As a label, Blue Note has been changing its focus, drifting closer and closer to mainstream pop material – not that there's anything wrong with this, but it is a bit of a shock that the name label in jazz since 1939 is looking for hits with Elisabeth Withers and a third Norah Jones offering. That said, the Metro Blue imprint of the label is as adventurous as ever, and the self-titled offering from the Bird and the Bee is about as eclectic as it gets. The Bird and the Bee are vocalist and songwriter Inara George (for music historians, she is the daughter of the late Little Feat singer, guitarist, and songwriter Lowell George) and multi-instrumentalist/producer Greg Kurstin.
Cardamar's second journey is about worlds within worlds of music. Melodic chillout goodness pushed to its boundaries. A more than worthy follow-up to "Steam", which will satisfy all fans of an emotional journey beyond the boundaries of your imagination.
"Where the Skies End" is a hypnotic assembly of ambient compositions. Throughout this entire collection, listeners are induced into the trance of an impressive combination of sound effects held together with well-arranged percussion…
At age 83, pianist/vocalist Jay McShann was still at the top of his game and providing many lessons for the younger "swing" cats and kittens. He is the epitome of what can be done when jazz and blues are mixed equally, especially when the fun factor is liberally added in. While some might find this typical, many others should revel in the sound of one of this music's last living legends who is still doing it, and doing it very well at that. The chemistry between McShann and guitarist/session leader Duke Robillard is considerable and undeniable, and makes Still Jumpin' the Blues enjoyable throughout. With such solid support from Robillard and the band, McShann has nothing to worry about. Everything you might want is here: classic versions of "Goin' to Chicago," "Ain't Nobody's Business," and "Trouble In Mind"; a nice rearrangement with tempo shift from mellow to mid-tempo on "Sunny Side of the Street"; Maria Muldaur's sultry singing on "Come on Over to My House," and especially the Bessie Smith evergreen "Backwater Blues"; wonderful instrumentals like "Moten Swing" and "Say Forward, I'll March"; and even a little Hawaiian slide accenting "Hootie's K.C. Christmas Prayer".