Monday, September 29, 2008

Jazz Tracks #9: Clearwater Jazz Holiday Artists Heard On New Jazziz Magazine Sampler

Jazziz magazine is one of the major sponsors of the Clearwater Jazz Holiday; a full-page ad for the festival appears on the back cover of the long-running jazz monthly's September issue.*

A nice perk of the deal for the fest: Six of the artists appearing at the festival are heard on the latest edition of Jazziz on Disc, a sampler distributed with the magazine.

The disc opens with bassist Kyle Eastwood's "Now," an overproduced, rather tepid smooth-jazz piece from the CD of the same name. It's essentially a long one-chord vamp, with a smattering of jazzy solos and boatloads of synthesizers. Kyle has a famous, jazz-loving dad - Clint.

Patti Austin, better known as an R&B singer, turns in an impressive, hard-swinging, live version of "Funny Face," from her Grammy-winning Avant Gershwin CD. It's a gem of a performance, and bodes well for her appearance at the fest. But will she bring that big band with her?

Two locally based artists benefit big-time from the Jazziz sponsorship, as both are heard on the disc, which goes out to news stands and the mag's subscribers all over he world.

Longtime area singer-pianist Karen Benjey sings "It's Alright With Me," backed by a blue-chip band of nationally known artists - pianist David Goldblatt, bassist Terry Plumeri, drummer Joe La Barbera and trumpeter Randy Brecker. Saxophonist BK Jackson, a senior at Blake High School for the Performing Arts in Tampa, and a winner of the 2008 Capital Jazz Fest Competition in Washington, D.C., turns in the slick smooth-jazz tune "Believe That."

Acclaimed young - 16 years old! - alto saxophonist Grace Kelly offers a laidback, bluesy reading of the Bill Withers hit "Ain't No Sunshine," from her CD Mood Changes. She's backed by her hard-grooving, very creative electric-acoustic trio (guitar, bass, drums).

The new Jazziz On Disc closes with the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, with drummer Dan Brubeck and trombonist/bassist Chris Brubeck (sons of Dave), pianist Chuck Lamb and guitarist Mike DeMicco. They turn in impressive solo work and group interplay on the Latin-tinged "Dance of the Shadows," from the band's Classified CD

*(Yes, I'm a longtime writer for Jazziz, dating back to the meetings in Gainesville at publisher Mike Fagien's condo, during which we brainstormed names for the mag. I recall disliking the name "Jazziz." What did I know? ... My review of saxophonist John Ellis's new "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow" appears in the mag's September issue)

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