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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alex Belhaj's Crescent City Quartet: Sugar Blues

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Trad jazz isn't trending on Twitter or climbing the charts, but that doesn't mean it's completely irrelevant in today's musical landscape. There's still a segment of people, both on the delivering and listening ends, who enjoy the way multiple horns can snake around one another in a polyphonic dance of joy, supported and driven by guitar and bass below. Many of these people find themselves drawn to New Orleans, where the music first took firm shape, and that's where the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alex Mendham And his Orchestra: Whistling In The Dark

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Can a recreation of an original replicate it? The short, quick answer is NO!, especially for popular and improvised music. However, the longer, more thoughtful, answer is YES!, especially this music from the twenties and thirties as performed by leader Alex Mendham and his Orchestra. Whistling In The Dark is that rare creation where everyone involved has taken extraordinary measures, from recording techniques used, to the use of original arrangements to bring to the listener something approaching the feeling of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alex Pinto & All India Permit: All India Permit

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The recipient of a Fulbright / Nehru Scholarship, guitarist and composer Alex Pinto chose to study and teach for a year at the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music (SAM) in Tamil Nadu, India. The Seattle native quickly made his way into the burgeoning Indian jazz scene, gathering New Delhi-based drummer Tarun Balani and bassist Abhinav Khokhar to form a potent and limber trio. Their new EP, titled All India Permit fuses jazz-based rhythmic aesthetics with compositional concepts derived from Carnatic music. ...



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