Posted in blues, Folk, Jazz, Music, Uncategorized

Snave and The Third Stream – Tin Can Fish House

by Rhetta Akamatsu

In 1957, Gunther Schuller described the Third Stream as a place where jazz and classical music meet halfway. For Snave and the Third Stream, that definition expands. It is where jazz, pop, country, blues, Cajun, folk and rock come together.

And they do merge beautifully on Tin Can Fish House. The name comes from the restaurant in Sandy Springs where it was recorded. The musicians are long-time Atlanta vocalist, guitarist, and flute master David “Snave” Evans and well-known and respected bassist Jon Schwenke, saxophonist Tim Crump and percussionist Will Groth. Lucky for us, all of the songs give the musicians ample room to display their prodigious talents.

Things kick off with the classic “Summertime,” which allows everyone to shine in the long instrumental breaks, while Snave handles the vocals ably. Then, we slide into a Zydeco groove with “Goin’ To New Orleans” which leads into the very jazzy “Little Birdie,” written by Vince Guaraldi for a Peanuts special, which has an especially tasty saxophone and distorted guitar, excellent percussion, and rock steady bass. There is nothing at all wrong with the vocals on this recording; it is just that the music is so spectacular!

Then we take a trip into the blues with the Mose Allison song “Mind on Vacation,” and here the vocals and the sax do shine even while that “wah-wah” guitar takes a fun turn as well. But we can’t leave ballads out of the stream, so next is a beautiful rendition of Little Country Giant’s “Just A Little Bit,” with gentle guitar, tender sax. and some nice harmony on the refrain. The song is perfectly suited to Snave’s plaintive vocal.

Just in case you think things are getting too mellow, they are about to get seriously heavy. Wait till you hear what the band has done to Donovan’s “Season of the Witch!” I am seeing this one finding its way onto many Halloween playlists! It is followed by a blazing version of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.”

This is an excellent collection of songs and styles, beautifully performed. No matter what your taste, you will find a lot to love here. Well done!

 

Posted in Jazz, Music

Chaz Lipp and The Groove Tripp- ‘Good Merlin’

Chaz Lipp is a saxophone teacher who occasionally gigs around Washington state. Lipp has honed his skill for years and now, luckily for us, he is ready to share it with the larger world. To do so, he has put together “The Chaz Lipp Groove Tripp” and created a debut album, Good Merlin.

The group consists of Lipp on alto saxophone, Charlie Hiestand on piano, Trevor Pelletier on upright bass, and Chris Patin on drums. They are all excellent musicians who obviously love the music and are having a good time, which is always a good sign. But the real magic happens when Lipp’s sax is joined on seven of the 10 songs by Sanjaya Malakar, a former finalist on American Idol who has a voice made for jazz.

There are three original instrumental tunes here (“Good Merlin,” “Groovy Green Eyes,” and “Fly by Night”) and they are swinging numbers that let the band have some fun and show their stuff. But the body of the album is the good, old classics, here sounding new and fresh. This is thanks to the remarkable way Lipp’s sax and Malakar’s incredible, flexible voice blend and complement each other.

These are timeless songs for a reason, and when done well and with joy and love as they ae here, they capture the best essence of jazz. My favorite rendition here is “Fever.” What a perfect, sultry and slightly sassy version of that song! “Take the A Train,” too, will catch you up and send you on your own musical trip. “Summertime” has a lovely, warm vocal and some truly remarkable, soaring sax from Lipp.

The other songs, “Nature Boy,” “Watermelon Man,” “Georgia on My Mind,” and “God Bless the Child” are all rendered with sensitivity, grace and innovation, staying close enough to the originals to be satisfying and flying far enough in their own direction to sound fresh.

Lipp is an amazing musician who has smartly surrounded himself with excellent musicians and found the vocalist who is his perfect match. I believe good jazz requires an underlying sense of joy, and this album has that in abundance. Good Merlin is, indeed, good magic and a groove trip(p)!

This articlewas originally publihed in Blogcritics Magazine