Carl Fontana - The Fifties - Uptown UPCD 27.59
The course of modern jazz trombone playing has been shaped by three indisputable masters: J.J. Johnson, Frank Rosolino, and Carl Fontana. Johnson was a prolific recording artist, certainly the most recorded jazz trombonist of the LP era. Rosolino, although he couldn't claim Johnson's immense output, nevertheless produced a considerable number of dates as a leader, many of which have been released in the decades since his death in 1978. But unlike his two higher profile contemporaries, for most of his career Fontana flew "under the radar."
Choosing to settle in Las Vegas in 1958 at the age of thirty, Fontana largely spent the remainder of his time working in show bands and playing mostly local, low-profile jazz gigs with some occasional tours. He didn't make his first album as a solo leader, The Great Fontana (Uptown Records UPCD 27.28), until 1985, when he was fifty-seven. Still, his impact on the world of jazz trombone playing is so immense that trombonists - and some knowing "civilians" - speak his name with the highest regard and covet any and all available Fontana tracks as precious gems, which indeed they are. In that sense he truly is "the trombonist's trombonist."
So what distinguishes the trombone style of Carl Fontana from that of his better-known colleagues? Trombonist Conrad Herwig, in the book, Top Brass: Interviews and Master Classes with Jazz's Leading Brass Players, explained, "The difference between J.J. and Frank, to me, is that J.J. has more of a stepwise, linear thing, and a more architectonic approach to the music. … Frank used a more spontaneous stream of consciousness with wider leaps and more intervals. I'm not saying Frank was less compositional. I just think with J.J., his solos seem like finished compositions and Frank's solos are so incredibly spontaneous sounding."
But what about Carl Fontana? Herwig continues, "Rosolino's playing, using a lot of the harmonic series in thirds and fourths, is really bebop. … That's the difference between Carl Fontana's playing and Rosolino's playing. Carl has a really smooth, stepwise motion." In a technical sense, that begins to get at the essence of Fontana's approach to jazz improvisation. But there is more to it than that.
"As a trombonist," John Fedchock observes, "it's easy to appreciate Carl Fontana's technical skills. But, in my opinion, Carl's great strength was his ability to play beautiful melodies, even within his most technically demanding improvised lines. His sound was always smooth, his phrasing swinging, and the way he played time was miraculous. Carl playing unaccompanied choruses could generate as much swing, pulse, and energy as most other players could with rhythm section accompaniment. He never overblew the instrument and always kept a round and luscious tone, yet was still able to create excitement in his playing through his well-crafted melodic lines and his exceptional control over the instrument."
Trombonist Scott Whifield marvels at "the apparent total ease with which Carl played everything. It seemed like he wasn't really working hard and this incredible stuff would come out the bell. It was amazing. He was 'Mr. Relaxed.' The horn was a part of him and he was a part of it, and it was just such a natural thing to watch him play. If you're working too hard it doesn't come out swinging. That's the big thing I learned from checking him out and hanging with him: If you're working too hard, it sounds like you're working too hard."
In a similar vein, trombonist Mike Fahn praises Fontana for "playing great melodic lines and not showing off. And he had one of the best ears for melody I ever heard. His technique served the music and not the other way around, which is showy. He was the most melodic player."
Total ease and a gift for melody - this is what made Fontana's approach to jazz trombone both unique and appealing. Think of it this way: Where J.J. Johnson played as if he were sitting at a drafting table and Frank Rosolino played as if he were balancing on a unicycle, Carl Fontana played as if he were relaxing on his back porch in an old rocking chair - or as he might have said in his native Lou'siana drawl, "ol' rockin' chair."
That's where he was from, Monroe, Louisiana, born there on July 18, 1928. One day young Carl's father, a plumbing contactor during the week and a saxophonist- bandleader on the weekend, came home from work, placed a trombone case in front of his son, and declared, "This is what you're going to play." Carl joined his father's band and played in it throughout high school, but he also was a gifted athlete. "Dad and I had a few run-ins," he once recalled, "about whether I was supposed to be playing music jobs on the weekends or playing ball in some tournament or other. He won all the arguments." As a teenager Fontana actually had a successful tryout with a New York Yankees farm club, but his dad insisted that he finish school instead of playing pro ball. He earned his bachelor's degree in music education from Louisiana State University in 1950.
Fontana jumped straight into the big time the following year, when he was called to join Woody Herman's Third Herd at the Blue Room in New Orleans as a three-week fill-in for the brilliant and accomplished Urbie Green. "Can I help you?" tenor saxophonist Dick Hafer asked as a twenty-three-year old nobody carrying a trombone case walked into the club's band room. "I'm here to replace Urbie Green," Fontana replied. "You're here to replace Urbie Green?" Hafer shot back in astonishment as the rest of the Herd roared. But by the end of the night no one was laughing anymore, and Herman was so impressed with the youngster's nimble and expressive solos that when Green returned, he decided to keep Fontana in the band.
(History repeated itself decades later in Las Vegas, only this time Fontana was not subbing, but being subbed for - sort of. "When he was playing with Frank Sinatra, Jr., Carl broke his elbow," Deborah Weisz remembers, "and I got the call, 'Carl can't play. Can you come do the gig?' So when I got there I was like, 'I'm not subbing for Carl. I'm just playing the book for Carl.' You can't sub for Carl Fontana.")
Fontana stayed with Herman for a little over two years, then worked with saxophonist Al Belletto's sextet and the big bands of vibraphonist Lionel Hampton and saxophonist Hal McIntyre. In 1955 he joined one of Stan Kenton's best orchestras, appeared on three classic Kenton albums - Contemporary Concepts, Kenton in H-Fi, and Cuban Fire! - and was introduced to an international audience on the band's triumphant 1956 European tour.
Finding big band work somewhat confining, in late 1956 Fontana opted to leave Kenton and join fellow trombonist (and Kenton alum) Kai Winding - a pioneer in presenting the trombone in innovative formats - who had formed a wonderful four-'bones-plus-rhythm septet. He rejoined Al Belletto briefly in 1957, but living out of a suitcase, driving hundreds - sometime many hundreds - of miles between gigs, and just being glad that you got there without getting killed was no life for this easy-going musician. So in 1958, after almost eight grueling years on the road, he deiced to settle down and make his living in the then-booming entertainment mecca of Las Vegas.
At that point, as Kurt Dietrich remarks in his comprehensive study, Jazz 'Bones: The World of Jazz Trombone, Fontana "largely disappeared from the jazz world, and for the better part of three decades he remained a marginal, almost mystical figure because he had chosen to settle down into the stability of the Las Vegas scene, working regular hours for good money away from the large jazz centers." You can't fault a man for wanting to put down roots and support his family, but it's undeniable that Paul Anka's and Wayne Newton's gain was jazz's loss.
This is not to say that Fontana abandoned jazz completely. In 1966 he reunited with Woody Herman on a State Department-sponsored tour that took him to London and then Africa. He worked with Benny Goodman in Las Vegas in the mid-1960s, and in the 1970s was an early member of the all-star, nouveau swing World's Greatest Jazz Band, and recorded with Supersax and drummer Louis Bellson. He performed in a combo with drummer Jake Hanna - billed as the Hanna-Fontana Band - in 1975, and became a regular participant on the growing Jazz Party circuit. In 1978 he was a member of Bobby Knight's short-lived All-American Trombone Co., which also included Frank Rosolino. And in August of that year he joined Rosolino, just three months before his friend's tragic death, for a weekend gig, recorded and finally released nearly thirty years later as Trombone Heaven, Vancouver 1978 (Uptown Records UPCD 27.52).
Despite these sporadic "Fontana sightings," during most of this period his enormous jazz talents, like the largest part of an iceberg, remained below the surface, hidden from view. And it's true that this humble virtuoso was no self-promoter, never one to beat the bushes for more high-profile work, as his longtime Vegas colleague and friend, trumpeter Carl Saunders, points out. "I used to call Carl 'the laziest man in town, no matter what town he was in,' because he wouldn't go out and get gigs, even though people wanted to hear him play."
But by the 1980s Fontana began to enter the growing jazz education scene as a popular clinician. It's interesting - and often quite amusing - to hear the current generation of trombonists recall their earliest encounters with this jazz master, as, for instance, Joey Sellers. "When I was an undergrad at Arizona State he came to do a little master class. I think that was when the Playboy Club in Phoenix still was up, and we would try to nab the players coming through that circuit to come to the university. He was playing some tunes and called 'Yesterdays,' and he made a point to mention that it was not the 'Yesterday' that the Beatles penned. This was about two weeks after John Lennon had been murdered. Someone asked him about the Beatles and what he thought about pop music in general. His response: 'One down and three to go.' Well, naturally there was a profound silence (after an audible gasp) and then he counted the tune off. Very funny - a dyed-in-the-wool bebopper."
As Ryan Keberle recounts, "My dad, a jazz professor in Spokane, Washington, brought Carl out as a guest soloist with his college jazz band when I was first starting to play, and not long before Carl's passing. Aside from his good-natured generosity, I also remember a funny incident from that visit. After an exhausting first day filled with interviews, master classes, and rehearsals, Carl pulled my dad aside and asked him if he could be driven to the local shoe store. My dad, thinking that Carl was either an avid shoe collector or just plain crazy, asked why. Carl said he realized he didn't bring any dress shoes for the gig. So my dad and I drove him to the mall and spent an hour picking out shoes at J.C. Penney's with Carl Fontana! How many people can boast of that?" It seems that everyone who knew him, or even met him just once, has at least one fond Carl Fontana anecdote to tell - and usually quite a few more.
Ask anyone about Carl Fontana the trombonist and you invariably will end up hearing about Carl Fontana the man, his relaxed personality and generous nature, and how his unassuming character was reflected in his playing. "I had the pleasure of knowing and playing with Carl in Frank Sinatra, Jr.'s band for five years," trombonist Dan Levine notes. "It was so nice to find that one of the best trombone players ever was also one of the nicest humans ever. Carl was a modest man of few words with a fantastic sense of humor, who possessed a fantastic story-telling ability. I couldn't help to think that there was a correlation to that in his jazz playing. I don't need to convince anyone that Carl was one of the best jazz players in history, but what I took away from my experience sitting next to him in the trombone section was that, to my ears, he always prioritized thoughtful playing and beauty of sound."
Thoughtful playing and beauty of sound, total ease and a gift for melody - these are the essential qualities of Carl Fontana's art and they pervade every one of these long lost and, in most cases, long forgotten tracks. The first set of tunes come from an August 1958 Stars of Jazz telecast, a weekly program hosted by songwriter-singer-pianist Bobby Troup. The quintet's leader was supposed to have been tenor saxophonist Charlie Ventura, but, as Troup explains, a bandstand mishap forced him to the sidelines, so Vido Musso was called to pinch hit. The Sicilian-born Musso was a big band veteran known for his immense tone and rhapsodic way with a ballad. He also was a genuine character, the Yogi Berra of jazz, famous for malaprops like "Look at that jet white horse" and "That's a lot of water over the bridge" and "Music is a very hard instrument."
After opening with a generic blues in F, the group gets down to business with Lester Leaps In - or is it? The opening ensemble seems wracked with confusion over the form, and then Musso, soloing first, starts by playing two twelve-bar blues choruses. But "Lester Leaps In" is not a blues. It's 32-bar, A-A-B-A, "Rhythm changes" tune. At last, Musso finds the bridge, or the bridge finds him, and he's finally on course.
Fontana, relaxed even at this "flag-waver" tempo, manages to cool things down with a full chorus followed by a chorus of four-bar trades with drummer Tony DiNicola. Here we get a clear sample of his famous "doodle tongue" technique. "Players like J.J. Johnson developed considerable technique to master up-tempos," John Fedchock explains, "but Carl's ability to doodle tongue enabled him to up the ante, double-timing even faster, like a bebop saxophonist or trumpeter. He opened the door for many other trombonists who formerly thought that the instrument would never be able to compete at such extreme tempos."
Doodle tonguing was a technical breakthrough to be sure, but to Fontana it was no big deal. "When I was living in Arizona," Deb Weisz recalls, "he was doing a clinic at Arizona State and I asked him about his doodle tongue thing. And he said, well, it just happened to be the way he did fast tonguing on the trombone. So it was real natural for him. That was just the way he articulated, period."
The ballad medley is a study in contrasts. Up first, Fontana wraps his gorgeous tone around If You Could See Me Now, getting right to the core of Tadd Dameron's bittersweet melody in one lovely chorus plus a heartfelt coda. Then Musso takes over with Sorrento, his big feature when he was with the Stan Kenton band during the 1940s, marinated in vibrato and just a bit overdone. Where Fontana was subtle, Musso is obvious. It's the difference between warmth and heat.
Since Musso was a last-minute sub, the Kenton favorite, Intermission Riff, neatly pared down to the quintet format, was a wise choice for a closer. The tenor saxophonist played on both Kenton's original 1946 version and the Kenton in Hi-Fi remake ten years later, which also featured one of Fontana's most revered and analyzed solos, four elegant, witty, perfectly balanced choruses of trombone bliss. Here, as on that 1956 Kenton date, each of Fontana's three choruses is a fully realized statement in itself, yet they are all connected, like paragraphs in a short story.
During the French leg of Stan Kenton's 1956 European tour, Fontana and some of his bandmates participated in a pair of sextet record dates. English tenor saxophonist Don Rendell, who was touring with the Kenton band, recounts the circumstances. "When we played in Paris a small group recording session was set up by Charles Delauney, the French jazz writer and impresario. He fixed Martial Solal to be on piano, Vinnie Tanno on trumpet, Carl, and myself, with Curtis Counce and Mel Lewis completing the lineup. Then about 1:00 a.m. some of us were taken to another recording session led by pianist Henri Renaud. Carl, Curtis and I were on this. I never heard the result, but it was released by Henri Renaud on a French label." The other players on that second date were Dutch drummer Wes Ilcken and trumpeter Dickie Mills, an American, but not a member of the Kenton band.
The four tracks included here make up the latter of the two albums, one of the rarest in all of jazz. Decades later, when Fontana was shown a copy of the record, he had no memory of having made it. It's a blowing session, as informal and impromptu as it can get, opening with Daniel's Blues, the most minimal of themes by pianist Renaud. He acquits himself well before handing off to Fontana for eight choruses of thoughtful blues improvisation. Rendell's nine Lester Young-inspired choruses demonstrate why leaders on both sides of the Atlantic, from Johnny Dankworth and Ted Heath to Stan Kenton and Woody Herman, wanted him in their bands.
The final eight bars of the head introduce Charlie Parker's Scrapple from the Apple, a vehicle for Fontana's special brand of relaxed, swing-infused bebop, so distinct from the deliberate craftsmanship of J.J. Johnson and the untamed abandon of Frank Rosolino. As emphasized earlier, each of these is a valid and influential means of modern jazz improvisation on the trombone. Horace Silver's Buhaina gets a solid straight-ahead treatment, with fine solos from all, not exactly textbook hard bop, more like hard bop with soft edges.
Surprisingly Renaud does not take a turn on the ballad medley, which opens with bassist Curtis Counce's delicate reading of These Foolish Things. Trumpeter Dickie Mills only hints at the melody of You Go to My Head, suggesting it, but never really stating it. By contrast, Fontana plays the melody of Darn That Dream while simultaneously embellishing it, a sophisticated and resourceful way to interpret a ballad when all you're given to work with is a single chorus. Rendell closes the medley in an intimate Stan Getz mood with I Cover the Waterfront.
The next two tracks are taken from a 1960 big band date by tenor saxophonist Jimmy Cook. A Colorado native, he was one of the many capable jazz players who, during the 1950s, settled in Las Vegas. "We used to call him 'Jimmy Can't Cook and I Don't Care,'" Carl Saunders, remarks with a laugh. "Carl called him 'The Fog' because he was always stoned. Sometimes he'd be leading the band and start to count off a tune - 'One, two…' - and he'd forget the tempo." Cook spent pretty much his entire career there playing shows and occasional jazz gigs. "In the last few years of Jimmy Cook's life," Saunders continues, "he'd get these gigs and have Carl play on them, and he'd sort of use Carl to publicize them. I told him, 'CF, you're a legend. You shouldn't be playing with Jimmy Cook.' I though it was kind of degrading."
Cook had won a nationwide search for the "Best New Dance Band of 1960, sponsored by the American Federation of Musicians, and this record date was one of the prizes, along with a national tour and an engagement at the Flamingo Hotel in Vegas. These two gems were Fontana's features from the album. On Polka Dots and Moonbeams, arranged by Bill Holman, Fontana soars over the band, judiciously employing double time and ending the cadenza with his signature "Peter and the Wolf" quote, a trademark lick that now is part of the modern jazz trombone vocabulary. "To this day," trombonist Steve Wiest muses, "I find myself quoting 'Peter and the Wolf' in a solo and feeling like Carl has just stopped by for a visit." He takes complete command on Bob Enevoldsen's swinging arrangement of Soon, tearing off four astounding choruses that climax in a splendid high G.
This pair of tracks illustrates Fontana's special gift for improvising on a tune while preserving the essence of the tune, a concept he once revealed to Deb Weisz during an informal lesson. "We were working on 'Detour Ahead,'" she explains, "and he would look at the changes and he'd see, 'OK, now this is the part where you've really got to make sure you pay attention,' like there are these road marks in standard songs. Whatever you're improvising around, you need to make that part of your solo - that you're aware of what's happening there harmonically. So as he put it, 'This is where you've got to pay attention.'"
Our survey of Fontana rarities ends in Berlin, as Stan Kenton turns the spotlight on "one of the most talented and fluent of the trombone players we have in jazz … Carl Fontana." This was Fontana's showcase at every stop on the band's 1956 European odyssey, one that Don Rendell, more that five decades later, remembers most fondly. "I was on the band about ten or twelve weeks," he recalls, "and as a saxophone player I knew Bill Perkins and Lennie Niehaus very well. Some of us looked for 'after hours' clubs to play in after the concerts, and Vinnie Tanno, Lee Katzman, Curtis Counce, Kent Larsen and, at times, Carl Fontana joined in these impromptu sessions.
"The tour was very hectic - a different country almost daily at times, different money, different food, boats, trains, buses. I remember Carl had recently married and had his wife with him some of the time. He was one of the three or four featured soloists and performed to a consistently high standard. It was a long time ago," Rendell concludes, "but you can tell I really had a ball."
Fontana steps shyly to the mic to introduce his tunes, first Polka Dots and Moonbeams. Having played this number daily ever since landing on the continent, Fontana is, by this point in the tour, intimately familiar with both the tune and Bill Holman's exquisite chart, but he never sounds tired or bored with it. In fact, his approach here is bolder and even more inspired than the shorter Jimmy Cook version from 1960.
Kenton liked having special numbers to highlight the unique talents of his star soloists. "He had pieces for practically everybody in the band," Bill Holman remembers, "and he asked me to write a piece for Carl. I wrote it and put it in the mail." The result was titled, simply, Carl. "That tune shows you how astute 'Willis' is," Scott Whitfield declares. "He captured Carl's personality in that tune." But unlike other such features as "Frank Speaking" (for Frank Rosolino), "Portrait of a Count" (for Conte Candoli), and "A Trumpet" (for Maynard Ferguson), this breezy Fontana vehicle was never given a studio version, so this immaculately rendered live treatment truly is a precious find, and the perfect way to close our collection of newly discovered Carl Fontana treasures.
By the early 1990s Fontana had scaled back his Vegas show work so he could have more time to enjoy his favorite pastimes, grandchildren and golf. "He was a very haphazard golfer," Carl Saunders, a frequent playing partner, observes. "He liked to hit the ball as hard as he could, and sometimes it would go as far as the ladies' tees." Still, he was almost as committed to the game as he was to his music. Deb Weisz stopped by his home one day to the check out some horns and was ushered into Fontana's legendary "golf and trombone room."
"It's like a bedroom," she begins, "but there's no bed or anything, just horns everywhere. And they're in the closets. And then there's bells and slides and mouthpieces. And there's golf clubs. He had stuff in another room, too. His closets were just filled with golf clubs, golf bags, trombones, bells, slides, you name it. It was all over the house."
Semi-retired, Fontana still played jazz when he was asked and when he felt like it, and sometimes he even left Las Vegas. He gigged and/or recorded with trombonists (and disciples) Andy Martin, Jiggs Whigham, Allen Hermann, John Fedchock, and the Hungarian Jazz Trombone Company, and journeyed to London to play Ronnie Scott's club alongside another follower, Bill Watrous. In 1995 he joined trumpeter Bobby Shew on a must-have CD (Heavyweights) and traveled to Florida to perform at tenor saxophonist Flip Phillips' eightieth birthday bash. And in November of 1998 he made a rare New York appearance - attended by every trombonist in town who didn't have a gig that night - at the Manhattan School of Music.
Then one night in 2001, after a gig with the quintet that he co-led with tenor saxophonist Bill Trujillo, Fontana turned to Trujillo and told him, "You'll have to take me home. I can't remember where I live." He was in the early stage of Alzheimer's disease, which in time took away his memory, his music, and, on October 9, 2003, his life. John Fedchock attended Carl Fontana's memorial service five days later.
"The attendees were primarily family and friends, along with several Las Vegas musicians," Fedchock recounts. "There were photos of Carl in the entrance way of the funeral home and his trombone sat on a stand at the altar. It was a very traditional service. Only a few people spoke, including the minister and Carl's daughter, Felicia. They spoke mainly of family and of Carl as a person. I don't believe the intention was to have the feeling of a 'jazz' funeral service. There was minimal music played, just two brief selections by a Las Vegas trombone group toward the end of the service.
"The gathering that followed the service," he continues, "was more of a celebration of Carl's music and went well into the evening. There was a house trio playing and many musicians sat in, including [saxophonists] Don Menza and Joe Romano and [trombonist] Kevin Stout, among others. At one point later in the evening Felicia came up to tell me that Carl's brother wanted to hear 'Emily' and asked if I would play it. After I finished, Felicia met me at the bandstand in tears. It was a special moment, and I was glad I was there to play Carl's signature tune for his family. Carl was a huge musical influence and, I'm proud to say, a great friend."
"I don't think I ever heard Carl play a bad solo," Scott Whitfield maintains,. "He definitely did not have a big ego and he did not have a star trip going on. He was just a good guy who enjoyed life, and enjoyed going through life in a relaxed fashion." That was Carl Fontana, a genuine person and the trombonist's trombonist.
Sincere thanks to Bill Holman, Don Rendell, and Carl Saunders, trombonist-author Kurt Dietrich, and trombonists Mike Fahn, John Fedchock, Ryan Keberle, Dan Levine, Joey Sellers, Deborah Weisz, Scott Whitfield, and Steve Wiest, for their generous assistance and insightful comments.
|Complete CD Liner Notes Credits|
|Eric Alexander||Full Range||Criss Cross Jazz|
|Helio Alves||Portrait In Black and White||Reservoir Music|
|Anush Apoyan||A Dedication to Horace Silver||Black & Blue|
|Robert Bachner & Helmar Hill||Ein feiner Zug||ATS|
|Thomas Barber's Janus Bloc||Snow Road||D Clef|
|Carl Bartlett, Jr.||Hopeful|
|Count Basie||Chairman of the Board||Roulette Jazz|
|Roni Ben-Hur||Signature||Reservoir Music|
|Walter Blanding||The Olive Tree||Criss Cross Jazz|
|Don Braden||After Dark||Criss Cross Jazz|
|Jane Bunnett||Cuban Odyssey||EMI Music Canada|
|Sharel Cassity||Relentless||Jazz Legacy Productions|
|Al Clausen||Swing Can Really Hang You Up the Most||Sunny NoDak|
|Steve Davis||Vibe Up!||Criss Cross Jazz|
|Dena DeRose||Introducing Dena DeRose||Sharp Nine|
|Dena DeRose||United||High Note|
|Orrin Evans||Grown Folk Bizness||Criss Cross Jazz|
|John Fedchock New York Big Band||No Nonsense||Reservoir Music|
|John Fedchock New York Big Band||Up & Running||Reservoir Music|
|Carl Fontana||The Fifties||Uptown|
|Sayuri Goto||Flashback||Fever Pitch|
|Sayuri Goto||Prayer||Fever Pitch|
|Jimmy Greene||Introducing Jimmy Greene||Criss Cross Jazz|
|Coleman Hawkins||The Best of Coleman Hawkins [Prestige Profiles: Coleman Hawkins]||Prestige|
|David Hazeltine||A World for Her||Criss Cross Jazz|
|Conrad Herwig||Heart of Darkness||Criss Cross Jazz|
|Jane Jarvis||Sagmo's Song||Faith|
|Jane Jarvis & Benny Powell||Two of a Kind||Faith|
|Ingrid Jensen||Here on Earth||Enja|
|Philly Joe Jones Dameronia||Look, Stop and Listen Featuring Johnny Griffin||Uptown|
|David Kikoski||Almost Twilight||Criss Cross Jazz|
|Yuko Kimora||A Beautiful Friendship|
|Ryan Kisor||The Dream||Criss Cross Jazz|
|Marilyn Lerner||Birds Are Returning||Jazz Focus|
|Achilles Liarmakopolous||Trombone Atrivedo ||Opening Day|
|Gene Ludwig||The Groove ORGANization||Blues Leaf|
|Joe Magnarelli||Mr. Mags||Criss Cross Jazz|
|Virgina Mayhew||Nini Green||Chiaroscuro|
|Virginia Mayhew||No Walls||Foxhaven|
|Virginia Mayhew||Sandan Shuffle||Renma|
|Virginia Mayhew||A Simple Thank You||Renma|
|Virginia Mayhew|| Mary Lou Williams: The Next 100 Years||Renma|
|Dave Panichi||Blues for McCoy||Spirit Song|
|Roberta Piket||Solo||Thirteenth Note|
|Roberta Piket||One for Marian||Thirteenth Note|
|Roberta Piket||West Coast Trio||Thirteenth Note|
|Valery Ponomarev||Beyond the Obvious||Reservoir Music|
|Valery Ponomarev||The Messenger||Reservoir Music|
|Valery Ponomarev||Our Father Who Art Blakey||Zoho|
|Benny Powell||Coast 2 Coast||Faith|
|Benny Powell||The Gift of Love||Faith|
|Melvin Rhyne||Kojo||Criss Cross Jazz|
|Claudio Roditi||Double Standards||Reservoir Music|
|Claudio Roditi||Free Wheelin'||Reservoir Music|
|Adonis Rose||The Unity||Criss Cross Jazz|
|Jim Rotundi||Reverence||Criss Cross Jazz|
|Harvie S & Sheryl Bailey||Plucky Strum||Whaling City Sound|
|Horace Silver||Paris Blues||Pablo|
|Gary Smulyan||High Noon: The Jazz Soul of Frankie Laine||Reservoir Music|
|Doug Talley||Night and Day||Serpentine|
|Uptown Five||Uptown Swing||Harlem|
|Various Artists: Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins & John Coltrane||The Prestige Legacy, Volume 1: The High Priests||Prestige|
|Ceder Walton, Ron Carter & Billy Higgins: Sweet Basil Trio||St. Thomas||Evidence Music|
|Walt Weiskopf||Anytown||Criss Cross Jazz|
|Steve Weist||Out of the New||Arabesque|
|Deborah Weisz||Breaking Up, Breaking Out||Vah Wa|
|Rich Willey||Gone with the Piggies||Consolidated Artists Productions|