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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Billy Childs: Map To The Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro

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The latter day jazz community, by and large, has embraced songwriting icons from the other side of the fence. Numerous artists associated with jazz have visited in on Bob Dylan's iconic work, explored the dark soul of Tom Waits, reshaped the poetic work(s) of Leonard Cohen, and/or tapped into the Joni Mitchell well. But what of Laura Nyro? The woman behind such under-appreciated classics as “Stoned Soul Picnic," “And When I Die," “Eli's Comin,'" and “Wedding Bell Blues" has largely been ignored in jazz circles, but that all seems to be changing. Vocalist Mark Winkler got the ball rolling by ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra: A Beautiful Friendship

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Sometimes, just when it seems things couldn't possibly get any better, they do. That is certainly the case with A Beautiful Friendship, the spectacular new recording by arranger Gary Urwin's superlative southern California-based Jazz Orchestra. Having released three earlier albums showcasing the exceptional artistry of tenor saxophonist Pete Christlieb and / or trombonist Bill Watrous, Urwin has upped the ante and pulled out all the stops on this one, not only re-enlisting Christlieb and Watrous for a consistently pleasing encore performance but enlivening the menu with yet another appetizing component, namely Carl Saunders, one of the most versatile and creative ...

NEW YORK BEAT

Spok Frevo Orquestra at Jazz at Lincoln Center

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Frevo--a feverish, exuberant dance music from the state of Pernambuco in northeastern Brazil--made its Big Apple debut last night (October 25th, 2014) at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Appel Theater. Virtually unknown in the U.S., it was originated by a composer known as Zuzinha as a street martial arts/ dance music and organized around carnival in cities like Recife in 1907, taking its name from the Portuguese verb “ferver"--to boil. It was presented by the Spok Frevo Orquestra--a group constructed along the lines of a typical American jazz band with brass, reeds and a rhythm section. The leader/ alto saxophonist / ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alexander McCabe / Paul Odeh: This Is Not A Pipe

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The title is, presumably, a nod to “Ceci, C'est Ne Pas Une Pipe," the phrase which Rene Magritte wrote on his famous painting La Trahison Des Images. The painting wasn't, of course, a pipe, just a painting of a pipe. This Is Not A Pipe isn't a pipe either--it isn't even a painting of a pipe. So what is it? Alto saxophonist Alexander McCabe and pianist Paul Odeh have the answer--it's a recording of eight tunes, three standards and five originals.Okay, that's a rather prosaic if factually correct description. More importantly, it's a recording of an alto/piano duo ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Makiko Hirabayashi: Surely

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Surely, the pianist Makiko Hirabayashi Trio's third album, is both utterly captivating and immediately enjoyable. It is also, however, rather disquieting to anyone who listens more deeply because this music flatly refuses to be pinned down. Here, the whole is much more than the sum of the parts, but the parts remain in paradoxical relation to each other. For sure, the question, “What is Jazz?" will not be answered by Surely. Hirabayashi's, and by extension, the Trio's, art is full of seeming contradictions: superficial simplicity is supported by subtle complexity; harmonically, it is neither “in" nor “out"--there are ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five With Dr. Jack Cooper

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Meet Dr. Jack Cooper: Jack Cooper, has a wide range of experience as a performer, composer, and educator. His most recent CD recording of his compositions/arrangements, Mists: The Music of Charles Ives for Jazz Orchestra (Planet Arts Records, 2014) was released in August to critical acclaim in the Chicago Tribune and All About Jazz. His compositions and arrangements have been performed and/or recorded by the Dallas Wind Symphony, the Westchester Jazz Orchestra, the Woody Herman Orchestra, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the Grand Junction Symphony, the Summit Jazz Orchestra (Germany), the U.S. Army “Jazz Ambassadors," the U.S. Navy ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Lulo Reinhardt Latin Swing Project At The Belfast Festival 2014

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Lulo Reinhardt Latin Swing Project Belfast Festival / Elmwood Hall Belfast October 24, 2014 What's in a name? Quite a lot if it happens to be Reinhardt. That surname still excites press and public alike more than sixty years after the death of guitarist Django Reinhardt. It also generates a high degree of expectation. The Belfast audience was primed for a show of breathtaking gypsy-jazz virtuosity from guitarist Lulo Reinhardt, great-nephew of Django. Doubtless too, many were expecting some of Django's tunes, several of which have become part of the jazz standard repertoire.



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