Wayne Escoffery makes an authoritative Savant debut with Veneration (SCD 2081), recorded live in June 2006 at the New York City jazz club Smoke with the 32-year-old saxophonist joined by vibraphonist Joe Locke, bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Lewis Nash. A native of London who has lived in the US since 1983, Escoffery leads his own quartet an quintet in addition to performing and touring internationally with Ben Riley's Monk Legacy Septet, The Mingus Band, Abdullah Ibrahim's Ekaya, The Carolyn Leonhart Group and Jazz At Lincoln Center's: The Music of Miles Davis. Since 2006 the saxophonist has shared the frontline with Tom Harrell in the trumpeter's working quintet whose HighNote Records debut CD is set for release later in 2007. Veneration includes one original composition by Escoffery and by Locke as well as Booker Little's Bee Vamp" and Looking Ahead," Jackie McLean's Melody For Melonae," Freddie Hubbard's Skydive" and the Strayhorn-Ellington classic Isfahan.
The Magician (Savant SCD 2079), Sammy Figueroa's follow-up to his Grammy nominated Savant debut from 2005 ...And Sammy Walked In (SCD 2066), once again presents the master percussionist at the helm of his dynamic band Latin Jazz Explosion featuring saxophonists John Michalak and Troy Roberts; trumpeters Alex Norris and John Lovell; the brothers Mike and Nicky Orta on piano and bass and the extraordinary drummer Ludwig Alfonso. This is Latin jazz at its very best, with Sammy casting percussive magic spells with a combination of unparalleled virtuosity and sense of celebration. The CD includes"Together" by Hubert Laws, Firm Roots" by Cedar Walton, Gregory Is Here" by Horace Silver and the Miles Davis-Victor Feldman classic Seven Steps To Heaven" as well as three compositions by bassist Gabriel Vivas.
Your Eyes, (Savant SCD 2083) the follow-up to vocalist Pamela Luss's February 2006 recording debut on Savant There's Something About You I Don't Know," showcases the New York-based singer's skills as a song-stylist backed by the city's top jazz artists, including Houston Person who, having backed Etta Jones for over 30 years, certainly knows something about backing vocalists, and pianist John di Martino, who wrote many of the arrangements. The CD's highlights include the title track, a never-before-recorded composition by Myron Walden, as well as Stephen Sondheim's Send In The Clowns," Burt Bacharach's The Look Of Love" the 1963 pop classic Our Day Will Come," Cole Porter's Every Time We Say Goodbye" and the Harold Arlen-E.Y. Harburg masterpiece Somewhere Over The Rainbow."