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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rachel Therrien: Home Inspiration

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Montreal-based trumpeter and composer Rachel Therrien's second album, Home Inspiration is a salutary reminder of something that the American jazz scene doesn't always seem to acknowledge--there's a thriving, young and imaginative jazz scene up north, in Canada. All the tunes on Home Inspiration are originals, with Therrien taking composer credit for around half of them. They hark back to the glory days of the big bands and to the bebop era, they're rooted in more contemporary sounds as well. Handclaps open proceedings on “To John" before Simon Pagé kicks in on electric bass. Therrien's first appearance ...

LIVE REVIEWS

The Nash Second Anniversary in Phoenix

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The Nash Second Anniversary The Nash/Private Home Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona October 31, November 1-2, 2014 There's something about the way Lewis Nash plays drums. No, there's everything about the way he plays drums--selectively, tastefully, underplaying vs. bombastic; in a word, elegantly. Nash's classy combination of swing and sophistication was abundantly evident during two weekend concerts with two NEA Jazz Masters, tenor/soprano saxophonist Jimmy Heath, 88, and pianist Barry Harris, 84. The legendary beboppers were brilliant stars of the second anniversary for The Nash, a jazz performance and educational facility in Phoenix, operated by Jazz ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Clare Fischer Big Band: Pacific Jazz

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The late Dr. Clare Fischer enjoyed a long and storied career as a composer, arranger, pianist, bandleader and educator, primarily on the West Coast. Luckily, one of those he educated was his son Brent who was at his father's side as a musician and adviser for more than three decades and has safeguarded the Fischer legacy since Clare's passing in January 2012. Pacific Jazz, the second album by the Clare Fischer Big Band under Brent Fischer's supervision, consists of music written and / or arranged by the elder Fischer during his remarkable career alongside a trio of new compositions and ...

LIVE REVIEWS

John Surman at Seventy

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John Surman, Chris Laurence & Trans4mation Quartet Kings Place London Jazz Festival November 14, 2014 The first Friday of this year's London Jazz festival saw John Surman celebrating his seventieth birthday at Kings Place near King's Cross Station. The venue is about as far as it could get from anyone's idea of the smoky dives so readily associated with jazz. It's calm and relaxed, comfortable and, well, polite--in a good way--and most definitely smoke-free. Its contemporary wood-panelled walls and stage give the hall a rather Scandinavian feel, appropriate, perhaps, given Surman now makes his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pierre de Surgères: Krysis

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Belgian pianist Pierre de Surgères is an autodidact musician who pursued a musical career only after he studied journalism and philosophy. So far, that career has been quite erratic, he attended master classes with diverse mentors such as Toots Thielemans and Anthony Braxton, launched a project dedicated to the provocative songs of Serge Gainsbourg, worked in Florida with funky jazz masters like George Duke and Marcus Miller. Surgeres formed a quintet back home featuring acclaimed French saxophonist Alexandra Grimal that played his compositions influenced by traditional jazz and ideas from Steve Coleman's M-Base. Just recently, Surgeres founded the Krysis trio. ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Exit 0 Jazz Festival: Music All Over The Map

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Exit 0 International Jazz Festival Cape May, New Jersey November 7-9, 2014 It's a festival by the bay. Actually, it's by a cape. Or in a cape. Cape May, New Jersey, to be exact. And it has a history. A history by another name as well as its own. For those of you who are familiar with the festival by the cape, now known as the Exit 0 International Jazz Festival, this year's edition was full of the typical variances, yours truly a newbie their style of musical diversity. Only a few of shows are mentioned and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Matthew Sheens: Untranslatable

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With his impressive debut Every Eight Seconds (Self Produced, 2012) garnering universally positive reviews, Australian-born, New York-based pianist Matthew Sheens returns with an even meatier, juicier follow-up. Every Eight Seconds introduced an original composer, one whose melodic and rhythmic ideas championed narrative over virtuosity. There's perhaps more of Sheens the Downbeat poll-winning pianist this time out but significantly Untranslatable ups the ante compositionally, with the Yanni Burton String Quartet leaving an indelible stamp on a third of the tracks. This isn't jazz with strings either, for Sheens' sophisticated string arrangements for two violins, viola, cello and double bass ...



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