Jazz Avenues

Trumpet maestro Michael Thomas leads his quintet, July 26-27, at Twins Jazz.

“Divine Inspiration” Gives Us “Love”

One look at the song titles for Reginald Cyntje's new “Love” recording, including "Love," "Beauty," "Hope," "Faith," and "Peace," and a seasoned observer would be forgiven for smiling and saying, "Yeah, right, peace and love, that's what we need alright." But there are more than just platitudes and easy listening on “Love,” which has a helping of true grit in the artistry of poetry, song, and instrumentation. It is a worthy second album for Cyntje, a stalwart as a still-young-lion trombonist and formidable composer who drew acclaim for his debut CD, "Freedom's Children," two years ago.

Says Cyntje, “In a moment that seemed to rise out of divine inspiration I began composing songs specifically for the human spirit. I was meditating on words that heal. What happened next surprised me. On the page before me, I saw the development of the ‘Love’ album.”

The recording’s highlights include "Faith," with the spoken word of Lasana Mack and the vocalise of Christie Dashiell over the whistling percussion of Tosin Aribisala, bright accents of steel-pan chimes from Victor Provost, and rippling lyricism of pianist Allyn Johnson. "Determination" features trombonist Cyntje and steel-pan maestro Provost harmonizing the intro melody, with percussionist Aribisala and pianist Johnson then taking over before Cyntje comes back with a subtly roaring solo, fluidly delivering clean, spurting lines of quiet fire.

Along with Dashiell, Mack, and Heidi Martin interpreting original songs and poetry by Cyntje, Herman Burney, whose bluesy bass drives the melodies throughout, drummer Amin Gumbs, Johnson, Provost, Aribisala, and Todd Marcus on bass clarinet all make “Love” a multimedia concerto.

“When you regularly work with a group of cats, you develop chemistry,” says Cyntje. “I explained the concept of the album to the musicians in 2012. They all agreed to be a part of the creation. We spent the fall of 2012 seasoning the music at area clubs.” Of the outcome he says, “The goal is to uplift the human spirit. If that happens, I'm thankful. I’m happy with the sincerity expressed musically on the ‘Love’ album.”

You can catch Cyntje (reginaldcyntje.com) and friends at Westminster Presbyterian Church, July 26. And Martin, a talent deserving wider recognition, is the artist in residence with her Moon in Scorpio group Tuesdays in July at Bohemian Caverns.

InPerson … DCJF

Charlie Fishman’s ninth DC Jazz Festival extravaganza again featured a rich potpourri of the heritage last month. Highlights of the festival, which featured masters like Roy Haynes, Paquito D’Rivera, Lee Konitz, Pharoah Sanders, John McLaughlin, and others along the way, began with the opening day Jazz Meets Hip Hop event with saxophonist and educator Will Smith at THEARC on Mississippi Avenue in Southeast.

A large group of youth gathered to hear Smith, DJ RBI, Baye “Straightforward” Harrell, and musicians Eric Wheeler, bass, Nathan Jolley, drums, and Noble Jolley, piano, deliver a forum on the roots of jazz and hip hop and the elements of swing, improvisation, and blues that link both genres. Smith & Co. invoked Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, as well as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Quincy Jones, Nina Simone, Michael Jackson, and Grand Master Flash, Tupac Shakur, Ludacris, and KRS-One, to the delight of the kids who frequently clapped and sang along.

That opening night featured our eclectic homeboy pianist Marc Cary at Bohemian Caverns playing a solo piano tribute to Abbey Lincoln, featuring tunes from his new “For Love of Abbey” CD. Other festival gems included Joe McPhee, Peter Brotzman, Gerald Cleaver, Karriem Riggins, and others with free and fusion jazz sounds at CapitalBop.com events, and percussion master Nasar Abadey at the Hill Center.

InPerson ... Transparent Jazz

Some scintillating and electro-augmented jazz excursions were heard by reed man Ernest Khabeer Dawkins, guitarist Jean Peter Bourelly, and drummer Nasar Abadey at Transparent Productions' Revolutionary Music late last month at Bohemian Caverns. The sometimes raucous but always soulful, rhythmic sounds were devoted to tributes for Chicago musicians saxophonist Fred Anderson and guitarist Pete Cosey.

July Highlights: Heidi Martin, July 9, 16, 23, 30, Bohemian Caverns … Tony Martucci Quartet, July 9, Blues Alley … Akua Allrich, Westminster Presbyterian Church … Katy Roberts Quartet, July 12-13, Twins Jazz … Chuck Redd, July 12, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Lena Seikaly, July 13, Mandarin Oriental Hotel … Marty Nau, July 16, 23, 30, Twins Jazz … Sharon Clark, July 21, Blues Alley … Reginald Cyntje/Love Connection (CD release), July 26, Westminster Presbyterian Church … Michael Thomas, July 26-27, Twins Jazz …

July Birthdays: Rashied Ali 1; Ahmad Jamal 2; Johnny Hartman 3; Hank Mobley 7; Louis Jordan 8, Billy Eckstine, Lee Morgan 10; Albert Ayler 13; Philly Joe Jones 15; Cal Tjader 16; Chico Freeman 17; Sonny Clark 21; Billy Taylor 24; Johnny Hodges 25; Carl Grubbs 27; Charlie Christian 29; Hank Jones, Kenny Burrell 31.

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