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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Johnny Griffith: Dance With The Lady

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Can jazz stay the inventive course while remaining true to its swinging precedents and historical framework(s)? This record makes the argument that it can. Toronto-based saxophonist Johnny Griffith has put together a program of original music that's firmly grounded in tradition, yet his approaches aren't rigidly dogmatic in nature; in other words, this record speaks to the past, but it's not another present-day date that's simply dressed in yesteryear's fashion(s). Slamming grooves and swing rhythms share living space ("The Kuleshascope"), nuanced exploration has its place ("Cinders"), strong personal statements can be heard throughout, and the band artfully ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Introducing Johnny Griffin – Blue Note 1533

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In jazz and rock--heck, even in classical music--there is a sacred throne for those who play fast. Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Peterson occupy such thrones. So do Jimmy Page and Eddie Van Halen. Fast is fun. Johnny Griffin played fast--very fast. The evidence is here in Griffin's very first album, Introducing Johnny Griffin. It's a 1956 date with a quartet that includes Wynton Kelly on piano, Curly Russell on bass and Max Roach on drums. For 70 years, Griffin was a jazz giant, and this album, his first as a leader, is among his very best. ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Johnny Winter: True to the Blues - The Johnny Winter Story

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With the release of From His Head to His Heart to His Hands earlier this year, Legacy Recordings proved it was possible to put together a career-spanning retrospective, even if the artist's discography--in this case, the late blues guitarist Mike Bloomfield--spanned several disconnected labels. Now, less than one month later, Legacy does it again with yet another bluesman who, over the years, has also lost much of the visibility and a lot of the commercial success he achieved from the late '60s through the '70s--a time when so much more seemed possible, and before so much music turned niche. The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Johnny Chang, Angharad Davies, Jamie Drouin, Phil Durrant, Lee Patterson, John Tilbury: Variable Formations

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Variable Formations was recorded at a gig at London's Café Oto in February 2013. The music on it was the final set of the evening, having been preceded by a solo piano set from John Tilbury in which he used themes and sound samples from the 1939 film The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a semi-improvised duo set from violist Johnny Chang and Canada-born synth player Jamie Drouin who were visiting from Berlin, and a trio set from violinist Angharad Davies, Lee Patterson on amplified objects and electronicist Phil Durrant playing pages from Eva-Maria Houben's composition 'Von Da Nach Na' as ...

ON AND OFF THE GRID

Johnny Smith: The Man, The Legend

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On June 11, 2013, guitarist Johnny Smith passed away. He was 90 years old. Some may have never heard of him, but in the world of jazz guitar he was legend.There will be many articles written about him. Besides the historical content of his accomplishments, I want to write about what he meant to me on a personal level and the thousands of other guitarists throughout the world.I was 14 years old when I started attending John Adams High School in Ozone Park, New York. Adams was a large school and had over five thousand kids ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tony Malaby/ Per-Oscar Nilsson / Johnny Aman / Peter Nilsson: 9 Stygn

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The sophomore release of Swedish guitarist Per-Oscar Nilsson strengthens his ties with American jazz. His debut, Now! (Connective, 2010), with his own group, featured saxophonist Marcus Strickland. 9 Stygn, recorded a year later, features Nilsson as the main composer for a quartet comprised of saxophonist Tony Malaby and fellow Malmö bassist Johnny Åman, who collaborated with Nilsson on his debut, and experienced drummer Peter Nilsson. Per-Oscar Nilsson's compositions are structured with clear melodic lines, careful, linear progressions deeply rooted in the jazz guitar tradition, yet still offer enough room for other musicians to comment and articulate. A ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Johnny Hodges: Yeah...About That

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The funky, jazz-focused Yeah.....About That brings to mind the sounds of the early Brecker Brothers. Groove seems to be the primary focus of this nine-song CD from the mind of Oklahoma City native, Johnny Hodges. Hodges started playing the trumpet by the end of his fifth grade year, going on to help his high school jazz ensemble win the state competition three out of the four years he was in high school which enabled him to attend Central State University on the coveted Alumni Scholarship. Hodges is currently the Assistant Conductor at the Big Apple Circus, and freelances around the ...



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