The borough of Kings (County)--a.k.a. Brooklyn, NY--has been saxophonist Eric Wyatt's home base from birth. It was there that he was exposed to jazz, met some of the legends of the music, and began to forge his own voice on saxophone. Here, on his fifth album to date, he delivers an intense brew that speaks volumes about what he's learned during his time in Brooklyn. Wyatt is a no holds barred player with an edge to his work. Thankfully, he found some simpatico quartet mates that are willing and able to match his energy level on this ...read more
Translating guitarist/producer Daniel Lanois' evocative guitar and ability to create stratified soundscapes into soundtrack music for actor Billy Bob Thornton's directorial debut Sling Blade may seem an unusual choice, but the outcome turns into an interesting and unique blend of his darker, moodier incidental guitar and a variety of other instrumental touches. Lanois' music has always been about mood and ambience and other people have benefited from his unusual gift of capturing or creating all kinds of ambiences. This multitalented musician, thinker and a driving force behind the creation of many great records is a creator of sonic witchcraft. His ...read more
It's been a good year for Jeremy Lyons. In March, the Belfast tenor saxophonist's dectet opened the Brilliant Corners 2014 jazz festival with a resounding set before an enthusiastic home audience. Here, stripped back to the more intimate surroundings of a quartet, Lyons' debut as leader brings together seasoned pros from the UK jazz scene on a set of his original compositions that are straight ahead in conception. The rhythm section of bassist Vicky Tilson and drummer Buster Birch is both empathetic and energizing, buoying and cajoling the lead lines pursued by Lyons and guitarist Ben McDonnell. Lyons ...read more
Vinicius Cantuaria and Bebel Gilberto Brasil Summerfest at Celebrate Brooklyn Brooklyn, New York July 18, 2014 On the opening night of the third edition of the city-wide Brasil Summerfest, guitarist Vinicius Cantuaria took the stage with his quintet. He played a semi-acoustic guitar and started with a syncopated instrumental interlude that led into Gilberto Gil's Procissão," a tune whose irony-filled lyrics wax critical against the blind faith of religious communities in Brazil. His delivery was quite personal, often singing down to a whisper, and leaving plenty of space for his improvisational riffing ...read more
Guitarist Ross Hammond is building upon his conspicuous artistic persona as a new wave jazz and improvisational guitarist, composer who aligns with fellow West Coast denizens, including seminal Southern California based woodwind ace Vinny Golia and others. With a dozen albums under his belt, the guitarist has exponentially pushed the envelope, largely with great success. He also possesses an idiosyncratic style, where unanticipated curveballs, off-center phrasings and variable use of distortion techniques have become a primary component of his rangy articulations. Humanity Suite--reviewed on LP format--is one continuous, extended work that translates Hammond's emotive sensibilities into a long-form musical statement, ...read more
Norwegian vocal artist Stine Janvin Motland is known for highly original, extended vocal techniques. Her range and imagination mark new frontiers for the natural acoustics of the human voice. Motland previously recorded with drummer Ståle Liavik Solberg in MotSol, and with he and local sax hero Frode Gjerstad, plus American cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm in the quartet VCDC. She has slap worked with her home-town, Stavanger-based Kitchen Orchestra and collaborated with other Scandinavian sonic innovators like Maja Ratkje and Mats Gustafson. Her two solo albums feature two different forms. Stine Janvin motland OK Wow +3dB 2014 ...read more
Swedish pianist and composer Klas Nevrin, known for his ongoing collaborations with reed player Fredrik Ljungkvist in Ljungkvist's bands Yun Kan 5 and Yun Kan 10 and in the Norwegian- Swedish quartet Honeyleap, suggests a new arresting sonic aesthetic in his new solo album. His compositions forge a middle path between the rock-inspired lineage of free jazz and the ultra- minimalist school of contemporary improvisation, without settling for any of these contrasting aesthetics. Furthermore, Nevrin applied alternative, non-Western micro-tonal intonation systems to his compositions, such as the Indian Raga or the Balinese Gamelan, following innovative composers and improvisers who were ...read more
With Vincent Herring's alto providing the clarion call that ushers in the troops for a quicksilver performance entitled Elation," it became clear that the analog warmth of this particular vinyl release possessed a tangible charm that was undeniable. So while this reviewer had previously reviewed Herring's The Uptown Shuffle as heard in the CD format and found the overall set quite enjoyable, there seemed to be a more visceral punch to the performance on vinyl that somehow managed to form a stronger connection. This would hold true of the other performances contained on a very limited edition ...read more
Music and therapy aren't so different. In fact, many view music as therapy; it provides an outlet for expression for those who create, it helps those on the receiving end to find meaning in life, and it provides the means for people on both sides to look inside and beyond themselves. Countless individuals understand the nexus between these two worlds, as it's what draws them toward music in the first place, but vocalist Audrey Martin has actually lived it. Martin's passion for the arts was evident early on. She studied theater, voice, and dance in college, but ...read more
UK native and multi-media artist Phillip Blackburn approaches the musical structures on Music of Shadows as part naturalist, part classical composer and brings the two elements together in an avant-garde narrative. Blackburn's works have been performed in numerous outdoor settings and art galleries as well as on traditional stages. The physical locations of performances are an integral component in his creative process and production as he looks to have his pieces exist as mobile entities rather than static works. Music of Shadows consists of three long compositions, the lengthiest being the twenty-seven minute opener, Dry Spell." This ...read more
Despite having yet to make a breakthrough in North America, in the space of less than five years Marius Neset has gone from virtual unknown to one of Europe's hottest properties, gigging with his quartet all around the continent, including an incendiary showcase at the 2012 Jazzahead! trade show in Germany and an even more searing set at the 2014 Jazzkaar festival in Estonia. That this young Norwegian-born/Denmark- based saxophonist (still on the shy side of 30) has managed to achieve so much in so little time is not only evidenced by Lion, but by his carrying enough weight to ...read more
Sisters Where forms another installment in the fertile collaboration between French bassist Joëlle Léandre and American flutist Nicole Mitchell, following on from Before After (Rogue Art, 2011) and Flowing Stream (Leo Records, 2014). One enduring feature of the pairing is the attractive opposition of high and low ends represented by their respective axes, although of course Léandre can effortlessly traverse that divide with her virtuosic bow handling. What further helps make the session work so well is that each includes a healthy dose of lyricism in their discourse, alongside more extended techniques. But it is their sense of improvisatory fun ...read more
Those of us who know better laughed, snickered, recently, when we read that Harlem-based vocalist extraordinaire Mansur Scott was a rising star." We will agree that he is definitely a star" because he always shines when he sings. His first album, Sometimes Forgotten Sometimes Remembered (Pao Records, 2010), was excellent and caught the attention of a great deal of music lovers. His latest recording, Great Voices Of Harlem (Pao Records) includes two other singers, Gregory Porter and Donald Smith, who shine, too. Porter, he of the velvety-heavily- church influenced chops, who is one of hottest acts ...read more
Danish guitarist Lars Bech Pilgaard is known for restless, left-of-center aesthetics that characterize his solo efforts and work in bands such as SVIN and Slowburn. In 2012 he released a limited edition, handmade solo disc featuring mostly low-fi recordings. Now he continues with the same collector's- item, do-it- yourself philosophy. This release featured only 100 12 vinyl copies, with handmade covers. I Want You To Be Around Me was recorded at the former train station Lygten in outer Copenhagen, enjoying great acoustics in the old stone building. Bech Pilgaard employs different tunings, preparations and alterations of ...read more
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