Great Voice of Harlem

Gregory Porter/Donald Smith/Mansur Scott/Paul Zauner’s Blue Brass (PAO)

Harlem, over the years, has been famous for both jazz and R&B so it makes perfect sense that a project billed as the Great Voices of Harlem (singers Gregory Porter, Mansur Scott and Donald Smith and the band of trombonist Paul Zauner favors an R&B~drenched approach to jazz.

Great Voice of Harlem

Donald Smith – Gregory Porter – Mansur Scott – The Great Voises Of Harlem

Smith, the brother of keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith, is best known for performing with his brother’s band, the Cosmic Echoes, back in the ’70’s. And this album finds him revisiting the hypnotic “Expansions” (which he first performed with the Cosmic Echoes in 1975) in addition to performing the standard “My One and Only Love’ and Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man’, Smith’s vocals are known for being ethereal, but his appearance on :Watermelon Man’ is as humorous as it is funky. Porter, the youngest of the three singers, is gritty and expressive on Bobby Timmons ‘ “moanin”, Harold Arlen’s “Over the Rainbow” and Nat King Cole-associated ballad “Mona Lisa”, Scott, similarly, brings jazz and soul appeal to Victor Young’s ‘Stella by Starlight”, Horace Silver’s “Song for My Father and Henry Mancini’s “Days of Wine and Roses”

Many singers and instrumentalists have performed Mancini’s song as a slow, introspective ballad, but the Great Voices of Harlem’s version is uptempo, funky and hard-swinging. Even so, Scott’s performance is not without melancholy 1 which is apt in light of the song’s cinematic history (see the 1962 film of the same name with Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick as an alcoholic couple).
Scott, Smith and Porter all sing lead on Horace Silver’s “Peace”, a ballad also from Smith’s Cosmic Echoes days. Silver, who recently passed away at the age of 85, was an important contributor to sould jazz-and Great Voice of Harlem’s decision to include tow of his songs was a sadly prescient one.

For more information, visit Port is at Central Park Summerstage Aug 3rd. See Calendar.

CD Reviews
(this month’s performance venues in parentheses):

1.Mary Halvorson — Ghost Loop For-Tune (Cornelia Street Cafe; The Stone; Barbes)
2.Brian Questa — jazz Booty Fold by Fold Music
3.People — 3x A Woman: The Misplaced Files Telegraph Harp
4.Billy Hart — One Is The Other ECM (Birdland; Smoke)
5.Steve Lehman — Mise en Abme Pi (The Stone)
6.Peter Epstein — Polarities Songlines (Ibeam Brooklyn; Branded Saloon; Dominie’s Astoria; Brooklyn Conservatory of Music)
7.Gregory Porter/Donald Smith/Mansur Scott/Paul Zauner’s Blue Brass — Great Voices of Harlem PAO (Central Park Summerstage)
8.Bunny Berigan — Swingin’ & Jumpin’ (Broadcasts 1937-39) Hep Jazz
9.Clarice Assad — Imaginarium Adventure Music
10.Felipe Salles — Ugandan Suite Tapestry
11.Romero Lubambo — So – Brazilian Essence Sunnyside (Dizzy’s Club)
12.Pete Rodríguez — Caminando con Papi Destiny (Damrosch Park)
13.Alan Chan — Shrimp Tale Crown Heights Audio Network (ShapeShifter Lab)
14.Burton Greene — Burton’s Time CIMP (Spectrum)
15.Burton Greene — On Tour ESP-Disk (Spectrum)
16.Vanessa Perea — Soulful Days ZoHo (Dizzy’s Club)
17.Jared Gold — JG3 + 3 Posi-Tone (Jazz Standard; Bar Next Door)
18.Farmers by Nature — Love and Ghosts AUM Fidelity (ShapeShifter Lab)
19.Darius Jones/Matthew Shipp — The Darkseid Recital AUM Fidelity (ShapeShifter Lab)
20.Wayne Escoffery — Live at Firehouse 12 Sunnyside (Jazz Standard; Blue Note)
21.Sarah Vaughan — Sophisticated Lady: The Duke Ellington Songbook Collection Pablo-Concord
22.Steve Swallow/ Ohad Talmor/Adam Nussbaum — Singular Curves Auand (Jazz Standard)
23.Thomas Clausen/Steve Swallow — Morning… Dreaming… Stunt
24.Jamie Saft/Steve Swallow/ Bobby Previte — The New Standard RareNoise
25.Carla Bley/Andy Sheppard/Steve Swallow — Trios ECM
26.JD Allen — Bloom Savant (Smoke)
27.Ray Mantilla — The Connection HighNote (Jazzmobile)
28.Ed Palermo — Oh No! Not Jazz!! Cuneiform (Iridium)
29.Chris Connor — Sings Lullabys For Lovers Bethlehem-Verse/Naxos
30.Michael Carvin — Flash Forward Motema (Dizzy’s Club)
31.Lawnmower — II Clean Feed
32.Fabian Almazan — Rhizome Blue Note-ArtistShare (Village Vanguard)
33.Art Blakey — Free For All Blue Note
34.Iskra 1903 — South on the Northern Emanem
35.Azar Lawrence — The Seeker Sunnyside (Smoke)
36.Davis Ullmann — Corduroy Little Sky (Barbes)
37.Louis Armstrong — Columbia and RCA Victor Live Recordings Columbia/RCA Victor – Mosaic
…and Plenty More!

More Info:
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Der oberösterreichische Posaunist Paul Zauner spielte bereits in den 80er und 90er Jahren mit Größen des afroamerikanischen Jazz wie den Saxofonisten George Adams, David Murray, Hamiet Bluiett oder dem Sänger Leon Thomas zusammen. Sie alle sind Vertreter einer expressiven Jazz-Auffassung. Diese Begegnungen prägen bis heute Zauners Auswahl seiner Mitmusiker, insbesondere die der Sänger.

Paul Zauner
Paul Zauner
Froschau 4
4776 Diersbach
+43 (0) 676 / 90 46 822

PAO Records
Paul Zauner
Froschau 4
4776 Diersbach
+43 (0) 676 / 90 46 822