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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Topology And Trichotomy: Healthy

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Collaboration is a jazz staple, just one of the many ways musicians seek to breathe a freshness into their performance or composition. Mostly, such collaborations take place between individuals. Healthy takes collaboration one stage further, joining together two Australian outfits--jazz piano trio Trichotomy and contemporary classical quintet Topology--on a collection of original compositions plus a take on Steve Reich's “Clapping Music." Trichotomy--pianist Sean Foran, bassist Pat Marchisella and drummer John Parker--has released five impressive, critically-acclaimed, albums. On “Start," from third album, Variations (Naim Label, 2010) the band was joined by Topology's saxophonist, John Babbage, violinist Christa Powell and ...

CATCHING UP WITH

Ron Aprea's Tribute to John Lennon

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We recently caught up with saxophonist, composer/arranger and educator/clinician, Ron Aprea and spoke with him about recent activities and his current recording project--his personal John Lennon/Beatles tribute. All About Jazz: The last half of 2013 and the time so far in 2014 have been quite positive for you. Let me ask you first about Remembering Blakey. It received excellent reviews and media attention. Ron Aprea: We got off to a great start with that project. The reviews were all good and it was also up for Grammy nominations in three categories--Best Jazz Album, Best ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Stefano Bollani: Joy in Spite of Everything

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Anyone who's had the pleasure of watching pianist Stefano Bollani in concert--whether it's in duo with fellow Italian, trumpter Enrico Rava, at the 2009 TD Ottawa Jazz Festival; in the trumpeter's New York Days quintet at the ECM 40th Anniversary celebration, part of the 2010 Enjoy Jazz Festival; or in one of his own various contexts (solo, trio, large ensemble)--knows that, above all, joy is fundamental to the music he makes. Sometimes it's blatantly obvious, as on his 2013 duo release with bandolim master Hamilton De Holanda, O Que Sera (ECM), where these two virtuosos could barely contain themselves and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey: Millions: Live in Denver

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Long associated, for better or worse, with the so-called jam band phenomenon of the mid-to-late 1990s, the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey continues to generate intelligent, daring, genre-defying music. JFJO's first live recording in a decade or so, Millions: Live In Denver, is part celebration of their 20th year of existence and part revelry in their new sound: a pared-down lineup of keys, drums and guitar. The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based brainchild of keyboardist and composer Brian Haas, JFJO has gone through a dizzying number of personnel changes and instrumental configurations over the years. Starting out in 1994 as a funky octet with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gianni Mimmo & Alison Blunt: Lasting Ephemerals

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To say that someone is a virtuoso on their instrument isn't a statement just about playing ability. Virtuosity implies a deep level of understanding and insight into the way an instrument works, its history, and its sonic capabilities. This knowledge extends to an understanding of the physics of sound production: the minute details of how the sound is generated, how it is altered tonally, timbrally, and otherwise, where the overtones lie and how they can be manipulated, how environmental factors figure into one's sound. Though technical ability comes from within, the total command of one's voice is shaped by the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hafez Modirzadeh: In Convergence Liberation

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Multi-instrumentalist, composer and ethnomusicologist Hafez Modirzadeh's In Convergence Liberation on the intrepid Pi Recordings label is an ambitious work, and one at which he admirably succeeds. The album is a single, unified entity made up of five distinct but interlaced suites that explore a primal spirituality and express it in timeless poetry. Deftly merging Iberian song, eastern (primarily Persian) and western classical heritages and a hefty dose of improvisation Modirzadeh creates a contemplative transcultural musical epic. As he delves into universal themes he pays homage to lesser-known, fascinating women and through them to the concept of the feminine ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman: Fountain of Youth

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If Fountain of Youth isn't the zenith of The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman it is difficult to imagine what would be. You can't get much more Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman than a Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman album featuring only Russ Freeman. It's a Russ Freeman solo album brilliantly disguised as a Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman album. There is no one with the surname of “Rippington" in The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman and there never has been. That's the best part of the joke Freeman has played since he dropped Moonlighting (GRP, 1987) on the heads of the contemporary ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John McLaughlin & The 4th Dimension: The Boston Record

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The jny:Boston crowd's roars on this live set from John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension's 2013 tour say as much about the dazzling interplay of the band as it does about McLaughlin's enduring appeal. For sure, McLaughlin remains one of jazz-fusion's major draws but the acclaim has little to do with nostalgia and everything to do with the excitement that his performances--in whatever guise--generate. This incarnation of the 4th Dimension seems to have inspired McLaughlin to his fieriest electric playing in years, as this recording demonstrates in spades. McLaughlin has always attracted virtusoso collaborators but in Ranjit Barot, ...

INTERVIEWS

Jason Lindner: Beyond the Solo

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Jason Linder has been at the center of modern jazz's evolution for nearly two decades. His distinctive and flexible piano and synthesizer sound have placed him in a bewildering array of musical contexts and whether it's accompanying Anat Cohen, collaborating with Dafnis Prieto, or challenging the very edges of contemporary jazz--edges he has helped carve--Lindner consistently presents incisive musical forays that manipulate rhythm and sonic texture as much as they do melody and harmony. Equally articulate away from the piano, Lindner's position at the cross roads of creative jazz lends him a unique perspective and provocative insight into ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Milt Jackson and the Thelonious Monk Quintet

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And now, a crossroads: At what price do I pass? It's the dilemma all collectors face eventually. At first, you buy the commons. A used CD at $4 is a no-brainer. A new CD at $10 or $12, easy to justify. But what do you do when the easies are gone and the price makes you think twice? I've reached that point. My mission is to collect all the Blue Note CDs in the classic 1500 series. For stubborn, stupid reasons, I've decided to do this chronologically. So I started with 1501 and worked my way ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Lehman Octet: Mise en Abîme

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It's been five years since Steve Lehman's last Octet album, so we're now voracious for more expanded material. Right at the start, his alto saxophone is briefly alone, and then the entire ensemble weighs in, earthy yet finely controlled. Chris Dingman's customised vibraphone is absolutely central to the sound of these Lehman originals, most of which are notably brief and pointed in their attack. At a mere 40 minutes, this is a very succinct jazz album, in the old-time way. It might not be immediately apparent to the listener, but Lehman has taken the bones of three ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wil Blades: Field Notes

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Keyboardist Wil Blades earned his pedigree playing with guitarist Will Bernard and percussionist Billy Martin and now ratchets up his leadership skills fronting a trio including guitarist Jeff Parker and drummer Simon Lott. Concentrating on Hammond B3 organ (using clavinet to leaven the textured sound of the group), Blades proves he has absorbed the lessons from masters of the hallowed instrument such as Jimmy Smith and happily carries them into the future. He the alternately fluid but funky sound on “I Can't Stand the Whole Lott of You" with an ever-so-light touch and the rhythm machine to whom ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tony Malaby Tamarindo: Somos Agua

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Saxophonist Tony Malaby's Tamarindo, featuring the unerring bassist William Parker and explosive drummer Nasheet Waits explore the possibilities of the saxophone trio on Somos Agua with frequently staggering results--sort of like a very free version of the Sonny Rollins unit with Wilbur Ware and Elvin Jones that recorded A Night at the Village Vanguard some 57 years ago. Waits crackles and pops like gunfire in a high-rise alley as Malaby riffs in a stream-of-consciousness style reminiscent of Ornette Coleman's infinite melodic information with some Albert Ayler tonal manipulation thrown in. Parker's strums, pedals, and arco construct ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Marshall & Choro Famoso: Segunda Vez

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Segunda Vez comes a decade after this group's eponymous debut--a forty minute album featuring quintet and septet performances. Here, mandolinist Mike Marshall expands the length and breadth of the work while contracting the size of the group; all seventeen tracks on this seventy-plus minute program feature the same quartet--Marshall on mandolin, Andy Connell on clarinet and soprano saxophone, Colin Walker on 7-string guitar, and Brian Rice on pandeiro and other percussion. On the surface, Segundo Vez is a mostly cheery and gleeful trip through a style of Brazilian music that dates back to approximately 1870. But a ...



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