Video Archives!

With Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra: Songs of the 50’s


Solo Transcription on “Little Karin”


Misha X Tatum: The New Duo Project–I Hear a Rhapsody


“Mance’s Dance” with Uptown Jazz Tentet


Tatum with Bastille on The Today Show


with Richard Bona at Jarasum Jazz Festival, South Korea


Connect The Dots, with Verve Jazz Ensemble


Complete Concert with Richard Bona at Jazz TM Festival, Romania

Roberta on the Arts: Pedro Giraudo Big Band at Jazz Standard

By Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 12, 2016
Read the Original Review on Roberta’s Website

”Muñeca”, “Push Gift”, “La Ley Primera”, “Lapidario”, “Desconsuelo Suite” (“Maté amargo”, “Con un nudo en la garganta”, “La Bronca”).

Pedro Giraudo, from Argentina, infuses his music with the roots of Argentine tango and Argentine folk music, and his compositions and styling also exemplify the Big Band influences of Ellington and Mingus. Coincidentally, I had just posted a review of Giraudo’s most recent album, Cuentos, and tonight’s concert featured many compositions from Cuentos. Sitting right next to the big band, specifically next to the trombones, in a front table at Jazz Standard, I not only listened but truly absorbed the fantastic, effusive sound. This first set opened with “Muñeca” (“Doll”). Ryan Keberle, on a trombone solo, as in the recording, presented lots of percussive flourish. The brass section merged with Jess Jurkovic on piano and Giraudo on bass, with contrasting and harmonized themes heard throughout. The sixteen-man band became individualized during its luminous solos, duets, and trios. It should be mentioned that Giraudo composed the music for the entire set. I noted in the CD review that “Muñeca” could be a score for an adventure film, with its drama, pulse, and flashy brass. Speaking of brass, the muted trumpets weren’t muted for long, with searing edge, taut syncopation, and propulsive urgency. Tatum Greenblatt, for one, was in rare form on trumpet, catching my attention with his resonant tonality.

The second composition, also from the album, was “Push Gift”, which was written in homage to Giraudo’s wife, as she recently gave birth to their second daughter. The gift is a tradition to help the mother-to-be at her time to “push”. The saxophones opened with Carl Maraghi maximizing the musical drama on a baritone sax solo. It became immediately apparent that this was a seasoned and disciplined ensemble. In fact, when I reviewed Mr. Giraudo’s Big Band here at the Standard in 2008, many of the same musicians were already working together. “Push Gift” included echoing, energized, and electrified passages. “La Ley Primera” (“First Law”), inspired by a long, Argentinean poem about a cowboy, showcased Alejandro Aviles on mellow, melodic alto sax, throughout. Trombones and saxes provided ambient backup with flashy breaks.

A premiere work, “Lapidario” (“Lapidary”), was written as a description of cutting or merciless comments, even comic “lapidary comments”, as Giraudo explained. It should also be noted that Giraudo was generous in his comments to the audience, further engaging its full attention. Baritone and alto sax solos were followed by a portentous chorus of trombones. Todd Bashore, on alto sax, went wild with a raucous, explosive theme. Jonathan Powell, on trumpet, added one more searing, pulsating solo, before the saxophones sent trills of notes, like tumbling waterfalls, on the heels of the full, big band. The final composition of the set was the three-part “Desconsuelo Suite”, “Mate amargo” (tea of bitter herbs), ), “Con un nudo en la garganta” (with a lump in your throat), and “La Bronca” (the rage). This piece was exceptionally percussive and imbued with clavé rhythms and Latin embellishments. At this moment I thought of the bands I’d heard at the Copacabana. Giraudo’s bass solo had inflections of Piazzolla tangos, poignant, emotional, and transporting. The soprano sax was scintillating in a pianissimo interlude. Soon saxes raced like speeding taxis in whirling repetitions. A solo trombone drove the finale, fusing with piano and bass.

Road Notes: Mingus Big Band in the UK

Road Notes: Mingus Big Band in the UK

Going on the road can make or break a band. Put together any group of individuals and subject them to a grueling work schedule under stressful conditions, with the added bonus of jet lag, and the result will either be one of strong bonds forged through mutual struggle, or a complete disaster of meltdowns and infighting. When that group of people happens to be more than a dozen of the best musicians in New York, the stakes are particularly high, which is what made this most recent trip to England with the Mingus Big Band such a special experience. From the very beginning, this select band of cats came together and brought 110% “A Game” throughout the entire week-long run of fourteen sets of music.

The tour started off in the town of Leeds with a show at Howard Assembly Room, a beautiful chamber music hall in the Opera House. After flying out of JFK just ahead of Snowmageddon ’16, we arrived at our hotel with just enough time for a short nap before heading off to soundcheck. We were running on fumes that first night, but the music kept us all going, as did the tremendous, sold out crowd in a fantastic performance space.

Here’s a great review of the show from the Reviews Hub, though I must admit, my personal favorite from that show came on Twitter ☺

From there is was off to London to begin our six night run at Ronnie Scott’s, where we played for sold out crowds for each and every one of our twelve sets. Here, we really got a chance to test our limits in terms of creativity, flexibility, and stamina. Our normal show at the Jazz Standard consists of two, hour-long sets, but at Ronnie’s our sets stretched to a full ninety minutes each. Over the course of the week, we got to work through more than fifty different charts, including many that rarely get performed, such as Little Royal Suite, and Free Cell Block F, ‘Tis Nazi USA!.

The challenge of performing three hours of complex and difficult music night after night can take its toll, both mentally and physically, and while we had to dig deep at times to be able to play at our highest level on each show, the vibe of the band was key to ensuring we were always at our best. The road ensures lots of downtime together; airports, bus rides, soundchecks, band meals, and set breaks are all shared. I’ve been in situations where this can lead to a lot of negativity and affect the band badly, but this week was almost entirely positive. Notably, we were graced by the Elder Statesmen, Earl McIntyre, and Ronnie Cuber, who would both share some of their countless stories from “back in the day”, including their personal experiences with Charles Mingus.

By the time we had finished our encore after the last set, we were still all smiles and bro-hugs, with the common remark being made of how this was one of the best big band tours any of us had ever experienced—a hefty claim, given the combined number of decades of experience in that group.

From The Guardian: “Mingus Big Band review – Charismatic, Unpredictable Jazz Passion

Der Westen (Germany): “World Music as International Understanding”

(Translated from the original German)

As Richard Bona at the end of a colorful concert in the Philharmonie his listeners with a tender-dreamy solo a “Goodnight” wanted because nobody thought in the hall that this Friday night as others would end well everything.

Here the singing bass player from Cameroon had shown with his knotless between jazz, fusion, Latin and World Music iridescent band previously, as that sounds when meet different cultural influences. World music in the best sense. The Cubans Ludwig Afonso drummed cool grooves that Isamu McGregor casual colored on keyboards along with guitarist Adam Stoler. In the African-inspired serenity wove Richard Bona his hot pulsating five-string, including Tatum Greenblatt put fragrant trumpet accents.

About the original melange on top floated the flexible voice of 48-year-old bandleader who told incomprehensible tales in his mother tongue Douala.The cleverly integrated by him audience enjoyed the varied appearance but clearly and experienced a great band that proved confidently that (world) music is international understanding.

Read the original piece » “Ben Sidran, Old School Hipster at the Sunset-Sunside”

(Translated from the original French)

Six years and two albums have passed since the album Dylan Different q ui had devoted mad love between the pianist, singer and specialist in American jazz and Paris with a live recording (see our report book concert at New Morning). This is the Sunset-Sunside Ben Siran operates in three sets and the match 10 to 13 November in a “gig” culminated with his group where his son, Leo, operates on drums.

We went to hear this November 11th in the long perfectly packed house, with a majority of the American public and perfectly in unison. Charming bad boy hanging on the back of the room until the last moment when Ben Sidran going to the scene, sitting at the piano, surrounded by his bassist, his son on drums and Bob Rockwell on saxophone, he gives the signal that the real fun begins. And they begin with an apology: Rodolphe Burge, advertised as a party of the concert, faint. The trumpet of the brilliant Tatum Greenblatt replaces the guitar festival founder. It is in my valley.

One or two pieces are enough to slowly enter the public in a trance with the familiar rhythm of a jazz which plunges us into an eternal New York. We enter fully into the concert – as in a strong charm – when Sidran intones the groovy “Blue Camus’ eponymous title of his latest album (Bonsai Music, 2014), where the musical variations mingle with a sung-spoke full of Experience life in New York.

Having placed his audience in a trance, leaving a little time to clear solo Tatum Greenblatt then Bob Rockwell, Sidran takes over and voice. He followed several tracks on the penultimate album Don’t Cry For No Hipster (Bonsai Music, 2013). He shares sympathetic historical and sociological considerations about what a hipster: the concept dates back to even before having Williamsburg began to gentrify and time of prohibition. If today “Everyone is hip” in time there was the real rebel. Sidran speaks quickly in English to an audience that includes clockwork and smiled with him when the old sea dog calls itself an “Old school hipster.”

– Yael

Read the original piece »

The Village Voice: Misha Piatigorsky Concert Preview

Misha Piatigorsky brings his Quintet to ZINC Bar. While known for his Trio residency on Saturdays, Misha is teaming up with his friends for a bigger (and sometimes louder) sound of even more award-winning compositions. Wednesday performance brings together musicians who are highly sought-after: Tatum Greenblatt (trumpet), Tivon Pennicott (saxophone), Boris Kozlov (bass), Ari Hoenig (drums). Piatigorsky is playing piano … the evening will feature special guest appearances by Brazilian flutist Jorge Continentino and New York trumpet star Tatum Greenblatt.

Sydney Morning Herald: “Richard Bona: Born to play along with perfect pitch”

You see it in all fields of life, from dancing to gardening and from surgery to football: some people are born with a gift, others with steely determination. The great have both.

Whatever Richard Bona’s determination quotient, the New York-based Cameroonian was certainly born to make music. Tunes and rhythms would have oozed from his pores or inhabited his breath had he never learnt to play or sing.

However, he did, turning himself into a virtuoso bass guitarist and extraordinary singer. His gift is further evidenced by a command of percussion, guitar, keyboards, balafon and even saxophone, any of which may have been his main game had the wind blown from a different direction in his youth.

So making music is easy for Bona. You heard it in the unforced nature of his compositions, the fluency of bass playing, and perhaps above all in his singing, especially when he slid into his falsetto range. Most males venturing into that pitch zone sound either pinched or overly sweet. Bona’s falsetto, variously reminiscent of a muted trumpet or a soprano saxophone, was as organic as his chest voice.

Meanwhile, his material was a constant dialogue between the lilting Cameroonian music with which he grew up, fearsome funk, snappy Latin and lithe jazz grooves. Everything was infused with a big heart and an entertainer’s flair.

However, despite all these qualities, this was a very good concert rather than a great one.

Still with him from his last visit were keyboards player Etienne Stadwijk (Netherlands) and trumpeter Tatum Greenblatt (US), joined by guitarist Adam Stoler (US) and drummer Ludwig Afonso (Cuba). All were excellent players, and yet they did not quite reach that elevated plane on which Bona operates. The music continually promised more than it quite delivered, not aided by a sound mix in which the guitar and sometimes even Bona’s voice were buried. The highlights were two pieces he performed alone, the purity of his musical instincts then on unclouded display.

– John Shand

KPLU’s Jazz Northwest on Greenblatt Generations Band

Multi-generational bands are not uncommon in jazz, but a bit more unusual is a Father and Son front line. Tatum Greenblatt (trumpet) and his father Dan Greenblatt (tenor saxophone) have been playing gigs together since Tatum was in elementary school. Both are now veterans of both New York and Seattle jazz scenes and still enjoy playing together.

Tatum is active in New York and Dan lives in Seattle and they’ve been fronting a quintet several times a year for a reunion at Tula’s. Earlier this month, their gig was recorded for Jazz Northwest and highlights will air on 88.5 KPLU on Sunday, April 12 at 2 PM PDT and stream at

Joining the Greenblatts are pianist Randy Halberstadt, a mainstay on the Seattle music scene and Cornish College music faculty, Michael Glynn on bass and Phil Parisot on drums, both, like Tatum are alumni of the Garfield High jazz program.

– Jim Wilke

Listen to the full Tula’s performance on KPLU »

The Straits Times (Singapore) Review of Richard Bona at the Singapore Jazz Festival

…That set the scene well for Bona, a bassist with a deft, delicate touch and wicked wit, and his four virtuosic bandmates – Etienne Stadwijk on keyboards, Tatum Greenblatt (trumpet), Ludwig Afonso (drums) and Eli Menezes (guitar).

The quintet proved to be the evening’s blessing in disguise. They were so cool and hung together so well that listening to them was like rolling about in a cloud. They were best on quiet numbers and, throughout most of their eight-song set, Bona chanted in Douala, a Cameroonian dialect. He got the audience to sing along with him, which it did with much delight.

But the band’s break-out turns were even better. Stadwijk, in particular, was a masterclass in refinement and restraint, notably during his solo turn on the song “Mut’esukudu,” from Bona’s 2013 album Bonafied. Stadwijk’s precise inflections and lush chord changes were light as a feather yet laden with longing. Trumpeter Greenblatt complemented all that very well with his super-tight parps and squiggles of sound

– Cheong Suk-Wai

Read more »

DownBeat Magazine Editor’s Pick Review of “Imprints”

March 2012

Tatum Greenblatt is a first-call trumpeter who is based in New York City but grew up in the great jazz education scene of Seattle. His new recording, “Imprints,” is his third as a leader and his strongest recording to date. “Imprints” delivers a perfect blend of hard-swinging grooves and tight, interesting arrangements. But Greenblatt also develops a big-vision set of music that displays the breadth of his interests and influences in one beautifully cohesive statement. On “Frafrito Malenke Bonacci (‘DIAP!’),” Greenblatt pays tribute to his time as a member of the Richard Bona Group with a wicked clave and sweet overdubbing geared to sound like Bona’s loop-pedal inspired guitar solos. On “Paris Is Burning” and “Consider Me Gone,” Greenblatt shows his love for pop music as a launching point for improvisation, covering St. Vincent and Sting, respectively. Throughout the recording, Greenblatt’s trumpet is a crystal-clear clarion, and he’s joined by a stellar band—Geoff Vidal on tenor sax and clarinet, guitarist Simon Kafka, Adam Birnbaum on keyboards, drummer Donald Edwards and bassist Boris Kozlov. Edwards slams a sweet drum solo to kick off a cover of Clifford Brown’s “Daahoud.” Kozlov’s bass solo on “Floating” sets the tone for this terrific original. And Kafka’s guitar work shines throughout. The closing duet between Kafka and Greenblatt on “Pure Imagination,” which most will remember from the 1971 film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, sends you off with a smile and a sigh. It’s a lovely conversation between two terrific musicians.

– Frank Alkyer

All About Jazz Review of Hilary Gardner’s “The Great City”

New York City has its fair share of sobriquets—”The City That Never Sleeps,” “The Big Apple,” and “Gotham” are just a few that spring to mind. It’s a place of joy and frustration, triumph and tragedy, hope and despair, and all that exists between the extremes. It’s a microcosm of the world we know, existing not asa great city, but as the great city. Just ask vocalist Hilary Gardner, an Alaskan-turned-New Yorker who’s been soaking up New York City’s aura and contributing to its cultural landscape since 2003.

Plenty of musicians, in New York or any other locale across the globe, try to build careers around or atop recordings, but Gardner went the other way. She spent her first New York decade carving her place into the city’s artistic fabric, working her way into the heart of live audiences at clubs, performing/collaborating with symphony orchestras, and taking Broadway by storm via her singing in Twyla Tharp’s Frank Sinatra extravaganza—Come Fly Away. Now, after firmly planting her flag in “The City So Nice, They Named it Twice,” Gardner delivers her leader debut—a better-than-great offering called The Great City.

To many, this record may seem like a throwback date. It’s a classy collection of songs that speak, saunter, and/or swing with old world charm, but it’s not a look into the distant past or an overly romanticized vision of New York life. It’s a collection of stories that form a big(ger) picture about the city. There’s an after after hours perspective (“Drunk On The Moon”), a touch of sadness mixed into a season of beauty (“Autumn In New York”), references to “Ol’ Blue Eyes” (“Brooklyn Bridge”), and more. Through it all, Gardner proves to be poised, world-wise, and witty in her experience-shaded delivery.

Crafting a program of music that successfully puts Leonard Cohen next to Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne, Tom Waits beside Vernon Duke, and Nellie McKay after Johnny Mercer is no easy feat, but Gardner makes it seem like a breeze. She ties all of the music together beautifully and she works with a simpatico crew that’s able to bring her vision(s) to life. Pianist Ehud Asherie upholds and extends his reputation as an old soul living in modern times, guitarist Randy Napoleon serves as Gardner’s most trusted guide, saxophonist Jason W. Marshall and trumpeter Tatum Greenblatt capture the essence of the past without coming off as affected, and the rest of the crew provides superb backing. The Great City may be a paean to New York on the surface, but it’s something more: it’s recorded evidence indicating that Hilary Garder is a superb singer deserving greater recognition.

– Dan Bilawsky

The Seattle Times’ review of Hilary Gardner’s “The Great City”

Hilary Gardner, who lived briefly in Seattle a decade ago and has been in New York ever since, has released her first album on Anzic (the label that brought us the wonderful reed player Anat Cohen, among others) and is given an able assist on a few cuts by another Seattleite-turned-New Yorker, trumpeter Tatum Greenblatt. It’s a fine debut.

A sophisticated and literate love letter to Manhattan, “The Great City” offers a well-chosen brace of songs, both familiar — “Autumn in New York,” “Chelsea Morning” — and obscure — “Sweetheart (Waitress in a Donut Shop).” Gardner sings with impressive clarity and confidence, phrasing straightforwardly with her ample alto, using few mannerism or clichéd crutches, and occasionally attacking lines with the punch of a horn.

She’s particularly strong on the opening tune by Leonard Cohen, “No One After You,” accompanied by embers-glowing electric guitar, and on the title track, which brings out her feel for finger-popping swing, though her choice of material trends more cabaret than jazz. On the shop girl ditty, she captures loneliness in the big city with Streisand-like poignancy. So many singers leap from the nest before they are fully fledged. Gardner’s ready to fly.

– Paul DeBarros’s Review of Captain Black Big Band’s “Mother’s Touch”

Well, now I’m becoming a huge fan of jazz pianist Orrin Evans. Why wasn’t I already? I mean, the guy has been playing with everybody and their moms since he burst on the scene 20 years ago. He recorded as a leader in 1994 when he was merely 18 years old, exhibiting even then a powerful grammar of hard bop, soul, daring, and gospel groove. Man, the guy was born in Jersey and raised in Philly — which is pretty much the lineage of jazz royalty — and I’ve seen him rip up rooms with the Mingus Big Band.

But sometimes you just have to let a musician grow on you until that day arrives when you hear him anew. Which has happened to me with Evans’ latest recording with his Captain Black Big Band, Mother’s Touch. The band is a pick-up group of brilliant New York and Philly jazz players that decidedly does not sound like a pick-up band. It recorded a live disc in 2011. Now, the band is back with a studio recording done shortly after those live dates in 2011: nine tunes, six by Evans.

It is compulsively cool and driving: smart, complex, hip, in the pocket, fully alive with modern energy.

Here’s what you get with this modern big band: five trumpets (including Duane Eubanks), seven reed players (Marcus Strickland, Stacy Dillard, and Tim Green among them), five trombones (including Conrad Herwig) and a solid rhythm section. But for all its size, the Captain Black Big Band has several modes beyond roaring. The down-home opener, “In My Soul”, is a funky 6/8 tune that mixes blues cry and wistfulness. The band sounds loose and slick in reading the moving theme before giving way to Evans’ easygoing solo. This is the kind of glossy stroll in the park you might have heard from the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band a couple of decades ago, and the tenor solo by Strickland is marvelous.

The band also does a great job with more exotic material. “Explain It to Me” uses a complex rhythm that shifts often: three bars of 7/8 set over a Latin groove followed by a bar of 8/8, which then switches into driving Latin eighth notes that can also convert to fast 4/4 swing or a cool section where the groove is suspended. “Tickle” is a flying and complex chart that mixes elaborate runs by the reed section with a stabbing figure, leading to a solo section that uses an implied rhythm before giving way to uptempo swing. “Maestra”, a tune by bassist Eric Revis, runs on a funky bass line and drum groove that sits beneath a slow-developing arrangement for brass and saxophones. There is also a very clever arrangement by trumpeter Tatum Greenblatt of Wayne Shorter’s Miles-era song “Water Babies”, which uses a chattering call-and-response pattern that tests the band’s skill to the max.

All the arrangements on Mother’s Touch expertly use a range of colors and subtleties. The “Water Babies” arrangement trades in chirping high reeds and the rich bottom of buzzing trombones, particularly beneath the emotional Dillard tenor solo. “Dita (for Karyn Warren)” is a lovely tone poem that uses flutes, clarinet. bass clarinet, and various muted brasses to set the table for Evans’ gorgeous impressionism. Under Todd Bashore’s feeling-soaked alto sax solo, the arrangement (also by Bashore) is gentle and playful, developing a fantasia section of its own that gives each section of the band its say in the melody. The title track, “Mother’s Touch” is split into two short halves that are stated as rubato settings for a single, simple melodic motif, evoking Coltrane, with the colors of the whole bands bursting forth like rays of sun.

My favorite track is the last one, “Prayer for Colombine”, a long piece that combines mournful surges of horns with a hopping figure and compelling ostinato bass part that makes things thrilling as much as they are blue. The solos on this song are excellent: Herwig’s trombone and Mark Allen on baritone sax. At the end, Tim Green’s alto and Dillard’s tenor engage in a marvelous duel that begins with the groove, develops into a straight-ahead walking swing, and then finally the rest of the band melts away and it’s just those two voices in conversation without accompaniment.

Although the first track gives the Captain Black Big Band a heavy dose of Evans’ piano, it’s notable that this is a band animated more by a sense of collective purpose and shared vision that a vehicle for one player. The Evans originals are strong, but the arrangements were written by many others. Oddly, the recording was made almost three years ago. Whatever excuse there needs to be to get this group back together is welcome. 2011 was a fine year for the band, even if this set didn’t emerge right away. In the meantime Orrin Evans is still everywhere, playing up a storm.

Now that I’m a convert, let’s get Orrin Evans all the attention he deserves. That’s to say: plenty.

– Will Layman Review of The Verve Jazz Ensemble’s “East End Sojourn”

The latest release from the Verve Jazz Ensemble is one this year’s best jazz albums to date. This kind of jazz pays striking tribute to the music of Duke Ellington’s “Take The A Train,” a silent moment to feel the simply joys of life. But wait my good friends, this is not for the initiate. This is sweet jazz for the aficionados. So, let’s talk about the wonderful, and at times brilliant performances of these musicians. Trumpeter Tatum Greenblatt is the hero here, followed with gratitude for Peter Bernstein (guest guitarist), along with the beautiful synergy of Jon Blanck (tenor sax), Matt Oestreicher (piano), Elias Bailey (bass), Josh Feldstein (drums), Chris Deangelis (bass), and Steve Einerson (piano). The five outstanding performances include “Jitterbug Waltz,” “You And The Night And The Music,” “My One And Only Love,” “Flor De Lis,” and “East End Avenue.” Everywhere on this album there are genuine pearls of the American jazz book with invocations and eulogies reminiscent of some of jazz great masters. East End Sojourn is an award-winning jazz album of contemporary beauty and poetic artistry.

– Jean-Keith Fagon

All About Jazz Review of The Verve Jazz Ensemble’s “East End Sojourn”

In April of 2013, the Verve Jazz Ensemble released their first album It’s About Time (CD Baby, 2012) to rave reviews from critics and jazz lovers everywhere. Exactly one year later, the group follows up on their amazing debut by unveiling East End Sojourn, an exciting second effort featuring new creative arrangements, more reimagined standards, a couple of original statements and the inclusion of guitarist luminary Peter Bernsteinas special guest. The bop and post-bop grooves of the first recording are very much in play here with Jonathan Blanck’s sizzling tenor,Tatum Greenblatt’s soaring trumpet, and a tight rhythm section—all providing a swinging sound and a wish that this short sojourn, had encompassed more time.

Old style swing jazz kicks off the music with a Blanck arrangement of Horace Silver’s “Sister Sadie” featuring Greenblatt and Blanck exchanging solo salvos and continues on the trumpeter’s arrangement of—and extended solo work on—the classic Fats Waller composition “Jitterbug Waltz,” ably accompanied by pianist Matt Oestreicher. Guitarist Bernstein appears on three consecutive tracks with the first being “You And The Night And The Music,” followed by the Guy Wood standard “My One And Only Love,” the only balladic piece of the set.

Venturing into Latin jazz for the very first time, the group delivers a spirited rendition of Brazilian singer Djavan’s “Flor de Lis” led by the guitarist and drummer Josh Feldstein’s light samba beats making this taste of Brazil quite engaging. Feldstein’s up beat swinging “East End Avenue” is the first of the two originals with the trumpeter’s muted horn-heavy “Dilly Dally Doodle,” serving as the finale but, not before showcasing some of Elias Bailey’s sharp bass line and pianist Steve Einerson’s fine solo work.

The Count Basie staple “Corner Pocket” gets a fresh new treatment from Blanck’s arrangement of the Freddie Green classic featuring light cymbal accents from the drummer, more from Einerson and the horn section. What happens when you merge elements of the Horace Silver standard “Strollin'” with Neil Hefti’s “Cute”? The answer of course? A wonderful sampling of two classics on the appropriately titled “Strollin’ Meets Cute,” highlighting excellent bass phrasings from Chris DeAngelis in support of the two leaders—and arrangers of the hybrid piece—drummer Feldstein and pianist Oestreicher.

Keeping faith with the traditional and contemporary side of jazz, East End Sojourn delivers a fair share of hard-driving swing and bop which, is something the dynamic Verve Jazz Ensemble has become accustomed to doing so well.

– Edward Blanco Re-visiting the Mingus Big Band at Jazz Standard

Three years ago, when I last reviewed the Mingus Big Band, I began by saying, “The Mingus Big Band is one of the most vibrant, personable, talented ensembles I’ve heard in ages”. Tonight’s Mingus Big Band was still as vibrant and engaging as it was then, with an almost entirely different ensemble of musicians. Boris Kozlov, who has played bass with the band on each visit, since 2005, when I first began writing about the group, was host, introducing musicians and music. Once again, the fifteen-piece (up from fourteen, on last visit) band sat in layered levels. Brass and microphones, positioned everywhere, were, once again, “a metaphor for this sometimes rambunctious, sometimes tranquil, sometimes unruly, sometimes harmonious, and always engaging concert experience”. Sue Mingus, Charles Mingus’ widow, remains its overseer and manager, and she’s obviously doing a fantastic job. In fact, they won a Grammy in 2011 for their album, Mingus Big Band Live at Jazz Standard, as the “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.”

I stayed for both sets tonight, enjoying a light supper in between. The first piece, Mingus’ “Gunslinging Bird”, included Tatum Greenblatt’s trumpet solo swinging wild. Tommy Campbell on drums, Helen Sung on piano, and Boris Kozlov on bass kept the rhythms pumped and percussive. Then Ms. Sung kicked it up a notch, before the full band exploded with propulsion. A soaring sax solo was followed by tantalizing trombones. The next piece was “Pinky”, with a highlighted tenor sax and Ms. Sung at the keyboard. Mingus’ “Haitian Fight Song” opened with an exotic bass string theme, then Douglas Yates’ warbling sax trills. Lew Soloff was spotlighted on trumpet, as was Tommy Campbell on drums.

“Oh Lord Don’t Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb on Me” was spoken and sung by trombonist, Ku-umba Frank Lacy. Bluesy refrains were picked up on Greenblatt’s trumpet and on an intriguing piano-bass melody, filling the club with a New Orleans mood. Dave Taylor’s bristling trombone brought forth the full big band, infused with echoing phrases and Lacy’s vocals. Mingus’ “Tensions” brought out Coleman Hughes on rippling trombone, then Campbell’s rip-roaring to whispering, muffled drums, a study in nuanced volume. The band charged ahead like a caravan, turning it all over to Ronnie Cuber on baritone saxophone. “So Long Eric”, a tribute to Eric Dolphy, featured Douglas Yates on tenor sax and Greg Gisbert on trumpet. Kozlov carried the interlocking bass theme. A guest pianist, Julius Rodriguez, young and talented, sat in for this piece. A band member stood, arm up, to shift momentum toward the finale.

“Tijuana Gift Shop” was replete with lots of clavé rhythm, with the band clapping to set the tempo. Two trumpets opened, with Greenblatt on an expansive, electric solo. Brassy trills went up and down the scale. The full big band kept the Latin-infused beat through the finale. Ronnie Cuber and Helen Sung, back on piano, took the theme to its exotic conclusion. “Sweet Sucker Dance” (lyrics and words by Joni Mitchell) featured Wayne Escoffery on poignant sax solo, before the full band took merging themes, silently pausing for the tenor sax. Soloff on trumpet and Taylor on trombone had rousing solo turns. It was noted by Boris Kozlov that Charles Mingus was the first African-American composer whose entire work was purchased by the Library of Congress (1993). For “Don’t Let It Happen Here”, Lacy spoke the inspiring, requisite vocals. Tonight, with all the recent catastrophes in the news, a missing plane, a Crimean invasion, and more, the Jazz Standard crowd leaned in. Kudos to the Mingus Big Band, and kudos to Sue Mingus for keeping the Mingus repertoire so active and extraordinary.

– Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower

Jazz Journal (UK) Review of The Mingus Big Band at Ronnie Scott’s

Your intrepid correspondent woke up one morning with the realisation that he hadn’t visited Ronnie Scott’s club since the days of a special membership offer in the 1980s. It seemed time to rectify that omission. In between the club has had its ups and downs, but it’s evident that it’s now on a roll. The Mingus Big Band was repeating its sell-out run of last year, and I caught it on the penultimate night of its six-day engagement.

The opening band was an excellent trio led by the intriguing British pianist Tom Cawley, and featuring bassist Arnie Somogyi and drummer Chris Higginbotham. Cawley is a witty announcer and a lucid and engaging soloist, though the highlight of the set was a version of I Can’t Get Startedwhere the bassist played the theme and soloed first – to my surprise and indeed amazement, against the backdrop of an attentive and almost silent audience. (It always used to be a drawback of Scott’s that the jazz tourist crowd were a noisy presence, hence, I seem to recall, Lee Konitz’s famous T-shirt, “Listen”.) The trio were joined for the closing Straight No Chaser by trumpeter Tatum Greenblatt from the Mingus Big Band.

This aggregation is under the artistic direction of Charles Mingus’s widow Sue Mingus, and its personnel seems quite fluid – perhaps for reasons apparent in a YouTube video which plays ansaphone messages by musicians excusing themselves for not making a gig! The regulars seem to be Tatum Greenblatt, Philip Harper (trumpets), Clark Gayton (trombone), Abraham Burton (alto sax) and Ronnie Cuber (baritone). But in Italy earlier this year it featured Robin Eubanks on trombone, Adam Cruz on drums and Jim Ridl on piano. Bassist Boris Kozlov did the introductions this time, but Mike Richmond has also occupied the bass chair. Completing the line-up at Scott’s were Craig Handy, Brandon Wright, Wayne Escoffery (saxes), Luis Bonilla, Earl McIntyre (trombones), Alex Pope Norris (trumpet), Helen Sung (piano) and Tommy Campbell (bass). Despite shifts in personnel, they captured the Mingus identity for sure.

The band opened and closed with well-known Mingus compositions – Peggy’s Blue Skylight, arranged by Ronnie Cuber, and a medley of Mingus favourites concluding with Slop. In between was less familiar material. Little Royal Suite is a tribute to Roy Eldridge. It began with a duet between trumpet (Alex Pope Norris – a very taxing part) and drums, before moving into more familiar Mingus territory, with characteristic time and metre shifts. The piano solo by Helen Sung was delightfully Byard-like. Invisible Lady consisted of Mingus sketches put together by Jack Walrath, and featured an impassioned alto solo by Abraham Burton. Meditations On Integration (Or For A Pair Of Wire-Cutters) was a highlight. Brandon Wright on flute partnered Kozlov’s arco bass, brilliantly capturing the haunting, out-of-kilter theme. Again, the audience was amazingly quiet during the flute-piano duet.

Drummer Tommy Campbell was a model of taste throughout, except perhaps for the “squeaky” sticks on cymbal in the finale. Earl McIntyre was allowed a vaudeville-style tuba solo in the final coda, but maybe as the only Mingus veteran in the band, should have had more solo space. A low-ceilinged club like Ronnie’s might not be the ideal venue acoustically for a big band, but that was balanced by the excitement and sense of occasion generated. This was a really memorable gig by one of the finest legacy bands in jazz.

– Andy Hamilton

Badiche-Zeitung: “Richard Bona’s Great Performance at the Voices Festival”

(Translated from the original German)

Jazzy with one shot soul and rhythm and blues, sometimes edgy, rarely rough, often velvety supple pearls Richard Bona musical language. It is a personal World Fusion in far tortuous line between Brooklyn, Long Iceland and Douala, West Africa, but above all it is always exciting in a good mood. On Friday, the bassist, vocalist and born entertainer initiated this year Wenkenpark concerts a while tuning Festival. He should have probably brought the golden deer at the park entrance to the toe-tapping. Tearing his audience out of their seats seems the man with the tamed dreadlocks essential for salvation and please, also local indigenous people and “Swiss-People” are indeed manage well, sing a few African syllables. When the first signs of the large choir then still are not satisfactory, the current election-New Yorker born in Cameroon in 1967, draws with halbgespieltem horror short in the depths of the stage back, but this of course only to the same jump out again and to give once again a grin use to the next track. Of course, he does not give up. That the man bass and therefore does not play the first choice of solo instruments, incidentally, does not hinder him in the least, to give center stage. For this he breathed his five-string nearly a independent life, can apparently from him and tear over lofty boundaries. Some fast-paced run and the end of the fingerboard can hardly stop there. Vocally he joins in. The four companions are well chosen, especially guitarist Adam Stoler, which more than once fanciful virtuoso Jimi Hendrix seems to touch the strings, and Tatum Greenblatt, whose trumpet replaced a whole horn section. With Bona’s bass can be here and there a glorious musical duel fight, the groove does not diminish. The whole group has, as it should be, a large number of grandmasters in the biographical baggage, Bona itself was already with Manu Dibango, Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock or Mike Stern on stage as well as the favorite “votes” -Guest Bobby McFerrin. Written the singer / songwriter has his songs in a language that he saved over the ocean, in Douala. “The people playing the music the way they speak,” Bona said once. And while he almost casually engages the strings, no electronic processing, in addition to the song here and there but appends small ornamental notes, he remembers no coincidence at Jaco Pastorius’ handed down commitment, he proposed and pluck the bass as if he with the voice games. On his way, the man from Cameroon and reported Pastorius disciples which follows, which with him always a floating lightness is paramount. “M’Bemba Mama” takes the in Riehen softly, but even more “Diba La Bobe”, in which it holds hardly anyone in the square.

– Annette Mahro

All About Jazz Review of Verve Jazz Ensemble’s “It’s About Time”

In 2006 drummer Josh Feldstein established the Verve Jazz Ensemble, a contemporary jazz group playing standards and straight ahead material in the finest venues throughout the Connecticut area without having an album to their credit until this appropriately-titled recording debut It’s About Time. On tap are an array of jazz standards featuring new arrangements and dynamic interpretations of music from the likes of Tadd Dameron, Miles Davis, Henry Mancini and Oscar Hammerstein. From bebop rhythms to sweet melodic ballads and swinging romps forged with exciting solo statements, the Verve Jazz Ensemble delivers quite an attention-grabbing first effort drawing inspiration for an encore performance.

Comprised of players from the New York area and elsewhere, the band is essentially a quintet highlighting New York trumpeter Tatum Greenblatt and saxophonist Jonathan Blanck on leads throughout, beginning on Dameron’s bebop classic “Lady Bird.” Bassist Chris DeAngelis and pianist Matt Oestreicher also take their turns on the opener providing stellar solos on a number that sets the stage for what’s to come. Feldstein and crew recorded five versions of each track, with one rendition sounding better than the next, and in post-production made a determination to include alternate takes to three songs (“Lady Bird,” “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise,” and “Big Swing Face”). Needless to say, each take is a winner.

The Buddy Rich staple, “Big Swing Face” is clearly the swinger of the set where Feldstein’s drumming blends a small ensemble sound with a big band approach resulting in a powerful swinging sound. In stark contrast, the band shifts gears in taking on the Davis piece “Boplicity” where the tone is decidedly down tempo with Blanck blowing the pronounced notes. The rhythm section comes to the fore on Mancini’s immortal “The Days of Wine and Roses” featuring the leader on brushes accompanied by the bassist on a minute and a half opening introduction before Oestreicher’s gorgeous dance on the keys.

Feldstein displays his formidable chops on the drums with several well-placed drum solos on the up tempo version of Duke Jordan’s “Jordu” on the final one-take selection of the album. Even though three of the nine pieces are alternate takes, the music is just as inviting as if you’re hearing it for the first time. An all-around solid performance from the Verve Jazz Ensemble, Feldstein and group lay down one impressive recording with It’s About Time making the wait well worth it.

– Edward Blanco

Earshot Magazine Review of “Imprints”

One of the strongest virtues of trumpeter Tatum Greenblatt’s Imprints is his selection of material. “Paris Is Burning,” written by young electric guitarist singer-songwriter St. Vincent (Annie Clark), makes use of traditional jazz devices applied to a very contemporary composition. Sting’s “Consider Me Gone,” from his recording The Dream of the Blue Turtles, makes good textural use of Adam Birnbaum’s Nord keyboard, giving this 80s piece a 60s Hammond feel for the head, which also features effective interval work from Greenblatt and saxophonist Geoff Vidal. The tour de force of the recording is Greenblatt’s arrangement of Clifford Brown’s “Daahoud,” contrasting oddmeter and driving swing sections, skillfully executed by bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Donald Edwards. Also on the release: guitarist Simon Kafka and vocalist Sofia Tosello. While opening track “Frafrito Malenke Bonacci (Diap!)” flirts with over-production – layers of overdubbing – and “Silhouette” may be too trite, Greenblatt has fully harnessed both his education and his influences. Imprints is a well-conceived, wellproduced recording by one of jazz’s rising stars. Educated in Seattle’s Garfield jazz program, New York’s New School and Juilliard, young Greenblatt is a virtuoso in his own right and has adroitly incorporated his primary influences – Wynton Marsalis, Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan and, most audibly, Freddie Hubbard. This third release reflects the virtuosity of a well-schooled musician.

– Fred Kellogg

A fine compliment indeed

“When Wynton Marsalis deems you one of his favorite young trumpet players, the pressure to live up to such a blessing must be daunting. But…Tatum Greenblatt seems to be shouldering the burden quite well.”

– Jazziz Magazine

Rifftides review of Captain Black Big Band’s “Captain Black Big Band”

On last year’s Tarbaby: The End of Fear, Evans was the intrepid pianist in an adventurous trio. Here, he is at the helm of a 16-piece band staffed by New Yorkers and Philadelphians, some of them up-and-comers, a few semi-grizzled veterans, all full of fire. Busy conducting, Evans solos on only one piece, but there is no shortage of impressive soloists in this live recording. Among them are saxophonists Jaleel Shaw and Ralph Bowen, trumpeter Tatum Greenblatt and pianist Neal Podgurski. Evans’ supercharged “Jena 6” is a tour de force for the band at large and, notably, for Shaw.

– Doug Ramsey

JazzWrap Review of Captain Black Big Band’s “Captain Black Big Band”

As the next generation of jazz musicians get more experience, albums and live performances under their belt, its almost inevitable that they will record a big band record. In recent years we have seen it from Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Dave Holland, Nicholas Payton, Joe Lovano and now Orrin Evans. With the Captain Black Big Band though, Orrin Evans has created more of a giant jam session than the Ellington, Basie, Armstrong homage. This is a live recording that is rich and festive in sound as well as collaborative in spirit. Originally a project developed for live performances at Chris’ Jazz Cafe in Philadelphia, Evans combines the talent of young and elder statesmen into a surprisingly cohesive 38 piece ensemble. This live recording was recorded over three separate gigs throughout New York and Philadelphia during 2010. Orrin Evans, who has experience in big bands already as a member with the Mingus Big Band which plays consistently in New York City, put the group together to explore his sometimes complex but always entertaining and stellar arrangements. The name Captain Black comes from the pipe tobacco but also Evans memories as a child and his father, who smoked the Captain Black brand. He also used it for the title of his second album release in 1998 on Criss Cross records. This big band outing opens on the highspirited note of “Art Of War” (written by drummer and friend, Ralph Peterson) with some great solo work from Rob Landham. Solos throughout this session is something that Evans appears to be committed to. While Evans leads the group, he specifically wants to highlight the talents of individual members on the recording. The vibe on this record is definitely a party atmosphere and that continues with “Inheritance”, a piece that vibrates and swings with propulsive solo from Todd Marcus (bass clarinet), whom also arranged the piece. In addition, Walter White (trumpet) and Anwar Marshall (drums) star with powerfully dynamic solo work–especially Marshall towards the end of the piece. Evans playing is understated on this recording (he also includes two additional pianist, Jim Holton and Neil Podgurski) but you do get a great sense of joy and excitement from these live sessions which particularly puts the listener in the front row of what must have been some really smokin’ performances. “Easy Now” (originally from the Evan’s 2004 album of the same name) is a somber but expressive piece. This live big band version is gives that melodic ballad a bit more breathe but retains the overall emotional effectiveness of the piece. “Easy Now” does see Evans taking more of a prominent role as his playing in vital to the piece. The solos from Mark Allen on sax and Tatum Greenblatt on trumpet are beautiful and carry a deep emotional resonance. The closing number “Jena 6” is a killer piece. Featuring Jaleel Shaw (sax), who is quickly becoming one of the more explosive saxophonist of the next generation, delivers a blistering statement of intent that should really get wider attention from jazz community. The Captain Black Big Band really doesn’t feel like your average big band session. For as many members included on this date it feels more like a quartet or quintet. Instead of Ellington or Basie you’ll reminisce on Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. All the members are in unison and keep the direction and vision of its creator, Orrin Evans, who definitely has sense for structure when its needed and freedom when it demands. The Captain Black Big Band should have huge appeal for everyone.