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Thana Alexa: Singer And Instrument

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Music started tugging at the sleeve at the age of three for Thana Alexa, a New York based singer who began making music there as a violinist, moved to Croatia where she discovered jazz, and returned as a singer poised to sweep into a successful career. It started with the piano--kind of. Her tinkering with a toy piano so impressed her mother that she nearly started her career as a budding pianist. Instead, she gravitated to violin, at ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alexander Hawkins: Alexander Hawkins Trio

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Oxford, UK native Alexander Hawkins continues to chart a course that will inevitably place him in the creative category of pianist/composers of the caliber of Cecil Taylor and Andrew Hill. It is simply a matter of time before this is a young artist--who has an abundance of time--along with a distinctive, broad and progressive vision, comes to wider attention. In his relatively brief career to date, Hawkins has worked as a leader in nonet, ensemble, quartet and solo formats, now ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Monty Alexander Harlem-Kingston Express Vol. 2: The River Rolls On

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Versatile pianist Monty Alexander has been around long enough, and played through a myriad of styles and ensemble configurations, in a constant quest to get it right. Since his foray back to his Jamaican roots in “Jamento" (1978 Pablo Records) there has been numerous reggae influenced recordings highlighted by his covering the Bob Marley catalog in his 1999 Telarc release “Stir It Up." This struck a nerve with a responding public and rejuvenated his approach and direction, taking it back ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alex Sipiagin: Balance 38-58

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Jazz fans who have followed trumpeter Alex Sipiagin's career thus far will have noticed that he likes to approach his original (and highly unique) music differently on each new album he presents. His 2013 release on the distinguished Criss Cross label, Overlooking Moments, presented his music in a stripped-down, chord-less quartet setting and focused on the dynamic interplay between Sipiagin, tenor-giant Chris Potter, and the formidable rhythm section of Scott Colley and Eric Harland. In contrast, his excellent 2011 sextet ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alex Norris Organ Quartet: Extension Deadline

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Extension Deadline isn't the first organ-based date that trumpeter Alex Norris put together. It is, however, the first one to see the light of day. In the liner notes for this satisfying quartet outing, Norris notes that he recorded an organ-centric record in the '90s, but that record was shelved. So it is with great satisfaction that he sees this record to its release on the BJU Records imprint. While Norris has been a fixture on the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Giovanni di Domenico - Alexandra Grimal: Chergui

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These duets by like-minded improvisers, Giovanni di Domenico (piano) and Alexandra Grimal (saxophones) were recorded over two-nights at a Paris theater, radiating classical recital hall-like sonic characteristics. Overall, these two-discs spotlight the artists' symmetrical encounters and intuitive dialogues, spanning core improvisational aspects, nouveau classical applications and jazzy choruses. Nonetheless, the musicians dig deep while interrogating each other's spur of the moment thoughts and supplying a collection of glistening contrasts, whether sublime or when they raise the energy level.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alex Baboian: Curiosity

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Guitarist Alex Baboian's debut Curiosity is an intimate, contemplative and supremely lyrical work that draws from his various influences to create a cohesive whole. Admixed with seven Baboian originals are a classic Beatles song, a 1950s pop standard and a modern electronic tune; here stripped down to its melodic core. All ten are delivered with the same understated elegance and slow simmering passion. His “Mulatu" explores ethio-jazz flavored grooves with the spicy sound of a two-reed frontline. Clarinetist ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alex García’s AfroMantra: This Side of Mestizaje

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From the word go, this tight band shows its mettle with upbeat lyricism as evidenced in the opener “Believe." A Chick Corea Return to Forever era influence is apparent with “11:11 Spirit," Fender Rhodes to the fore. The title track clearly displays what a drum-led group sounds like, Alex Garcia's intelligent and incisive percussion beating a path for the others to follow. The irresistible theme of “Azul Infinito" burns into the memory banks just as ...



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