City College students review and recommend a selection of jazz albums – City Times

Appreciation of jazz through the ears of City students

The cover of the last album released by American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald features a portrait of the singer known as “First Lady of Song”. Photo from

Each semester, students in Professor Michael Espar’s Jazz History class are tasked with reviewing a jazz outing.

We’ve rounded up some of the best reviews from this semester. They range from classic jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald to the new contemporary jazz sound of Orin Evans.

If you would like to submit a music review or write for the City Times monthly local music playlist, send an email [email protected]

Orin Evans – “The Magic of the Present”

Philadelphia pianist and conductor Orrin Evans explores uncertainty in a society that adapts to social change and a global pandemic. Evans is now imploring communities to open up to rediscover some semblance of normalcy after isolation to experience “The Magic of the Present”.

“Mynah / The Eleventh Hour” is an enthralling piece with a feverish tempo and texture. The perfect contagious rising tension through minor chords embellished by powerful, screaming notes and propelled by rhythmic bass and beat.

“Libra” is conducted by Evans, embellished by Wilkins’ alto saxophone. The dynamic melody sings an opportune moment destined to take away one of their feet.

These tracks, in addition to “MAT-Matt”, present a passionate rhythm and syncopated sounds like avant-garde free jazz, pushing the boundaries of bebop to post-bop.

The regular swing of “Momma Loves” invites you to escape with festive highs emerging from the duo’s interpretations of the initial melody.

The album ends quietly with “Dave”. On the track, the ensemble gently accompanies the contemplative air of Evans, deploying sensations of memory, wonder and quiet farewell.

The energy of the quartet is complex and intimate throughout the album, which gives it an expressive and conversational tone. In a world balancing goodwill and chaos, amid the clamor of uncertainty, Evans provides a glimpse of harmony.

-Kai Kraft

Mynah / The eleventh hour

New Orleans Jazz Orchestra – “Petite Fleur”

“Petite Fleur” is a history of New Orleans jazz and its relationship with France represented through music, courtesy of the musical genius of Grammy-winning jazz drummer Adonis Rose.

“Si Tu Savais”, the third track of the album, presents a solo of notes clarinet that protrudes.

“Get the Bucket” shows the undeniable skills of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra.

This instrumental begins with a solo saxophone accompanied by the percussion section, to which the rest of the group responds quickly.

The last two songs on the album, “Undecided” and “Down”, are both filled with such energy and punch that it feels like it’s just the beginning of the record. .

The versatility of the album as a whole is wonderful, there is swing, slow tempos, upbeat grooves, beautiful vocals and lots of jaw-dropping solos.

It’s hard to expect less when you hear the name “New Orleans Jazz Orchestra”, but they exceeded my expectations. I really recommend this album to any jazz lover.

– Serena Garrett

Get the bucket

Ella Fitzgerald – “The Lost Tapes of Berlin”

In this compilation of some of Fitzgerald’s greatest works, performed and recorded live in Berlin, in which she sings in front of a roaring and energetic crowd with her resonating, belted vibrato in her vocal prime.

The level of energy she exhibits and the chemistry and swing jazz style of this live recording are unprecedented and totally different from all of her smoother, quieter studio recordings. Heard live, you feel the charm, the improvisational genius, the humor and the spirit of Fitzgerald.

Her live sets interact playfully and seamlessly as her blues and swing tracks switch from tempo, speed and genre to genre, as she addresses the crowd and interacts with them confidently, laughing and telling his songs to his audience live.

She performs several crooning jazz standards such as “Cry Me a River” and “Mack the Knife”, but then seamless transitions from swing to the moving “Someone to Watch Over Me”, in which her magnificent legato vibrato swells in depth. ‘such an emotion. so that the audience could feel that every word was meant for each of us.

In this live compilation, Fitzgerald balances his “Big Band” numbers with slow and sultry Blues numbers. Proving that she truly is the “Lady of Jazz” as she takes you back in time with her to stomp or dream with her deep vocal narration.

– Kim Uecker

Cry Me A River (Live)

Comments are closed.