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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - Le Coq Records Presents: The Jazz All Stars, Vol 2
Artist - Various

For those unaware, Le Coq Records Presents The Jazz All Stars Vol. 2 is a brand new release which offers a vibrant calling card for a label quickly taking its place at the vanguard of modern jazz.

Indeed, The Jazz All-Stars Vol. 2 shows a little of everything Le Coq is about, from its compositional temperament to the high sonic quality, says label founder Piero Pata.

There’s quite a mix of sounds and styles, and I feel that the album really shows off the talents of our wonderful artists. John Patitucci holds everything together magnificently so that Andy James’ gorgeous vocals and the dazzling solos of Chris Potter, Rick Margitza, and Terell Stafford - just to name a few - can shine.

Much of the roster on the new release has returned from Volume 1, including Cunliffe and Beasley; bassists Patitucci and Chris Colangelo; drummers Vinnie Colaiuta and Marvin ’Smitty’ Smith; percussionist Alex Acuña; trumpeter Terell Stafford; saxophonist Margitza; guitarist Jake Langley and vocalist James, among others.

Furthermore, Volume 2 bolsters the line-up with such heavy hitters as saxophonists Chris Potter and Bob Sheppard; bassist Ben Williams; drummers Marcus Gilmore and Terreon Gully; trombonist Michael Dease; keyboardist Jon Cowherd; guitarists Russell Malone and Paul Jackson Jr.; and trumpeter Rashawn Ross.

This staggering stable of in-demand artists harkens back to the music’s golden age, a time when (jazz) giants walked the earth and crossed paths in myriad combinations under the auspices of their shared labels. Pata conceived of that model when he dreamed of gathering the greatest modern musicians to record for Le Coq.

Like its predecessor, The Jazz All-Stars Vol. 2 features the label’s unique take on some classic favorites, both arranged by the Grammy-winning Bill Cunliffe and featuring the entrancing vocals of Andy James.

The Jerome Kern/Otto Harbach standard Yesterdays is given a bold treatment perfect for James’ unsentimental nostalgia, highlighted by an eloquent Chris Potter solo and Horace Silver’s Doodlin’ is propelled by the robust swing of bassist Chris Colangelo and drummer Marvin ’Smitty’ Smith, wonderfully matched by James’ sassy playfulness.

1. Whatever you Say
2. Witches
3. Yesterday’s
4. The Before Times
5. Freddie’s Blues
6. Doodlin’
7. Balinda
8. Around the Corner
9. Danse

This nine-track collection, also the first of this year’s new releases from Le Coq Records, is one of the first great jazz records of 2022, of that have no doubt, my friends.

Indeed, the performances here all allow the artists present to add their own touches, unique flairs even to the record’s overall presentation with each one of the tracks having been expertly sequenced to ensure a quite stunning overall musical experience.

The compilation opens on the bewitchingly fervent Whatever you Say and some free flowing ambiance within Witches and backs those up seamlessly with the soulful lounge appeal of Yesterday’s and then comes the superbly sculptured The Before Times.

Having already released The Jazz All Stars Vol. 1 this time last year, those who purchased that volume already know that this presentation is a strong set of tracks that jazz aficionados of all walks of life will enjoy from front to back.

Proving that point, it continues onward with one of my own personal favorites here on the second volume, the funky finger-snappin’ rhythms of Freddie’s Blues which is in turn followed by another jazz doozy in the form of the late night, underground hipsway of Doodlin’ and then we get the freeform jam of Balinda, the set rounding out when some emphatically gorgeous notes of desire come together within Around the Corner, closing out on the more than righteous, and intensely impassioned Danse.

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