Bay Jazz Project
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Bay Jazz Project

Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Baltimore, Maryland, United States
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"CD Review, The Chesapeake Music Guide"

The Chesapeake Music Guide
November 2007


Artist: Sean A. Lane
Title: Crying Sky Blue
Label: Self Issued
Web: seanlanemusic.com


Crying Sky Blue from Sean A. Lane is a beautiful-sounding jazz album of mostly instrumental songs that has the "vintage" sound and feel of classic jazz records of yesteryear. Lane, a piano player of extraordinary talent, mixes originals and interpretations in a seamless flow of old and new that emanates style, class, finesse, and cool. Songs like 1928’s Softly as in a Morning Sunrise, which has also been covered by John Coltrane, and a version of Neil Young's Sugar Mountain, flow effortlessly between Lane’s originals with a superb sense of continuity. Lane gives Sugar Mountain a total jazz piano makeover. Very up-tempo, it reminded me a little of Dave Brubeck’s style. My Heart, It Ponders, the lone vocal track on the album, sounds like something that could have been recorded by a 40's crooner. Think I Get a Kick Out Of You. Stormin’ Norman is be-bop, swing, a little rock 'n roll and funk. On this tune, the band gets a chance to really stretch out and let loose with inspired solos that showcase the individual talents of the musicians Lane works with. All excellent players, they shine throughout the album with outstanding performances that convey a real feeling for the music and material. The classically inspired Crying Sky Blue features beautifully intertwined flute, cello and piano. You can feel the connection the musicians make with each other as they play around, against and with each other. On the Way Out is a danceable tune. Its jazzy bossa nova beat lends itself to fleet-footed movement on the dance floor. Thoughts of Walking is a slower tempo tune, melodic and bluesy; it has "smoky jazz club" all over it. The majority of the tracks on Crying Sky Blue run from eight to nine minutes long. At that length the songs could have been exercises in jazz improvisation, but they're very well structured and because of Lane's wonderful sense of melody, the music never gets bogged down with overplaying. His restraint is a virtue that keeps the album grounded in the sense that he doesn't try to reach the outer limits of the genre which, for a lot of people, is the turn off about jazz.
As I said previously, Crying Sky Blue is a great-sounding recording. The production is lively with a wide soundstage that fills the listening area with well-placed, natural sounding instruments. It has the ambience of a well-made live recording, and acoustically it sounds like you're listening to the band in a nice jazz club.
Crying Sky Blue is a very accessible collection of music. Laden with lovely melodies, it has a timeless sound that pays homage to the golden age of jazz, while maintaining a modern edge that keeps it fresh sounding. It can pull double duty as a serious listen or very nice background music, and holds up well in the long run. If you're looking for a pleasant jazz listening experience, Sean A. Lane's Crying Sky Blue might just do it for you. Hear for yourself with downloads of Stormin' Norman and Sugar Mountain at myspace.com/bayjazzproject.



- Michael Macey


"CD Review, The Chesapeake Music Guide"

The Chesapeake Music Guide
November 2007


Artist: Sean A. Lane
Title: Crying Sky Blue
Label: Self Issued
Web: seanlanemusic.com


Crying Sky Blue from Sean A. Lane is a beautiful-sounding jazz album of mostly instrumental songs that has the "vintage" sound and feel of classic jazz records of yesteryear. Lane, a piano player of extraordinary talent, mixes originals and interpretations in a seamless flow of old and new that emanates style, class, finesse, and cool. Songs like 1928’s Softly as in a Morning Sunrise, which has also been covered by John Coltrane, and a version of Neil Young's Sugar Mountain, flow effortlessly between Lane’s originals with a superb sense of continuity. Lane gives Sugar Mountain a total jazz piano makeover. Very up-tempo, it reminded me a little of Dave Brubeck’s style. My Heart, It Ponders, the lone vocal track on the album, sounds like something that could have been recorded by a 40's crooner. Think I Get a Kick Out Of You. Stormin’ Norman is be-bop, swing, a little rock 'n roll and funk. On this tune, the band gets a chance to really stretch out and let loose with inspired solos that showcase the individual talents of the musicians Lane works with. All excellent players, they shine throughout the album with outstanding performances that convey a real feeling for the music and material. The classically inspired Crying Sky Blue features beautifully intertwined flute, cello and piano. You can feel the connection the musicians make with each other as they play around, against and with each other. On the Way Out is a danceable tune. Its jazzy bossa nova beat lends itself to fleet-footed movement on the dance floor. Thoughts of Walking is a slower tempo tune, melodic and bluesy; it has "smoky jazz club" all over it. The majority of the tracks on Crying Sky Blue run from eight to nine minutes long. At that length the songs could have been exercises in jazz improvisation, but they're very well structured and because of Lane's wonderful sense of melody, the music never gets bogged down with overplaying. His restraint is a virtue that keeps the album grounded in the sense that he doesn't try to reach the outer limits of the genre which, for a lot of people, is the turn off about jazz.
As I said previously, Crying Sky Blue is a great-sounding recording. The production is lively with a wide soundstage that fills the listening area with well-placed, natural sounding instruments. It has the ambience of a well-made live recording, and acoustically it sounds like you're listening to the band in a nice jazz club.
Crying Sky Blue is a very accessible collection of music. Laden with lovely melodies, it has a timeless sound that pays homage to the golden age of jazz, while maintaining a modern edge that keeps it fresh sounding. It can pull double duty as a serious listen or very nice background music, and holds up well in the long run. If you're looking for a pleasant jazz listening experience, Sean A. Lane's Crying Sky Blue might just do it for you. Hear for yourself with downloads of Stormin' Norman and Sugar Mountain at myspace.com/bayjazzproject.



- Michael Macey


"CD Review, Jazz Monthly.com"

One of the most exciting parts of the music industry these days is the explosion of indie artists, who are using iTunes, myspace, the internet and other alternative marketing avenues to get their music out there. Great jazz artists no longer have to sign to a major label to reach the masses beyond their home base. Folks in the Baltimore/Washington music scene are luckier than the rest of us in that they’ve been enjoying the vibrant, eclectic jazz pianist Sean A. Lane at local venues for more than a decade. He’s been playing venues of every size in that region as both a soloist and member of popular groups like Jazzwerx and the Bay Jazz Project.

Taking stylistic risks that not many musicians dare these days, he’s played it all—jazz standards, smooth jazz, R&B, Dixieland, et al—at The Kennedy Center, One Step Down, Takoma Station, The National Press Club, Constitution Hall and Camden Yards, among others. He’s also done something quintessentially “Washington,” playing at three presidential inaugural celebrations!

While his debut album Request For Romance was a solo piano venture featuring only cover tunes, Crying Sky Blue finds him playing with a full ensemble, mixing three solid standards among a group of exciting original pieces. He launches with a brisk and lively, seven and a half minute jaunt through “Softly As In A Morning Sunrise,” a very familiar jazz standard reworked with a slightly Latin swing feel; it’s highlighted by a colorful alto solo by Jim Snidero over Lane’s lighthearted harmony lines, which lead to a bright and cheerful piano solo that display’s the pianist’s incredible melodic and percussive chops. Lane’s liner notes explain that he learned the lovely and lyrical ballad “Sunshower” after hearing its composer, jazz great Kenny Barron, play it at a D.C. club. Lane’s thoughtful and romantic arrangement both pays tribute to Barron and makes it sound fresh and new.

Lane introduces his original material with the wistful and slightly melancholy reflection “Thoughts Of Walking,” which he wrote about his doubts regarding keeping his Bay Jazz Project group together; Justine Miller’s gentle flugelhorn solo is a nice focal point for his emotions. Lane and his inspired group kick it up a few notches on the cool, bluesy and strutting vibe of “Stormin’ Norman,” which starts with a small horn section melody before giving way to another energetic piano solo. The softly lit ballad “My Heart, It Ponders,” featuring the soulful, dreamy vocals of Christian Josi, is Lane’s tribute to the music of Frank Sinatra and Chet Baker he has always been inspired by. “On The Way Out” is cool, laid back straight ahead jazz featuring Seth Kibel’s smokey tenor magic. Lane wrote the hypnotic, free flowing piano driven (with a touch of sweet late night sax) gem “Love You Too!” for his wife Kathy, and the listener can tell that while they’ve been through some trying times, his passion for her shines through. Lane’s rock influences shine through on a bright, up tempo jazz rendition of Neil Young’s iconic “Sugar Mountain,” a track that will please classic rock fans who think they don’t like jazz!

Lane shifts tempos again as he closes with the title track, a gentle yet dramatic, close to eight minute reflective piece that weaves his graceful piano with Kibel’s sweet alto flute; its use of cello hints at a classical influence. The pianist’s main objective with all the moodswinging and wide range of styles and influences seems to be to show the excitement that can happen when great music—rather than commercial radio play or other inhibiting outside considerations--is the only thing on the agenda. Check Lane out! - Jonathan Widran


"CD Review, Jazz Monthly.com"

One of the most exciting parts of the music industry these days is the explosion of indie artists, who are using iTunes, myspace, the internet and other alternative marketing avenues to get their music out there. Great jazz artists no longer have to sign to a major label to reach the masses beyond their home base. Folks in the Baltimore/Washington music scene are luckier than the rest of us in that they’ve been enjoying the vibrant, eclectic jazz pianist Sean A. Lane at local venues for more than a decade. He’s been playing venues of every size in that region as both a soloist and member of popular groups like Jazzwerx and the Bay Jazz Project.

Taking stylistic risks that not many musicians dare these days, he’s played it all—jazz standards, smooth jazz, R&B, Dixieland, et al—at The Kennedy Center, One Step Down, Takoma Station, The National Press Club, Constitution Hall and Camden Yards, among others. He’s also done something quintessentially “Washington,” playing at three presidential inaugural celebrations!

While his debut album Request For Romance was a solo piano venture featuring only cover tunes, Crying Sky Blue finds him playing with a full ensemble, mixing three solid standards among a group of exciting original pieces. He launches with a brisk and lively, seven and a half minute jaunt through “Softly As In A Morning Sunrise,” a very familiar jazz standard reworked with a slightly Latin swing feel; it’s highlighted by a colorful alto solo by Jim Snidero over Lane’s lighthearted harmony lines, which lead to a bright and cheerful piano solo that display’s the pianist’s incredible melodic and percussive chops. Lane’s liner notes explain that he learned the lovely and lyrical ballad “Sunshower” after hearing its composer, jazz great Kenny Barron, play it at a D.C. club. Lane’s thoughtful and romantic arrangement both pays tribute to Barron and makes it sound fresh and new.

Lane introduces his original material with the wistful and slightly melancholy reflection “Thoughts Of Walking,” which he wrote about his doubts regarding keeping his Bay Jazz Project group together; Justine Miller’s gentle flugelhorn solo is a nice focal point for his emotions. Lane and his inspired group kick it up a few notches on the cool, bluesy and strutting vibe of “Stormin’ Norman,” which starts with a small horn section melody before giving way to another energetic piano solo. The softly lit ballad “My Heart, It Ponders,” featuring the soulful, dreamy vocals of Christian Josi, is Lane’s tribute to the music of Frank Sinatra and Chet Baker he has always been inspired by. “On The Way Out” is cool, laid back straight ahead jazz featuring Seth Kibel’s smokey tenor magic. Lane wrote the hypnotic, free flowing piano driven (with a touch of sweet late night sax) gem “Love You Too!” for his wife Kathy, and the listener can tell that while they’ve been through some trying times, his passion for her shines through. Lane’s rock influences shine through on a bright, up tempo jazz rendition of Neil Young’s iconic “Sugar Mountain,” a track that will please classic rock fans who think they don’t like jazz!

Lane shifts tempos again as he closes with the title track, a gentle yet dramatic, close to eight minute reflective piece that weaves his graceful piano with Kibel’s sweet alto flute; its use of cello hints at a classical influence. The pianist’s main objective with all the moodswinging and wide range of styles and influences seems to be to show the excitement that can happen when great music—rather than commercial radio play or other inhibiting outside considerations--is the only thing on the agenda. Check Lane out! - Jonathan Widran


Discography

Latest single “Pleasant Bay Nightside” features saxophonist Walter Beasley, available on iTunes.

Recent CD "Crying Sky Blue" --WAMMIE Nominated for BEST JAZZ RECORDING -- Washington Area Music Awards (WAMA)

"Crying Sky Blue" is receiving radio play as far North as Boston and continues to gain notoriety. Radio play lists include Sean’s jazzy makeover of Neil Young’s “Sugar Mountain”, and, his original compositions “Stormin’ Norman” and “Love you, too!”

First Release: "Request for Romance", solo piano

For more information visit:
www.myspace.com/bayjazzproject
www.justinemiller.com

Photos

Bio

Sean, one of the area’s most accomplished jazz keyboard/pianists, is known for his fluid, graceful performance style. Along with Lane, the band features reed man Seth Kibel, one of the Mid-Atlantic region’s foremost instrumentalists, bassist Bob Abbott, with a creative style and unique musicality, and drummer Mark Lucas, an insightful musician no matter the genre.

“You can feel the connection the musicians make with each other as they play around, against and with each other.”
—Michael Macy, Chesapeake Music Guide

With the addition of premier Washington, DC trumpeter/vocalist Justine Miller, the group takes on another dimension! She brings her soulful blend of vocals and electric trumpet playing to the stage which always leaves audiences wanting more! The Washington Post calls Miller's music making "Searing Hot and Superb!"

Bay Jazz Project continues to perform jazz standards and original music at a variety of venues. In January 2009, they had the honor of performing at the Inaugural event at the historic Willard Hotel. Public appearances include Rams Head on Stage, Frederick Festival of the Arts, Baltimore's Artscape, 49 West, Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival, and Wine in the Woods at Merriweather Post Pavilion, to name a few. Comfortably playing classic jazz at an intimate setting or hitting some funky original jazz tunes at a festival, Bay Jazz Project is versatile, professional, and entertaining regardless of the setting.

“Folks in the Baltimore/Washington music scene are luckier than the rest of us, they’ve been enjoying the vibrant, eclectic jazz pianist Sean Lane and Bay Jazz Project for over a decade. Check Lane out!” —Jonathan Widran
Jazz Monthly.com

A video montage of the band with live performance clips may be viewed through http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uU7SfMpdxw