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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mary LaRose: Reincarnation

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The best stories are, indeed, the one's you already know. Told over- and-over again, each time a little different. That's comfort food for the ears. Enter vocalist Mary LaRose, recounting the music of Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy, and Ornette Coleman with lyrics she penned and performed as a sympathetic partner to these jazz giants. The singer has visited some of this music before, recording Coleman's “Broken Shadows" and some Mingus on her disc Cutting The Chord (Leadhead Productions, 1995). The difference from that fine record (it is out-of-print, but worth seeking out) is that this version is presented ...

ON AND OFF THE GRID

All About Sonny

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I bet you thought I meant Sonny Rollins. When you hear the name Sonny, it's usually synonymous with Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Fortune or even Sonny Sharrock; all of them jazz heroes. But there is a Sonny you probably have never heard of before who is a super hero.Who is he? His name is Sonny LaRosa. He is an 87 year-old retired jazz trumpeter who lives in Florida and has done more for jazz than anyone I know. He goes beyond Miles Davis, Charlie Parker or Sonny Rollins and a whole slew of others--yes, more than all ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Julien Colarossi: Note to Self

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Since moving to Ireland in 2007, Italian guitarist Julien Colarossi has established himself as one of the busiest hands for hire on the Dublin jazz/contemporary music scene. He can be found in the band of singers Riona Sally Hartman and Edel Meade, and in the quintet Phisqa, whose eponymous debut fuses Peruvian rhythms--courtesy of drummer Cote Calmet--with modern jazz. He's a member of the 17-piece Hot House Big Band and also plays in Colours Afrobeat Foundation. Colarossi's debut as leader reflects his embrace of musical styles, not in any obviously eclectic manner, but rather in the extent of his vocabulary, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sonny LaRosa and the World's Youngest Jazz Band: 28th Anniversary

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Nearly thirty years ago, trumpeter Sonny LaRosa, a transplanted New Yorker living in Florida, decided to use some of his spare time to do something productive. Gathering around him a handful of young wannabe musicians, the former professional trumpeter established America's Youngest Jazz Band, which has been growing in size and talent ever since. The band, whose upper age limit is thirteen, has recorded a number of CDs, with the aptly-titled 28th Anniversary marking its 28th year and the indefatigable LaRosa's 80th birthday.

LaRosa is something of a one-man band himself. He conducts, arranges, chooses the material, rehearses the band ...

AFRICAN JAZZ

South Africa: Pop for a Rainy Day

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South Africa may be best known in the rest of the world for its significant jazz and gospel output, but it's also home to a burgeoning pop scene which merges kwaito (a homegrown techno/hip-hop/house hybrid) with various roots and international influences. These two records exemplify the modern sounds of urban South Africa, a place where restless expansion never gets in the way of having a good time. Out on the dance floor, or inside at home on a rainy day.

Geneses Roll Ova Sheer Sound 2004

Following the 2003 release ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Aros: Train Song

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It might be highly civilized, but Train Song is so unassuming that it never crosses the line into pretense. That's important with music this serious, and it's not to be taken for granted. Aros is an Amsterdam-based sextet co-led by Canadian tenor player Rob Armus and Austrian pianist Marion von Tilzer, and this is the group's second release after a self-titled debut on BVHaast in 2001. Train Song capitalizes on the talents of the group, which include an urbane sophistication coupled with an openness to world music (from tango to West African polyrhythms), improvisation (from light swing to piercing wail), ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sonny LaRosa and America's Youngest Jazz Band: Live at the March of Jazz 2002

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How does one review the debut album by Sonny LaRosa and America's Youngest Jazz Band (which, by the way, is no exaggeration)? It's not enough merely for the reviewer to observe that it leaves him grinning from ear to ear. He must also describe the music. But would that be fair to the musicians or their audience? What standard should be applied to performers whose average age is less than eleven with an “upper limit" of twelve? This ain't Basie, or even your average junior high school band.

On the other hand, LaRosa has somehow managed to instill ...



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