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MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Sonny Clark: Cool Struttin’ – 1958

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Blue Note Records was many things in the 1950s and '60s, but it was never the home of cool jazz. Yes, it was ground zero for hard bop in the '50s. And yes, it was the capital of soul-jazz in the '60s. But to release an album in 1958 (one year after Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool) with the word “cool" in the title was a very un-Blue Note-ish thing. And yet Cool Struttin'--led by pianist Sonny ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Yuri Honing Acoustic Quartet: Desire

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It's been three years since the Yuri Honing Quartet's True (Challenge Records, 2012), a sumptuous all-acoustic affair that was in stark contrast to the powerful, duel electric guitar-driven Wired Paradise. That particular group hasn't recorded since White Tiger (Jazz in Motion Records, 2010), though the retrospective compilation North Sea Jazz Legendary Concerts (Bob City, 2013) captured it and Honing in other settings at the famous Dutch festival between 1996-2012. In between Wired Paradise and his quartet releases Honing collaborated with ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Anders Jormin / Lena Willemark / Karin Nakagawa: Trees of Light

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It's not often that a new recording appears on ECM from Anders Jormin--a bassist who is, perhaps, best-known for his work in fellow Swede Bobo Stenson's ongoing trio, last heard on 2012's superb Indicum (ECM), and for his tenure, alongside Stenson, in Charles Lloyd's career-defining 1990s quartets, collected recently in the Old & New Masters Edition box Quartets (ECM, 2013). But if the bassist's own projects for the label are far from frequent--his last release, 2012's Ad Lucem, and before ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mathias Eick: Midwest

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The northern tier of mid-western America had been a strong draw for Norwegians from the late 1800s into the twentieth-century. Trumpeter and composer, Mathias Eick, in making his own recent journey from Norway to the heartland, discovered a cultural heritage and a familiarity that moved him to set the experience to music. Like Norsemen since the time of Leif Ericson, the impressions of the land and the people provided the catalyst for a unique and holistic representation of this environment ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ab Baars Trio: Slate Blue

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There used to be something about the Dutch jazz scene that made it stand out from American jazz, British jazz, and well, other European happenings. The “New Dutch Swing," to borrow the title from Kevin Whitehead's 1998 book, comprised an irreverent brand of music making, with little regard to tradition. Dutch players leaned heavily on Dada and absurdism as a counterpoint to the American tendency to regard jazz as a classical art form.I say there used to be ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Amy Black: The Muscle Shoals Sessions

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Yes, you can go home again. That place where two generations before you have deep roots, and nostalgia floods the emotions. Vocalist Amy Black is from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, so if anyone has the birthright to walk into legendary Fame Studios to record an album, it's her. On The Muscle Shoals Sessions, she booked the studio, engaged a clan of local musicians, turned it into a labor of love, and in the process laid down a dozen tracks in the ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Two OA2 Records Releases Featuring Pianist Michael Kocour

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Two recent releases from OA2 Records feature piano playing and production by Michael Kocour, a longtime member of the Chicago jazz scene (and a regular sideman with the late James Moody and Benny Golson). He has been director of jazz studies at Arizona State University since 2004. Unhinged Sextet Clarity OA2 Records 2015 Unhinged Sextet sounds like many things--for example: swinging, cohesive, hot--but “unhinged" is not one of them. The group ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Listen To This: Miles Davis And Bitches Brew

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Listen To This: Miles Davis and Bitches Brew Victor Svorinich 202 Pages ISBN: 978-1-62846-194-7 The University Press of Mississippi 2015 Surprisingly, Victor Svorinich's book is the first dedicated exclusively to a study of Miles Davis's ground-breaking album Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970). Surprising, because just about every facet of the iconic trumpeter's career has already been exhaustively documented. Svorinich, a music faculty member of Kean University in Union, New Jersey, previously put the microscope ...



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