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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

sPacemoNkey: sPacemoNkey: The Karman Line

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According to Wikipedia, the Kármán Line ..."lies at an altitude of 100 kilometres (62 mi) above the Earth's sea level, and commonly represents the boundary between the Earth's atmosphere and outer space." It's as good a name as any for the debut album from sPacemoNkey, a collaboration by two of Norway's most impressive and increasingly influential musicians, despite still being in their early-to-mid thirties: keyboardist Morten Qvenild and drummer Gard Nilssen. Largely the result of spontaneous composition, with just three of its nine tracks being preconceived by Qvenild, sPacemoNkey's music is both as grounded as the world and as ethereal as ...

LIVE REVIEWS

North Sea Jazz Festival 2014

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North Sea Jazz Festival 2014 Rotterdam, Netherlands July, 11, 2014 The North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam is the biggest indoor festival in Europe. It is organized by Mojo Concerts and The Security Company, both part of Live Nation Entertainment, a worldwide operating live event mega-organizer (240,000 events annually in 33 countries). The amount of parallel concerts and big names in three days and nights-- starting in the late afternoon--is dizzying. It also evokes a constant desire to see everything, to be somewhere else and hence be on the run permanently. It is a ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Thelonious Monk: Genius of Modern Music, Volume 1 – Blue Note 1510

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There's bebop, there's hard bop--and then there's Thelonious Monk. It's not hard to imagine where the bebop pioneers found their new sound in the late 1940s, after World War II. It emerged from the big bands, which were dying. It was a natural progression. Hard-charging, uber-fast soloists pushed the limits of speed and rhythm, to the chagrin of the jazz establishment, but to the thrill of listeners. It was new, but it wasn't a giant leap--more of an incremental step. Thelonious Monk was there. But it's clear from Genius of Modern Music, Volume 1, that Monk ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pharoah & The Underground: Spiral Mercury

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With Pharaoh & the Underground we have two generations of musicians whose common bond is their greatness. Tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders--heir to his friend and colleague John Coltrane--and Rob Mazurek, the most inventive cornetist since Louis Armstrong are captured together on Spiral Mercury . The album is a document of a 2013 concert, one of the live performances Mazurek and Sanders have been collaborating on for several years. The two are joined by Mazurek colleagues from various groups; percussionist Maurício Takara from São Paulo Underground, bassist Matt Lux--of the Pulsar Quartet--and drummer Chad Taylor from the Chicago Underground collective. Rounding ...

BAILEY'S BUNDLES

Smoke Sessions: Cyrus Chestnut, Orrin Evans and Eric Reed

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Cyrus Chestnut Midnight Melodies Smoke Sessions 2014 Elegance and economy characterize Cyrus Chestnut's art. Chestnut's career was the one Kenny Kirkland could have had had Kirkland's fate been different. Chestnut (and Evans and Reed) represent the generation given way to with the passings of Mulgrew Miller and Cedar Walton. Chestnut is a keeper of the flame, a lyrical and expressive pianist who likes to use notes in sculpting songs. Midnight Melodies was recorded November 22 & 23, 2013 at New York City's Smoke Jazz Club as part of the club's “Smoke Sessions," ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Yosvany Terry: Yosvany Terry: New Throned King

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Yosvany Terry is part of the new wave of young Cuban players who have come to these shores during the last decade and established a solid presence based on their artistry and virtuosity. What has distinguished Terry from his counterparts, however, is that while most of the Cubans are either pianists or drummers, his instruments of choice have been the alto and soprano sax. In the meantime, Terry, who is the scion of one of Cuba's musical first families, Los Terry, has been a mainstay on the New York jazz scene playing with the likes of Eddie Palmieri, Roy Hargrove, ...

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1st Zbigniew Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition 2014

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1st Zbigniew Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music Luslawice/Krakow Poland July 16-19, 2014 He was one of the great jazz virtuosos, right up there some would say with Django Reinhardt, Art Tatum and Charlie Parker. Most frequently, however, he was compared to John Coltrane. The cruelly premature death of Polish jazz violinist Zbigniew Seifert at the age of 32 undoubtedly robbed jazz of one of its most exciting and original musical voices. The cancer that took Seifert in 1979, however, could not extinguish his light and he ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tom Chang: Tongue and Groove

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It's a natural extension of New York guitarist Tom Chang's repertoire to combine heavy metal with jazz improvisation in “Spinal Tap/Goes to 11" the opening track of his release Tongue and Groove. Born in South Korea, he moved to Canada with formative teen years listening to rock icons like Joni Mitchell and Led Zeppelin. What comes as an added surprise in this noteworthy release is the fluency that Chang displays in blending not only a jazz-rock aesthetic but also a Johnny Winter meets Miles Davis blues vibe ("Bar Codes"); classical music elements with South Indian music ("Djangolongo") and free jazz ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Roger Davidson: Temple Of The Soul: Rhapsodies & Meditations For Solo Piano

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Pianist Roger Davidson isn't a fan of repeating himself. With each album he's shined a light on a different facet of his artistry, marrying a classicist's outlook and touch with a fascination for anything and everything musical. He's looked at the sounds of Brazil from different perches, explored the tango in detail, tackled the music of Michel Legrand with bassist David Finck, and delivered a standards-heavy trio program in honor of music industry vet Helen Keane. Now, with Temple Of The Soul, he delivers a program of evocative and rhapsodic piano improvisations that touches on the spirituality that fuels his ...

BAILEY'S BUNDLES

Jazz Quanta July: Larry Goldings, Sean Jones and Todd Bishop

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Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein, Bill Stewart Ramshackle Serenade Pirouet Records 2014 The organ trio in jazz has always been one of the more durable formats. Wild Bill Davis, John Patton, Shirley Scott, Richard “Groove" Holmes, Jimmy Smith and Larry Young have all led important trios each giving the music a little bit of themselves and pushing the music to its outer limits. To get the breadth of the jazz organ, compare Big John Patton's rollicking period piece Wild Bill Davis at Birdland (Columbia, 1955) and Tony Williams' seditious liberation of sound Emergency ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tamara Obrovac: Ulika Revival

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In 1998 singer and songwriter Tamara Obrovac, from Istria in Croatia, released Ulika (CBS), an album dedicated to her grandmother. Ulika Revival revisits a dozen songs from that album, presenting new renditions informed by the 15 or 16 years that lie between the two releases. The revival is a great success, a masterly collection of strikingly affecting songs. In a global marketplace dominated by one or two languages it's refreshing to hear a singer who remains faithful to her own upbringing and to the beauty of its musical heritage. Obrovac sings in an Istrian dialect, with a style ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

The Spiritual Language of Soprano Saxophone Player Joe Rosenberg

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Soprano saxophonist Joe Rosenberg, who splits his time between Paris, France and Bali, Indonesia, has a highly personal approach to playing and improvising. He stresses a spiritual search for an inner sound that may enlighten his music with profound, timeless meaning. Regrettably, Rosenberg records rarely. His last effort with the Signal to Noise quartet, Tag, was released in 2009 (Quark). His highly impressive new albums feature a distinct approach and unique compositions. Joe Rosenberg Ensemble Resolution Quark Records 2014 Rosenberg frames the debut album of his French chamber ensemble with ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Eric Harland's Voyager: Vipassana

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Much is said about records once they've come into the world, but little is discussed about the motive(s) surrounding the birthing of a record. Sometimes it's simply about marketing, exposure, money, and pure narcissism. There's nothing necessarily wrong with that on some level(s), and many classic albums have been made with little to nothing else in mind, but it's harder to appreciate the artistry and the artist when records made for such reasons appear on the horizon. It's far more satisfying to sit back and soak in the beauty and power of expertly-crafted music that's been made in the name ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Roberto Magris Septet: Morgan Rewind: A Tribute to Lee Morgan, Vol. 2

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Not only is Italian pianist / composer Roberto Magris conversant with jazz history and tradition, he honors it, as he has done in a series of albums devoted to the music of pianist Elmo Hope, alto saxophonist Julian “Cannonball" Adderley and trumpeter Lee Morgan who is saluted here in a second two-disc volume. Whereas young lion Brandon Lee sat in on Volume 1, released in 2010 (JMood 002), Morgan's surrogate this time around is Hermon Mehari. While neither one, of course, is Lee Morgan, they immersed themselves in the task at hand and carried out the arduous assignment with dexterity ...



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