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INTERVIEWS April 16, 2014

Chuck Israels: Tribute to Bill Evans

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By ROBIN ARENDS

Isn't it nice to meet someone who takes time for a good chat in these hectic times? Especially if this person has a lot to tell, carries the living memory of an important part of jazz history, and is called Chuck Israels? Bassist/arranger/composer Chuck Israels is in expansive form for this interview conducted in a room of a former monastery in Oegstgeest, a small town in the Netherlands near the North Sea. He is happy to be reunited again with his long-time friend and pianist Hod O'Brien. During the interview, in the small hall beneath the room, Margot, ...

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MULTIPLE REVIEWS April 16, 2014

Celebrating Blue Note Records 75th With Delicious Vinyl

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By MARK CORROTO

Everything old is new again. Except of course for the timeless music of Blue Note Records which celebrated its 75th anniversary this year. The recordings Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff produced starting in 1939 have been collector's items since day one. While much of the label's music has been re-released in digital format, CDs and in iTunes, current chief Don Was decided to celebrate the 75th by compiling a list of 100 Blue Note Records to be released as remastered vinyl LPs. While half the fun of this list is arguing which other titles should have been included on the ...

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LIVE REVIEWS April 16, 2014

Bradford-Gjerstad Quartet at Philadelphia Art Alliance

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By TYRAN GRILLO

Bradford-Gjerstad Quartet Philadelphia Art Alliance Philadelphia, PA March 29, 2014 Pivot or persevere? It's a question that frames every moment of jazz performance and one that suffused the Philadelphia Art Alliance loft, where on a rainy Saturday cornetist Bobby Bradford, reedman Frode Gjerstad, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, and drummer Frank Rosaly cast their bones and divined whatever messages came spontaneously to mind. Under the auspices of the Ars Nova Workshop, which presents a yearly series of jazz and experimental music happenings, the Bradford-Gjerstad Quartet put theory to practice by collapsing any differences ...

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EXTENDED ANALYSIS April 15, 2014

Scottish National Jazz Orchestra: American Adventure

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By JOHN KELMAN

Sometimes an idea seems great on paper, but in execution doesn't exactly work out as planned. Other times, that same idea doesn't just look great, it actually exceeds already high expectations. When saxophonist Tommy Smith--almost single-handedly responsible for rebuilding a modern jazz scene in his home country of Scotland, where he returned after studying at Boston's Berklee College of Music in the 1980s and releasing a couple of well-regarded albums on Blue Note--brought his Scottish National Jazz Orchestra to the United States in the summer of 2013 for a short tour, he came up with the idea of hitting Avatar ...

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EXTENDED ANALYSIS April 15, 2014

Anne Mette Iversen's Double Life: So Many Roads

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By DAN BILAWSKY

Music making, like life itself, is all about balance. In both worlds, highs and lows, triumphs and tragedies, harmony and melody, chaos and order, the clinical and the emotional, the simple and complex, and so much more are constantly being balanced on the scales. Rarely are things in perfect equilibrium, yet so many people strive to reach that place; bassist Anne Mette Iversen is one of those people, and So Many Roads is her musical treatise on the art of balance. This work initially took shape as a travel down imaginary highways, but Iversen quickly realized that ...

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CATCHING UP WITH April 15, 2014

Barb Jungr: Loving Living Life

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By SAMMY STEIN

Barb Jungr brings her infectious enthusiasm to even the most mundane of things. A stroll in the park is turned into a gleeful discovery as she finds a stand of daffodils; a walk home is turned into delight as Jungr snaps a picture of London by night from a bridge. She has that knack of spotting something you never realized was there and making you look at ordinary things differently. She plays with phrases and words--like 'polyglot,' or 'loop of life' and 'pants' (to mean something is rubbish, in this case the M6 motorway). Jungr loves words--she loves music, people, ...

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INTERVIEWS April 14, 2014

Brian Blade: Fellowship - More Than Just a Word

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By JOHN KELMAN

In the 21st century, few drummers have managed Brian Blade's kind of crossover success. Beyond playing in saxophonist Wayne Shorter's quartet for nearly 15 years, beyond being a first-call drummer for producer/singer/songwriter Daniel Lanois--whether it's for his own projects like Black Dub or working with everyone from Bob Dylan to EmmyLou Harris--and beyond also being on-call with some of the most important names in modern music (not just jazz, but music) like Joni Mitchell, Norah Jones, John Scofield and Kenny Werner, Blade has forged a dual-career as both the co-founder of his more jazz-centric The Fellowship Band, and as an ...

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EXTENDED ANALYSIS April 14, 2014

Mark Weinstein: Latin Jazz Underground

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By DAN BILAWSKY

Has flautist Mark Weinstein run out of ideas on how to merge various dialects of Latin jazz with other musical tongues? The answer is a resounding “no." Latin Jazz Underground finds Weinstein saluting the loft jazz scene of the '70s by tackling the work of jazz iconoclasts-turned-icons--pianist Andrew Hill and saxophonists Ornette Coleman and Sam Rivers--and like- minded originals. That concept, in and of itself, doesn't distinguish this project, as plenty of people have traveled down those thorny paths, so the twist comes with the infusion of Afro-Cuban ideals. Such a marriage is a risky union, but ...

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EXTENDED ANALYSIS April 14, 2014

Sons of Kemet: Burn

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By PHIL BARNES

The first thing you notice about Shabaka Hutchings' latest project, Sons of Kemet, is the unexpectedly large feel to the recording's soundscape. Not only does it have the hallmarks of a warmer analogue past but the reverb is at times extraordinary, being akin to hearing the band play in an immense auditorium with twice as many musicians as the relatively paltry core quartet listed in the credits. Drummer and producer Seb Rochford explained in interview that this was achieved by passing the band's microphones through echo machines from which he did live improvised takes that were underlaid behind the original ...

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TAKE FIVE WITH... April 13, 2014

Take Five With Mário Franco

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By MARIO FRANCO

Meet Mario Franco: Mário Franco was born in 1965 and started music lessons when he was four years old in Centro Estudos Gregorianos. Franco studied music theory with Maria José Godinho then with Cristina Brito da Cruz in the Academia de Amadores De Música. During his time at Academia Amadores De Música, he initated double bass and chamber music with Fernando Flores and composition with Pedro Rocha. Franco attended double bass courses with Ludwig Strecher in Estoril and won 1st prize in the Prémio Jovens Músicos. Later he became a member of the Orquestra Sinfónica Juvenil where ...

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EXTENDED ANALYSIS April 13, 2014

Ola Kvernberg Trio: Northern Tapes

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By JOHN KELMAN

It's been three years since Ola Kvernberg released the ambitious Liarbird (Jazzland, 2011), a studio document of his 2010 Molde International Jazz Festival commission where guest Joshua Redman was recruited for the live performance, but where, far more than a ringer for Kvernberg, Redman was clearly awestruck by this virtuosic young violinist/composer. It's not that Kvernberg hasn't been busy, either: in addition to being a featured soloist, the same year, with Motorpsycho's progressive rock-heavy collaboration with Supersilent/Elephant9 keyboardist Ståle Storløkken, the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and Trondheimsolistene string ensemble for another staggering live performance later documented on the even more impressive ...

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TAKE FIVE WITH... April 13, 2014

Take Five With Carole Troll

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By CAROLE TROLL

Meet Carole Troll: I am a jazz vocalist, professional actor, writer, activist and small business owner. I've appeared at numerous jazz venues and clubs, have been seen on several episodes of the Law and Order franchise as well as many other commercials, television and film projects. I am always looking to collaborate and perform with great musicians! Instrument(s): Vocals. Teachers and/or influences? Of the numerous influences, Sarah Vaughan is at the top of the list. I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I was old enough to know ...

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EXTENDED ANALYSIS April 12, 2014

John Carter & Bobby Bradford: Tandem

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By JOHN EYLES

The music on the double CD Tandem (remastered) was all previously available on two single Emanem CDs, Tandem 1 and Tandem 2, released in 1996. They have now been withdrawn and replaced by this release. In the process the music has been programmed in a more sensible order and, as the album title highlights, the sound of the recordings has been improved. Cook and Morton's The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings said of Tandem 1 that “the sound on these live recordings is pretty deplorable," which has always seemed rather a harsh judgment given that many listeners have enjoyed it ...

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EXTENDED ANALYSIS April 12, 2014

Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration Deluxe Edition

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By JOHN KELMAN

A star-studded show celebrating the music of Bob Dylan, televised around the world thirty years after the release of his first Columbia recording, 1962's Bob Dylan, could have been seen as swan song; after all, Dylan was in a period of songwriting inactivity that would last from 1990 through to his potent reemergence with 1997's Time Out of Mind (Columbia) and a less prolific but still impressive period ever since. But at the time, nobody knew if Dylan the songwriter was finished. In fact, nobody even knew if Dylan was going to show up to his own party at New ...

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