To view this page ensure that Adobe Flash Player version 11.1.0 or greater is installed.
mature sound in a trio setting with bassist Jasper Somsen and drummer André Ceccarelli. Captured live at Theater Gütersloh in Germany, the trio perform a set of Pieranunzi’s rich and colorful compositions interspersed with four group improvisations that showcase dazzling technique and compatibility. Pieranunzi revisits tunes culled from his lengthy discography, including the radiant “Anne Blomster Sang,” included here. The pianist’s bright voicings suggest a quiet joyfulness, which is bolstered by his ever-sensitive rhythmic cohorts. The seeds of Australian drum- mer-composer Darryn Farrugia ’s most recent recording were planted 20 years ago, but they’ve only now born fruit. Titled Seeds (AlFi), the release contains a track he recorded with distinc- tive guitarist Mike Stern in 1996, and two more featuring tenor saxophonist Bob Berg in 1998. (Berg died in an auto accident just four years later.) The follow- ing year, the project was shelved. Farrugia continued his stellar career as a sideman, playing in jazz groups on the London jazz scene as well as participating in various commercial record- ing sessions, and touring with huge names in blues, rock and pop. Then, after four-and-half years, he returned to Melbourne and began recording his own music once again. Assembling a crack unit to interpret his songs, Farrugia combined new tracks with the ones he made with Stern and Berg, and Seeds was released Down Under in 2012. AlFi has now issued it in the United States. The drum- mer’s cinematic songwriting is showcased throughout eight colorful, evocative tunes, such as “Making Joseph’s Coffee,” included here. Farrugia and melodic player Colin Hopkins maintain an anxious backbeat, as Glenn Cannon’s cleanly picked guitar deftly weaves in and out like a Vespa in traffic. Pianist Joe Chindamo offers a melodic inter- lude and skillful comps, and the whole piece percolates like the caffeinated beverage for which it’s named. New Orleans exerts a power- ful tug on musicians from Northern Europe. For decades, the Crescent City has pulled Nordic and Germanic practitioners of blues, jazz and funk across the Atlantic with the hopes of tap- ping into the musical mojo that seems to drip from the trees like Mardi Gras beads. Danish-born saxophonist Christian Winther is among their number. While growing up in Denmark, Winther listened to his dad’s jazz albums. Louis Armstrong was an early favorite. While Winther started off playing clarinet at age 11, he switched to saxophone and Charlie Parker and John Coltrane became increasingly important to his aesthetic. He later gained admission to the University of New Orleans, where he studied with Ellis Marsalis, Victor Goines and Harold Battiste, among oth- ers. His latest recording, Refuge in Sound (Sound Perspective Music), certainly doesn’t scream New Orleans. Rather, it’s a laid-back, sophisticated collection of ballads and blues. Winther evokes a wist- ful mood on “Looking Back,” our selection, on which his sighing tenor floats featherlike atop the sensitive rhythm team. Guitarist Mike Moreno adds to the noctur- nal ambience, while pianist Allyn Johnson, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Billy Williams Jr. create a hushed backdrop for Winther’s heartfelt ruminations. Vocalist Virginia Schenck’s Interior Notions (Airborne Ecstasy) feels like a deeply personal musical statement. The Atlanta, Georgia-based singer brings her own emotional palette and improvisational skills to a set of songs that encompasses Irving Berlin’s “How Deep Is the Ocean” and Lionel Hampton’s “Midnight Sun,” as well as the traditional folk plaint “Poor Wayfaring Stranger” and the Joni Mitchell mood-piece “Blue” (which she combines in a medley with Bobby Troup’s “Meaning of the Blues”). A native Floridian and music therapist, Schenck performed early in her career with Allman Brothers’ drummer Jaimoe in a jazz ensemble. Moving to Atlanta, she found kindred spirits in pia- nist Kevin Bales, bassist Rodney Jordan, drummer Marlon Patton and kalimba player Kevin Spears, the musicians with whom she recorded her debut CD, VA, in 2012. They returned to the studio for Interior Notions, sounding very much like the seasoned, soulful unit they are. On Schenk’s read of Abbey Lincoln’s “Throw It Away,” included here, the vocalist connects on what seems like a personal and spiritual level with the profoundly introspective lyric. Solos by Spears and Jordan add color and depth. As many artists have discovered, kids can be an endless source of creative inspiration. That certain- ly holds true for Toronto-based pi- anist and composer Jim Clayton . In 2013, he had something of a surprise hit with Songs My Daughter Knows, a collection of tunes that were inspired by or connected him to his 3-year- old daughter Lenny. Originally, Clayton intended the album as a party favor for guests at Lenny’s birthday party. But at his wife Tracey’s urging, he released the CD commercially, and it landed on the U.S. jazz radio charts and received thumbs-up reviews from DownBeat and Offbeat. Clayton jazziz spring 2016 45