With Vincent Herring's alto providing the clarion call that ushers in the troops for a quicksilver performance entitled Elation," it became clear that the analog warmth of this particular vinyl release possessed a tangible charm that was undeniable. So while this reviewer had previously reviewed Herring's The Uptown Shuffle as heard in the CD format and found the overall set quite enjoyable, there seemed to be a more visceral punch to the performance on vinyl that somehow managed to form a stronger connection. This would hold true of the other performances contained on a very limited edition ...read more
Music and therapy aren't so different. In fact, many view music as therapy; it provides an outlet for expression for those who create, it helps those on the receiving end to find meaning in life, and it provides the means for people on both sides to look inside and beyond themselves. Countless individuals understand the nexus between these two worlds, as it's what draws them toward music in the first place, but vocalist Audrey Martin has actually lived it. Martin's passion for the arts was evident early on. She studied theater, voice, and dance in college, but ...read more
UK native and multi-media artist Phillip Blackburn approaches the musical structures on Music of Shadows as part naturalist, part classical composer and brings the two elements together in an avant-garde narrative. Blackburn's works have been performed in numerous outdoor settings and art galleries as well as on traditional stages. The physical locations of performances are an integral component in his creative process and production as he looks to have his pieces exist as mobile entities rather than static works. Music of Shadows consists of three long compositions, the lengthiest being the twenty-seven minute opener, Dry Spell." This ...read more
Despite having yet to make a breakthrough in North America, in the space of less than five years Marius Neset has gone from virtual unknown to one of Europe's hottest properties, gigging with his quartet all around the continent, including an incendiary showcase at the 2012 Jazzahead! trade show in Germany and an even more searing set at the 2014 Jazzkaar festival in Estonia. That this young Norwegian-born/Denmark- based saxophonist (still on the shy side of 30) has managed to achieve so much in so little time is not only evidenced by Lion, but by his carrying enough weight to ...read more
Sisters Where forms another installment in the fertile collaboration between French bassist Joëlle Léandre and American flutist Nicole Mitchell, following on from Before After (Rogue Art, 2011) and Flowing Stream (Leo Records, 2014). One enduring feature of the pairing is the attractive opposition of high and low ends represented by their respective axes, although of course Léandre can effortlessly traverse that divide with her virtuosic bow handling. What further helps make the session work so well is that each includes a healthy dose of lyricism in their discourse, alongside more extended techniques. But it is their sense of improvisatory fun ...read more
Those of us who know better laughed, snickered, recently, when we read that Harlem-based vocalist extraordinaire Mansur Scott was a rising star." We will agree that he is definitely a star" because he always shines when he sings. His first album, Sometimes Forgotten Sometimes Remembered (Pao Records, 2010), was excellent and caught the attention of a great deal of music lovers. His latest recording, Great Voices Of Harlem (Pao Records) includes two other singers, Gregory Porter and Donald Smith, who shine, too. Porter, he of the velvety-heavily- church influenced chops, who is one of hottest acts ...read more
Danish guitarist Lars Bech Pilgaard is known for restless, left-of-center aesthetics that characterize his solo efforts and work in bands such as SVIN and Slowburn. In 2012 he released a limited edition, handmade solo disc featuring mostly low-fi recordings. Now he continues with the same collector's- item, do-it- yourself philosophy. This release featured only 100 12 vinyl copies, with handmade covers. I Want You To Be Around Me was recorded at the former train station Lygten in outer Copenhagen, enjoying great acoustics in the old stone building. Bech Pilgaard employs different tunings, preparations and alterations of ...read more
Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World's Rarest 78 rpm Records Amanda Petrusich 272 Pages ISBN: # 978-1451667059 Scribner 2014 The text for Jonathan Edwards' famous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" was based on the Old Testament scripture of Deuteronomy 32:35: Their foot shall slide in due time." But, rather than referring to the Christian unconverted, this admonition applies equally well to those humans innocently taking ownership of a dusty and scratched 78 rpm 10-inch shellac disc from ...read more
Baby do Brasil Brasil Summerfest at Blue Note Jazz Club New York, NY July 21, 2014 On her second performance as part of the lineup for the 2014 edition of Brasil Summerfest (she performed the previous evening at the South Street Seaport), legendary Brazilian singer Baby do Brasil was backed by a stellar band. Rounded out by Skoota (drums ), Mike Ciro (guitar), Jon Deley (keyboards), Ze Grey (bass ) Daniel Sadownick (percussion), Julie Acosta (trumpet), and Mark Miller (trombone), they kicked off the set with a Portuguese-language gospel-meets-funk tune featuring strong ...read more
2014 Ljubljana Jazz Festival 2014 Ljubljana, Slovenia July 2-5, 2014 Ljubljana--capital of the Republic of Slovenia, member of EU, neighbored by Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Italy--hosts the oldest jazz festival in Europe, which held its 55th edition this year. The event is usually organized by Cankarjev House--Cankarjev Dom, in Slovenian--a prestigious, state-run cultural centre in midtown Ljubljana, residing in one half of an impressive twin tower building, the other part being the National Bank of Slovenia. Ljubljana is situated near the Alps in the west and the Adriatic part of the Mediterranean Sea in ...read more
The concept of a jazz-informed program of Joni Mitchell tunes isn't exactly novel anymore. Herbie Hancock's high profile River: The Joni Letters (Verve, 2007) took home two Grammy Awards; vocalist Tierney Sutton got some well-deserved attention when she put her own spin on Mitchell's work with After Blue (BFM, 2013); somewhat under-the-radar releases from artists like David Lahm and Rachel Z have made something of an impact on a smaller scale; and numerous other albums that aren't necessarily built around Mitchell's work have been sprinkled with her songs. Joni Mitchell has become something of a lodestar for ...read more
Released in celebration of composer Harrison Birtwistle's 80th birthday; his Chamber Music on the ECM label, is a collection of introspective, minimalistic and superbly abstract mesmerizing works. The four pieces share a subtle yet definite theatricality and a sense of deep contemplation that has a visceral impact.His Trio" opens with pianist Till Fellner's furious, rapid-fire percussive notes followed by the gentle brooding strings. This contrast sets a tense ambience that is maintained throughout the composition by alternating Fellner's independent and assertive monologues with violinist Lisa Batiashvili's and cellist Adrian Brendel's angular yet supremely lyrical duets. The trio only ...read more
Positive energy flows and pleasing melodies abound in Chasing Beauty by guitarist and composer Francesco Lo Castro, the fifth album released on his own label. Using an array of outstanding musicians, voice and instrumentation, Lo Castro creates a sonic canvass that's reminiscent of artists Pat Metheny and Mike Stern. Throughout the disc, Lo Castro displays an innate skill and sensibility in relation to his supporting musicians, instinctively knowing when to hold back and also when to unleash their joyful vigor. The opening track Dresdin" sets the aura of the entire album, creating an atmospheric quality and keen sense ...read more
Born on the island of Dominica and raised on St. Thomas, USVI, trombonist Reginald Cyntje has been mixing cultural heritage with black American music from the beginning. Growing up in the US Virgin Islands (USVI), Cyntje was immersed in the rich cultural music known as Quelbe (the official music of the USVI), which is based primarily on African, European and North American cultures and musical structures. One of the key characteristics of Quelbe is that there is improvising in the music and this was one of the key elements that Cyntje delighted in. Cyntje states One of my favorite Quelbe ...read more
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