The DIVA Jazz Orchestra and Their 25th Anniversary Project

I Absolutely love this album.  The DIVA Jazz Orchestra is an ensemble of fifteen extremely talented and versatile female musicians, that swing, with a “Big Band” sound that will completely leave you thirsting for more.  The fact that this band is comprised entirely of women, makes it a melting pot for talented musicians who remain greatly under exposed to define and express themselves in such a male dominated industry. The Diva Jazz Orchestra You Me NYCThey are hard charging, powerful and their anniversary project album is all that and more.  Every song on this album swings with vibrant sound and stellar soloists that really take charge.  This twelve song collection contains all original compositions by its members.  The precision of each contribution to the project, highlights the alliance of skill by each musician, beyond their exceptional playing artistry.

The first track on the album is “East Coast Andy” which really sets the mood for the entire compilation.  The melody is performed with an excellent woodwind section surrounded by a strong brass section.   Each section of band hits, show how tight a band can be after playing together for twenty-five years.  Jami Dauber’s trumpet solo is marvelous and stirring.  The solo is full of blues tonality over the medium-tempo of solid swing.  Baritone sax player Leigh Pilzer’s is just buzzing with the full rich language of Jazz, which is the heart and soul of this song and all of the other pieces on this tremendous work.

A 25th anniversary is a rare milestone in the music world today.  Band leader Sherrie Maricle, is the driving force behind this Jazz machine of excellence.  The DIVA Jazz Orchestra goes above and beyond the label of an just another all-female band.  This is all about a combined sound and force of women who have worked hard for each of their accomplishments as players and game-changers in the industry today.

 

Wes Montgomery in Paris (Jazz Album)

Wes Montgomery, Jazz Guitarist/Musician/Legend, that’s what I think about this brilliant composer and instrumentalist.  Born in Indianapolis Indiana, the guitarist had one of the most successful careers in the world of Jazz.  Just recently I had a chance to hear a recording of Wes live in Paris which was produced on March 27, 1965 and had been re-released digitally in a two CD set by Resonance Records.  There are two reasons as to what makes this recording so unique.  This was Wes’ first and only performance in Paris, AKA the “City of Light” and it was recorded in “ORTF”.  Now you’re probably saying to yourself, “What the hell is ‘ORTF'”.  “ORTF” is a technique used to record  stereo sound.  Now I can go on and talk about recording techniques, however that’s not what this is about.

Wes Montgomery You Me NYC

Wes was joined on the stage, by Jazz legends, pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Arthur Harper, drummer Jimmy Lovelace, and special guest, tenor sax player Johnny Griffin, all solid at what they play in the Jazz world.  The arrangement are flawless and truly some of Wes’ best work along with his accompaniment.  Harold’s piano is full of the freewheeling spirit of “Bop”  and the tight rhythm section keeping the pace for the finger picking leads and the slash chord solos with the magnificence only Montgomery can deliver.

The mid-’60s was considered a time of “Pop Jazz” which is where Wes tended to drift towards, however, he still kept to his bebob and blues roots through the entire performance.  Song number four on CD number two is a perfect example of this combination of genre and style that is the antithesis of Wes Montgomery. The  entire album illustrates the long lasting impression his creativity left on the world of Jazz and all the genres of music today and days of the past.  We lost Wes 3 years after this iconic performance, June 15, 1968 at the age of 45 due to a massive heart attack.  A crushing blow to the Jazz and performing artist community.  This album is a must have for all Jazz enthusiasts.

Fishing for Compliments: Jazz Album

People ask me all the time if there is a particular Jazz album for a specific occasion or “What’s a good album to sit back and just chill to”?  I make a ton of recommendations because there is a lot of Jazz out there.  One album that really stands out to me is “Fishing for Compliments” a blend of Cool, Swing and Smooth Jazz all rolled up into one hell of an album created by tenor sax phenom Scott Kreitzer.  Kreitzer is accompanied on this album by one of the best rhythm sections in the business today, including: Kenny Washington, David Finck, Andy Ezrin and Kreitzor’s mentor, Ira Sullivan.  Each artist in this combination, compliment each other throughout the entire album the way only true Jazz masters can. This compilation is flavored with all of the various influences throughout Scott’s Career such as John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Clifford Brown, and Ira Sullivan.

 

Scott Kreitzer Fishing for Compliments

 

Just a little about the man behind this album, a current New York City Resident, Scott is originally from South Florida and started his musical journey on the clarinet when he was twelve years old.  At the age of fifteen, Scott was introduced to the tenor sax and Jazz legend Ira Sullivan, who later became his  mentor.  When Scott turned nineteen he ventured off to New York City where he was able to study with Joe Lovano, Eddie Daniels, and Bob Mintzer, while he was still able to continue his education at William Paterson College.

“Fishing for Compliments” is on of those albums that can be played on any occasion for any type of mood.  Whether your throwing an exclusive dinner party or you need to come down after a stressful day, this album is the perfect answer for any situation.  Have a listen, swing and enjoy!

Elbow


Originally formed in Manchester, England in 1990, Elbow’s swirling, moody, and unmistakably British brand of ethereal rock is as cerebral as it is beautiful. An admitted musical snob who critiques and analyzes every note as it enters my ears, I have been hooked on this band since first hearing their debut full-length major label release back in 2001, entitled “Asleep In The Back”. This band’s music has pulled me to soaring new heights of unending, thought provoking, emotional dream-scapes that few others have. The kind of music you want to casually drive home listening to with only the night sky as your passenger. The kind of music that envelops your body, and your mind, in a warm, complete cloak.

With 6 other studio albums, and one B-side compilation, with their most recent release titled “Little Fictions” released in February of this year, Elbow continues to reinvent themselves and solidify their position as my undisputed favorite band.

Guy Garvey Elbow
A few weeks ago I was asked to start contributing to this magazine and of course, I said yes without hesitation. The only issue was to figure out what my first contribution would be. Then, a few days later on November 2, 2017, I went and saw Elbow live at Terminal 5 in Manhattan; and as the music took over that night before our eyes, my first article began to take shape.

The band took the stage to the thunderous appreciation of the crowd’s acknowledgement, with all of us fully aware of the beautiful journey we were about to embark on together. Singer Guy Garvey stepped into the spotlight donning his familiar black button down shirt with his sleeves rolled up and darkly colored jeans. A Burly man who’s kind, smiling face was draped in its ever-present brown scruffy beard. He greeted the crowd and waved with seemingly as much excitement as the rest of us had to begin the show. If you’ve ever seen Elbow before there is always one constant, the fact that this band never fails to present their music with the same amount of joy and gratitude every single time. It’s as if they are always playing their very first concert in a room filled with 5,000 of their closest friends, every time. As you watch them throughout the night you would swear that Garvey makes direct eye contact with every single person in the room at least once, including yourself.

As much as they may draw comparisons to fellow countryman Radiohead and Coldplay, there is no comparison in the eyes of your narrator. Nothing against Radiohead or Coldplay, but Elbow never seems to need the flash, nor the pomp and circumstance, either of those bands tend to bring along. It is the stunning simplicity, sincerity, and beauty of their music which sets them apart, not only from the two aforementioned bands, but from every other band. Garvey commands a room like few other front-men have and addresses the crowd with a level of respect that few others can. Often including the crowd as backup vocalists to the point where he relies on their voices to begin some songs, and carry others. The crowd never fails to graciously accept his offer, and just like that, we are all joined in song.

Their latest album, Little Fictions, explores a sense of rhythm not displayed on earlier recordings, but with the same level of melody which is ever present. They don’t overpower you with musicianship or thunderous percussion, instead you will find that most of the time they seem to simply sprinkle in the perfect amount of instrumentation while allowing Garvey’s soothing, and sometimes heartbreaking vocals and poetry to guide the way.

Elbow

No matter what your usual musical tastes may be, I implore you to give this band a listen. In a world which seems to artistically provide less and less honesty and emotion, Elbow’s versatile style offers a little something for even the most discriminating musical palette. Happy listening. Your friend – Vinny P.

Beats By Keishh

Keishh

From playing around with “Fruity Loops” in her parent’s basement to producing tracks in New York City, where one landed on HBO’s “Insecure” due to features on “NPR”, blurbs on “Fader”, “Elle”, “The Cut”, and “The New York Times”, Keishh the founder of “Beats by Keishh” a fantastic music production company in the Brooklyn area, is on a mission to showcase her company’s talent through live performances and more visual projects.  When asked how she came about her name Keishh with an extra “h” she replied “I knew I wanted to always keep my real name in some way.  Funny story is I used to go by Killa Keish, and when I went to pick my twitter account it was unavailable.  So I threw on an extra “h” and it was available, so I went with it haha!  I saw myself making music forever so I dropped Killa but kept KEISHH with the extra “h” just because it was a part of me at this point.  keishh.com was available when I went to make my website which was cool, and it also makes it a bit easier to find me online.  So the internet kind of led me to this, but I like it”!

Keishh was born in Denver Colorado and raised in Central Maryland where she discovered her love of music at the age of six, while observing her uncle making and producing all kinds of beats.  Fast forward a few years, Keishh was listening to instrumentals on “You Tube”, where she saw some suggested video content on making beats.  With little to no formal music training outside of some basic classes,  she went ahead and downloaded “Fruity Loops” and began creating music patterns.  After that Keishh was hooked.

When asked who are her primary musical inspirations, her response was “Missy”, “Timbaland”, and ” Pharrell”.  Those three made most of her favorite music growing up.  Their versatility, signature sound, and how their production shaped the artist, is what she aspires most to do and emulate.  Whenever Keishh is feeling uninspired about music, she likes to listen to their instrumentals and get lost for a while and then found by a shot of ambition.

Amongst all of the projects she has worked on, her favorite one is an album she produced for an artist by the name of Miss Eaves, titled, “Feminasty” which also happens to be Keishh’s most successful thus far.  Keishh and Miss Eaves met via the “World Wide Web” and developed a wonderful relationship over time.  Keishh loved this project because at the time she was living in Maryland and Miss Eaves was living in Brooklyn.  The challenge was to communicate their visions to each other without being in the same physical space.  After the extraordinary production of “Feminasty”, both Keishh and Miss Eaves gained the confidence needed in each other to trust their ideas and execute them without any doubt, whether being in the same state or different countries.

Keishh is an amazing artist, producer and I can’t wait to see and hear what else comes out of her outstanding production company.  What really strikes me the most about her, aside from her amazing talent is how real she is.  When asked if there were any embarrassing moments during any of her production sessions she said “No”, however what embarrasses  her right now is when she listens to her early tracks and thought how she was creating fire back in the early times and then realized how far from fire it was.  Check out Keishh’s “SoundCloud” tracks below, you won’t be disappointed, I can assure you of that.