1st Zbigniew Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music Luslawice/Krakow Poland July 16-19, 2014 He was one of the great jazz virtuosos, right up there some would say with Django Reinhardt, Art Tatum and Charlie Parker. Most frequently, however, he was compared to John Coltrane. The cruelly premature death of Polish jazz violinist Zbigniew Seifert at the age of 32 undoubtedly robbed jazz of one of its most exciting and original musical voices. The cancer that took Seifert in 1979, however, could not extinguish his light and he ...read more
It's a natural extension of New York guitarist Tom Chang's repertoire to combine heavy metal with jazz improvisation in Spinal Tap/Goes to 11" the opening track of his release Tongue and Groove. Born in South Korea, he moved to Canada with formative teen years listening to rock icons like Joni Mitchell and Led Zeppelin. What comes as an added surprise in this noteworthy release is the fluency that Chang displays in blending not only a jazz-rock aesthetic but also a Johnny Winter meets Miles Davis blues vibe ("Bar Codes"); classical music elements with South Indian music ("Djangolongo") and free jazz ...read more
Pianist Roger Davidson isn't a fan of repeating himself. With each album he's shined a light on a different facet of his artistry, marrying a classicist's outlook and touch with a fascination for anything and everything musical. He's looked at the sounds of Brazil from different perches, explored the tango in detail, tackled the music of Michel Legrand with bassist David Finck, and delivered a standards-heavy trio program in honor of music industry vet Helen Keane. Now, with Temple Of The Soul, he delivers a program of evocative and rhapsodic piano improvisations that touches on the spirituality that fuels his ...read more
Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein, Bill Stewart Ramshackle Serenade Pirouet Records 2014 The organ trio in jazz has always been one of the more durable formats. Wild Bill Davis, John Patton, Shirley Scott, Richard “Groove" Holmes, Jimmy Smith and Larry Young have all led important trios each giving the music a little bit of themselves and pushing the music to its outer limits. To get the breadth of the jazz organ, compare Big John Patton's rollicking period piece Wild Bill Davis at Birdland (Columbia, 1955) and Tony Williams' seditious liberation of sound Emergency ...read more
In 1998 singer and songwriter Tamara Obrovac, from Istria in Croatia, released Ulika (CBS), an album dedicated to her grandmother. Ulika Revival revisits a dozen songs from that album, presenting new renditions informed by the 15 or 16 years that lie between the two releases. The revival is a great success, a masterly collection of strikingly affecting songs. In a global marketplace dominated by one or two languages it's refreshing to hear a singer who remains faithful to her own upbringing and to the beauty of its musical heritage. Obrovac sings in an Istrian dialect, with a style ...read more
Soprano saxophonist Joe Rosenberg, who splits his time between Paris, France and Bali, Indonesia, has a highly personal approach to playing and improvising. He stresses a spiritual search for an inner sound that may enlighten his music with profound, timeless meaning. Regrettably, Rosenberg records rarely. His last effort with the Signal to Noise quartet, Tag, was released in 2009 (Quark). His highly impressive new albums feature a distinct approach and unique compositions. Joe Rosenberg Ensemble Resolution Quark Records 2014 Rosenberg frames the debut album of his French chamber ensemble with ...read more
Much is said about records once they've come into the world, but little is discussed about the motive(s) surrounding the birthing of a record. Sometimes it's simply about marketing, exposure, money, and pure narcissism. There's nothing necessarily wrong with that on some level(s), and many classic albums have been made with little to nothing else in mind, but it's harder to appreciate the artistry and the artist when records made for such reasons appear on the horizon. It's far more satisfying to sit back and soak in the beauty and power of expertly-crafted music that's been made in the name ...read more
Not only is Italian pianist / composer Roberto Magris conversant with jazz history and tradition, he honors it, as he has done in a series of albums devoted to the music of pianist Elmo Hope, alto saxophonist Julian “Cannonball" Adderley and trumpeter Lee Morgan who is saluted here in a second two-disc volume. Whereas young lion Brandon Lee sat in on Volume 1, released in 2010 (JMood 002), Morgan's surrogate this time around is Hermon Mehari. While neither one, of course, is Lee Morgan, they immersed themselves in the task at hand and carried out the arduous assignment with dexterity ...read more
When did the ultimate compliment for a jazz performance switch from you swing, cat" to you rock, dude"? Perhaps it happened after a generation of jazz artists raised on rock-n-roll found their way into improvisation and the latitudes of expression that jazz enable. Case in point is Tongue And Groove by guitarist Tom Chang. Raised on the music of Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page, his soul was imprinted with their spirit as he applied his guitar sound to the jazz world. Together with saxophonists Greg Ward (Living By Lanterns, Mike Reed) and Jason Rigby (Kris Davis ...read more
Who could ever forget the assertive, pulse-quickening theme from Peter Gunn, the urbane TV detective series that ran from 1958-61, with its jazz-centered score by the incomparable Henry Mancini. In case you are one of those who has (forgotten the theme, that is), you can now savor it anew (with much more music from the show), splendidly performed by the Harmonie Ensemble / New York, directed by Steven Richman. Among other things, the series showcased a small jazz group playing unassuming themes at Gunn's waterfront hangout, Mother's, while backing the establishment's stylish singer, played by Lola Albright. Although it wasn't ...read more
It's been nearly two decades since Karen Mantler last released an album under her own name on the XtraWATT label belonging to her similarly coifed mother, pianist/composer Carla Bley, but she's been anything but idle. Work on Bley albums like Appearing Nightly (Watt, 2008), recordings by father Michael Mantler like Folly Seeing All This (ECM, 1993), and sessions with fellow singer/songwriter Robert Wyatt have dovetailed with the singer/pianist/harmonicist's collaborations with the Golden Palominos and Hal Wilner, as well as her own Pet Projects (Virgin, 2000), the final instalment in a series of albums about her cat, that began with My ...read more
Ever since the jazz was created in the clubs and dancehalls of New Orleans, there was always a significant influence from the Caribbean region, specifically from Cuba. The island, which was just a ferry ride from the port city, had such a significant effect on the development of the music that Jelly Roll Morton always spoke of the importance of Afro-Cuban based rhythms (the Spanish Tinge) in creating and performing this nascent music. However, it was the arrival of a prodigious trumpet player named Mario Bauza from Havana who not only embedded himself into the swing band culture which dominated ...read more
The musical bond between Japanese guitarist and sound sculptor Otomo Yoshihide and Norwegian powerhouse drummer Paal Nilssen-Love was solidified through previous successful collaborations. First with Nilssen-Love Scandinavian power trio The Thing's Shinjuku Crawl, (Smalltown Superjazz, 2009), then with Peter Brotzmann's Chicago Tentet Concert for Fukushima Wels 2011 DVD, (PanRec, 2013) and finally with an ad-hoc trio with fellow Norwegian noise master Lasse Marhaug Explosion Course, (PNL, 2013). The new recording of these expressive musicians was recorded at the Jazzhouse Club in jny: Copenhagen, but, as can be expected, there is no attempt to form an intimate ...read more
One trio. One guest. A single, forty-two minute, freely improvised piece. That's what you basically have here, but such a bare description doesn't do it justice. The Core Trio--a group that has yet to actually record as a stand-alone trio--has an interesting history that seems to always revolve around personnel twists. The group came to exist as a three-piece when the members of an avant-garde quartet called Rosta decided to disband, but that was just the first of several changes. The Core Trio's first recording brought the core membership--saxophonist Seth Paynter, drummer Richard Cholakian and bassist/leader Thomas ...read more
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