Paula Edelstein
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Paula Edelstein


Band Jazz Singer/Songwriter


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The best kept secret in music


"Valarie King's Anytime, Anywhere"

It's always encouraging from a creative standpoint when a brilliant standout performer on the flute gives it a go in spite of this foolish reality, and there was none better in the later 2000s than Valarie King. King was hardly a newcomer to the industry, with a mile long resume boasting performances and recordings with an impressive list of legends, from Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett and Ray Charles to Barbra Streisand, Seal, Annie Lennox, Babyface and Elton John. All of the tunes on her third solo project Anytime, Anyplace fit into the grooving, urban jazz vibe that defined the genre. "I Can Tell You Love Me," featuring the soothing backing vocals and stellar electric piano of jazz/R&B great Patrice Rushen, is sensual, cool and a shimmering showcase for King's melodic and inventive playing. She gets edgier and more aggressive on a trippy rock/soul/electronica twist on Aretha Franklin's "Rock Steady," then chills back down into a steady R&B groove for "Airwave" and an ethereal reading of Janet Jackson's "Anytime, Anyplace." In the mid-2000s, there was a glut of smooth jazz cover songs (mostly sax driven) hitting the radio, but King chooses hers well, from her wistful trad jazz meets old school soul and fusion turn on the traditional "Zombra" to a lightning quick twist on the original John Coltrane solo of "Giant Steps"—complete with some of the original tracking. She also includes a funky smashup of Ronnie Laws' "Always There." This kind of spirited flute playing showed the vast creative potential of the instrument and its adaptability. Contemporary jazz fans with any true sense of adventure—and who realized the coolest stuff is coming out independently—were the lucky ones who gobbled this disc up. - All Music Guide by Jonathan Widran

"Stanley Clarke's The Toys of Men"

It's unfortunate that it took the sad state of international political affairs of the early 21st century to lure Stanley Clarke back to the intense brand of jazz bass playing he pioneered with Return to Forever in the 1970s, but that's what The Toys of Men is all about. Clarke has spent much of the last couple of decades outside of the realm of jazz, scoring films and television programs, but he has said that his disdain for the very idea of war, and specifically the constant state of war in the Middle East, inspired him to put together a fired-up band and make an antiwar statement with this album. Whether he accomplishes that goal is debatable: only one track here, "The Opening of the Gates," contains a sung vocal, by Esperanza Spalding, and the only other voice heard on the recording is the spoken word of Clarke himself. But whether or not instruments can by themselves make the point that violence and destruction do not exactly offer much hope for the future, the music created here is easily Clarke's most dynamic and potent in a long, long time. The set opens with a six-part suite that also lends its name, "The Toys of Men," to the album itself. Those toys, Clarke has said, are weapons, and he disdains mankind's insistence on using them to kill one another. But the toys of choice for this ambitious, sweeping piece of music are musical instruments, and Clarke and his troops slash and burn in a way that often recalls the early fusion of Return to Forever. Working with a core band that includes drummer Ronald Brumer, Jr., guitarists Jef Lee Johnson and Tomer Shtein, keyboardist Ruslan Sirota, and violinist Mads Tolling, Clarke uses the opening collection of connected themes to take off from an earlier song called "Toys" that he recorded with drummer (and former RTF member) Lenny White in a project they called Vertú. The titles of the second and third sections, "Fear" and "Chaos," offer the most obvious clues as to what Clarke is trying to say, although, ironically, "Chaos" is one of the calmer and more luxuriant pieces on the record — "Fear," meanwhile, lives up to its name, all blistering fusionoid jamming. Clarke takes plenty of opportunities throughout the record to exercise his trademark slapping bass chops, among them a minimal, bluesy solo on the two-minute "Hmm Hmm" and the rambling, adventurous, seven-plus-minute "El Bajo Negro." Other highlights include "Châteauvallon 1972," a steady-rolling slab o' funk dedicated to the late, great drummer Tony Williams, and "Jerusalem," an airy, swaying, acoustic-based epic whose peacefulness direct contrasts with the tension and restlessness that rock the region in which that historical city sits.

- All Music Guide by Jeff Tamarkin

"Daniel Ho's Hawaiiana"

That special feeling you get whenever you visit the Hawaiian Islands is very apparent when you listen to Hawaiiana. The stunningly beautifulTia Carrere sings a lovely set of songs in her native language accompanied by the Grammy Award winning Hawaiian slack key guitarist Daniel Ho,whom you may also remember from Kilaueafame. "Aloha ‘Oe," the timeless composition written by Hawaii's last reigning monarch Queen Liliu'okalani, opens this gorgeous set of Hawaiian standards. Carrere's voice is soft and inviting, bringing forth the essence of the well-known farewell used by native islanders. "Pupu Hinuhinu," Nona Beamer's lullaby about shiny shells was written for the children in her family but has become a favorite among all of Hawaii's children. Carrere brings an adorable playfulness to her rendition that is sure to appeal to the inner child in you, dear listener. "Ulili E" is a harmonic and rhythmic delight on which Carrere sings lovingly about birds running along the shore. With her vocals beautifully arranged and re- harmonized via Daniel Ho's masterful guitar work and dubbing, this song is a serene and melodic masterwork. Overall, the mellowness and beauty of this recording cannot be overemphasized, so if you can't get to Hawaii, then pick up a copy of the next best thing — Hawaiianaand let Tia Carrere and Daniel Ho take you there courtesy of their special collaborations - All Music Guide by Paula Edelstein


1. Interview with Stanley Clarke (ASCAP)
2. Interview with Ahmad Jamal (ASCAP)
3. Interview with Carmen Lundy (ASCAP)
4. Interview with Valarie King (ASCAP)
5. Interview with Daniel Ho (ASCAP)
6. Katrina (ASCAP)



Paula Edelstein is an award-winning music journalist and songwriter. She has interviewed over a thousand jazz stars and has included several of those educational interviews on several compilation CDs. Her credits include Sounds of Timeless Jazz: A Collection of Interviews featuring Stanley Clarke, Ahmad Jamal, Carmen Lundy, Valarie King, Daniel Ho and Marvin Kimbrough.