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CD of the Month Archive - 2007

Every month KCCK selects a newly released CD as the CD of the Month. Here are the CD's of the Month for 2008 and 2007.

January 2007

The KCCK Featured CD for January is "Memories of T" from Ben Riley's Monk Legacy Septet. Riley was the drummer in Thelonius Monk's Quartet for three years in the mid-Sixties. His rhythmic voice and laid-back style has earned him a reputation as one of the most significant drummers in jazz history. Grammy Award-winning producer Don Sickler has reinvented some of Monk's classic compositions by taking the melodies and solos that Monk played on piano and orchestrating them for four horns and a guitar. The result, as writer Stanley Crouch sums it up, is that the musicians "played every note and every part as though they understood them in the many ways that music can project the warmth and complexity of human meaning...Obviously, all had learned the fundamental Monk dictum: Use the melody; don't just run the chords." "Memories of T" was recorded, mixed and mastered by the legendary Rudy Van Gelder for Concord Records
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February 2007

The KCCK Featured CD for February is "Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life" performed by Various Artists. It's the companion soundtrack to a new documentary about the pioneering African-American composer, arranger and pianist. The film presents Strayhorn's fascinating life as it has never been told before, showcasing his talents and passions, as well as taking a hard look at his complex relationship with Duke Ellington, and illuminating the issues that prevented Strayhorn from receiving the full recognition he deserved. The soundtrack features 15 Strayhorn compositions as performed by pianists Hank Jones and Bill Charlap, vocalists Dianne Reeves and Elvis Costello, and saxophonist Joe Lovano and his quartet. These vibrant new performances are also captured visually and are featured throughout the film. Featured during February on KCCK in honor of Black History Month, "Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life" is from Blue Note Records.
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March 2007

The KCCK Featured CD for March is "Brown Street", a two-CD set from the legendary jazz fusion pioneer Joe Zawinul. A founding member of Weather Report, the powerhouse ensemble that helped define and steer the fusion movement throughout the Seventies and Eighties, Zawinul is captured in an electrifying live performance from his Birdland Club in Vienna. Working with a few longtime friends and collaborators and the famed WDR Big Band of Germany, Zawinul returns to the Weather Report repertoire for the first time since that band's demise. Nearly all the music was adapted and orchestrated for the big band by Vince Mendoza, who'd recently completed a similar project with material by the Brecker Brothers Band, a disc which was a recent Grammy Award recipient. "For the first time since we went our separate ways many years ago," Zawinul says, "it truly felt like Weather Report up there." Celebrating the legacy of a jazz fusion icon, "Brown Street" is from Heads Up Records.
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April 2007

The KCCK Featured CD for April is "Land of Nod"by Chris Washburne and the SYOTOS Band. The bandleader and composer has honed his Latin jazz chops over the years working with Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Arturo Sandoval and Hilto Ruiz. He is currently a professor of ethnomusicology at Columbia University and the director of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program. Peter Watrous of the New York Times calls Washburne, "one of the best trombonists in salsa..." His fourth release with the SYOTOS Band is their most adventurous yet. It pushes the genre of Latin jazz into uncharted waters that combine raw musical innovation with an overtly strong political commentary on our contemporary world. It speaks of a postmodern Latin jazz that embraces dissonance, weaving contemporary up-tempo beats with a driving sound. "Land of Nod" is from Jazzheads Records.
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May 2007

The KCCK Featured CD for May is "Noir"by Anat Cohen.. Equally conversant playing modern and traditional jazz, classical music and a host of Afro-Cuban styles, Cohen has established herself as one of the leading reed players, composers and band leaders of her generation since joining the New York jazz scene in 1999. Nat Henthoff has remarked on Cohen's "huge, bursting sound and infectious beat--not unlike that of her influences Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins and Joe Lovano." Gary Giddens has noted that her playing "bristles with invention." For the new disc, Cohen frames sparkling inventions with an unconventionally configured ensemble for which Oded Lev-Ari, Cohen's friend and collaborator since their high school days in Tel Aviv, provides fresh, originally textured arrangements. As Hentoff sums it up, Cohen reveals a vision that "recalls what Duke Ellington used to say about his refusal to limit music to any 'category.' " "Noi" is from Anzic Records.
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June 2007

The KCCK Featured CD for June is "Pilgrimage", which chronicles saxophonist Michael Brecker's final journey before passing away earlier this year. One member of the all-star lineup, guitarist Pat Metheny, says Brecker, "just left us some of the greatest music of his career. Mike's efforts to get his final message out to all of us will go down as one of the great codas in modern music history. What happened in the studio during those few days in August is impossible to describe.It's one of the most amazing, powerful, unbelievable things that I have ever experienced or will ever see." Others present in the studio recall moments when the rigors of recording were so physically taxing for the leader, his health was compromised nearly to the point of collapse. In the end, it was Brecker's sheer will that pushed him and his colleagues to the project's completion. "Pilgrimage" is from Heads Up Records.
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July 2007

The KCCK Featured CD for July is "Tuesday Wonderland" by e.s.t. Formed in 1990, the Esbjorn Svensson Trio is currently one of Europe's leading forces in the jazz world. They've won several prestigious awards, including six Swedish Grammys and the French equivalent of the Grammy. Downbeat magazine gave the trio the honor of being the first European jazz outfit ever to grace its cover, and has noted the new disc is "the group's most rounded and accessible to date." For this their tenth release, e.s.t. expands on their own eclectic formula of fusing traditional jazz, electronics and an energetic rock element to make a tapestry of genres. "Tuesday Wonderland" is from EmArcy Records.
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August 2007

The KCCK Featured CD for August is "Dear Miles" by Ron Carter. The legendary bassist first stepped into the jazz spotlight as a member of Miles Davis's incomparable 1960's quintet, and has since established himself as one of the most prolific and venerable forces in the genre. Nearly forty years after his season with Miles, Carter pays tribute to his former bandleader with a collection of tunes associated with the great trumpeter, along with a pair of original compositions. The disc is also a celebration of the dynamic chemistry of Carter's longtime working quartet, highlighted by the playing of pianist Stephen Scott. "Dear Miles" is from Blue Note Records.
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September 2007

The KCCK Featured CD for September is "Love Letters From Ella." To celebrate what would have been Ella Fitzgerald's 90th birthday this year, Concord Records went through their vaults and came up with a collection of masterful tracks from Ella which had previously gone unissued. The songs were recorded with some of her favorite collaborators, including Count Basie and his Orchestra, guitarist Joe Pass, and pianist Andre Previn, as Ella headed into the latter portion of her distinguished career with revived confidence and vigor. Mixed in high-definitiion audio, "Love Letters From Ella" is from Concord Records.
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October 2007

The KCCK Featured CD for October is "The Acatama Experience" by violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. A true jazz-fusion legend, Ponty was inspired by his travels around the globe over the last few years in the development of the musical ideas on the disc. The project was conceived as a musical journey, taking the listener through different lands, through a variety of impressions and emotions, through the past and present. Jean-Luc and his long-time French and West African band mates are joined by guest guitarists Philip Catherine and Allan Holdsworth in a joyful, romantic mix of his trademark electric funk, jazz-rock and Latin rhythms. "The Acatama Experience" is from Koch Records.
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November 2007

The KCCK Featured CD for November is "The Lost Bill Holman Charts" from the Carl Saunders Exploration. Holman became well-known for his arrangements for Stan Kenton's orchestra of the 1950s, but also wrote for Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson, and Count Basie over the years. He wrote ten charts for saxophonist Ted Richardson over twenty years ago, but before they could be played or recorded, major changes took place in Richardson's personal life and the project was shelved. Recently, Richardson approached veteran trumpeter Carl Saunders and asked if he would put a band together to record the arrangements. Performing with a septet of some of the best players on the West Coast from Holman's band, Saunders now offers up "The Lost Bill Holman Charts" from Mama Records.
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December 2007

The KCCK Featured CD for December is "The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu" by Carla Bley. The pianist and composer is featured with longtime bandmates Steve Swallow on bass, Andy Sheppard on reeds and Billy Drummond on drums. The newest member of the group and the wildcard here is Paolo Fresu, a young Italian trumpeter with an intense, lyrical warm tone. As Thomas Jurek of the All Music Guide describes it, "Evidenced by Bley's compositions here, hiring Fresu was an inspired idea. The combination of Sheppard's big, raw-edged tenor with Fresu's rich and textured approach is perfect…making it arguably the finest small group recording Bley's ever made." "The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu" from the Carla Bley Quintet is on ECM Records.
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