album, “The Music“. This album featured the beautiful song “On My Way Home” which was a staple of my early 80’s late night quiet storm […]

Kirk Whalum – “The Gospel According to Jazz – Chapter II”

Kirk Whalum - "The Gospel According to Jazz - Chapter II"

As promised, I ran (okay, walked!!) out to my local record store and got Kirk Whalum’s new release, “The Gospel According to Jazz – Chapter II” and I was glad that I did. I really enjoyed “The Gospel According to Jazz – Chapter I” album which was released in 1998 for it fused gospel and […]

Jonathan Butler – “Surrender”

I have been enjoying guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Butler’s music for several years and my favorite album until now was “Deliverance.” He has also given some great performance during the Jazz Explosion tours a few years back. As I was preparing this review, I read about his latest release, “Surrender” and the love and spirit that went […]

Gerald Albright – “Groovology”

On his first release in five years, saxaphonist Gerald Albright returns with a solid funk groove. This is also his first release on Verve/GRP. You may remember Gerald for his funky smooth jazz and quiet storm grooves in the 90’s. He also did the outstanding “Pleasures of the Night” album with vocalist Will Downing. He […]

Standing in the Shadows of Motown

The much anticipated movie, Standing in the Shadows of Motown opened on November 15. The film is based on the Funk Brothers, the little-known backing band that provided the music for Motown record label’s hit singles from the Detroit era. The band’s story is told through archival footage, narration, interviews and re-creation scenes. There are […]

j-reviews – Heather Headley and Nnenna Freelon

It is impossible to love every CD that you purchase. Recently, I purchased an Ella Fitzgerald CD from circa 1969 where she was singing pop songs from that era like “Get Ready” and “Got To Get You Into My Life.” Great voice but a not a good choice of material. My saving grace on this […]

Natalie Cole – “Ask a Woman Who Knows”

Natalie Cole - "Ask a Woman Who Knows"

I have been enjoying Natalie Cole’s first release on Verve Records, “Ask A Woman Who Knows.” Re-united with producer Tommy LiPuma, Natalie truly shines on these 12 songs. My favorite song is her remake of Michael Franks’, “Tell Me About It”. This is the first song released from the album and she makes it her […]

Patti Austin – “For Ella”

Patti does a beyond moving tribute to the great legend Ella Fitzgerald. This is truly the quintessential Patti Austin album. It is the album her fans have been waiting for since she did the “The Real Me” in 1988. Backed by a full big band orchestra, Patti truly swings effortlessly through such jewels as “Honeysuckle […]

Carla Cook – “Simply Natural”

Simply natural and wonderfully awesome just begin to describe Carla Cook’s third Maxjazz release, “Simply Natural.” I was already in love with her from her first two releases and here comes a new one to make me love her even more. With each of her releases, Carla grows musically, vocally, and spiritually. In the liner […]