It’s hard to believe that another summer has come and gone. I can remember the days when I dreaded the arrival of July and August. We would be on such a high from a great jazz festival and then things would just die! Well I’m happy to say that for the last two years that has not been the case. The Cellar has enjoyed its second ‘decent’ summer in a row and this year in particular was a good one. I don’t know what it is that has helped turn the summers around but I’m not going to question it. There were some particular highlights that made it musically a summer to remember including HUGH FRASER’S BAND playing the music of JIMI HENDRIX, THE BRADLEY/MCGILLIVRAY BLUES BAND, CAMPBELL RYGA / MARK EISENMANN QUARTET, JUDY WEXLER and of course a very very fun weekend was had musically and otherwise withe JIM ROTONDI & COMPANY.
Alana and I managed to get away for a week down to San Fransisco. What a great trip we had. SF for those of you who haven’t been have to check it out. It’s an amazing city to visit not to mention breathtakingly beautiful. I was particularily taken with cable car. I don’t really know why but it just seems like such a great method of transportation. Perhaps I just got caught up in the romanticism of the whole thing. We managed to keep extremely busy doing all the touristy things including a visit to Napa Valley where we visited REGUSCHI Winery. WOW! I am not a wine expert by any stretch but I know a spectacular wine when I taste one and their MERLOT was magnificent! The only disappointment of the trip was that I didn’t manage to get into THE JAZZ QUARTER which is this tiny little record store on 20th Avenue. It was recommended by many people in the ‘know’ about these types of stores. I had heard that the hours of operation were a little sketchy at best but I had absolutely no luck finding out when he was open. It looked like such an amazing little store with dozens of stacks of records and CDs etc. I was sooooo mad that I didn’t get a chance to visit but it just gives me an excuse to go back again. Its one of those stores that would be worth a trip back. YES! It looked THAT good. I did manage to visit some great stores while I was in SF including RASPUTIN and AMOEBA and picked up some really great music. I came home to a stack of new release CDs in my mail box. I have listed a few of them below that are definite ‘must have’s.’
MIKE LEDONNE – FIVELIVE (recorded live @ SMOKE) – SAVANT
This is a great one featuring Eric Alexander on tenor sax, Jeremy Pelt on trumpet, John Webber on bass, Joe Farnsworth on drums and of course Mike Ledonne on piano!
JOE MAGNARELLI – PERSISTENCE – Reservoir
This features Gary Smulyan on bari sax, Joe Magnarelli on trumpet, David Hazeltine on piano, Peter Washington on bass and Kenny Washington on drums. This has been a hard record for me to take out of the CD player or off the iPod. It has been on repeat and is definitely one worth picking up.
BOB MINTZER BIG BAND – Swing Out – Telarc
To many names to list but this is some great modern but swinging big band music featuring some fantastic playing by the whole band but in particular trumpeters SCOTT WENDHOLT and JIM ROTONDI.
I have a bunch more I could tell you about but I will save them for another posting!