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David Kikoski: Lighter Way

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There was a time when most artists pursued linear careers. While the Miles Davis of Kind of Blue (Columbia, 1959) was very different than that of Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1969), a straight line could be drawn through his career, with each successive album usually representing an incremental step. These days artists often run multiple and vastly different projects concurrently, to some extent because of broadening interests resulting from the ever-expanding and cross-pollinating nature of improvised music.

Pianist David Kikoski's Limits (Criss Cross, 2006) was an accessible, all-acoustic and modernistic mainstream affair. The equally contemporary Lighter Way is even more approachable. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Kikoski Quartet: Limits

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Limits may seem like an odd title for this disc, an unassuming but thoroughly captivating quartet session that reunites pianist David Kikoski with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Bill Stewart from his 2004 Criss Cross release, Details; it also brings back tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake from earlier Criss Cross discs, including 2002's Combinations. But while this set of all-original material situates itself firmly in the mainstream, it also exudes a sense of adventure that makes it anything but restrictive.

What Limits really refers to is Kikoski's decision to reign back his ubiquity as a sideman and concentrate more heavily on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Kikoski: Combinations

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The victim of corporate disregard for an artist's work, pianist David Kikoski has recorded many records as a leader over the years, although all but his most recent string of releases for Criss Cross are currently unavailable. This fact, along with his extensive work as a sideman, meant that until 1998's Inner Trust, few were aware of Kiksoki's talents as a leader. Reaching a pinnacle on his previous set, Surf's Up, Kikoski has honed a particularly incisive musical relationship with drummer Jeff “Tain" Watts which is no less palpable on Combinations. This time out, we also get to hear Seamus ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Kikoski: The Maze

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Although his current claim to fame finds him as a member of Roy Haynes' fresh new band, pianist David Kikoski has been active on the scene since the early 80's and has recorded several times under his own name for the Triloka and Epicure labels. Making his first appearance on Criss Cross Jazz with Ralph Moore in 1987, The Maze is Kikoski's second effort as a leader for the label and it's a major statement not only in light of David's pianistic talents but also for his finely-developed writing (the program contains all original tunes).

Inner Trust was Kikoski's first ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Kikoski: The Maze

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During David Kikoski’s ten or so years as Roy Haynes’s pianist, his unbridled energy and highly advanced harmonic sense gelled with Haynes’s roaring drums to create combustible, killing music. Recently he has graced excellent recordings by Al Foster, Craig Handy, Bob Berg, Ingrid Jensen, Conrad Herwig, the Mingus Big Band, and others. As a leader he has several discs to his credit, most notably 1995’s self-titled, cryptically packaged Dave Kikoski on the Sony Epicure label. A technical and compositional tour de force, this album is one of the undiscovered gems of the 1990s. If you haven’t heard its incendiary version ...



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