“…beautifully assembled album… …exactly what it’s supposed to be: an enjoyable collection of acoustic romantic mood music.” – Alex Henderson, All Music Guide
The Music of Love in Real Time
Arkadia Jazz All-Stars: It’s About Love is 70 minutes of pure Love!
It could be said that jazz is really the musical language of Love. Like any quest, you have to seek jazz out, it never comes to you, and it may take a long time to truly understand its message—but as soon as you hear it, you know you’ve found love. Jazz, like all personal relationships, has so many moods that it may confound you at first, but once you get to know it, there’s no turning back. Much of the repertoire of jazz has been dedicated to love and Arkadia Jazz All-Stars have recorded an album that celebrates the romantic, intimate side of jazz, and musically explores the unanswerable question: What is Love?
Starting off with Benny Golson’s sublime reading of Duke Ellington’s Mood Indigo, the stage is set for romance. The nylon strings of Nigel Clark are featured next in the breezy A Summer Affair, capturing the smoldering flame of passion. Joanne Brackeen performs Stevie Wonder’s pop standard My Cherie Amour in her own dynamic and totally individual way, and Randy Brecker’s Grammy Nominated performance on My Funny Valentine is a moment of real beauty. Both artists bring new depth to several of the all time great love songs. Paul Tobey’s sensitive and insightful rendition of Monk’s Round Midnight is rhapsodic, using subtle dissonances to create tension, released by his flowing lines.
T.K. Blue’s original composition, It’s Really All About Love features the flute, an instrument often tied with romanticism. The More I See You by Mary Pearson expresses the sentiment of undying love that we all long to have, as does the masterful ballad Interlude by the Billy Taylor Trio. Passionata was an unfinished composition by Kenny Drew Sr. that was completed and recorded by his son, Kenny Drew Jr., and is a testament to familial love. Eric Reed’s rendition of Monk’s Ask Me Now is a sparse, yet tender and eloquent doctrine on the state of love. David Liebman and Vic Juris show their gentle sides on the sparkling I Want To Talk About You, while pianist Uli Lenz’s mesmerizing A Perfect Couple brings this recording to a romantic close and is the perfect denouement for this CD, “It’s About Love.”
What happens to us when we fall in love, and when we hear or see something that kindles our passions? Our outlook on life becomes filled with possibilities. Jazz mirrors our life experiences, and we should try to remember that in our collective consciousness. As in our personal relationships, jazz is about the joy and creation of beauty and human emotion in real time. Share this music with someone; it has something to do with discovery and hope. It has something to do with love.
Whether looking surround yourself with beautiful ballads, or to set the mood for a romantic evening, or simply looking for a special Valentines Day gift all year round, “It’s About Love” is a wonderful collection that provides both the romantic atmosphere and world class music from some of the most influential sounds in Jazz.
|1. Mood Indigo||Ellington and Mills and Bigars||Benny Golson: Tenor sax; Mulgrew Miller: Piano; Buster Williams: Bass; Carl Allen: Drums||6:44|
|2. A Summer Affair*||Nigel Clark||Nigel Clark: Guitar; Ewen Vernal: Bass; Mike Bradley: Drums; Guy Nicholson: Percussion||5:48|
|3. My Cherie Amour*||Stevie Wonder||Joanne Brackeen: Piano; Ira Coleman: Bass; Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez: Drums||4:39|
|4. My Funny Valentine**||Rodgers and Hart||Randy Brecker: Flugelhorn; Ted Rosenthal: Piano; Dean Johnson: Bass: Ron Vincent: Drums||8:38|
|5. ‘Round Midnight*||Monk and Henighen||Paul Tobey: Piano||5:00|
|6. It’s Really All About Love||T.K. Blue||T.K. Blue: Flute; James Weidman: Piano; Santi Debriano: Bass; Guilherme Franco: Percussion||4:27|
|7. The More I See You||Gordon and Warren||Mary Pearson: Vocals; Lynne Arriale: Piano||5:19|
|8. Interlude||Billy Taylor||Billy Taylor: Piano; Chip Jackson: Bass; Steve Johns: Drums||6:00|
|9. Passionata||Drew and Drew. Jr||Kenny Drew Jr.: Piano; Peter Washington: Bass; Lewis Nash: Drums; Strings arranged by: Bob Belden||5:53|
|10. Ask Me Now||Thelonious Monk||Eric Reed: Piano; Rodney Whitaker: Bass; Carl Allen: Drums||6:29|
|11. I Want To Talk About You||Ekstine||David Liebman: Soprano sax; Vic Juris: Guitar||4:51|
|12. A Perfect Couple*||Uli Lenz||Uli Lenz: Piano||5:47|
* Previously unreleased track.
** Grammy nominated performance.
Produced by: Bob Karcy
Total Time: 70 minutes
About The Arkadia Jazz All-Stars:
The Arkadia Jazz All-Stars is a group established in 1996 as the brainchild of Bob Karcy, Producer, musician, Founder and CEO of Arkadia Records. Karcy’s original goal was to harness the creative brilliance of the Artists who recorded on its Arkadia Records labels, along with select guest musicians representing some of Jazz’s biggest stars, to create an unparalleled series of newly recorded, thematically unified studio albums. So far, ten albums have been recorded and three more are in production.
These Arkadia Jazz All-Stars releases have been honored with three Grammy Award Nominations.
The “Thank You” Series – Tributes to the most revered artists in the history of Jazz:
The first “Thank You” Series was created to honor the memory and the lasting legacy of many of the greatest and most esteemed artists in the history of Jazz.
The initial album in the “Thank You” series is entitled “Arkadia Jazz All-Stars: Thank You, John! – Our Tribute to John Coltrane” (Grammy Nominated for “My Favorite Things” by David Liebman).
This was followed by “Arkadia Jazz All-Stars: Thank you. Duke! – Our tribute to Duke Ellington”.
The Lead All-Star Members of these two albums are: Benny Golson, Billy Taylor, T.K. Blue, Joanne Brackeen, Nova Bossa Nova, and Joris Teepe.
The Supporting Members performing with them are: Mulgrew Miller, Buster Williams, Carl Allen, Eric Reed, Rodney Whitaker, Mike LeDonne, Vic Juris, Steve Nelson, Terrell Stafford, Ira Coleman, and Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez.
Appearing as Special Guests are: Randy Weston, Don Braden, Chris Potter, Claudio Roditi, Bob Mintzer, David Hazeltine, Bruce Cox, and Harold Land.
Next on the agenda were new tribute albums to Joe Henderson (“Thank You, Joe! – Our Tribute to Joe Henderson”) and Gerry Mulligan (“Thank You, Gerry! – Our Tribute to Gerry Mulligan”). For “Thank You Joe!”, Karcy and Musical Directors Eric Reed and Carl Allen put together an ensemble including Randy Brecker, Terrell Stafford, Steve Nelson, Rodney Whitaker with special guest, Joanne Brackeen.
For “Thank You, Gerry!” (Grammy Nominated for “My Funny Valentine” by Randy Brecker), Karcy and Musical Director, Ted Rosenthal enlisted jazz legends Lee Konitz, Bob Brookmeyer, Randy Brecker, with Javon Jackson, Dean Johnson and Ron Vincent, all of whom performed with Gerry Mulligan’s band.
The next series of albums were conceived as thematically-driven group collections of outstanding singles, representing the best-of-our-best.
The first two albums, “Arkadia Jazz All-Stars: The Stars of Jazz #1” (Grammy Nominated for “Body and Soul” by Branford Marsalis) and “Arkadia Jazz All-Stars: The Stars of Jazz #2” (Grammy Nominated for “My Favorite Things” by David Liebman), present the most highly recognized artists, including Joanne Brackeen, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Benny Golson, Lee Konitz, Branford Marsalis, Billy Taylor, Randy Weston, Gary Bartz, and Nat Adderley.
The “Arkadia Jazz All-Stars: The New Young Lions of Jazz” showcases the next generation of rising stars on the Jazz horizon, including James Carter, Don Braden, Chris Potter, Javon Jackson, Ravi Coltrane, Eric Reed, Stefon Harris, Nicholas Payton, Steve Turre, and Kurt Elling.
The “Arkadia Jazz All-Stars: Out and Out Jazz” captures inventive performances on the cutting edge of modern and free jazz, both fully composed and improvised. This album showcases John Abercrombie, Paul Bley, Joanne Brackeen, John Clark, Andrew Hill, David Liebman, Pat Metheny, Nicholas Payton, Gary Peacock, Sam Rivers, and Reggie Workman.
Everyone has known love, and that emotion is beautifully expressed in “Arkadia Jazz All-Stars: It’s About Love”, a new album of heartfelt romantic ballads, performed by Benny Golson, Nigel Clark, Joanne Brackeen, T.K. Blue, Mary Pearson, Billy Taylor, Kenny Drew, Jr., Eric Reed. It includes the stunning Grammy Nominated “My Funny Valentine” by Randy Brecker.
Arkadia Records continues to create new releases from the Arkadia Jazz All-Stars. Albums currently in production are tributes to Thelonious Monk (“Thank You, Thelonious!”) and Miles Davis (“Thank You, Miles!”), as well a suite of lively standards and compelling original songs for the holiday season.
Bob Karcy’s ultimate aim is that the Arkadia Jazz All-Stars will emerge as an artistically successful recording group in its own right. In addition to creating new, exciting and stellar music, the All-Stars will showcase the Artists on Arkadia Records, creating greater awareness and recognition of their talent, and helping them reach a new generation of listeners far beyond their core fans.