Trying to keep up with all of saxophonist Dave Liebman's musical exploits? Good luck. A year doesn't seem to go by when Liebman doesn't release multiple recordings with different bands on different labels. Take 2014 for example: it's a year that has already seen his big band-based A Tribute To Wayne Shorter (Mama Records, 2014), an exploratory venture with The Saxophone Summit on Artistshare, and a co-headlined release dubbed The Miami Jazz Project (Zoho, 2014). And then there's Liebman's live efforts. He still travels the globe, bringing his music to the people and maintaining his road warrior" status in the ...read more
On his 1967 hit song Monterey," Eric Burdon, of Eric Burdon and the Animals, sang that Ravi Shankar's music made him cry. This was part of a litany of observational praises of the artists who performed at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival: The Who, Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, the Birds, The Jefferson Airplane. And from India, Ravi Shankar, an odd and foreign name dropped in with the big time rock stars of the day. By 1967, Beatles fans were aware of guitarist George Harrison's fascination with Indian music, and his mentor-ship under the Indian sitarist Shankar. In ...read more
If high spirits and good humor alone could carry the day, Local Legend, the second album by the California-based Urban Renewal Project, would earn five stars for candor and commitment. The group is comprised of talented musicians (twenty-seven in all) who believe in what they are doing and give every one of the album's nine numbers their best shot. On the other hand, the music ranges from pop and rap to funk, blues, R&B, soul and hip-hop, offering little in the realm of satisfaction for those who are partial to more customary forms of big-band jazz. The URP has its ...read more
To paraphrase Shakespeare, there is something rockin' in the state of Denmark. It's the Danish Radio Big Band, best of its kind in Europe, indeed--depending on who is conducting and the mood of the players--on occasion best in the world. Against all the odds in these cash-strapped times, the DRBB, as it is universally known, is celebrating its 50th birthday. This six-CD box set commemorates the event, tracing the band's story from its rather shy birth in 1964 as Det Ny Radio Danseorkester, The New Radio Dance Orchestra, right up to the present (a concert in January ...read more
Saxophonist Kenny Shanker was eight years post-graduation before recording his debut album, Steppin' Up, which took another two years to get its 2011 release on Posi-tone records. So admirers of the New York based musician could be forgiven for not expecting album number two quite so soon. But here it is, Action City: released just 17 months after it was recorded and readily fulfilling the promise of the debut. Just what kind of action does Shanker find in Action City? It's varied. Times Square" is cool, hip, confident: action with style, reflected in Shanker's equally cool alto. The ...read more
Uppalapu Shrinivas, best known as Mandolin Shrinivas, was born in 1969 in southeast India. At a very young age his affinity for the mandolin and his precocious musical talent was recognized by his father who placed him under the tutelage of an instructor in the carnatic school of Indian classical music. By the time he was nine years of age he was playing in public and quickly gaining fame in his native India. In 1983 at the age of 14 he was booked to perform at JazzFest in Berlin, and scheduled to play a short set after Miles ...read more
Things are happening in the jazz underground in Berlin. One of the labels to look out for is Shoebill Music. The label was founded in 2006 by Johannes Haage, Philipp Gropper, Christian Lillinger, Roland Schulz, and Sebastian Sternberg, but today it is run solely by Johannes Haage. In recent years, the label has taken a turn and is now focusing on releasing high quality vinyl albums that come with download codes. It is the plan to offer digital distribution as well in the future, but right now focus is on the physical product. One of the most ...read more
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