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Saturday, 01 December 2007 |  Written by Scott Yanow  | 
Sophie Milman - Make Someone Happy format:    16-bit CD performance:    7 sound:    7 released:    2007 label:    Linus reviewer:    Scott Yanow One can be excused if their initial reaction to seeing the cover of Sophie Milman's Make Someone Happy is to cry out “Not another one!” Here is yet another beautiful mid-20s female jazz vocalist (dressed in black, natch) with a nice voice, performing standards. At times it seems like an epidemic, having started with Diana Krall and continuing through Jane Monheit and countless others who have been fighting for the spotlight. And yet most of those singers are quite good, and Sophie Milman better than most. On the opening “People Will Say We're in Love,” her phrasing is creative in a subtle way. She hints strongly at a variety of singers from the 1950s (Anita O'Day? Peggy Lee? June Christy?) without really sounding like any of them. Her repertoire spans several generations, with ...
Saturday, 01 December 2007 |  Written by Charles Andrews  | 
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand format:    16-bit CD performance:    8.5 sound:    7 released:    2007 label:    Rounder reviewer:    Charles Andrews How about calling it Raising Doubts? How about Built on Sand? How much bad salsa, spicy burritos and vodka shots resulted in this bright idea? Robert Plant, king of the rock screamers. Would Led Zeppelin top so many lists as the best rock band ever if Plant's unique vocal signature wasn't written so large over the biggest, badest anthems ever to come roaring out of Marshall amps? Did we ever for a moment question that the voice was too high, too pretty to power such titanic blues bastardizations? So over-the-top powerful and unconditional, he redefined the top. Alison Krauss, queen of bluegrass. Hey, there's no girls in bluegrass!? Hardly none. Well, okay, honey, play your fiddle over there in the back and look pretty. What? You want to sing? Bluegrass ain't about singin', sweetheart. ...
Saturday, 01 December 2007 |  Written by Scott Yanow  | 
Gerald Wilson - Big Band Modern format:    16-bit CD performance:    8 sound:    6 released:    2007 label:    Jazz Factory reviewer:    Scott Yanow Gerald Wilson is a living legend. A brilliant arranger, an inventive composer and a longtime leader of his big band, Wilson at 89 is a colorful figure. His conducting is both enthusiastic and infectious, he continues writing complex yet swinging music, and he is always happy to talk about his experiences in jazz. Born in 1918, Wilson found his initial fame as a trumpeter and arranger with Jimmie Lunceford's Orchestra during 1939-42. Attracted to Los Angeles by its weather, he has been a resident during the great majority of the years since 1943. After freelancing with big bands such as those led by Les Hite and Benny Carter, in 1944 he put together the first Gerald Wilson Orchestra. Very much open to bebop, Wilson had success with the band during the next ...
Saturday, 01 December 2007 |  Written by Matt Fink  | 
Beirut - The Flying Club Cup format:    16-bit CD performance:    8 sound:    7 released:    2007 label:    Ba Da Bing reviewer:    Matt Fink Though the oft-repeated quote from cultural critic Gerald Early that the United States' lasting legacy to mankind will be “the Constitution, baseball and jazz” might be a bit reductive, there is little denying that Americans enjoy an unusually fertile musical landscape. Due largely to the unique collision of African and Anglo-Saxon culture, it's possible that no other period in human history produced as many vibrant musical variants as the explosion of blues, country, gospel and jazz that came roaring out of the South in the early 20th Century. But the reason rock music and its variants have became entrenched in Western culture is because it became the soundtrack to youth culture, a cycle that has repeated itself every generation since Elvis Presley's hips erected a wall between the music enjoyed ...
Thursday, 01 November 2007 |  Written by Scott Yanow  | 
Wayne Bergeron - Plays Well With Others format:    16-bit CD performance:    7 sound:    8 released:    2007 label:    Concord reviewer:    Scott Yanow Wayne Bergeron has long had an enviable reputation in the Los Angeles area as one of the truly technically skilled trumpeters. He played lead with his idol Maynard Ferguson’s band during the second half of the 1980s, and has since appeared on hundreds of CDs in the pop, rock, R&B and jazz worlds. Bergeron has been part of a countless number of movie soundtracks, televisions shows and TV and radio jingles. He has also appeared at one time or another with virtually every big band based in Los Angeles. His range is comparable to Maynard Ferguson’s, he can read anything and is versatile enough to fit into any setting. A lover of big bands, Bergeron led his own orchestra for the 2003-04 recording You Call This a Living? Plays Well With Others is ...
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