"Hoosier Jazz" isn't an actual sub-genre of music, but that geographical tag fits this album so well. Drummer/Percussionist Mitch Shiner, a graduate of Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, put together a Bloomington-based big band built around his IU chums, be they students, alums, local hotshots or professors. Then he simply fed them some killer arrangements and let them spread their wings. Fly!, the maiden voyage of Mitch Shiner And The BloomingTones Big Band, is a tight set that sparkles with ingenuity. Twists, turns, high spirits, all-out power, parting of the musical seas, and gilded tones are ...read more
Dear Mr. P.C.: I work with a guitarist who I mistakenly thought was playing wrong notes when he took a solo. When I asked him about it, he explained to me that he was anticipating the chord change. My question is, do you have to anticipate a chord change in the same song? Or is it cooler to anticipate a chord in a song that you might be thinking of playing in the next set? --Wanting To Be Cool Dear WTBC: Most jazz artists make it their goal to play in the ...read more
Polyester suits, platform shoes and big hairstyles were in vogue during the 1970's when being cool meant looking the part in spite of the outlandish attire. The music was equally flamboyant and among the many bands, the Australia/ England based Bee Gees, brothers (Barry, Maurice, and Robin Gibb) produced a string of top hits at the height of the Disco era. Canadian jazz trumpeter Darren Barrett shakes the cobwebs off of a few of the group's oldies--but still goodies--in this tribute release that brings back memories with a renewed jazz flavor. Barrett's approach to this selection is ...read more
Garana Jazz Festival Wolf's Meadow Garana, Romania July 10-13, 2014 One of Europe's most visited festivals, taking place on a meadow over 300 ft. high in the Western Carpathians, just had its 18th anniversary. The lineup, a brand mark of the festival director, Marius Giura, combined again tradition with diversity, bringing together American jazz musicians such as Andy Sheppard, Tom Harrell, Joey Defrancesco and Mike Stern, the Nordic jazz representatives Ulf Wakenius, Marius Neset, Arve Henriksen, Stian Westerhus, Jan Bang and Kimmo Pohjonen, as well as a few representative names of the ...read more
Since the turn of the millennium, Marc Baron has taken us on an interesting aural journey (albeit one that could have been more fully documented on disc.) He has evolved from an improvising alto saxophonist--maybe best represented by the sax quartet on Propagations (Potlatch, 2008)--through transitional experiments such as the interesting" Formnction (Potlatch, 2009) by the duo Narthex, on which the sounds of bass and saxophone were replaced by constant frequency electronic tones, and a 2012 album on Cathnor which intriguingly consisted of seven tracks each lasting precisely seven minutes. Now, Hidden Tapes confirms Baron's transformation from instrumentalist ...read more
Bay Area vocalist Laurie Antonioli has been performing and recording for more than 30 years. Early on she mixed paints with the likes of Joe Henderson, Mark Murphy and Pony Poindexter with whom she undertook an 8-month European junket in 1980, quickening her already impressive jazz chops. Antonioli's discography is a slim yet intense affair that is full of brilliant pathos and musicianship. She has had much time pass between releases resulting in a sonic career where her evolution as an artist is experienced in fits and starts. That was, until the release of American Dreams (Intrinsic Music, 2010) when ...read more
In the midst of the numerous sounds any jazz listener can be exposed to, it's hard for a performer to distinguish themselves from the crowd. Guitarist Josh Maxey ,in an undoubtable effort of seeking original sounds, has taken up that challenge since 2011 and composed ten albums. The ninth in this series, Completing the Cycle, sounds like a quest coming to a close. The sounds are profound enough to give food for thought. Their complexity lies in their agreeable touch and mood of reverie. Maxey creates melodies and themes that seemingly revolve around sensations from a journey he ...read more
The exceptional Odeya Nini explores assorted vocal aspects on her debut album, Vougheauxyice (Voice) --as an instrument that structures textural harmony, tonal animation or illuminates minute sounds; vocals that fit into collages of musique concrete; the kinetic characteristics of vocals in space relating to the body, and obviously, her own extended techniques. For Nini, the voice--in its great spectrum and her virtuoso delivery, beginning with innocent, primal articulations progressing through the most refined usages--is a means of inner searching and immediate, intuitive communication. Voice reflects Nini's entire being, body and mind. As she explains, she senses her voice's vibrations, feeling ...read more
According to Wikipedia, the Kármán Line ..."lies at an altitude of 100 kilometres (62 mi) above the Earth's sea level, and commonly represents the boundary between the Earth's atmosphere and outer space." It's as good a name as any for the debut album from sPacemoNkey, a collaboration by two of Norway's most impressive and increasingly influential musicians, despite still being in their early-to-mid thirties: keyboardist Morten Qvenild and drummer Gard Nilssen. Largely the result of spontaneous composition, with just three of its nine tracks being preconceived by Qvenild, sPacemoNkey's music is both as grounded as the world and as ethereal as ...read more
North Sea Jazz Festival 2014 Rotterdam, Netherlands July, 11, 2014 The North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam is the biggest indoor festival in Europe. It is organized by Mojo Concerts and The Security Company, both part of Live Nation Entertainment, a worldwide operating live event mega-organizer (240,000 events annually in 33 countries). The amount of parallel concerts and big names in three days and nights-- starting in the late afternoon--is dizzying. It also evokes a constant desire to see everything, to be somewhere else and hence be on the run permanently. It is a ...read more
There's bebop, there's hard bop--and then there's Thelonious Monk. It's not hard to imagine where the bebop pioneers found their new sound in the late 1940s, after World War II. It emerged from the big bands, which were dying. It was a natural progression. Hard-charging, uber-fast soloists pushed the limits of speed and rhythm, to the chagrin of the jazz establishment, but to the thrill of listeners. It was new, but it wasn't a giant leap--more of an incremental step. Thelonious Monk was there. But it's clear from Genius of Modern Music, Volume 1, that Monk ...read more
With Pharaoh & the Underground we have two generations of musicians whose common bond is their greatness. Tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders--heir to his friend and colleague John Coltrane--and Rob Mazurek, the most inventive cornetist since Louis Armstrong are captured together on Spiral Mercury . The album is a document of a 2013 concert, one of the live performances Mazurek and Sanders have been collaborating on for several years. The two are joined by Mazurek colleagues from various groups; percussionist Maurício Takara from São Paulo Underground, bassist Matt Lux--of the Pulsar Quartet--and drummer Chad Taylor from the Chicago Underground collective. Rounding ...read more
Cyrus Chestnut Midnight Melodies Smoke Sessions 2014 Elegance and economy characterize Cyrus Chestnut's art. Chestnut's career was the one Kenny Kirkland could have had had Kirkland's fate been different. Chestnut (and Evans and Reed) represent the generation given way to with the passings of Mulgrew Miller and Cedar Walton. Chestnut is a keeper of the flame, a lyrical and expressive pianist who likes to use notes in sculpting songs. Midnight Melodies was recorded November 22 & 23, 2013 at New York City's Smoke Jazz Club as part of the club's Smoke Sessions," ...read more
Yosvany Terry is part of the new wave of young Cuban players who have come to these shores during the last decade and established a solid presence based on their artistry and virtuosity. What has distinguished Terry from his counterparts, however, is that while most of the Cubans are either pianists or drummers, his instruments of choice have been the alto and soprano sax. In the meantime, Terry, who is the scion of one of Cuba's musical first families, Los Terry, has been a mainstay on the New York jazz scene playing with the likes of Eddie Palmieri, Roy Hargrove, ...read more
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