Tiny Reviews: Clarence Penn, Wolfgang Schluter & NDR Big Band, Gregg August, HI5, The Sidewinders, & Stockton Helbing

Tiny Reviews edition!

Featured album: Clarence Penn Dali in Cobble Hill.

Plus:  Wolfgang Schluter & NDR Big Band Visionen, Gregg August Four By Six, HI5 Tangled Simplicity, The Sidewinders A Little Busy, and Stockton Helbing Crazy Aquarius.



Clarence Penn – Dali in Cobble Hill

Clarence Penn - "Dali In Cobble Hill"Straight-ahead modern jazz recording by drummer Clarence Penn, and featuring a strong line-up of names on the scene worth checking out. Dali in Cobble Hill is one of those albums that constantly feature moments that’ll make a listener sit up and check which song it happened on.  For instance, on “A Walk on the B-H-P.,” Rogers’ sharp bright guitar meshing wonderfully with Penn’s crisp drum and cymbal work just as Potter parts the sea on bass clarinet.  Or how Street’s bass nimbly shadows Potter’s sax on “Persistence” with a backdrop of Penn’s textured percussion.  And then there’s the moment on “Dali,” when the quartet suddenly, and just for a moment, dispenses with its abrasive cadence and slides into a soothing melodic drift.

Just one of those solid albums that fits well into any Jazz fan’s library.

Your album personnel: Clarence Penn (drums), Ben Street (bass), Chris Potter (sax, bass clarinet), and Adam Rogers (guitar).

Released on the Criss Cross Jazz label.

Jazz from NYC.

Available at eMusic. Available at Amazon: CD | MP3


Other Albums of Note:


Wolfgang Schluter Quartet & NDR Big Band – Visionen

Wolfgang Schluter & NDR - "Visionen"Jazz veteran Wolfgang Schluter leads his quartet in collaboration with the NDR Big Band for a set of euphoric tunes that embody everything great about the big band medium.  Schluter’s vibe work brings a magical presence to the enthralling warm music of the big band sound.  Just wonderful music.

Your album personnel:  Wolfgang Schlüter (vibes, marimba), Boris Netsvetaev (piano), Philipp Steen (bass), Kai Bussenius (drums), and the NDR Big Band.

Released on the Skip Records label.

Available at eMusic.


Gregg August – Four by Six

Gregg August - "Four By Six"An album dense with creative ideas and expressions.  Bassist Gregg August leads two groups for this session… a quartet and a sextet.  Pretty much an all-star line-up of modern jazz talent, and the music reflects this.  The rhythmic elements of the compositions really shine through and drive the album, carrying the melodies on its back.  One of those albums where a new “favorite track” rises to the top with each listen.  At the time of this writing, that designation would go to “For Calle Picota.”  Just solid modern Jazz.

Your album personnel:  Quartet- Gregg August (bass), Sam Newsome (soprano sax), Luis Pedromo (piano), and E.J. Strickland (drums), and Sextet- Gregg August (bass), John Bailey (trumpet), Yosvany Terry (alto sax), JD Allen (tenor sax), Luis Pedromo (piano), and Rudy Royston (drums).

The album is Self-Produced, released on August’s Iacuessa Records label.

Available at eMusic.


HI5 – Tangled Simplicity

HI5 - "Tangled Simplicity"The quartet of HI5 refers to itself as chamber music, but really situates itself in the area of jazz ambient-rock crossover, as one would hear on Cinematic Orchestra or some of the Radiohead jazz covers.  When the pulse of this music rises, the sound strays deep into fusion territory, but when the music drifts like clouds across a calm sky, the serenity of this music is pretty tough not to fall for.  The album’s a bit uneven, but definitely worth pointing out.

Your album personnel:  Chris Norz (drums), Philipp Ossanna (guitar), Matthias Legner (vibes), and Clemens Rofner (bass).

Released on the Sessionwork Records label.

Available at eMusic.


The Sidewinders – A Little Busy

The Sidewinders - "A Little Busy"With The Sidewinders, you get what you’d expect from a group who names themselves after the iconic Lee Morgan album The Sidewinder.  This is classic hard bop that would’ve sounded just at home in the sixties as it does here today.  Released on Igloo Records, could’ve had a Blue Note symbol on the album cover for as much as this music honors the hard bop period.  This is one for those of you who were completely with how Jazz sounded in the sixties and see no reason for current musicians to change things up.

Your album personnel:  Michel Paré (trumpet), Thomas Champagne (sax), Eve Beuvens (piano), Nicholas Yates (bass), and Toon Van Dionant (drums).

Released on the Igloo Records label.

Available at eMusic.


Stockton Helbing – Crazy Aquarius

Stockton Helbing - "Crazy Aquarius"Drummer Stockton Helbing gives mainstream jazz a good name.  He consistently finds inventive ways to present new flavors where many musicians who work the mainstream field only give vanilla ice cream.  On his newest, he leads a sextet that includes David Braid on piano and Paul Tynan on trumpet and flugelhorn.  A nice light groove throughout, and plenty of nuance and detail to keep the mind engaged.

Your album personnel:  Stockton Helbing (drums), David Braid (piano), Paul Tynan (trumpet), David Lown (tenor sax), James Driscoll (bass), and Noel Johnston (guitar).

Released on the Armored Records label.

Stream an album track on Youtube.  Available at eMusic.



The Clarence Penn review is original to Bird is the Worm, but portions of the other reviews were originally used in my Jazz Picks weekly article for eMusic, so here’s some language protecting their rights to that reprinted material as the one to hire me to write about new jazz arrivals to their site…

“New Arrivals Jazz Picks,“ and “New Arrivals Jazz Picks“ reprints courtesy of eMusic.com, Inc.
© 2013 eMusic.com, Inc. & © 2012 eMusic.com, Inc.

As always, my sincere thanks to eMusic for the gig.  Cheers.