Recent Recordings by Area Musicians

In the notes for Piece Of Mind: Live At Blue LLama, drummer and band leader Adonis Rose addresses today’s turbulent times and how music can lift our spirits, souls and minds. When I put the disc in the player, I immediately felt the groove, empathy, expression, compassion and strength shared by the sextet. Adonis: your mission is accomplished with the healing and stimulating power of music inside this slim treasure of a package.

A friendly disclaimer – I attended these sparkling shows at Ann Arbor’s Blue LLama Jazz Club. I spent quality time with Adonis, assisting with interviews and publicity. I knew what to expect. I filled in the pictures with warm, dynamic and vivid memories. I remember the audience participation and rapt attention. From note one, it rang loud and clear. I felt the love again. Now, it’s your turn.

If you miss the energetic ground-breaking 1970s sessions by Freddie Hubbard, Ron Carter, Joe Farrell and Stanley Clarke – here is a passage to ’70s punch and vitality tempered with contemporary vision and modern musicianship. Freddie Hubbard fans will readily hear trumpeter Maurice Brown’s respect for Hubbard’s genius. But Brown is his own man with a powerful tone, concept, swagger and funky soul. In her 20-plus years as a professional saxophonist, Tia Fuller has emerged as a unique voice and arresting improvisor. She and Brown dance in each other’s ears. Great chemistry. Innovative vocalist Sasha Masakowski adds more to the chemistry. Her soprano voice floats effortlessly above the dynamic rhythm section with purpose and intuition. Sasha is a cutting-edge musician. So is pianist Miki Hayama. Her comprehension of the electric keyboard and acoustic piano combination is astounding. Plus, Ms. Hayama never plays an unnecessary note. No unnecessary notes come from Jasen Weaver’s bass. Adonis Rose knew what he was doing when he assembled this contemporary all-star sextet. That brings us to Mr. Rose. He is more than a time-keeper. He augments and leads the band with a heartbeat, polish, muscle and down-home New Orleans sizzle for 2020.

A great leader has the musicians express their personalities. Each share personal expression, passion and spark band mates on to higher levels. No where is this more evident than the closer Blue LLama Jam! The normally sedate Blue LLama Jazz Club had patrons leaving their sumptuous cuisine and beverages on the table leaping to their feet and move to the groove. When you grab Piece Of Mind, you’re also grabbing heart, soul and strength.

Congratulations to drummer and band-leader Adonis Rose for your first live recording: Piece Of Mind at The Blue LLama Jazz Club in Ann Arbor. Congratulations to Blue LLama Artistic Director, Dave Sharp for stewarding this session so that Storyville Records could share it with jazz lovers hungry for the healing power of music in our trying times.