Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Outubro - from the stellar summertime release Milton + Esperanza - is streaming

Esperanza Spalding and Milton Nascimento, photo: Lucas Nogueira. Featuring Paul Simon, Dianne Reeves, Lianne La Havas, Shabaka Hutchings, Tim Bernardes, Maria Gadú and Wayne Shorter's wife Carolina, 'Outubro' from summertime Milton Nascimento and …

Published: 15 May 2024. Updated: 37 days.

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Esperanza Spalding and Milton Nascimento, photo: Lucas Nogueira.

Featuring Paul Simon, Dianne Reeves, Lianne La Havas, Shabaka Hutchings, Tim Bernardes, Maria Gadú and Wayne Shorter's wife Carolina, 'Outubro' from summertime Milton Nascimento and Esperanza Spalding release Milton + Esperanza (Concord, 9 August), is streaming.

Recorded in Brazil last year the album has 16 tracks and features Nascimento classics, Spalding originals and treatments of The Beatles' 'A Day In The Life' and Michael Jackson's 'Earth Song' among its spread.

Spalding's Nascimento inspirations go back to Wayne Shorter classic Native Dancer particularly the Brazilian icon’s 1975 collaboration with global jazz great saxophonist and composer Shorter, with whom Spalding later worked on the opera Iphigenia (2021) late in the saxist's lifetme.

Spalding met Nascimento partly though an introduction made by Herbie Hancock. And Nascimento sang luminously in duo with the US singer-bassist-composer Spalding on the Oregonian's 2010 album Chamber Music Society's 'Apple Blossom.'

The core band on Milton + Esperanza includes guitarist Matthew Stevens, drummers Justin Tyson and Eric Doob, pianist Leo Genovese, vocalist/synth player Corey D. King + Orquestra Ouro Preto, percussionists Kainã Do Jêje and Ronaldinho Silva and guitarists Lula Galvão & Guinga.

Spalding - whose duo album Alive at the Village Vanguard [2022] with pianist Fred Hersch we loved - originals on the upcoming album include 'Wings for the Thought Bird' and 'Get It By Now' and there is a version of Wayne Shorter Atlantis piece 'When You Dream' featuring Wayne's wife Carolina Shorter.

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John Dokes, Our Day, Swing Theory Entertainment ***

First thoughts hearing the bounce and buoyancy of jazz singer John Dokes out of Oakland, California via Little Rock, Arkansas backed by a swinging horn section and firmly stroked rhythm section: we don't hear him at all like a Nat King Cole …

Published: 15 May 2024. Updated: 37 days.

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First thoughts hearing the bounce and buoyancy of jazz singer John Dokes out of Oakland, California via Little Rock, Arkansas backed by a swinging horn section and firmly stroked rhythm section: we don't hear him at all like a Nat King Cole soundalike even if the inspiration is there. If pushed his sound is more like Nat's brother, the late much missed Freddy one of the most pleasant musicians we have ever met who did Billy Eckstine classics very well. To these ears Dokes' baritone voice would resonate with anyone like us er bigly into Eckstine and even into the hard edged but immortal sound of Lou Rawls.

Bobby Timmons' 'Moanin' is covered a lot - but we never tire of hearing it. And Dokes does it well, there's strong saxophone soloing in the treatment. The Billy Ocean-Keith Diamond 1980s classic 'Suddenly' isn't such a good choice in context as we get more into supper club crooner sing everything fare! But it is always good to hear the powerful ballad again and recall how the 1980s was a good decade for the power ballad even in a pop act environment.

Dokes is with a nonet drawn from the George Gee Swing Orchestra who he has sung with a lot. Songs are arranged by trombonist David Gibson and they are very good not too try-hard or even straying to over egg the pudding in the settings. The idea it strikes us is to bounce along behind the classy vocals and take all the time in the world. There's genius in the effortless mastery of that approach.

Among the name players in the band are the great reedist Patience Higgins heard to effect on Toot's Two Continents, One Groove out the year before last and trumpeter Freddie Hendrix. Freddie is on the faculty in Sligo this summer at the annual Project gathering down by the Garavogue under Knocknarea.

Highlights and we didn't think we'd ever type out this sentence include the Bert Kaempfert-Milt Gabler soppy classic, 'L-O-V-E'. Regrettably there's no pick your jaw up off the floor slow ballad done glacially enough anyway and the treatment of Bernard Ighner’s wondrous 'Everything Must Change' from Quincy Jones’ 1974 Body Heat isn't sufficiently heart wrenching. But I'm sure this would all go down a storm in a London venue like Boisdale Canary Wharf or Berts in Belfast if Dokes ever makes it over across the pond and would feed off the vintage glamour that these very upmarket places thrive on. Let's hope he does.