Promises Made: The Millennium Promise Jazz Project

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
With precious few exceptions, star-studded lineups on benefit recordings are usually a mixed bag at best -- particularly when it comes to the jazz arena. We tend to support these albums more as a way of showing solidarity than for their musical value. This set of stellar, contemporary jazz versions of socially conscious pop and soul songs is a clear exception. Promises Made is a benefit offering on Koch for the Millennium Project, an organization dedicated to the relief of hunger, disease prevention and economic development in Africa. This set is co-directed by saxophonist Kirk Whalum and pianist Takana Miyamoto. Some of those who signed on for this date include George Duke,...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
With precious few exceptions, star-studded lineups on benefit recordings are usually a mixed bag at best -- particularly when it comes to the jazz arena. We tend to support these albums more as a way of showing solidarity than for their musical value. This set of stellar, contemporary jazz versions of socially conscious pop and soul songs is a clear exception. Promises Made is a benefit offering on Koch for the Millennium Project, an organization dedicated to the relief of hunger, disease prevention and economic development in Africa. This set is co-directed by saxophonist Kirk Whalum and pianist Takana Miyamoto. Some of those who signed on for this date include George Duke, David Sanchez, Marcus Printup, Russell Gunn, and Earl Klugh, who appear as soloists in different settings with a couple of different rhythm sections. The album was recorded in Nashville and produced by Miyamoto and Whalum with Norbert Simmons acting as executive producer. This set is a treat: it's polished to be sure, but it's far from slick. The rhythms are all organic, there are no programmed beats, just drums and percussion instruments. Every selection is drenched in real emotion and, to quote Charles Mingus, "plenty, plenty soul." The opener is a great place to start: Whalum and Miyamoto front a septet performing Ben E. King's classic "Stand by Me," which becomes a hymn of solidarity underscoring this project. With a B-3, electric guitar, two bassists (upright and electric), drums, and percussion behind the soprano and piano, it is reminiscent of the Blue Note soul-jazz sound of the mid-'60s except that the production is pure 21st century, smooth and seamless. The melody is pronounced and there is a bridge for the soloists to move forward a bit before returning to it. It is groove conscious without being synthetic and is drenched with honest emotion. The songs of Lennon and McCartney are well represented here: "Eleanor Rigby," "A Day in the Life," and "The Fool on the Hill" are present. In addition, there as are excellent readings of Curtis Mayfield's standard, "People Get Ready," Barrett Strong's and Norman Whitfield's "War," Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On," Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come," Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," Alvertis Isbell's "I'll Take You There," (so closely associated with the Staple Singers), and the civil rights-era classic, "I Wish I Knew (What It Means to Be Free)" immortalized byNina Simone. As fine as this set is as a whole, there are some clear standouts: "A Day in the Life" with Klugh's warm but funky acoustic guitar and gorgeous piano work by Miyamoto, the long improv that introduces the Mayfield tune with Whalum at his soloing best on soprano and a nice koto part woven in by Junko Takeo; Sanchez's lyrical tenor paired with Printup's trumpet on "Fool on the Hill"; and the five-horn front line of the Common Ground Collective on "War," with talking drum, wah-wah guitars, and smoking breakbeats. This is not only a benefit record worth supporting, it's a musical statement that stands on its own; it is worth celebrating as one of contemporary jazz's shining lights in 2008.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/16/2008
  • Label: Koch Records
  • UPC: 099923507529
  • Catalog Number: 5075
  • Sales rank: 235,282

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Stand by Me - Takana Miyamoto (4:11)
  2. 2 Bridge Over Troubled Water - Takana Miyamoto (6:46)
  3. 3 I Wish I Knew (How It Feels to Be Free) - Takana Miyamoto (4:50)
  4. 4 A Day in the Life - Takana Miyamoto (6:11)
  5. 5 The Fool on the Hill - Takana Miyamoto (4:00)
  6. 6 People Get Ready - Takana Miyamoto (6:09)
  7. 7 Eleanor Rigby - Takana Miyamoto (3:40)
  8. 8 I'll Take You There - Takana Miyamoto (8:41)
  9. 9 A Change Is Gonna Come - Takana Miyamoto (4:36)
  10. 10 War - Takana Miyamoto (5:40)
  11. 11 What's Going On - Takana Miyamoto (6:19)
  12. 12 [Untitled] - Takana Miyamoto (2:03)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Kirk Whalum Primary Artist, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
George Duke fender rhodes
Earl Klugh Guitar
Chris Burroughs Drums
Joey Kibble Background Vocals
Mark Kibble Background Vocals
Ralph Lofton Hammond Organ, Hammond B3
David Sanchez Tenor Saxophone
Kevin Turner Guitar
Marcus Printup Trumpet
Alex Lowe Baritone Saxophone
Russell Gunn Trumpet
J.D. Blair Percussion, Drums
Chris Kent Bass
Kevin Whalum Vocals, Background Vocals
Darryl Reeves Alto Saxophone
Common Ground Guest Appearance
Terreon Gully Drums, Tambourine
Kebbi Williams Tenor Saxophone, Soloist
Dallas Smith & the Boys From Shiloh Trumpet
Lizz Wright Vocals
Khari Cabral Simmons Bass
Mausiki Scales Percussion, fender rhodes, Guest Appearance
Kenneth Whalum Tenor Saxophone
Paige Lackey Martin Vocals
Takana Miyamoto Piano, Hammond Organ, Melodica, fender rhodes
Chanda McKnight Vocals
Alex Lattimore Vocals
Zack Pride Bass
Adebisi Adeleke talking drum
AT Love Project Guest Appearance
Kenton Bostick Drums, Alto Saxophone
JIVA Singers Vocals
Jorga Mesfin Tenor Saxophone
Rafael Pereira Percussion
Reginald Starling Bass
Junko Takeo Koto
Kevin Turner Guitar
Juan Carlos Santos Percussion
Technical Credits
Sam Cooke Composer
Marvin Gaye Composer
Ben E. King Composer
John Lennon Composer
Paul McCartney Composer
Paul Simon Composer
Ralph Sutton Engineer
Jerry Leiber Composer
Barrett Strong Composer
Renaldo Benson Composer
Mike Stoller Composer
Kirk Whalum Arranger, Producer, Vocal Arrangements, Audio Production
Norman Whitfield Composer
Alex Lowe Engineer
Marty Kearns Engineer
Rin Vinson Engineer
Terreon Gully Arranger
Khari Cabral Simmons Arranger, Producer, Vocal Arrangements, Creation
Mausiki Scales Arranger, Producer
Michael Modesto Engineer
Takana Miyamoto Arranger, Producer, Audio Production, Creation
Zack Pride Arranger
Norbert Simmons Producer, Executive Producer
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