Jazz CD Reviews
Enrico Granafei – Alone and Together – CAPKeve Wilson – Pure Imagination – Composers Concordance
Published on July 17, 2013
Enrico Granafei – Alone and Together [TrackList follows] – CAP 1036 *****:
(Enrico Granafei – chromatic harmonica, DB guitar, shaker; Vitali Imereli – violin; Amina Figarova – piano; Rick Crane – bass; Bill Hart & Gordon Lane – drums; Vic Juris & Dave Stryer – elec. guitar; Wallace Rooney – trumpet; Diego Lopez, tambourine)
Keve Wilson – Pure Imagination [TrackList follows] – Composers Concordance Records COMCON002 [Distr. by Naxos] ****:
(Kim Wilson – oboe & English horn; Jeff Marder – piano & keyboards; Greg Heffernan – cello; Charles Pierce – guitar; Mat Fields & Michael Valerio – fretless bass; Andy Beall – Cajon & triangle; Mr. Lei – erhu; Bernard Fox – whistler)
Being an aficionado of the harmonica in jazz, I’m surprised I hadn’t previously heard of Enrico Granafei. He follows in the tradition of Toots Thielemans and is not only a harmonica virtuoso but also a classical guitarist, singer, songwriter, arranger and composer and has had a long career in both classical and jazz. An Italian, he has resided in New York City for 20 years and appears in local jazz clubs there as well as at major European festivals. He now sometimes plays the new Hands-Free-Chromatic Harmonica, which allows him to play the chromatic harmonica and his electric guitar simultaneously. He also plays the DB guitar— a combination of doublebass and guitar.
The various settings of the great tunes in the fine arrangements by Granafei couldn’t be better. His treatments of the Brazilian “Estate” and “The Peacocks” are especially delightful. He also does vocals on a couple of the tracks. Granafei’s medley of “Stable Mates, Giant Steps” and “Cherokee” is quite a musical coup.
TrackList:Christina Destiny I Love You Body And Soul Yardbird Suite Lana Estate Round Midnight Gentle Rain Alone Together Peacocks Medley: Stablemates/Giant Steps/Cherokee I Wish You Love
This is the debut CD from oboist Keve Wilson, who lives in NYC with her husband. She is a soloist with Kristjan Jarvi’s Absolute Ensemble, and in 2011 performed with Jazz at Lincoln Center on a program of Bird with Strings. She has performed on NPR and WQXR and teaches in NYC.
The 14 tracks are not jazz, but fine choices of tunes and superb arrangements by her producer, keyboardist Jeff Marder, sometimes using electronic sampling, but in a most subtle way. The album title comes from the Bricusse/Newley Broadway tune “Pure Imagination,” and Wilson’s treatment of “Gabriel’s Oboe,” from the film The Mission, is one of the CD’s highlights. She thanks someone in the notes for introducing her to the music of Astor Piazzolla, and there are three tracks here from the originator of the New Tango, including his glorious tune “Oblivion,” really lovely on the oboe.
Alone, Charade, Pure Imagination, Fracanapa, What Fifty Said, Poker Face, Moonbeams, The Water is Wide, Plume, Oblivion, Gabriel’s Oboe, Romantico Idillio, Debbie, Da Reel.