Promises Made: The Millennium Promise Jazz Project

Promises Made: The Millennium Promise Jazz Project

by Kirk Whalum
     
 

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. …  See more details below

Overview

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.

Read More

Product Details

Release Date:
09/16/2008
Label:
Koch Records
UPC:
0099923507529
catalogNumber:
5075
Rank:
150024

Tracks

Read More

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
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
Kenneth Whalum   Tenor Saxophone

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

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >