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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jason Ajemian: Folklords

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Folklords is one of the most adventurous albums to be issued by Delmark Records since Levels and Degrees of Light, the auspicious recording debut of pianist and composer Muhal Richard Abrams in 1967. Bassist Jason Ajemian's second effort for the venerable label, following 2008's The Art of Dying, conceptually surpasses his prior work by leaps and bounds. It shares significant similarities with Abrams' premiere, including the use of spoken word and expansive dynamics that veer from impressionistic balladry to rhapsodic free jazz. The first in a series of planned homages to acknowledged masters, the arrival of Folklords coincides ...

THE VINYL POST

Everything Old is Blue Again: Hank Mobley, McCoy Tyner, Grant Green and Horace Silver

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If you are a Blue Note fan, you undoubtedly know that over the course of their 75th anniversary year Blue Note has been reissuing important titles from the catalog at a rate of about five albums per month. It is really a fast-paced program that will appeal to folks on many levels. Some might be starting out and looking for their first copies of these iconic albums, while more seasoned collectors might be looking to fill in gaps in their collection. But one thing is certain, at about twenty bucks a pop, none but the wealthiest of collectors will be ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five With Endre Huszar

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Meet Endre Huszar: “Versatility" is probably the word that would describe best Endre Huszár's career: beside being a musician/composer, he is also known as a journalist and media expert. While playing with many leading Hungarian acts in a wide range of genres from pop, alternative rock to jazz and world music, he formed his jazz fusion project, the 9:30 Collective in 1995. Meanwhile, he also contributed to other projects as a sound engineer and arranger and composed music for commercials, theater and various other applications. In addition to his musical work, he was the operational director of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Howard McGhee: Howard McGhee West Coast 1945-1947

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Bebop trumpet pioneer Howard McGhee has undergone a lengthy process of rediscovery and reassessment since his death in 1987. A one-time Downbeat Poll Winner (1947), it's probably not much of an exaggeration to say he had been largely forgotten, even by trumpet players. Yet Gunther Schuller (1989) and Scott DeVeaux (1997) soon published searching and sophisticated analyses of his contribution and playing. More recently, trumpet player Brian Lynch offers a terrific appreciation of McGhee in his “Unsung Heros of Jazz Trumpet" project, suggesting how McGhee took Roy Eldridge in his own, distinctive direction. Of course, there's also a lot of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Afro Bop Alliance: Angel Eyes

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Latin Grammy Award-winning group Afro Bop Alliance lend their infectious hard-driving and percussive Latin-tinged sound to Angel Eyes, the group's fifth album staking one more claim for yet another future Latin Grammy nod. Known for their percolating percussion as well as dipping into straight ahead jazz, this Washington D.C. based octet lets the rumba rumble, the cha-cha churn and the samba simmer on another exciting energizing album of note. Led by drummer/percussionist and Afro Bop Alliance founder Joe McCarthy, the band also consist of a three-piece horn section a bassist, pianist, a vocalist and Victor Provost on the steel pans. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Blue-Eyed Hawk: Under The Moon

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London-based quartet Blue-Eyed Hawk's debut recording has benefited from three years of gigging and the slow stewing of ideas. Collectively, singer Lauren Kinsella, trumpeter Laura Jurd, guitarist Alex Roth and drummer Corrie Dick sounds like the finished article, which whets the appetite for future chapters. With writing duties spread evenly, the quartet soars over wide stylistic terrain, from susurrus, folksy balladry and sophisticated pop to psychadelic rock and punkish struts. It all blends wonderfully, like a heady cross between Bjork, Patti Smith and Moetar. For label seekers, art-rock might satisfactorily describe Blue-Eyed Hawk's aesthetic, but boxes aside, ...

INTERVIEWS

Wil Blades: Groooooovin'

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"I love the blues," says Wil Blades, a Hammond B3 whiz who didn't come to the instrument until he left his hometown of jny: Chicago and was going to college in California. He doesn't remember specific instances of being struck by a blues thunderbolt, but “I remember hearing it. It's part of the feeling I get when I play music." He started on drums at a young age and turned to guitar as a teenager--"I had those rock star aspirations when I was in middle school," the easy going Blades quipped--but when he started fooling with the B3, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joan Chamorro and Andrea Motis: Feeling Good

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Feeling Good is well named: the feelgood vibe is strong and the love of music that reaches out from this album is pretty much guaranteed to leave listeners with a similarly good feeling. It's the second album from Joan Chamorro--bassist, saxophonist and director of Barcelona's Sant Andreu Jazz Band--and the band's star member, the teenage singer and instrumentalist Andrea Motis. Chamorro's name may come first, but it's Motis' personality that shines through most strongly on Feeling Good. Chamorro can take much of the credit for this--he's mentored Motis and other members of the Sant Andreu Jazz Band for ...

ONE LP

Kenny Burrell: Duke Ellington, The Great Paris Concert

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Kenny Burrell: University of California, Los Angeles, 7th May 2013 The record the maestro recorded in Paris in 1963; there are many great things on this recording. One that I particularly like--it's one of my favorite pieces in all of Ellingtonia and all music--is “Tone Parallel To Harlem," known as “Harlem Suite." This was commissioned in 1950 by Arturo Toscanini of The NBC Symphony Orchestra of New York. Duke Ellington at that point was pretty popular and also gaining recognition as a serious composer; at the time he was fifty one. That piece has ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Olson: Conversations

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For his first recording as a leader, drummer/percussionist Steve Olson asked six of his friends to engage in completely unrehearsed and improvised duo “conversations." Olson states in the notes that in his opinion, “the best music has an element of dialogue in it, both between the musicians, and between the players and the listener who is hearing and reacting emotionally." The result of these encounters are fifteen tracks which strongly support his stance from both viewpoints, although much concentration is required of the listener. The aural textures created are, not surprisingly, sparse, but within a large ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Elizabeth Shepherd: Signal

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Montreal-based singer Elizabeth Shepherd gently stirs jazz with an underground pop aesthetic in Signal. Similar to the fresh styles of contemporaries such as Esperanza Spalding and Gretchen Parlato, Shepherd's appeal is heard in her multifaceted gifts as a songwriter, musician, and composer; attributes which garnered her a Juno Award nomination for Best Vocal Jazz Album for her 2012 release Rewind (Linus Entertainment). Signal takes a soulful groove-centric stance with tight rhythmic hooks and beats that would fit comfortably in a club-like setting as some tracks segue into one another like a DJ set mix. The music is ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Kyle Shepherd: Where Dream States Meet Reality

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The Standard Bank Young Artist Awards program has been shining a light on some of the best and brightest South African up-and-comers in music, drama, dance, film, and other art forms since 1984. Almost from the start, and for the two decades that followed, music was simply represented with one umbrella category when these awards were given out, but jazz finally earned its own place at the table in 2006. Since that time, rising stars like drummer Kesivan Naidoo, pianist Bokani Dyer, and bassist Shane Cooper have all been rightly recognized with this honor. Pianist Kyle Shepherd joined ...

THE BIG QUESTION

Can jazz become culturally relevant again? If so, how?

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Welcome to the debut of a provocative new column called “The Big Question," a regular feature that is designed to get you engaged and talking about the important issues facing jazz today. And we begin with a topic that has weighed on my mind for as long as this website has been in existence: “Can jazz become culturally relevant again? If so, how?" Please voice your personal thoughts on the subject by posting your comments below. All opinions and prejudices are welcome. Also, please share the link (http://bit.ly/1q0rQ8C) on your social media pages to help drive traffic back ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Cellar and Point: The Cellar and Point: Ambit

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The unique atmosphere of The Cellar and Point's newest record Ambit (Cuneiform, 2014) is difficult to pin down in words, let alone to classify as a particular genre. Drummer Joe Branciforte and guitarist Chris Botta's brainchild, the result of years of absorbing influences as diverse as the Wu Tang Clan and Anton Webern, is an intriguing mix of contemporary straight-eighth, mixed-meter grooves and textural, atmospheric harmonies and accompaniment, with some electric guitar mixed in for good measure. Branciforte and Botta describe their one of a kind compositions and arrangements as “garage chamber music," which is about as perfect ...



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