Sunday, June 24, 2018

Adrean Farrugia & Joel Frahm new album Blued Dharma.. a piano and tenor sax duo performance

Pianist Adrean Farrugia and Tenor Saxophonist Joel Frahm explore the exciting and intimate world of duo performance with their new album Blued Dharma

After a 9-year musical relationship performing in drummer Ernesto Cervini’s groups, Farrugia and Frahm show the world what musical simpatico is all about. In a gorgeous set of music, they prod and poke, cajole and inspire each other to create beautiful musical landscapes for all to enjoy! 

I first became aware of saxophonist Joel Frahm in the late 1990’s. I was sitting in my car on a rainy evening with my friend and we were listening to a bootleg recording of Joel playing at a jam session in New York with sax legend Chris Potter. I remember exclaiming ‘who IS this guy?!?!’ I was mesmerized with his incredible melodicism, prodigious technique, and his sense of joy, groove, and humour in his music. I was instantly a fan. 

Frahm and Farrugia present a set of spirited music including 2 standards (with 2 vastly different versions of Cherokee) and 5 original Farrugia compositions. The interplay is exquisite! 

Frahm and Farrugia have toured extensively across the globe together as members of Ernesto Cervini's ensembles.  During one of these tours, the pair were playing in the duo format during a soundcheck, and having a blast, when Frahm quipped 'Hey man, we should record a duo record sometime.'  With that, the seed was planted, and in August of 2017 Farrugia headed to NYC to record.

"What resulted was, for me, a magical experience. I stand by my younger self in saying that Joel plays with incredible melodicism, prodicious technique, joy, groove and humour. But my older self is able to also recognize that he plays with deep empathy, camaraderie, and a love of music and the people who make it. Maybe the pain was a good distraction, and my mind got out of the way, but the songs seemed to play themselves. This is human music: it unfolds like a conversation between two people exploring what makes us vulnerable. And this album captures a special, and very long-awaited moment in my musical life and I’m very happy and grateful for the result. It was a labour of love. "

Official website;

Marty's review: I think "exquisite" would be an understatement when describing this recording. The way these two musicians come together and bounce off each other almost sends shivers down your spine. They have created a series of musical compositions that go beyond jazz and weave as one. Hard to believe there are only 2 musicians involved as they make it sound like a full combo with the overall sound that is projected. Do yourself a favour and have a listen, you will not be disappointed here.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Jazz vocalist Deanne Matley’s 5th album "Because I Loved" ..emotional tour-de-force

Canadian jazz vocalist Deanne Matley’s fifth album, Because I Loved, is a tour-de-force, taking the listener on an emotional journey from despair to quiet contentment, with stops at red-hot passion and the excitement of new love along the way.

Deanne recruited some of Montréal’s premier jazz talent for the project, including drummer Jim Doxas (who also produced the album), pianist Paul Shrofel, bassist Adrian Vedady, and guest vocalist Ranee Lee. 

Because I Loved features four new tunes of Deanne’s to round out a song list that includes saxophone legend Stanley Turrentine’s “Sugar,” the haunting “Forget Me” (written for the great Shirley Horn), and remarkable covers of songs by Journey (“Open Arms”) and Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors (“The Wine We Drink”). Throughout, Deanne shines as a first-rate vocal stylist, deeply rooted in the jazz tradition but unafraid of pushing the envelope. Her seen-it-all authority permeates every cut. “This is an album about love, melancholy, and starting again … about relationships,” says Deanne. “It’s the album I’ve always dreamed of making.” 

A singer since she was a child, Deanne studied at the Berklee College of Music, the Banff Centre for the Arts, and the Stanford Jazz Institute both before and after launching her career as a jazz vocalist.  She is the singer for Calgary's Prime Time Big Band, and performs with ensembles in both Calgary and Montreal, her second home. 

Deann has performed at jazz festivals in Canada and France, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia as part of Canada's contribution to the Giant Steppes of Jazz festival, and has shard the stage with Canadian greats including the late Tommy Banks, and trombonist Al Kay.  

official website:

Sunday, June 3, 2018

NYC-based bassist Frank Wagner's new album "Floating Holiday" .. an interesting palette of colors

Floating Holiday is the exciting new album from NYC-based bassist Frank Wagner. The title is a reflection on a painting by Magritte and it describes both the weightlessness of a character in the painting, as well as the peaceful feeling Wagner gets when he is playing music. 

Floating Holiday is primarily a collection of tunes I wrote during my formative years while studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston. It also includes some tunes I recently wrote in 2016. This project is the fulfillment of my desire to re-examine my earlier tunes and to reshape their existing harmonies and rhythms. In this way, I was able to merge the past with the present as well as to deliver an interesting palette of colors for the listener to experience.” 

Frank Wagner was born in Levittown, New York. Graduating in 1980, Frank attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, studying jazz bass with Steve Swallow and Ron McClure as well as classical music with William Curtis from the Boston Philharmonic and Walter Botti of the New York Philharmonic. He has performed all over the world in a host of musical settings including all star jazz bands, Broadway shows, national tours, recording sessions, cabaret, society bands, and classical orchestras. Some of the big bands Frank has toured with are Buddy Rich, Larry Elgart's Manhattan Swing Orchestra, Glenn Miller and Clem Derosa's All Stars.  Mr. Wagner has played numerous Broadway shows, jingle sessions, society orchestras and classical chamber groups.  He has taught music throughout his career in a variety of capacities. Mr. Wagner served as a faculty member at the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City.

Mr. Wagner has played in many small jazz band settings including: Tiny Grimes, Milt Jackson, Ray Nance, Gary Smulyan, Earth Kitt, Bobby Sanabria, Joe Puma, Johnny Ray, Eddie Fisher, and Carrie Smith to name a few.  

In 1989, Mr. Wagner returned to formal study and entered the City College of New York as an art major with a minor in psychology.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1993, Magna Cum Laude and was admitted into Phi Beta Kappa.  In 1995, Mr. Wagner was accepted into NYU’s Music Therapy program and in 1997 graduated with a Master’s Degree in Art.  For the past ten years, he has been practicing music therapy at Brooklyn's Woodhull Hospital in Inpatient Psychiatry and chemical dependency department. He is an adjunct professor at Queensborough Community College and Pratt Institute, teaching composition, jazz theory and music therapy.

Mr. Wagner's website is:

Sample the album on CD Baby