The KCCK Featured CD for January is "Chet in Chicago" by Chet Baker. The legendary trumpeter became known in the 1950s for his work on the cool jazz scene. His lyrical blowing, distinguished by a seemingly endless melodic inventiveness and a dark, calm tone, matured over the years and reached its artistic peak in the 1970's and '80s, when he mostly performed in Europe. In 1986, on one of his visits back to the States, Baker was invited to be a part of a recording session with Bradley Young and his trio in Chicago. Never released until now, the disc features the great trumpeter in superb form fronting a straight-ahead all-American band."Chet in Chicago" is on Enja Records.
The KCCK Featured CD for February is "Collective Creativity" by Orbert Davis and his Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. This barrier-breaking and genre-bending symphonic jazz orchestra possesses the flexibility and skill to perform in an exciting arena that bridges classical music and jazz. The ensemble features players from Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, including flutist Nicole Mitchell and saxophonist Ed Wilkerson. As Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune points out, Davis's Collective Creativity Suite points toward "new possibilities in orchestral jazz, suggesting that he may be on the verge of recasting the idiom-or at least significantly extending the idiom." "Collective Creativity" is from 3 Sixteen .
The KCCK Featured CD for March is "Grapefruit Moon: the Songs of Tom Waits" from Southside Johnny with La Bamba's Big Band.The disc re-imagines a dozen of Waits' gritty songs with a vibrant, lush, big band backdrop, courtesy of the ensemble of Richie "La Bamba" Rosenberg, known for his work with the Max Weinberg 7, the house band for Conan O'Brien. The marriage of the brassy sound of big band to Tom Waits' cinematic, character-driven songs, creates a vibe that evokes the street-smart swagger that made Southside Johnny and his Asbury Jukes legendary. "Grapefruit Moon: the Songs of Tom Waits" is on Leroy Records.
The KCCK Featured CD for April is "Nocturne for Ava" by the Bob Sneider/Joe Locke Film Noir Project. . This second volume from the Project was again conceived as an exploration of familiar themes from favorite movies. Through the richly textured scores of noir classics and movie music from Michel Legrand, Herbie Hancock, Duke Ellington, Gato Barbieri and Johnny Mercer, guitarist Sneider and vibraphonist Locke add their provocative originals and arrangements to spin a darkly romantic tale that swings and slithers with a moody spirit. "Nocturne for Ava" is on Origin Records.
The KCCK Featured CD for May is "Cool Man Cool" by guitarist Grant Geissman. After a long flirtation with smooth jazz, Geissmen has returned to his jazz roots, revealing an eclectic streak featuring everything from scorching bebop and Latin jazz romps to poignant ballads and Gypsy swing, to soul jazz and second-line grooves. The stellar line-up of guests includes Chick Corea, Tom Scott, Russ Ferrante, Patrice Rushen, and his one-time boss Chuck Mangione. The disc is dedicated to the former band mates of Geissman and Mangione who perished in a recent plane crash in Buffalo."Cool Man Cool" is on Futurism Records.
The KCCK Featured CD for June is "Vitame Vas" by Dennis McPartland Trio featuring Czech pianist Emil Viklicky. This concert took place in May of 2008 at the National Czech & Slovak Museum as Viklicky made his annual visit to Cedar Rapids. Unbeknownst to the trio and the audience assembled, this would be the final concert in the Great Hall of the Museum, as the devastating flood of last year left the building in ruins. Fortunately, a tape was rolling during the performance and the disc serves as a final aural document of the Hall as it once was, and a poignant reminder of the flood at its one-year anniversary."Vitame Vas" is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The KCCK Featured CD for July is "Kind of Brown" from Christian McBride and Inside Straight. In 2007, the dynamic bassist and composer put together a straight-ahead acoustic ensemble to perform at the famed Village Vanguard in New York, the first time in ten years he'd played there. Rave reviews prompted McBride to record the quintet for his first studio release in six years. The collection of hard swing-to-bluesy groove tunes is one of many projects McBride has set into motion this year, marking the 20-year anniversary since his arrival on the international jazz scene."Kind of Brown" is on Mack Avenue Records.
The KCCK Featured CD for August is "Complete Life" by saxophonist Joel Vanderheyden. A Twin Cities native who now resides in Iowa City, Vanderheyden studied with Chris Vadala in completing his Masters Degree and was director of Jazz Studies at schools in Chicago and Minnesota. He conceived this project while doing his doctoral work at the University of Iowa, and refined his compositions while performing with his quartet over the past two years. The disc features this quartet and special guests Steve Grismore on guitar and Tim Daugherty on keyboards in creating dynamic, fusion-based jazz that is both innovative and accessible."Complete Life" is on Mize Records.
The KCCK Featured CD for September is "Legendary", the final compositions and recording by the late Bob Florence and Limited Edition. As a long-time staff arranger for Liberty Records, Florence wrote some of the most innovative and challenging charts in postwar jazz. In 1978, he released the first in a series of critically-acclaimed contemporary big band efforts with his ensemble, which served at a springboard for a number of first-call L.A. session players. This final Edition features Carl Saunders, Alan Broadbent, Peter Erskine and others on a program of Florence arrangements of standards and originals."Legendary" is on Mama Records.
The KCCK Featured CD for October is "Brewster's Rooster" by saxophonist John Surman. . One of England's top jazz players over the past several decades, Surman has, in the last several years, been playing in contexts ranging from early music to Arab modes, plus encounters with church organ, strings, classical brass ensembles and choirs. The new disc is a return to his jazz roots and reunites him with old friend John Aberbrombie on guitar and drummer Jack DeJohnette, with whom he has collaborated for more than 40 years. It features a broad range of material from soulful ballads to hard-driving up-tempo tunes and fiery improvisations."Brewster's Rooster" is on ECM Records.
The KCCK Featured CD for November is "Off & On: the Music of Moacir Santos" by Mark Levine and the Latin Tinge. A national hero in Brazil, Santos stands with Jobim as a master of that country's musical heritage but is relatively unknown to U.S. audiences. Santos' angular approach to rhythm and jazzy approach to instrumentation lends an exquisite air to his melodicism and sets him apart from Jobim. Levine honors the great composer by elevating the music of his former employer from obscurity."Off & On: the Music of Moacir Santos" is from Left Coast Clave .
The KCCK Featured CD for December is "Carla's Christmas Carols" by Carla Bley. Christmas music has been an enthusiasm of Ms. Bley's for decades and here, on her first ever collection of holiday tunes, traditional and non-traditional seasonal pieces are subjected to her offbeat wit and idiosyncratic arranging skills. She is joined by her longtime partner, bassist Steve Swallow, and the Partyka Brass Quintet, an ensemble she put together for a project in 2006. The Quintet joined her on a holiday tour last December, after which they recorded "Carla's Christmas Carols" for ECM Records.
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