One trio. One guest. A single, forty-two minute, freely improvised piece. That's what you basically have here, but such a bare description doesn't do it justice. The Core Trio--a group that has yet to actually record as a stand-alone trio--has an interesting history that seems to always revolve around personnel twists. The group came to exist as a three-piece when the members of an avant-garde quartet called Rosta decided to disband, but that was just the first of several changes. The Core Trio's first recording brought the core membership--saxophonist Seth Paynter, drummer Richard Cholakian and bassist/leader Thomas ...read more
"Free Jazz" and Avant-Garde Jazz" are catch phrases often associated with musical pioneers such as Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor but more broadly refer to music that goes outside of the mainstream of melody, harmony, rhythm, and structure. When that happens, opinions and emotions abound. Reactions vary from disgust to excitement and enthusiasm, and it is rare to find a balanced view on the subject. The question arises, why does the same music so strongly attract and repel? To seek answers to this and related questions about music that presses the limits of the expectable, All About Jazz initiated a ...read more
Los Angeles-based pianist/composer Greg Reitan's Some Other Time (Sunnyside Records) vied for the honors of Debut of the Year" in 2009. Using his same trio--with bassist Jack Daro and drummer Dean Koba--Reitan followed up that auspicious start with two more outstanding sets, Antibes (2010) and Daybreak (2011), both for the Sunnyside label. With this same trio--they have been together since 1996--he has honed an elegant and polished sound, drawing on a Bill Evans influence--the light touch, subtle dynamics, translucent harmonic beauty. Post No Bills builds on that approach, with a bit more of an edge this time around, ...read more
Stacy Kent The Changing Lights Warner Bros. Records 2013 Stacey Kent has had an impressive musical run: Breakfast on the Morning Tram (Blue Note, 2007, for which she was nominated for a Grammy Award), Raconte- moi... (Blue Note, 2010), Dreamer In Concert (Blue Note, 2011) just being her previous three recordings of her ten releases as a leader. She is intelligent, polyglot and capable of performing in any genre or language. Her voice is one of soft evenness, it has a delicate density that extend over her impressive range. ...read more
The uncommonly talented Mike LeDonne continues his transition from piano to Hammond B3, if that is what one may call it, with yet another superb album, the suitably named I Love Music. And while using the organ throughout is a good idea, it is but the first of two, as whenever LeDonne schedules a recording session he's almost sure to invite his friend and colleague, the stellar tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, a decision that is bound to please almost any listener. As a matter of record, Alexander has been a member of LeDonne's Groover Quartet" for more than fourteen years, ...read more
As a top session guitarist in his native Israel, Oz Noy was at home playing jazz, blues, funk, and rock. Since emmigrating to the United States in 1996 he has been based in New York City where he has become a regular fixture on the local jazz scene, including his standing gig at the Bitter End. He plays a Stratocaster with a tone, feel, and energy that is likely to appeal to fans of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix, but also with a level of musical sophistication worthy of jazz guitarists like John Scofield and Mike Stern. He considers ...read more
Saxophone and drum duos aren't as rare as some might believe, but a good percentage of such encounters are challenging, left-leaning affairs. John Coltrane's edgy encounters with Rashied Ali on Interstellar Space (Impulse!, 1974) emboldened many in the so-called avant-garde to marry these instruments time and again over the ensuing decades, yet few centrists seem as interested or willing to explore that territory. That's why a recording such as this, featuring man-for-all-seasons saxophonist Steve Wilson and paragon-of-class drummer Lewis Nash, is so special. Nash, an occasional leader and first-call side man who's worked with everybody from vocalist ...read more
It's the facts. Many inquisitive people spend their lives in pursuit of the facts. For the questing jazz musician, by contrast, the contrafacts take precedence. That's certainly the case for the UK's Gascoyne O'Higgins Quartet. The band's second collection of such tunes based on the chord changes from Songbook standards, The Real Note Vol. 2, features nine of them. Bassist Geoff Gascoyne and saxophonist Dave O'Higgins co-lead the group, which is completed by pianist Graham Harvey and drummer Sebastian De Krom. It would be hard to find a more experienced or intuitive quartet on the UK jazz scene. ...read more
John Hiatt & the Combo The Green at Shelburne Museum Shelburne, Vermont July 10, 2014 John Hiatt has become a past master at creating songs populated with characters full of real-life detail . Playing with the Combo on the Green at Shelburne Museum, he offered a selection of his original material that painted a self-portrait rendered even more vivid by the expertise of the musicians around him. And it began from the very first selection, Master of Disaster." While at one time this might have been a wry self-reference, as Hiatt concluded each ...read more
Alternating Current is a completely entrancing recording that captures three master players listening and responding in real time. Both Matthew Shipp and William Parker thrive in the completely improvised arena, which is why drummer Jeff Cosgrove wanted them for this project. A second reason might have been that neither musician had ever played a composition by Paul Motian, who is one of Cosgrove's idols, along with Andrew Cyrille, who has connections with all three musicians and who helped bring them together for this project. Completely improvised music has to find its own internal way of carrying ...read more
Cowboy Mouth with the Cringe B.B. King's Blues Club & Grill New York, NY July 17, 2014 Cowboy Mouth is a rock 'n' roll band formed in New Orleans, Louisiana, in the early 1990s during grunge's heyday. Its sound is best described as a musical gumbo mixing gritty rock, punk, blues, new wave, swamp pop, rockabilly and a touch of New Orleans funk. Some of the band's most popular songs include Voodoo Shoppe," Joe Strummer," Light It On Fire," Everybody Loves Jill," Disconnected," and Jenny Says." It has also covered Bruce Springsteen ("Born To ...read more
The borough of Kings (County)--a.k.a. Brooklyn, NY--has been saxophonist Eric Wyatt's home base from birth. It was there that he was exposed to jazz, met some of the legends of the music, and began to forge his own voice on saxophone. Here, on his fifth album to date, he delivers an intense brew that speaks volumes about what he's learned during his time in Brooklyn. Wyatt is a no holds barred player with an edge to his work. Thankfully, he found some simpatico quartet mates that are willing and able to match his energy level on this ...read more
Translating guitarist/producer Daniel Lanois' evocative guitar and ability to create stratified soundscapes into soundtrack music for actor Billy Bob Thornton's directorial debut Sling Blade may seem an unusual choice, but the outcome turns into an interesting and unique blend of his darker, moodier incidental guitar and a variety of other instrumental touches. Lanois' music has always been about mood and ambience and other people have benefited from his unusual gift of capturing or creating all kinds of ambiences. This multitalented musician, thinker and a driving force behind the creation of many great records is a creator of sonic witchcraft. His ...read more
It's been a good year for Jeremy Lyons. In March, the Belfast tenor saxophonist's dectet opened the Brilliant Corners 2014 jazz festival with a resounding set before an enthusiastic home audience. Here, stripped back to the more intimate surroundings of a quartet, Lyons' debut as leader brings together seasoned pros from the UK jazz scene on a set of his original compositions that are straight ahead in conception. The rhythm section of bassist Vicky Tilson and drummer Buster Birch is both empathetic and energizing, buoying and cajoling the lead lines pursued by Lyons and guitarist Ben McDonnell. Lyons ...read more
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