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DRUMMER TO DRUMMER

John Riley: Inspiring Innovation

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Foremost an innovator, John Riley has always been a “drummer's drummer" in the world of straight-ahead jazz. With nearly a hundred recordings, a dozen videos, and five books under his belt, Riley is a veritable font of knowledge in the bebop realm. In this article, we take a look back at some of his musical endeavors including recording with Miles Davis, working with Quincy Jones, and playing drums with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. We'll also examine the changing landscape of music and discuss how younger drummers can find inspiration. All About Jazz: I've been a fan of yours ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sean Jones: Im•pro•vise-Never Before Seen

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Sean Jones, the former lead trumpeter of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, never hides behind anything or anyone when he plays. That being said, it's still worth noting that he's pulled back the curtain on this one, revealing more of himself than in the past. This album--his seventh album in ten years on the Mack Avenue imprint--has no overdubs, no percussive window dressing, no other horns sharing space in the front line, and no guests. It's Jones at his most pure and powerful, delivering, as he himself says, “A reintroduction of who I am." Jones' range ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jason Ajamian: A Way A Land Of Life

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While the talented cast dazzles, what comes across most strongly on this 42-minute LP is the controlling mind of bassist Jason Ajemian. Part of the fertile underground scene in Chicago, Ajemian has featured with Ken Vandermark and Matt Bauder, as well as cornetist Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra. But none of that really prepares one for the strength of this quartet date. The spirited interaction he draws from a front line of Mazurek and tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby is one of the main pluses on this excellent set, effortlessly underpinned by drummer Chad Taylor who covers all bases between texture ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Odean Pope Quartet at Chris’ Jazz Cafe

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Odean Pope Quartet Chris' Jazz Café Philadelphia, PA July 19, 2014 Legendary tenor saxophonist Odean Pope, in addition to his international status and iconic recordings, often appears in Philadelphia, his home town, but usually in festivals, concerts, and other situations where he is part of a bigger mix. His one evening show at Chris' Jazz Café gave listeners a special opportunity to hear him in an intimate setting where they could really attend to the subtlety of his playing in addition to his intricate long runs fueled by his innovative circular breathing. For the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jerrold Dubyk Quintet: Invitations

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Canadian saxophonist Jerrold Dubyk delivers his third album as leader on Invitations , where he blends an array of fresh original music with a few cover tunes in forging an audacious musical experience of modern-styled jazz. An educator by profession, Dubyk is the Director of Music at Strathcona High school as well as serving on the faculties of Macewan University and the University of Alberta. However, recording has been keeping the educator busy as he also unveils an album of semi-improvised music entitled PREQUAL by his Edmonton-based quartet. On this project, the saxophonist reunites with his Vancouver bandmates ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Your Shipp Has Come In

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These two guest appearances demonstrate that pianist Matthew Shipp has become an elder statesman in the jazz world. How that happened can be boiled down to two simple elements. One: he has created a unique sound and language for improvised music and two: Shipp has become a doyen of cutting edge music making and opinion. Perhaps all of this could be foretold from his early apprenticeship in David S. Ware and Roscoe Mitchell's bands, and his collaborations with the likes of William Parker, Joe Morris, and Mat Maneri. He has also explored classical music, hip-hop, and electronica as ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Førdefestivalen 2014

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Førdefestivalen Førde, Norway July 3-6, 2014 In its 25th year, the Førdefestivalen global music weekender became slightly nostalgic. Usually, a specialized theme is declared for each edition, but for this significant anniversary, a set of return invites were issued to artists who were fondly remembered for their previous appearances. Normally, the festival has a policy of continually booking first-time visitors, but we could forgive them for being a touch misty-eyed on this occasion. The other main thrust was to contrast, and often combine, local Norwegian folk talent from the surrounding fjords with a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gianni Gagliardi: Nomadic Nature

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Barcelona-born, Brooklyn-based tenor saxophonist Gianni Gagliardi has long been a wanderer. He left his homeland in his teens, relocating to the Netherlands to further his jazz knowledge at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. Later moves found him soaking up information at SUNY Purchase in New York, Le Conservatoire National Superior de Paris, Boston's Berklee School of Music, and Berklee's Valencia, Spain-based branch. Those experiences, along with international touring, make it clear that Gagliardi knows a thing or two about the nomadic nature of the modern day jazz musician. He willingly shares that knowledge on his debut album. Nomadic ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Maira Freitas + Lenine at Central Park Summerstage

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Maira Freitas + Lenine Brasil Summerfest at Central Park Summerstage New York, NY July 19, 2014 For her New York City debut, Maira Freitas traveled lightly, backed solely by a drummer on stage. She did the first few songs on piano, beginning with a jazz- inflected samba and then moving on to a very personal rendition of “Dream A Little Dream," her voice a clear soprano with great range. After introducing herself to the audience, she switched to an electric piano attached to a laptop, using lots of effects to enhance songs ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kenny Lavender: Conscious Journey Part 1 & 2

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"Big D, Texas!" If that's the “Final Jeopardy" answer based on this recording, the obvious and very correct question would be: “Where does the featured artist on Conscious Journey Part 1 & 2 come from?" Yep, it's where everything is expansive, free-wheeling and hot--and ditto this recording. Spanning two CDs and offering a dozen superbly-performed selections with nine originals, this is a Longhorn Steer of quality music--most of it exciting, swinging and all of it definitely entertaining. Here, Lavender--now a mainstay in the New York Broadway and freelance scenes--shows he is a high-energy, multi-talented artist on the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Denny Zeitlin: Stairway to the Stars

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Pianist Denny Zeitlin's Stairway to the Stars recording sparkles to life on the familiar Great American Songbook jewel, “There Will Never Be Another You." This version has everything that the best piano trio efforts offer: elegance, inspired three-way interplay, a vivacious groove--thanks to drummer Matt Wilson and bassist Buster Williams--and Zeitlin's always supple touch and endless inventiveness. Zeiltin, has rolled in a creative high gear since his teaming with Sunnyside Records in 2009, beginning with In Concert with Buster Williams and Matt Wilson. Since that Sunnyside debut, he has released on the label two masterpieces of solo piano, ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Mike Pope: Cold Truth Warm Heart

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Cold Truth Warm Heart isn't Mike Pope's first album as a leader (it's his third), but in the 12 years since The Lay of the Land (Whaling City Sound, 2002), the bassist has, in addition to some serious life-changers, forged a relationship with two musicians of unequivocal significance. First appearing on Joe Locke's State of Soul (Sirocco, 2002), Pope has worked with the superb vibraphonist and equally fine pianist Geoffrey Keezer in the by turns incendiary and profoundly lyrical Joe Locke / Geoffrey Keezer Group since 2006, first documented on the charging out of the gate Live in Seattle (Origin, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

J.J. Wright: Inward Looking Outward

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Pianist J.J. Wright has catholic tastes in more ways than one. He's the Director of Music at Sacred Heart Parish, the crypt church beneath the University of Notre Dame's Basilica of the Sacred Heart, and his musical interests range far and wide; Wright's inspired and influenced by everything from the music of J.S. Bach to the work of Thelonious Monk to the songs of Sufjan Stevens. His debut album--a piano trio session with the highly capable Ike Sturm on bass and the rhythmically engaging Nate Wood on drums--hints at some of these influences and points to Wright's faith without ever ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Rafael Rosa: Portrait

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In jazz terms Puerto Rico has certainly punched above its weight, producing Juan Tizol--a mainstay of Duke Ellington's bands in the 1930s and 1940s, Eddie Gomez and Manolo Badrena--who came to prominence in the 1960s/1970s through their respective associations with pianist Bill Evans and Weather Report--and latterly David Sanchez. Lesser known--though perhaps that's soon to change--is guitarist Rafael Rosa, whose enticing debut reveals a composer and technician of some sophistication. Carlos Maldonado's barril--a lower pitched Afro-Puerto Rican cousin of the Cuban conga--introduces the lively “Bomba Oscura." Maldonado's variations on the sicá rhythm percolate beneath the driving rhythms of ...



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