Saturday, March 1, 2014

CD Review: Independent Jazz Comes Alive With Some Great New Releases

From New York comes pianist, keyboardist and composer Sean Wayland with his 23rd studio album entitled "Barrenjoey." His music on this album was inspired by the time he spent in Australia as part of the rock circuit in the 1980s.

Right from the opening song, "Barrenjoey" you are ready to follow Sean Wayland and his band anywhere. The smooth fusion jazz backbone of the song is only the foundation that allows him to take the song any direction he chooses. He follows that with the Steely Dan sounding "What Do You Know" that shows his experience in the music industry and how to create exciting new music with a  classic sound. The album really takes off with the seven-minute funk groove of "Slide On Thru," before ironing out any of the wrinkles on the smooth jazz of "Mind Over Mind." The band relies heavily on the electronics of "No Credit No Problem" and the pick up the energy on the eighties rock of "Scum Valley," which is what The Police would have sounded like with a full-time keyboard player. The album closes with a return to the seventies era fusion jazz of "Will We Ever Meet" and the multi-layered, exciting feel of "1800 Funk."

To find out more about Sean Wayland and his new album "Barrenjoey," please visit

From New York come Jazz saxophonist Aaron Irwin with his latest release "Ordinary Lives." The album was released on February 11th through the On Fresh Sound New Talent label and features a very talented band fronted by Irwin's canny instinct to allow the music to breathe.

The opening song "A Winning Smile (For The Champions" builds upon a classic jazz structure as Irwin's sax and the guitar solo of Sebastian Noelle give the song its energy. The smooth folk-like jazz of "The Traveler" is a welcoming sound as the listener never gets over-powered by the instruments. The band floats on by in "Ordinary Lives" as the shuffle of drummer Greg Ritchie adds that extra element that allows the solos to lead the way. The energetic bass line of "Holly Roller" gives the song it's pep as the band work like a well-oiled machine. The album closes with the modern jazz blueprint of "Billions And Billions" and the organized chaos of "Say Goodbye."

Aaron Irwin and his band are currently on the road until the end of March, including a stop in Kent, CT on the 15th. To find out more, please visit

From Boston, comes the full-length, self-titled debut album from B11. Their music is a cross between rock infused jazz and Brian Setzer-type surf music. The band members have honed their skills working with David Bowie, Robbie Krieger (The Doors), Kid Rock and others. Founding member Boyan Hristov is an accomplished jazz guitarist performing all over New England as well as Denmark and a number of cruise ships.

The new fifteen song release mixes in some Hristov originals with some well-selected covers, beginning with B11 bursting out of the gate with a rocking version of the "Peter Gunn Theme." Originals like "Surf Spaghetti" and "Boyan's Boloero" sit perfectly next to jazzy versions of Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" and John Patton's "Funky Mama." B11 add some Latin flair to the album with "Miami Beach Rhumba," before laying out the funk with "The One Note Piano." The album closes with the mellow, blues/jazz of "Boyan's New Tune."

B11 perform regularly in the Boston area, to find out more, please visit

American jazz pianist Dan DeChellis has recently released his latest album, "Strength And Anger." It features the trio of Dan on piano, Scot Hornick on bass and Steve Decker on drums.

The 18-song album begins with the slow, mellow rhythm of "24 Hour Intervals," before picking up the tempo with "Anticipation" highlighted by the wonderful finger tapping of Dan on keys. The trio fill your head with the bright, airy feel of "Empty Words," before slowing down to a crawl on the relaxed sound of "On The Shoulder Of Giants" and "Thinking Too Much." The pulsating piano tapping of "On The Brink" allows Decker's drumming to take the lead on this number, while the classic jazz of "Skirmish" has that Vince Guaraldi feel to it. The album closes with the solo-filled "Cosmic Space Pizza."

To find out more about Dan DeChellis and his latest release "Strength And Anger," please visit

From New York comes Italian-American composer Michael Vincent Waller with his latest release "Five Easy Pieces." The new album is the first pieces of music that Waller has written specifically for the piano. His chamber works have been commissioned and performed by the S.E.M. Ensemble, FLUX Quartet, Ensemble Epomeo, Ensemble Dedalus, Eric Huebner, Jenny Q. Chai, String Noise (Conrad Harris & Pauline Kim Harris), Hilo String Duo (Caroline Chin & Brian Snow), Zentripedal Duo, Project SiS (Christine Kim), Cadillac Moon Ensemble, and many more.

His latest project was put to music by Japanese pianist Gumi Shibata and Chinese pianist Jenny Q. Chai. The music just floats along on the opener "L'anno del Serpente," while a reoccurring theme is the main focus on "Ninna Nanna." Parts one and two of "Per Terry e Morty" seem to have a short storyline as told by the strokes of the piano keys, before the album closes with the seven-plus minute build-up of "Acqua Santa."

To find out more about composer Michael Vincent Waller, please visit

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