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BOOK REVIEWS

The Parisian Jazz Chronicles

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The Parisian Jazz Chronicles: An Improvisational MemoirBy Mike Zwerin Yale University PressISBN: 0300108060240 pages2005 The Parisian Jazz Chronicles is an irreverent and highly revealing tour through the Parisian and European jazz scenes of the '80-90s in the company of musician/writer/hipster expatriate Mike Zwerin, who played trombone on Miles Davis' landmark Birth of the Cool sessions as a teenager and later became a respected jazz critic for the International Herald Tribune. An “improvisational memoir" is an apt description for what's essentially a series of loosely connected ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Sonny Rollins, Live at NJPAC

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Sonny RollinsNew Jersey Performing Arts CenterNewark, NJMay 13, 2011 The expectations for a Sonny Rollins concert have always been extraordinarily high. One anticipates waves of awe-inspiring solos and jaw-dropping feats of musical dexterity from the saxophone colossus, and more often than not, he delivers. But in recent years, something else has begun to happen when Rollins performs. As he ambled onto the stage at NJPAC in Newark, a stooped 80-year-old man with a wild mane of white hair, wearing dark sunglasses and an un-tucked white shirt, Rollins instantly transformed into a heroic ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Geri Allen: Solo and Quartet

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Geri Allen Flying Toward The Sound Motema Music2010 Geri Allen & TimelineLiveMotema Music2010 One of the most accomplished jazz pianists of her generation, Geri Allen has long made music that combines the traditional and the avant-garde, the cerebral and the soulful, the restrained and the raucous. Her impressive resume includes '80s collaborations with Steve Coleman and his M-Base crew, performances with free thinkers like Ornette Coleman, Betty Carter and Charles Lloyd and well-regarded trio ...

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Hank Jones: With Oliver Jones & the Great Jazz Trio

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Oliver Jones and Hank JonesPleased to Meet YouJustin Time2010 The Great Jazz TrioMoreoverTest of Time2010 Hank Jones continues his remarkable late-in-life surge of activity with this new release documenting his first-ever recorded encounter with Canadian piano mainstay Oliver Jones. Hank Jones was 90 when Pleased to Meet You was recorded two years ago in Montreal while Oliver Jones was a relative pup at 74. That's a hell of a lot of years between them, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jean-Michel Pilc: True Story

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Paris-born pianist Jean-Michel Pilc continues his impressive series of Dreyfus Jazz releases with True Story, his first album since 2006's New Dreams and the debut effort for his exciting new trio featuring respected veteran drummer Billy Hart and talented Russian-born bassist Boris Kozlov. The 49-year-old Pilc, a resident of New York for the past 15 years, is a self-taught musician whose varied experience includes playing with masters like Roy Haynes, Michael Brecker and Dave Liebman, among many others, as well as a stint as musical director and pianist for Harry Belafonte. He is a cerebral, yet deeply passionate artist, whose ...

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Posi-Tone Saxophones

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Ralph BowenDue ReverencePosi-Tone2010 Mike DiRubboRepercussionPosi-Tone2009 Sean NowellThe SeekerPosi-Tone2009 Giving underappreciated jazz artists their due is one of the perks (and responsibilities) of writing about the music. The frustrating thing is the sheer number of outstanding musicians flying under the radar of most listeners. These three saxophonists, all New York-area players recording for the LA-based Posi-Tone label and all checking in at various places along the post-bop continuum, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ralph Lalama: The Audience

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Tenor saxophonist Ralph Lalama is a respected jazz journeyman probably best known for his more than 25-year tenure with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. He's also played and recorded with the Joe Lovano Nonet, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band and drummer Joe Morello's group, among others. But he's had relatively few opportunities to record as a leader. His 2008 release, the well-received Energy Fields (Mighty Quinn), was his first in over a decade and his first ever for a US label. So it's nice to see him back so soon with a worthy follow-up. Lalama is a powerhouse ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Zak: Blues on the Corner: The Music of McCoy Tyner

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McCoy Tyner has justifiably been heralded as one of the most important jazz pianists of the past 50 years, both for his seminal work with the classic John Coltrane Quartet in the 1960s and for the four decades of consistently exhilarating work as a leader that followed. But while his heavily percussive style, unique chord voicings and the sheer emotional force of his playing have influenced countless followers, he has seldom been appreciated for his contributions as a composer. That's beginning to change a bit, however, with the SF Jazz Collective's 2009 Tyner tribute and New York pianist Peter Zak ...

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Two Tributes to Bille Holiday: Dee Dee Bridgewater and Stepanie Nakasian

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Dee Dee Bridgewater Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie with Love from Dee Dee Emarcy 2010 Stephanie Nakasian Billie Remembered: The Classic Songs of Billie Holiday Inner City 2010 Dee Dee Bridgewater, one of the premier singers of her generation, as well as an acclaimed actress and radio personality, has had an extremely close relationship with the music of Billie Holiday, having starred in an acclaimed one-woman show about her in Europe in the '80s. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Sanborn: Only Everything

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Only Everything is alto saxophonist David Sanborn's second straight release paying homage to one of his greatest and earliest influences, Ray Charles. While some jazz purists may dismiss Sanborn as a slick TV personality and practitioner of smooth or pop jazz, he's always had firm roots in bluesy, R&B-based jazz, dating to his early days playing with the likes of Albert King and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. And along with his more commercially calculated recordings, he's released some excellent straight-ahead, even experimental albums over the years, notably 1991's out-of-left-field Another Hand (Elektra), which featured Sanborn in the company of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tessa Souter: Obsession

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New York-based, British-born Tessa Souter is a jazz singer with interests far outside the jazz world. On Obsession, Souter mostly shuns well-trodden standards and classic jazz fare in favor of a varied set of rock, pop and Brazilian tunes. With her rich contralto and crystal-clear diction, Souter delivers lyrics with a theatrical, but never overdramatic, flair. Nothing sounds forced or hurried in her delivery; she's a relaxed, confident singer who succeeds at creating a romantic, vaguely tropical mood with apparent ease. And she knows how to get inside a song, even a familiar one, and make it ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Marc Copland: Solo and Duo

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Marc Copland Alone Pirouet 2009 Gary Peacock/Marc Copland Insight Pirouet 2009 There's a reason, perhaps, that Marc Copland doesn't get the acclaim he deserves as one of the masters of modern jazz piano. Copland's strengths are subtle ones that require careful listening. A deeply reflective artist, Copland doesn't play loud or fast or swing particularly hard. Instead, the 61-year-old lets a few well-chosen notes tell a story that a flurry of notes would only ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jeremy Pelt: Men of Honor

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The title of firebrand trumpeter Jeremy Pelt's Men of Honor refers to the members of his quintet who, like their leader here, are among the foremost 30-something neo-bop players in jazz today. The album is a follow-up to Pelt's acclaimed November (MAXJAZZ, 2008), which marked this all-acoustic quintet's debut, and came on the heels of a couple of releases that explored a sort of early-1970s electric Miles Davis vibe. Heralded for years as one of the “rising stars" in jazz, Pelt has earned accolades for his staggering virtuosity, which has elicited comparisons to trumpet icons like Clifford ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Arturo O'Farrill: Risa Negra

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Pianist, composer and bandleader Arturo O'Farrill is Latin jazz royalty. The son of the legendary Chico O'Farrill, whose collaborations with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie helped create the genre (and whose best-known composition, “Manteca," is reason enough for his status as a jazz icon), Arturo has long been a major innovator in his own right, with a 2009 Grammy for the most recent recording with his AfroLatin Jazz Orchestra to show for it. On Risa Negra, O'Farrill introduces his outstanding new sextet, along with numerous guests, including his wife, pianist Alison Deane, and his two teenage sons. ...



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