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All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Jazz Articles

LIVE REVIEWS January 31, 2010

AAJ's Guide to NYC Jazz Venues in the New Decade

In its nearly eight years of existence, All About Jazz has become the foremost chronicler of live jazz in New York City. Our monthly issues, like bibles in hotel rooms, have found a place in nearly every jazz venue in the city and concertgoers have looked to its pages to keep them abreast of new arrivals. At the dawn of a new decade, it seems fitting to take a look back at the venues we've covered in our first 92 editions and over the next three issues, look to the future of a scene that is as ephemeral as it ...

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Charlie Parker: Bird in Time & Washington, DC, May 23, 1948

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Charlie Parker Bird in Time 1940-1947 ESP-Disk2008 Charlie Parker Washington DC, 1948 Uptown Jazz2008 In the liner notes to Washington, DC, 1948, Ira Gitler reaffirms an assessment made in his 1966 classic The Masters of Bebop: “The period of 1947-48 was the zenith of Charlie Parker's career and the time of his greatest influence," due in part, he goes on to explain, to a “shift" in the New York “club scene" that produced venues ...

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Brooklyn Jazz Underground

With a name that conjures smoky clubs in cab- forsaken neighborhoods, the approachably progressive ethnic and global appeal of Brooklyn Jazz Underground (BJU) might surprise the uninitiated. The association, which has thrived on the practical notion of collective strength and shared PR, has also served as another example of the musical microcosm its namesake borough has become. Its members share ZIP codes, but hailing from Spain, France, Denmark and Southeast Asia, the group rarely treads on common musical territory. “We're a collective of bandleaders," remarked bassist and BJU cofounder Alexis Cuadrado. “I'd say that we share an attitude more than ...

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ARTIST PROFILES April 15, 2009

Mark Turner & Fly

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From the first authoritative notes of Sky & Country, the trio Fly's new release on ECM records, saxophonist Mark Turner lays out a conundrum. Over the ambling underpinnings of bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, the saxophonist conjures a sense of ease while unleashing a stream of ideas that take him from the middle to the stratospheric heights of his instrument's range. It's a technique that frequently draws gasps from live audiences and has become a hallmark of Turner's playing in his 15-year recording career. The wiry saxophonist's penchant for precise lines and Zen-like concentration carry over ...

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Henry Grimes: Like He's Never Been Away

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Henry Grimes The Call ESP Disk 2008

The disappearance and re-emergence of Henry Grimes after almost 30 years is one of jazz music's great resurrection stories. The Juilliard-trained double bassist, who began his career in the late 1950s with the likes of clarinetist Benny Goodman and saxophonist Gerry Mulligan before becoming an avatar of the avant-garde in the bands of saxophonist Albert Ayler and pianist Cecil Taylor, vanished at the height of his acclaim to a life of obscurity on the West Coast, to return in 2003 through the assistance of fans ...

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INTERVIEWS October 9, 2008

Bob Stewart: Brassy Bass Lines

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Over his 40-year career, tubaist Bob Stewart has redefined his instrument's role in modern jazz. His thundering, breathy grooves and fluid improvisations have been integral to the work of a who's who of creative musicians, including Arthur Blythe, David Murray and Carla Bley, as well as to Stewart's own impressive discography as a leader.

All About Jazz: For those who aren't aware, would you talk a little about your background?

Bob Stewart: Well, my father was in the air force and playing in the Negro League, for a baseball team in South Dakota. My ...

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Sara Shoenbeck: One Dance Alone & Ostinato And...

Wayne Horvitz Gravitas Quartet One Dance Alone Songlines 2008 Diana Wayburn Ostinato And... Self Published 2008

Wayne Horvitz' Gravitas Quartet has come a long way in the two years since its exquisite debut Way Out East. The group has refined its genre-bending chamber music to where composed passages melt seamlessly into improvisations in moments of striking intimacy. One Dance Alone perfectly balances Horvitz' composing skills and his bandmates' creative prowess.

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George Garzone: Steering Clear of Ideology

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An esoteric system and guru status among musicians makes for an easy target in today's niche-driven market. Terms like musician's musician and classicist start getting thrown around as a way to commodify and explain away public indifference. This, luckily, is a non-issue for George Garzone. The veteran saxophonist has avoided pigeonholing his entire career, letting his emotionally resonant music speak for itself. “We never put in any boundaries on the music," said the saxophonist of his longstanding group The Fringe on a break between classes at the New School, “Fuck it, we just go for it."Born in Boston ...

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INTERVIEWS May 8, 2008

Steve Swallow: Embracing Music and Greater Awareness

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For 50 years, Steve Swallow has represented the pinnacle of jazz bass playing. First on acoustic, then exclusively on electric bass, the versatile Swallow approaches every musical situation with grace and understated virtuosity. His discography reads like a Who's Who of the important improvisers of the 20th and early 21st Century. Swallow continues to tour extensively around the world and record with Carla Bley, Gary Burton, John Scofield and many others. AAJ contributor Matthew Miller spoke with Swallow at his winter home in Camino, in the British Virgin Islands. All About Jazz: Has the New York audience ...

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Solo Percussion: Ibarra, Bennington, Centazzo & Drury

Susie Ibarra Drum Sketches Innova 2008 Jimmy Bennington Jazz Kaleidoscope: Solo Drums Live at On The House That Swan! 2006 Andrea Centazzo Fragments 2 Ictus 2007 Andrew Drury Renditions (Solos 2004-2007) Creative Sources 2007

The history of jazz is a study in extended technique. In the case of the drums, a gradual ascent from the ...

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MULTIPLE REVIEWS December 8, 2007

Violin & Piano: Distich & Minamo

Mat Maneri/Denman Maroney Distich Nuscope 2007 Carla Kihlstedt/Satoko Fujii Minamo Henceforth 2007

As a reviewer, it's vitally important to resist the urge to compare two albums that, on the surface, have so much in common. While both Distich and Minamo share the relatively unique pairing of viola or violin with piano in an improvised setting, they strike markedly divergent creative paths. They're as dynamic and unique as any nuanced conversation between ...

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Nels Cline: Downpour, Draw Breath, Smoke Inside and Duo Milano

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Nels Cline/Andrea Parkins/Tom Rainey Downpour Victo 2007 Nels Cline Singers Draw Breath Cryptogramophone 2007 Daniele Cavallanti Electric Unit Smoke Inside Long Song 2007 Nels Cline/Elliott Sharp Duo Milano Long Song 2007

Jazz music has seen its fair share of genre-straddlers, but Nels Cline takes the prize. In 2006, the Los Angeles based guitarist released his ...

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Joe Hunt

It's been a long time since drummer Joe Hunt called New York home, but you wouldn't know that to talk with him. “I want to spend more time in New York," intoned the veteran drummer over the phone during a recent interview between reminiscences of Ornette, The Five Spot, Bill Evans and the whirlwind pace of his early days in the city. The Indiana native was ubiquitous--if somewhat overshadowed--on the New York scene in the heady days of hard bop and experimentation. Drop the needle on a George Russell LP from the early '60s or any number of post-bossa Stan ...

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Nicole Mitchell: Frequency & Indigo Trio: Live in Montreal

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Ed Wilkerson/Nicole Mitchell/Harrison Bankhead/Avreeayl Ra Frequency Thrill Jockey 2007 Nicole Mitchell/Harrison Bankhead/Hamid Drake Indigo Trio - Live in Montreal Greenleaf Music 2007

Flutist Nicole Mitchell may not be the most recognizable name on the venerated AACM roster - she falls between the late Art Ensemble bassist Malachi Favors Maghostut and Roscoe Mitchell on the group's website - but her music certainly attains the high standard set by her adventurous peers. It ...

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