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
"Free Jazz" and Avant-Garde Jazz" are catch phrases often associated with musical pioneers such as Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor but more broadly refer to music that goes outside of the mainstream of melody, harmony, rhythm, and structure. When that happens, opinions and emotions abound. Reactions vary from disgust to excitement and enthusiasm, and it is rare to find a balanced view on the subject. The question arises, why does the same music so strongly attract and repel? To seek answers to this and related questions about music that presses the limits of the expectable, All About Jazz initiated a ...read more
Los Angeles-based pianist/composer Greg Reitan's Some Other Time (Sunnyside Records) vied for the honors of Debut of the Year" in 2009. Using his same trio--with bassist Jack Daro and drummer Dean Koba--Reitan followed up that auspicious start with two more outstanding sets, Antibes (2010) and Daybreak (2011), both for the Sunnyside label. With this same trio--they have been together since 1996--he has honed an elegant and polished sound, drawing on a Bill Evans influence--the light touch, subtle dynamics, translucent harmonic beauty. Post No Bills builds on that approach, with a bit more of an edge this time around, ...read more
Stacy Kent The Changing Lights Warner Bros. Records 2013 Stacey Kent has had an impressive musical run: Breakfast on the Morning Tram (Blue Note, 2007, for which she was nominated for a Grammy Award), Raconte- moi... (Blue Note, 2010), Dreamer In Concert (Blue Note, 2011) just being her previous three recordings of her ten releases as a leader. She is intelligent, polyglot and capable of performing in any genre or language. Her voice is one of soft evenness, it has a delicate density that extend over her impressive range. ...read more
The uncommonly talented Mike LeDonne continues his transition from piano to Hammond B3, if that is what one may call it, with yet another superb album, the suitably named I Love Music. And while using the organ throughout is a good idea, it is but the first of two, as whenever LeDonne schedules a recording session he's almost sure to invite his friend and colleague, the stellar tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, a decision that is bound to please almost any listener. As a matter of record, Alexander has been a member of LeDonne's Groover Quartet" for more than fourteen years, ...read more
As a top session guitarist in his native Israel, Oz Noy was at home playing jazz, blues, funk, and rock. Since emmigrating to the United States in 1996 he has been based in New York City where he has become a regular fixture on the local jazz scene, including his standing gig at the Bitter End. He plays a Stratocaster with a tone, feel, and energy that is likely to appeal to fans of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix, but also with a level of musical sophistication worthy of jazz guitarists like John Scofield and Mike Stern. He considers ...read more
Saxophone and drum duos aren't as rare as some might believe, but a good percentage of such encounters are challenging, left-leaning affairs. John Coltrane's edgy encounters with Rashied Ali on Interstellar Space (Impulse!, 1974) emboldened many in the so-called avant-garde to marry these instruments time and again over the ensuing decades, yet few centrists seem as interested or willing to explore that territory. That's why a recording such as this, featuring man-for-all-seasons saxophonist Steve Wilson and paragon-of-class drummer Lewis Nash, is so special. Nash, an occasional leader and first-call side man who's worked with everybody from vocalist ...read more
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