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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Simon Phillips: Protocol II

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Protocol II arrives fourteen years after drummer Simon Phillips' last leader date--the hard bop and post-bop based Vantage Point (Jazzline Records, 2000). And it comes approximately a quarter century after the original Protocol (Music for Nations, 1988)--a true solo date that had Phillips covering all the instruments, filling in the space around his calling-card drumming. So why the long wait for another solo album? That question is pretty simple to answer: Phillips wasn't thrilled with much of the writing he had been doing during that span of time. He was also plenty busy with other work, hitting ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Tedeschi Trucks Band at Red Rocks

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Tedeschi Trucks Band Red Rocks Denver, CO July 25, 2014 Never underestimate the power of a cover. A cleverly selected and well executed cover tune can be like a firecracker with a too-short fuse, a shot of vodka when you expected water, a lightning bolt out of a clear, blue sky. The Tedeschi Trucks Band threw a lightning strike with its very first song Friday night, July 25, at Red Rocks, exhuming Traffic's “Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring," a rather obscure but tasty tune from its earlier catalog. In a year when both Steve ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jim Stranahan Little Big Band: Migration to Higher Ground

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The big band sounds gets an infusion of swing and swagger on Migration to Higher Ground, a session of high-octane straight ahead jazz from Jim Stranahan's dynamic Little Big Band. The album has Denver-based saxophonist and educator Jim Stranahan leading a twelve-piece ensemble comprised of some of the best players in Colorado gyrating through six big band arrangements. In addition, the leader also includes four tracks recorded in a sextet format that also features son and drummer, Colin Stranahan of the jazz trio group Stranahan, Zaleski and Rosato (pianist Glen Zaleski and bassist Rick Rosato). On tap, six ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Manfred Eicher: ECM - Selected Signs III - VIII

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When München's Haus der Kunst sponsored a nearly three-month exhibition about the ECM Records label, ECM: A Cultural Archeology, which ran from November, 2012 to February, 2013, there was far more to it than just bringing together collections of album covers, rarely seen video, archival tapes, imagery and concert performances. As much as ECM has carved a niche for itself as a label concerned about the whole package, including quality of sound, design and artwork, it is, after all, a record label, and one that has, in a history now spanning more than forty years, emerged as a singular, inimitable ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hi Fiction Science: Curious Yellow

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Indeed, this British quintet brings a qualitative aspect to the rock world, sans any filler material amid gestures to the 70s array of space-rockers, along with current art-rock persuasions and impressions of vintage Brian Eno's spectral electronics-based dreamscapes. Moreover, Maria Charles' beatific vocals, supported by solid undertones, enhance the band's mesmeric grooves, tinted with hypnotic etudes and an air of innocence. But several works cast lucid imagery of forbidden zones and cautionary implications, in addition to nouveau psychedelic riffs and ostinato-framed keys. Ultimately, the artists' harmonically attractive song-forms spawn an emotional connection via a magnetic group-centric aura. The ...

JAZZ POETRY

The Fire in Coltrane’s Lungs

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When the horn sounds the jazz begins Unity rediscovered A crisscross divergence of souls Coltrane steals the birthright of his heritage makes it into music The horn blasts loud and not so pure-- Life lives between the notes not at the end of the song Painfully hidden tones magically appear dragged out one by one by one breathless gasps of tonal agony Coltrane plays tears of subjugation between notes of joyous rhapsody His horn speaks a thousand languages-- This axe falls in the wilderness--always heard Coltrane's voice never silenced

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paul Marinaro: Without A Song

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There are tribute albums and then, there are musical homages that have far more personal meaning for an artist then dedications to other musicians. Such is the case for Chicago-based singer Paul Marinaro whose debut album Without A Song is a heartfelt tip of the hat to his 85-year old father Joseph, whose unfulfilled dreams of becoming a professional singer, inspired the making of this recording. Growing up in Buffalo, NY, the young Marinaro was surrounded by music at home where dad could be heard singing the standards and playing Sinatra. Influenced by Joe's love for the classics and the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Lonberg-Holm / Nick Stephens: Crackle: Six improvisations for Cello and Double Bass

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These improvisations between Chicago's ubiquitous cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and veteran British double bassist Nick Stephens, known for ongoing collaborations with Norwegian reed master Frode Gjerstad and South-African drummer Louis Moholo- Moholo, were recorded in 2011 in Stephens' home-town, Northwood. The duo immediately establish a common language that encompasses organic elements of fiery free jazz, through exploration of extended bowing techniques or often simple, straight- forward and lyrical, chamber playing. The two juggle between these shifting elements, to form searching, restless dynamics and and multi-layered textures. The fourth, 15-minute long improvisation enables Lonberg-Holm ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mitch Shiner And The BloomingTones Big Band: Fly!

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"Hoosier Jazz" isn't an actual sub-genre of music, but that geographical tag fits this album so well. Drummer/Percussionist Mitch Shiner, a graduate of Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, put together a Bloomington-based big band built around his IU chums, be they students, alums, local hotshots or professors. Then he simply fed them some killer arrangements and let them spread their wings. Fly!, the maiden voyage of Mitch Shiner And The BloomingTones Big Band, is a tight set that sparkles with ingenuity. Twists, turns, high spirits, all-out power, parting of the musical seas, and gilded tones are ...

August 2014

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Dear Mr. P.C.: I work with a guitarist who I mistakenly thought was playing wrong notes when he took a solo. When I asked him about it, he explained to me that he was anticipating the chord change. My question is, do you have to anticipate a chord change in the same song? Or is it cooler to anticipate a chord in a song that you might be thinking of playing in the next set? --Wanting To Be Cool Dear WTBC: Most jazz artists make it their goal to play “in the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Darren Barrett Energy in Motion: The Music of the Bee Gees

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Polyester suits, platform shoes and big hairstyles were in vogue during the 1970's when being cool meant looking the part in spite of the outlandish attire. The music was equally flamboyant and among the many bands, the Australia/ England based Bee Gees, brothers (Barry, Maurice, and Robin Gibb) produced a string of top hits at the height of the Disco era. Canadian jazz trumpeter Darren Barrett shakes the cobwebs off of a few of the group's oldies--but still goodies--in this tribute release that brings back memories with a renewed jazz flavor. Barrett's approach to this selection is ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Garana Jazz Festival 2014

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Garana Jazz Festival Wolf's Meadow Garana, Romania July 10-13, 2014 One of Europe's most visited festivals, taking place on a meadow over 300 ft. high in the Western Carpathians, just had its 18th anniversary. The lineup, a brand mark of the festival director, Marius Giura, combined again tradition with diversity, bringing together American jazz musicians such as Andy Sheppard, Tom Harrell, Joey Defrancesco and Mike Stern, the Nordic jazz representatives Ulf Wakenius, Marius Neset, Arve Henriksen, Stian Westerhus, Jan Bang and Kimmo Pohjonen, as well as a few representative names of the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marc Baron: Hidden Tapes

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Since the turn of the millennium, Marc Baron has taken us on an interesting aural journey (albeit one that could have been more fully documented on disc.) He has evolved from an improvising alto saxophonist--maybe best represented by the sax quartet on Propagations (Potlatch, 2008)--through transitional experiments such as the “interesting" Formnction (Potlatch, 2009) by the duo Narthex, on which the sounds of bass and saxophone were replaced by constant frequency electronic tones, and a 2012 album on Cathnor which intriguingly consisted of seven tracks each lasting precisely seven minutes. Now, Hidden Tapes confirms Baron's transformation from instrumentalist ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Songs of Shadow, Songs of Light: the Music of Joni Mitchell

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Bay Area vocalist Laurie Antonioli has been performing and recording for more than 30 years. Early on she mixed paints with the likes of Joe Henderson, Mark Murphy and Pony Poindexter with whom she undertook an 8-month European junket in 1980, quickening her already impressive jazz chops. Antonioli's discography is a slim yet intense affair that is full of brilliant pathos and musicianship. She has had much time pass between releases resulting in a sonic career where her evolution as an artist is experienced in fits and starts. That was, until the release of American Dreams (Intrinsic Music, 2010) when ...



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