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CD Reviews

Evan Bauman | Shelley Berg | The Bopmeisters | The Tom Borling BeBop Band |
Darryl Brenzel | David Caceres | Joe Carmouche | Dave Catney | Tom Cummings | Mark Dini | Bruce Dudley | Paul English | Free Radicals | Horace Grigsby | Houston Jazz Trio | Jazz Ambassadors | Joe LoCascio | Scott Mochon/Tom Cummings |

Evan Bauman
Bauman Noches Asturianas Flautist Evan Bauman puts together an all-star Houston Band (which he calls Syrinx) to record the music of Texas jazz composers. Featured artists include Joe LoCascio, Erich Avinger, and Tony Campise. Featured composers include Warren Sneed, Pete Brewer, LoCascio, David Caceres, and Dennis Dotson. Green Planet Records.

Shelley Berg
Berg The Will: A Tribute To Oscar Peterson.
Andrew's review pretty much says it all--if you're gonna do a tribute to Oscar Peterson, it sure doesn't hurt to have Ray Brown & Ed Thigpen play on it! Oh, and having Eddie Daniels, Bill Watrous (& his big band), Jeff Jarvis & Carmen Bradford "drop by" is a nice touch. Congrats to one of our favorite transplanted Houstonians.

The Bopmeisters
The Bopmeisters
No apologies. No regrets. No excuses. At long last, The Bopmeisters are available on CD, and they come ready to swing. Led by Mark Holter on sax, this is a group of great musicians who have returned to their first love, and it's evident in their playing. Featuring Tom Cummings (vibes), Mike Wheeler (guitar), Nelson Mills III (trumpet), Mike Sunjka (guitar), Bill Murry (acoustic bass), & Ben Atkinson (drums). In addition to a number of standards, the CD also has original compositions from Wheeler, Mills, & Cummings. Catch their official CD release party November 21 at Cafe Espresso (inside Border's Books-Music-Cafe 9633a Westheimer @ Gessner 713-782-6066) 7:30-11:30 Holtergeist Records

Tom Borling BeBop Band
Borling's BeBop TBBBB Plays The Music Of Eddie Lewis Sometimes ya' gotta jump through hoops to keep a band together. In the case of the Tom Borling BeBop Band, the members of the band are such in-demand players, teachers, and spokesmodels (Editor: uh....can we get corroboration on that last part???)that the only time they could all mesh schedules was 11:00AM on Tuesday mornings. They kept the rehearsal fires burning, however, and the result is a swingin' affair.

Eddie Lewis' sometimes angular, always challenging compositions are tackled with gusto by the ensemble. If you like your jazz uncut, this is your music. Bonus: This is a rare opportunity to hear alto saxophonist David Caceres play tenor sax!

Featuring Tom Borling-piano; Lex Valk-bass; Mike Lefevbre-drums; Eddie Lewis-trumpet; David Caceres-saxes; Ed Lowe-trombone

Darryl Brenzel
BrenzelPentasphere Darryl Brenzel is a talented saxophonist & composer. He's a member of the Army's Jazz Ambassadors. He's from upstate New York. So why in the heck did we let him into JazzHouston? Well, Brenzel was smart enough to hire our favorite Houston renegade drummer, Todd Harrison. That'll get ya' in the door every time. Along with Todd & Darryl, fellow Ambassador Jeff Lopez holds down the bass chair. For the rest of the group, Brenzel called on Washington D.C. heavyweights Paul Pieper (guitar) & Harry Appelman (piano). The music is no-nonense swing with a post-modern sensibility. Jen-Jazz Records (7325 Split Rail Lane Laurel, Maryland 20707)

David Caceres
Caceres Innermost Features 1989 Monk Competition finalist, Eddy Hobizal on piano, along with drummer Joe Ferreira, the late Dave Nichols on bass, and Stratus/Houston Jazz Trio guitarist Paul Chester. Definitely give this one a listen. Mayfly Records.

Joe Carmouche
CarmoucheAfter Hours Listening to this CD is like getting a free upgrade--it's a nice bonus you weren't really expecting. A quick look over the songlist shows such pop classics "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)", "Feel Like Makin' Love", & "I'll Be Around". Okay, you prepare yourself for some predictable smooth jazz, but two factors clearly lift this CD out of the "whatever" category. First things first, the cat can really play. Carmouche's melodic approach, coupled with some hefty chops, make this collection a joy to listen to. Secondly, the entire CD was recorded "live" in the studio, giving the project a sense of immediacy that multiple overdubs just can't deliver. Standout sidemen include Wendell Brooks on alto sax, Rafer Sharp on bass, Giovanni Godley on drums, and Grady Gaines Jr. on soprano sax.

Dave Catney
Reality Road Reality Road
Dave's death in 1994 was a huge loss to our music scene and to the world. In addition to his own albums, he appears as a sideman on several others, including a recent CD compilation by pianist Fred Hersch benefiting AIDS research -- Last Night When We Were Young.

Reality Road is the last in a trilogy of recordings which began with First Flight (1991) -- featuring Marc Johnson and Ed Soph -- and continued with Jade Visions (1993) --featuring Peter Erskine and Marc Johnson. Listen as he relaxes with 11 well-chosen standards and original compositions in this beautiful solo performance. His playing deeply inspired us all. Justice Records.

Check out Dave's online catalog (album info and track samples) on Music Boulevard. They're selling his CD's for $4.49 each!


Tom Cummings
EntranceEntrance A collection of standards showcasing Tom's swinging vibe artistry. The sidemen, all Houstonians, push the music to its full potential: Clayton Dyess, guitar; Ken Ward, piano; Bill Murry, bass; Tim Solook, drums. Alto Records.

Mark Dini
Dini's SecondBack For Seconds The Dini philosophy is simple.....life is too short to mess around with below-average musicians. As with his first CD, Green Light, Mark Dini recruited the stallions of the Houston jazz & recording studio biz. With Dini's catchy tunes in the hands of the experts, the music takes wing from the first track. "Kentucky Serenade" is one of those driving tunes that implores you to put the top down and fly down the highway (convertible not included). "Mi Cielo" & "Pachanga" are latin percolators that'll you'll be trying to hum along with. All in all, a superb way to spend 61 minutes & 46 seconds. Featuring: Dini-guitar; David Caceres-alto sax & vocals; Skip Nallia-Keyboards & vocals; Keith Vivens-bass; Giancarlo Caffarena-bass; Vernon Daniels-drums; Alan Dossett-percussion; Ken Mondshine-alto sax; Mark Wood-harmonica; Javier Zenteno-timbales

Mark Dini
Green LightGreen Light Mark Dini's debut CD mixes rockin' blues shuffles ("Green Light", "Lookin' Up") with an ECM/Metheny-style tonal painting ("Natural Motion"). Toss in a tribute to guitarist Jeff Beck ("'Cause We've Ended As Lovers") and some more radio-friendly grooves, and you've got an impressive first outing. Featuring Dini-guitar; David Caceres-alto saxophone; Todd Harrison-drums; Charles Williamson-bass; Phil Blackmon-piano & keyboards; John Fugate-keyboards; Henry Banrevi-piano solo on "natural motion".

Paul English
Beauty Paul, jazz composer/pianist, utilitizes an all-star cast on his latest release: John Pattituci, bass; William Kennedy, drums; Dave Caceres, saxophone; recorded at Chick Corea's studio, The Mad Hatter.

Horace Grigsby
At Last!At Last! From the grand tradition of such deep voices as Joe Williams & Johnny Hartman comes Horace Grigsby. Long a Houston treasure, his appropriately titled CD features Bob Henschen (piano), Clayton Dyess (guitar), David Craig (acoustic bass), and Carl Lott (drums). 14 songs swingin'!

The Houston Jazz Trio
DuplicityDuplicity The long awaited debut recording from Houston's premiere guitar trio. Features Tim Solook on drums, Dave Nichols on bass, and Paul Chester on guitar. Virtual Records.

Jazz Ambassadors
AmbassadorsThe Legacy Of Hank Levy Here's an old joke: What's the only song Hank Levy ever wrote in 4/4 time? Answer: Take Five! The Legacy Of Hank Levy features some of the charts that put Levy on the map, and his trademark odd time signatures abound--5/4, 7/4, whatever it takes to trip up the band. It'll take a lot more than that to hold back this group, though. Featuring the finest Army jazz musicians (no, that's not an oxymoron!), the Jazz Ambassadors rip through these charts with the skill of a fine artisan. They've also managed to update the arrangements, neatly modernizing the grooves, thus avoiding 70's "Quinn-Martin Production" feel of the original charts. At one point on the album, the rhythm section slyly goes into a James Brown "Doin' It To Death" groove, and it works! This CD represents your tax dollars hard at work. Featuring Houstonians Todd Harrison on drums, & Dana Rogers on vocals.

Joe LoCascio