(Following Jeb Patton at AAJ automatically enters you in the contest.)
Your Friends at MAXJAZZ Records
Jeb Patton - New Strides
Pianist, composer and arranger Jeb Patton has been described as both a young phenom" and an absolute great," earning a well-regarded reputation in the international jazz community. On his MAXJAZZ piano series debut, New Strides, the multi-talented Patton shows great expression and swinging energy. Accompanying him are bassist David Wong and drummer Pete Van Nostrand. Special guests include two of the legendary Heath Brothers: saxophonist Jimmy and drummer Albert 'Tootie' Heath.
Patton's playing is consistently a joy throughout...there's an immediate kick every time he enters with a solo. He utilizes expert technical control to manipulate time in such a way as to make it tactical and full. His attack of the keys is crisp and bright." - Jazz Inside Magazine
Dena DeRose - Live at Jazz Standard Volume Two
Dena DeRose is a swinging jazz pianist, a gifted vocalist, and a talented composer and arranger. She returns with the second set of her critically acclaimed 2007 release Live at Jazz Standard Volume One. This accomplished musician performs distinctive arrangements of standards with her top-notch trio consisting of Martin Wind (b) and Matt Wilson (d). Critics were quick to praise Volume One:
Based on the strength of this first volume, one can only anticipate with enthusiasm its follow-up." - All About Jazz
She is the real deal, able to bring out the best in the music and lyrics to any given piece." - All Music
Jack Wilkins - Until It's Time
Guitarist Jack Wilkins has been a part of the music scene for many years, recording and touring since the early 1970's. On his MAXJAZZ string series debut, Until It's Time, Wilkins' distinct sound and creativity flow throughout. The release features some stellar musicians including Jon Cowherd (p), Steve LaSpina (b) and Mark Ferber (d). Comfortable in any musical setting, Wilkins is the consummate guitarist.
Here's a disc by a guitarist that shows how a guitar is supposed to be played. Not only does Wilkins (who's played with Turrentine, Torme, Bennett and Mingus' Epitaph) have incredible chops, but he uses them to haute cuisine taste." - Jazz Weekly
Manuel Valera - Currents
Cuban pianist, composer and arranger Manuel Valera is at the forefront of contemporary modern jazz. He represents the next generation of great performers and composers. On his new MAXJAZZ release, Currents, his sound is fresh, inviting and evocative, and his musical ideas bring a vitality and newness to the idioms of jazz and Latin jazz. Joining Valera on this date are bassist James Genus and drummer Ernesto Simpson. Currents features five original compositions and several standards by the likes of Cahn, Gershwin and Berlin.
He leaves no doubt that he's destined to play a role in the future of jazz. Valera shows a keen jazz vocabulary, a gift for creating grooves that invite stellar solo flights from his collaborators and the nerve to romance a melody when it suits him." - Billboard Magazine