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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Matthew Sheens: Untranslatable

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With his impressive debut Every Eight Seconds (Self Produced, 2012) garnering universally positive reviews, Australian-born, New York-based pianist Matthew Sheens returns with an even meatier, juicier follow-up. Every Eight Seconds introduced an original composer, one whose melodic and rhythmic ideas championed narrative over virtuosity. There's perhaps more of Sheens the Downbeat poll-winning pianist this time out but significantly Untranslatable ups the ante compositionally, with the Yanni Burton String Quartet leaving an indelible stamp on a third of the tracks. This isn't jazz with strings either, for Sheens' sophisticated string arrangements for two violins, viola, cello and double bass ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Jazztopad 2014, Three World Premieres

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Jazztopad jny:Wroclaw, Poland November 13-15, 2014 Jazztopad enters its second decade with confident stride. The festival has come a long way in the first ten years, evolving, experimenting and growing as any good festival should. In 2014, Jazztopad stands as an internationally renowned festival with a clearly defined ethos, one that combines a strong respect for the traditions and roots of the music with a progressive vision that provides a platform for the contemporary and innovative. The name Jazztopad translates as 'Jazz in November." It's maybe not the most inspired name but for the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jeremy Monteiro & Alberto Marsico: Jazz-Blues Brothers

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There can't be many bands with a piano and an organ in the front line. There are few better exponents of Hammond organ--actually a KeyB--than Alberto Marsico ("I've never heard anybody do it better than Alberto"--Joey DeFrancesco) while Jeremy Monteiro--widely considered as the best jazz pianist in Asia--has cut it with James Moody, Michael Brecker, Jimmy Cobb, Toots Thielemans and, for twenty seven years with Ernie Watts. This is a summit meeting indeed. Guitarist Eugene Pao, drummer Shawn Kelley and tenor saxophonist Shawn Letts also bring plenty of bite--and no little finesse--to a set of hard-swinging, blues-drenched originals.

BOOK REVIEWS

Jazz Child: A Portrait of Sheila Jordan

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Jazz Child: A Portrait of Sheila Jordan Ellen Johnson 234 pages ISBN: 978-0-8108-8836-4 Rowman & Littlefield 2014 That Ellen Johnson's revealing portrait of Sheila Jordan is the first full biography of the eighty five-year old Pennsylvanian-born singer reaffirms the notion that the dominant jazz narrative has always lionized certain artists to the exclusion of others. As the progenitor of the bass and vocal duo Jordan was an innovative figure from the get go. Instigator of arguably the first solo jazz vocal program in America in the late 1970s and one ...

INTERVIEWS

Sheila Jordan: Now's The Time

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Sheila Jordan, one of the last great jazz vocalists from the bebop era turns eighty six on 18 November. Happy Birthday Sheila! There's much to celebrate. The Pennsylvanian-born singer's remarkable life story has just been published--the first complete biography to cover Jordan's life and career in detail. Written by Ellen Johnson over seven years, Jazz Child: A Portrait of Sheila Jordan (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014) relates Jordan's life from her upbringing in real poverty and her first steps as a teenage bebopper in the late 1940s to her induction as an NEA Jazz Master in 2012. At various ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Morten Schantz: Unicorn

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Danish pianist/composer Morten Schantz is probably best known as one fifth of JazzKamikaze, the globe-trotting band he formed in 2005 with Marius Neset, Kristor Brødsgaard, Daniel Heløy Davidsen and Anton Eger. That may be about to change, as the solo album Unicorn marks a significant wind change in Schantz's trajectory. Inspired writing and scintillating collective playing are the cornerstones, with Schantz' quartet augmented by Morroccon traditional musicians and choir. It's an intoxicating concoction that marks a high point in the pianist's career to date. Fusion, however, this is not, for blues and swing course through the veins ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Bill Frisell: Guitar in the Space Age!

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Though prototype electric guitar first appeared in the early 1930s, the instrument only became a staple of popular music in the 1950s and 1960s. As a musical revolution was evolving, so was a different type altogether -space exploration. Sixty years on, in an age when the challenge is just to keep abreast of technological innovations it takes an effort to imagine the seismic shift that the electric guitar and space travel--and television that brought such adventures into millions of homes--signified for youngsters like Bill Frisell. Growing up in jny:Denver, Frisell was just eleven when Telstar made headlines as ...



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