DEAN'S CD REVIEWS
Nicole Ockmond is an artist in more ways than one. A talented
painter, as well as a talented singer, guitarist and songwriter, her brightly
textured self-portrait decorates the cover of her second CD as much
as her music decorates the 14 tracks on this latest release.
Consisting of nine original compositions and five covers, she is beautifully
in tune with her surroundings which includes a team of top-shelf
musicians and studio engineers. Her voice has a wide range and she
displays it prominently; soft and low on the tracks that require it and
venturing skillfully into the upper register at the appropriate times.
Her vocals and guitar work treat the listener to “Endless Possibilities,”
which just happens to be the name of one of her original pieces.
Covered very adeptly are Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon,” Tom Petty’s
“Breakdown” and Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain.” Topping everything
off on the final track is Franz Schubert’s timeless paean to womanhood,
“Ave Maria,” which Nicole dedicates to her mother, Jerilyn Gravois,
who passed away while the album was being produced. With only
herself as accompaniment on acoustic guitar, she hits the high notes
and trills them nearly flawlessly, demonstrating both her range and
vocal control on this challenging piece from the classical canon.
The musicians backing her up are not listed by individual tracks but
their work, collectively, deserves high praise nonetheless. On keyboards
is John “Papa” Gros; on guitars are Don Williams (also harmonica), Brad
Hallenbeck and Michael Brown; Adam Coolsaet and Chris Owens are
on drums; Mark Lemaire and Chris Sharkey trade off on bass; and
Harmony Minturn McCune is on harp.
Recorded at The Music Shed by Chris Finney and Steve Reynolds,
the tracks were mixed and mastered by Mischa Kachkachishvili. Nicole
was the producer. All together the musicians and studio personnel
created a work of art; a perfect fit for a multi-talented artist. Available
at the Louisiana Music Factory and other record stores.
Dean M. Shapiro
Tony Seville & The
Vale la Pena
Tony Seville is one of the most versatile musicians you’ll ever find
in New Orleans – or anywhere else! A multi-instrumentalist he plays
trumpet, saxophones, flute, Latin percussion (bongos) with equal
finesse and dexterity and he even dabbles on drums and keyboards
when the occasions call for it. And he sings! Who could ask for more
After spending many years on the road and playing in the backup
band for Bourbon Street entertainer Chris Owens, Tony and his
wife Thais opened The Mahogany Jazz Hall on Chartres Street in
the French Quarter. This CD features him along with his house
band. With Larry Turner on bass, Matt White on guitar, Rey Rivera
on drums and percussion and Tony on trumpet, tenor sax, flute and
bongos, this work simply shines from start to finish.
All 14 tracks are instrumentals, about half of which have recognizable
melody and it is nearly impossible to pick out any “favorites.”
They are all jazzy masterpieces, some with a bossa nova beat. Several
of the tracks are such familiar classics as “I’ve Got you Under My
Skin,” “Willow Weep for Me,” “Stella by Starlight,” “You Make Me
Feel Brand New,” “Harlem Nocturne” and “I’ll Remember April.”
Especially outstanding is the band’s treatment of Charlie Parker’s
1946 signature piece, “Yardbird Suite,” in which every instrument is
given ample time to stretch out and solo. In fact, most of the tracks
follow the same pattern and one cannot help but tap their feet and
nod their heads in rhythm. These four guys are indeed the Cadillacs
of the local music scene.
Recorded at Tim Stambaugh’s Word of Mouth Studio in Algiers and
mastered by David Farrell, this album is definitely a keeper. It’s going
in the car with me to be played over and over and onward! I love it!!
This CD and others by the group are available at the Mahogany Jazz
Hall, 125 Chartres Street in the French Quarter or can be ordered
online at tonyseville.com. Dean M. Shapiro
20 | BREAKTHRU MEDIA | breakthrumediamagazine.com MAY / J U N E 2 0 1 9