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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michelle Lordi: Drive

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It's difficult to conceive how this wonderful album of restrained and subtly rendered ballads came to be called Drive, a term which leads the listener to expect a package of revved up swing or rock. However, you don't have to be a cryptologist to realize that it comes from the last track, “Drive," which contains the line “Who's gonna drive you home?" This sense of melancholy and hoped for love, like so much of the American Songbook, is the essence ...

INTERVIEWS

Rudresh Mahanthappa: Dancing on the Edges of Time

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Saxophonist and composer Rudresh Mahanthappa is constantly making waves in the music world, expanding the technique of his instrument and integrating jazz and world music, especially that of his parents' native land, India. Brilliantly innovative, he often surprises with his improvisations and the way he transforms the music into something new and stimulating. India's great poet, Rabindranath Tagore wrote, “Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time..." With his rhythmic propulsion and inexhaustible energy, Mahanthappa is always on ...

INTERVIEWS

Working the Rhythm Section: Tom Lawton, Lee Smith, and Dan Monaghan

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As Duke Ellington's standard goes, “It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got that Swing." The rhythm section (piano, bass, drums, with guitar and percussion sometimes added) is the core of the typical jazz ensemble. They set the frame for the leader, singer, and soloists and contribute their own solos as well. Even though they work primarily in the background, they can make or break the performance of the horn players or singer. In order to call ...

LIVE REVIEWS

ICP Orchestra Plus Ken Vandermark/Nate Wooley at FringeArts

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ICP Orchestra FringeArts Ars Nova Workshops Philadelphia, PA January 11, 2015 Despite a cold and damp Sunday night in January, a packed house came to hear a stellar group of musicians from the Netherlands for a performance at the FringeArts Center in the Old City section of town. This collective of seasoned and versatile musicians call themselves the ICP or Instant Composers Pool, and they embody guitarist Jim Hall's broad definition of jazz ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Rudresh Mahanthappa: Bird Calls

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In this innovative album, Rudresh Mahanthappa is to “Yardbird" Charlie Parker what Albert Einstein was to Isaac Newton. He revises Parker's legacy to his own advanced understanding, yet preserves the essential truth of Parker's contribution to jazz. One genius says “hello" to another and then goes his own way. The result is an exciting “leaning in" to Bird's bebop while retaining Mahanhtappa's unique synthesis of the jazz idiom with the music of India and other parts of the world. This ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dave Liebman: Ceremony

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This exciting new album returns to the haunting evocative beauty of the origins of jazz rhythms but has a contemporary feeling infused into it by very sophisticated players of contemporary jazz and Latin music who give the album a special shine. While jazz matured within an eclectic mix of American music ranging from marching bands to gospel to ragtime, vaudeville, and musical theater, it is firmly rooted in its rhythmic intensity in the rituals and ceremonies of Africa and the ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Mary Ellen Desmond Quartet: 11th Annual Comfort and Joy Concert

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Mary Ellen Desmond Church of St. Luke and the Epiphany 11th Annual Comfort and Joy Concert Philadelphia, PA December 14, 2014 Mary Ellen Desmond's Comfort and Joy Concert commenced a decade ago as a shot in the dark, and now, after eleven years running and a CD to its name (Comfort and Joy, Frontrow Records, 2013) the annual event has become a jny: Philadelphia institution. It's addictive. Many jazz ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Arthur Barron, David Liebman, Abel Pabon: The Miami Jazz Project

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Always on the lookout for outstanding players to join him, NEA Jazz Master saxophonist, flautist, and composer David Liebman finds in the The Miami Jazz Project a simpatico group of musicians to echo and recapitulate his interest in the post- Coltrane concatenation of fusion and world music where his career first took off in the 1970s. Liebman is the obvious inspiration for this album, which is spearheaded by one of his long-time saxophone colleagues, Arthur Baron, and features a rhythm ...



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