Title - 'Passion Flower: The Music of Billy Strayhorn'
Artist - John DiMartino
For those not in the know, John diMartino is a composer, arranger, jazz pianist producer and educator, based in New York City.
John has recorded numerous CDs on the High Note and Venus Records (Japan) labels as a leader, and with Freddy Cole, Gloria Lynn, Houston Person, and Nicki Parrott.
Featuring Raul Midon, Eric Alexander, Boris Kozlov, and Lewis Nash, and “Mazel” (Yiddish Songs, re-imagined) with Janis Siegel, DiMartino will be releasing his brand new album Passion Flower: The Music Of Billy Staryhorn this April 10th, 2020 (via Sunnyside Communications, Inc).
1. 'Johnny Come Lately'
2. 'Lush Life'
3. 'Rain Check'
4. 'Star-Crossed Lovers (Pretty Girl)'
5. 'Isfahan (Elf)'
6. 'Chelsea Bridge'
8. 'Passion Flower'
10. 'Blood Count'
11. 'Take the a Train'
12. 'A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing'
13. 'Absinthe (Lament for An Orchid)'
14. 'Lotus Blossom'
Here on Passion Flower: The Music Of Billy Staryhorn, John and his all-star quartet swing their collective way through 14 of Strayhorn's most significant compositions.
Combining inventive solos with momentum-flowing panache, the album begins with the mid-tempo, finger-snappin' beauty of 'Johnny Come Lately' and then follows that with the ornate 'Lush Life' (featuring Raul Midon on vocals).
Next up is the joyous soft shoe shuffle of 'Rain Check' which is in turn backed with the quietly elegant bossa nova of 'Star-Crossed Lovers (Pretty Girl),' and then their rendition of one of Strayhorn's finest works, the spiritedly pleasing 'Isfahan (Elf).'
Next up is the aching ballad 'Chelsea Bridge' and the playful 'Daydream' (in 3/4 time) and then comes one of my own personal favorites, the late night, underground smoky jazz club vibe of the title track itself, 'Passion Flower.'
The uptempo swing of 'U.M.M.G' is then followed by a rather haunting duo performance of 'Blood Count' (Strayhorn's very last composition), with the up-tempo frenetic, yet controlled brilliance of 'Take the a Train' along next.
This quite magnificent new album then rounds out with a thoughtful piano rendition of the ballad 'A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing,' Strayhorn's lesser known work 'Absinthe (Lament for An Orchid),' and then comes to a close on another tender piano rendition, this time for 'Lotus Blossom.'
Musicians: John Di Martino - piano, arrangements; Eric Alexander - tenor saxophone; Boris Kozlov - bass; Lewis Nash - drums; and Raul Midon - vocal ('Lush Life').
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