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Ezra Weiss Sextet: Before You Know It [Live In Portland]

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Recorded over two nights in Portland's Ivories Jazz Lounge during late-2013, Before You Know It [Live In Portland] is pianist and composer Ezra Weiss' seventh album and his first live recording. Weiss' previous releases have featured big bands (Our Path To This Moment [Roark Records, 2012]) and trios (The Shirley Horn Suite [Roark Records, 2011]). However, it's the sextet format that has featured most strongly on Weiss' recordings and it's this line-up that returns for Before You Know It [Live In Portland]. The set starts on a high with “Winter Machine" and the band keeps the ...


The Spin Quartet: In Circles

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2014 has been a stellar year for jazz quartets working without chording instruments--two horns, bass/drums, no piano, no guitar. Trumpeter Tom Harrell released the marvelous a very groove-based Trip (High Note Records); a somewhat old-timey sounding Riverside (Greenleaf Music), featuring trumpeter Dave Douglas; the smoldering and hypnotic The Lathe of Heaven (ECM Records) by the Mark Turner quartet. Add to the list The Spin Quartet's In Circles (Origin Records). Influenced, in a bold, even brash fashion by the tradition that draws from baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan's quartet's of the late fifties and alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman' ...


Gato Libre: DuDu

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Trumpeter Natsuki Tamura's quartet Gato Libre has always recorded stimulating, progressive music heavily laced with a Spanish lyricism. DuDu is no exception. “Mouse" is the prime example of this. On it the musicians push far the harmonic boundaries of their respective instruments creating delightfully jarring cacophony intertwined with intensely melodic explorations.Despite the personnel change after bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu's untimely death, the group remains remarkable cohesive. The new recruit, trombonist Yasuko Kaneko brings a warm fluidity to the bottom register that enhances the overall dramatic ambience. “Gato" for instance opens with Kaneko's intriguing, growling poetic solo. Guitarist Kazuhiko Tsumura ...


And All That Motive: A Casey McKie Mystery

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The following is an excerpt from the first chapter of And All That Motive: A Casey McKie Mystery by Joan Merrill (CreateSpace, 2014). Who the hell was calling me this early on a Sunday morning? After a night of music and drinking. Jesus. “Casey McKie," I mumbled, not hiding my annoyance. “Casey, Casey, can you hear me? I need you to come over--shee-it--how do you work this goddamned thing--fuck it." And then silence. It was Dee. I'd got her a disposable cell phone for the week-end, but she couldn't figure it ...


Annie Ross: To Lady with Love

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Her spoken-word introduction is like an incantation. “To Lady" may only be 46 seconds long, but it has a lasting impact on everything that follows. Veteran singer (and actor) Annie Ross' To Lady With Love has the potential to unsettle, calm the nerves, transport you to another time and place. Whatever it does, if you let it affect you, this music will likely alter everything that happens to you the rest of the day, or night. After all, along with Annie Ross, it's Billie Holiday we're talking, singing about. A brilliant move, this CD (which also includes a ...


Tribute to Prentice “Pete” Douglas at Douglas Beach House

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Tribute to Prentice “Pete" Douglas Douglas Beach House Half Moon Bay, CA October 4-5, 2014 In some ways, for all of us who time and again came to the Douglas Beach House in Half Moon Bay to listen to some of the finest jazz anywhere, the passing of Prentice “Pete" Douglas--the absence of the man who sat along the east wall sucking on his dead pipe, listening to the music, sometimes kicking his leg out when something in particular caught his fancy--left an empty space in the hearts of all. So, what do you ...


Tony Miceli: Vibes Matter

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Tony Miceli is a long-time master vibraphonist who, until a few short years ago, was relatively unknown outside of the jny: Philadelphia area, when he started getting requests to perform and teach all over the world. Now, he is in demand in Ireland, South Korea, Argentina, and Australia, not to mention New York and the West Coast, and the list of places is growing every day. Miceli deserves the newfound renown. He is widely regarded by the cognoscenti, including vibraphonists Gary Burton and David Friedman, as one of the ascending masters of the instrument. His work with groups like Monkadelphia ...

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