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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Art Lillard's Heavenly Big Band: Certain Relationships

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Drummer Art Lillard's Heavenly Big Band continues to spread sunshine and happiness on Certain Relationships, an album recorded in three sessions spanning the half-dozen years between 2005-2011. Of the fifteen selections, nine are vocals --by Pete McGuinness, Hilary Gardner, Andrea Wolper, Mary Foster Conklin or Dominique Eade. In Lillard's optimistic eyes, even the blues are gladsome (as Wolper affirms on Track 5, the buoyant “Happy Blues"). And the shuffling “You Bluesed Me," nicely sung by Conklin, is far more sunny ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rashied Al Akbar / Muhammad Ali / Earl Cross / Idris Ackamoor: Ascent of the Nether Creatures

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The Lithuanian based No Business label deserves an award for its unstinting documentation of the loft jazz scene in NYC during the 1970s and early '80s. Often characterized as a time when nothing was happening, the reality couldn't be further from the truth. With the influx of new talent from the mid-West and California, the performance spaces of lower Manhattan were a hotbed of new ideas, new alliances and experimental fervor. Although not the location, that's the zeitgeist which gave ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

George Spanos: Dreams Beyond

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Drummer George Spanos' exodus from Greece to New York City has resulted in a speedy indoctrination into its fertile nu-jazz scene, performing at The Stone and other popular venues with notables such as electronics wiz Ikue Mori and cellist Erik Friedlander. But Spanos has made the rounds in Europe and Canada, where disparate influences have cultivated his musical persona, evidenced on the rebel rousing and experimental Dreams Beyond, enacted with alternating personnel. The album opens with a trio ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Grateful Dead: Europe ‘72

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When asked the best introduction to the Grateful Dead for the uninitiated, I recommend Europe '72. That opinion has not changed in the intervening 40 years. This tour is one storied in the history of the band. It was the group's great bluesman, Ron “Pigpen" McKernan's last tour before he died of drink at the age of 27 in 1973. It sported the husband a wife teams of Keith and Donna Godchaux who brought a soulful presence to an already ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sue Rynhart: Crossings (Songs For Voice And Double Bass)

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Life is a series of crossings: from ignorance to knowing; fear to courage; love to heartbreak and from one time and place to the next. It's the bare emotions and the mind-sets inherent in such hazy transitions that provide the inspiration for vocalist/composer Sue Rynhart, who is joined here by Dublin-based American double bassist Dan Bodwell in intimate musical communion. The stark setting of voice and bass boldly frames the poetry of Rynhart's lyrics, while the duo explores the rhythmic ...

BAILEY'S BUNDLES

Year of the Mule - Gov't Mule and the Future Past

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What has previously been relegated to Gov't Mule's live downloads have now been released on CD and LP. But first, a little back ground. Gov't Mule adopted a concert practice of Phish, who began (approximately) yearly coverage of a famous “classic" rock album in concert, typically on Halloween. Phish began this practice in 1994 with The Beatles' White Album (Apple, 1968). Gov't Mule began their similar tradition on Halloween and/or New Year's Eve with a covers from ...

INTERVIEWS

Gary Burton: A Lifetime of Collaborations

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This interview was first published at All About Jazz in April 1999. Vibraphonist, composer and teacher, Gary Burton was among the first modern jazz musicians to come out of the fertile American Midwestern musical ground from which Pat Metheny and others later grew. Born in Anderson, Indiana, Burton began his professional career while still a teenager, supporting country guitarist Hank Garland. He began to blossom as a solo artist in the early 1960s as one of the first ...

INTERVIEWS

Gary Burton: The Art of Listening

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This article was originally published at All About Jazz in February 2001. If you had to choose one living musician who has pioneered the current state and techniques of his instrument, championed jazz education and performed with most of the current crop of established, contemporary jazz artists (Chick, Metheny, Jarrett, Herbie) plus has 'discovered' and been instrumental in bringing up new leaders in his own bands (Metheny, Makoto Ozone, Tommy Smith, etc), that would be Gary Burton.



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