|Mike Kanan-Piano, Hill
Green-Bass, Victor Jones-Drums,
"In this album I find the essence of creation, and the depth of each artist performing. They are each a credit to the meaning of what jazz is and always will be. I'm sure that anyone who listens will agree that they are educated and elated by the positive direction herein. You haven't heard the last of these gentlemen. There is more to come."
-Little Jimmy Scott, Legendary Singer and Producer
The Jazz Expressions is a high octane quartet which tours world-wide and records with the legendary singer Little Jimmy Scott. The idea behind this cd is for Jimmy's touring band to finally have their own recording. All of the members demonstrate great composition skills, solo capabilities, and superb musicianship. Utilizing their long experience as a unit, the group has produced this highly polished album of new songs with inspired melodies and arrangements. The band consists of bassist Hilliard Greene - the musical director, saxophonist Bruce Williams, pianist Mike Kanan, and drummer Victor Jones.
Hill Greene has performed with Jimmy Scott for eleven years as bassist and for five years as musical director. He has recorded on three Jimmy Scott cds, and with Cecil Taylor, Gloria Lynn, Jacky Terrasson, the Ink Spots, Vanessa Rubin, Bobby Watson. "Bassist Hilliard Greene has led the Jazz Expressions for several years," says jazz critic Bob Blumenthal, "and the group's contribution was a major delight. Greene plays with a beautiful tone and unerring time."
"Bruce Williams is a part of the next wave of jazz prodigies exhibiting soul and virtuosity", says Branford Marsalis, "Bruce `Blowdaddy' holds the tools to be a major force in today's music." He has performed with The Lionel Hampton Orchestra, Pete "LaRoca" Sims, Cecil Brooks III, and Jimmy McGriff. Bruce has one cd as a leader - "Brotherhood" on Savant records.
Mike Kanan studied piano for fourteen years with Lennie Tristano disciple, Harvey Diamond, as well as with Sal Mosca. He recorded a trio cd, "Convergence" (Fresh Sound Records) featuring the music of Lennie Tristano, and has performed with Lee Konitz, Tal Farlow, Al Cohn and Alan Dawson.
Victor Jones is internationally recognized as a major jazz drummer and musical innovator. He has three cds as a leader on Frontier and Starpeople Records. He has recorded and performed with Stan Getz, Stanley Turrentine, Michel Petrucciani, and the Mingus Big Band. Originally a classical trumpet player, his strong melodic background contributes to his reputation for subtlety and style in group performance, and for his powerful solos.
The opening song, Mike Kananís "Blues for Yard" is a classic hard bop blues written for Hilliard "Yard" Greene, and not Charlie Parker, as most jazz fans would assume. It sets the pace for what is to come. "Stephanie's Song" is an exquisite ballad played beautifully by it's composer, Mike Kanan. Hill Greene's "M.R.I.P." is dedicated to the great pianist Mercedes Rossy who died all too young. "Ichi Woda" by saxophonist Bruce Williams is one of the band's favorite numbers and demonstrates their high level of excitement and intensity. Mike Kanan's "Su City" is a swinging tune with clever use of sophisticated harmony. "Jah-Bop" was originally written by Hill Greene to close their live shows, but the audiences' great responses has caused it to become one of the openers. "Arrival" celebrates the birth of Mr. Williams' son, Elijah. "105 Plus Tax" and "Downsizing" display the band's versatility and how effortlessly they can go from one dynamic level to another. Hill Greene's "Iono" starts out as an unaccompanied bass solo with a classical tone and then sets up a Latin groove for the band's entrance. The cd closes with two Victor Jones tunes in a Latin vein - "Anya's Intuition" and "Boosee", which showcase Jones' expansive musicianship and Bruce Williams' soprano saxophone. (Bruce Williams appears courtesy of Savant Records)
- by Nat Simpkins & Cecil Brooks III, Executive Producers