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Buddy Guy with Matt Andersen at The Space at Westbury

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Buddy Guy with Matt Andersen The Space at Westbury Westbury, NY November 18, 2014Buddy Guy is a national treasure. The blues titan is one of the last remaining links to the Chess Brothers, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Guitar Slim, Little Walter and Willie Dixon. Whether it is the Chicago blues (of his adopted hometown) or the down home blues of the Delta (where he grew up in Louisiana), Guy is the living embodiment of the genre. On a cold mid-November evening at Westbury, NY's the Space, Guy ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Downes: In the Current

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In the Current, the fifth recording as leader by Canadian bassist Mike Downes--who doubles as composer / arranger--is the second (in a row) with an aqueous theme and the first performed by his “little big band," the Parallel Streams Ensemble. Downes' album Ripple Effect, recorded with his trio and special guest guitarist Ted Quinlan, earned a 2014 Juno Award as Canada's Best Traditional Jazz Album of the Year. The centerpiece of Downes' latest enterprise is the In the Current Suite, which comprises the first half of the album. In it, Downes shows a keen ear for melody ...

BAILEY'S BUNDLES

Holiday 2014: A Cantus Christmas

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Elbowing their way into the male chorus arena from none other than the land of the Norwegian Bachelor Farmers--Minnesota--the nine-voice Cantus squarely challenges San Francisco's Chanticleer for the prize of best traditional Christmas choral release. A frequent performer and favorite of A Prairie Home Companion, Cantus has carved out their rightful place among choral groups. Considered here are the group's two finest Christmas offerings. Cantus All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 Cantus Records 2008 Was this a gradable contest, Cantus would achieve a 10-out-of-10 for sheer inventiveness ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brenda Hopkins Miranda: Aeropiano

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The aphorism that art imitates life is appropriate in describing pianist Brenda Hopkins Miranda. A consummate traveler and beneficiary of a bilingual and bicultural environment, her sense of purpose is to genuinely exploit the piano as a personal extension to convey melodious concepts with deft imagery and drama. Aeropiano is a passage through myriad influences and experiences leading to destinations both real and imagined, where the key is to listen. The title track is introduced by bomba drums courtesy of Tambores Calientes, a hard driving Puerto Rican folkloric ensemble which lays a beat for the percussive piano. Hopkins ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Daryl McKenzie Jazz Orchestra: Return Journey

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Return Journey, the fourth recording --and first in four years --by Daryl McKenzie's splendid Jazz Orchestra from Melbourne, Australia, was inspired in part by McKenzie's visit to the States in 2012 wherein he renewed ties with many of his onetime musical mates and colleagues and briefly returned “home" to the University of North Texas in Denton. One thing that sets the album apart from most other big-band enterprises is the fact that it is comprised entirely of bonzer original compositions (Australian for laudable), all of which were written by members of the ensemble. McKenzie composed and arranged ...

BAILEY'S BUNDLES

Holiday 2014: Three Messiahs

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As surely as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, each October and November brings new editions to the Georg Frederic Handel Messiah catalog. This year is no exception with two fine period performances and one period performance from 2012 that was somehow previously missed and reissued in an abbreviated form. There is more information about Handel's masterpiece found in the previous articles: George Frederic Handel and His Messiah: The Perfect Holiday Collection and Christmas I -A Handel's Messiah Throw Down, 2013.... Harry Christophers, Director; Handel and Haydn Society, Gillian Keith, Daniel Taylor, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Various Artists: It's Christmas On Mack Avenue

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The Detroit-based Mack Avenue imprint has built quite an artist roster over the past fifteen years, so why not boast about it and toast the holidays in the process? It's Christmas On Mack Avenue does just that, turning a spotlight on label mainstays, fairly new signings, heavy hitters, and rapidly ascending stars. It also makes it clear that Christmas is far more interesting on Mack Avenue than it is on Any Street, U.S.A. The album opens on trumpeter Sean Jones' charged take on “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," featuring some strong solo work from the leader ...



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