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Outbeat Jazz Festival 2014

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Outbeat Jazz Festival Philadelphia, PA September 18-21, 2014 The Outbeat Jazz Festival, touted as “America's First Queer Jazz Festival," where the “Q-word" has become an “in" word, proved to be an innovative event that brought the public's attention to the important role of gay (LGBT) jazz musicians and composers. A series of concerts and discussions drove the point home. It was no accident that the festival was held at venues in and around Center City, jny: Philadelphia, the locus of one of the most thriving and activist gay communities in the world. Sponsored by the ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Brownie Speaks: A Video Documentary: The Life, Music, and Legacy of Clifford Brown

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Brownie Speaks: A Video Documentary: The Life, Music, and Legacy of Clifford Brown Glanden Productions 2014 This thoroughly researched and fascinating documentary about legendary jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown reveals the full scope of the man and his music through extensive interviews, recordings, photos, and both new and archival film and video footage. It is the result of the labor and devotion of Don Glanden, pianist and Division Head of Graduate Jazz Studies at The University of the Arts in jny: Philadelphia, who, with his son, Brad Glanden, a media expert, spent many years researching and ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Jason Jackson: Inspiration

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Jason Jackson is an outstanding versatile and well-heeled New York-based trombonist. Somehow, you don't hear his name mentioned along with peers like Robin Eubanks, Steve Turre, Steve Davis, John Fedchock, and Conrad Herwig. Perhaps that's because Jackson plays first chair in big bands, studio work, and Broadway musicals. He doesn't often link up with small groups or front his own, where musicians achieve their notoriety. In addition, his style represents the by now “classic" meld of swing, bebop, and post bop rather than being exhortative, exploratory, and experimental. He hones well-crafted improvisations within the legacy of one of his mentors, ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Phil Haynes’ “No Fast Food” Trio: In Concert (2014)

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A jazz trio called “No Fast Food" is more likely to appeal to a sophisticated audience rather than attract the legion of average jazz fans, and this album will no doubt appeal to just such serious listeners who will take the time to digest it. Phil Haynes, Dave Liebman, and Drew Gress are seasoned players, all of whom strive for a synthesis of mainstream jazz with rich innovation, while mostly avoiding the free and avant garde connotations. This album, recorded at live venues, is, despite its abstract and exploratory quality, remarkably listenable and even infused with humor. That is because ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Diane Monroe and Tony Miceli: Alone Together

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Duets allow two musicians to work together intimately without the complications of a rhythm section. Such recordings are often done on the spot at the suggestion of one of the musicians or an agent. Historically, two iconic collaborations of this type were a studio gig with Jerry Mulligan and Thelonious Monk (Mulligan Meets Monk, Riverside, 1957 ), and Oscar Peterson et Joe Pass a la Salle Pleyel(Pablo, 1975). When musicians such as these are creative and can think quickly on their feet, the results are often exciting, even though the arrangements are severely limited by the fact that they haven't ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Diane Monroe Quartet at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

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Diane Monroe Quartet Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts “Spiritual Strivings" Exhibition and Concert Philadelphia, PA August 2, 2014 In the tradition of the Paris salons, art and music go together, and some of the best jazz in the jny: Philadelphia area today can be heard at art museums, taking up some of the slack due to the attrition of nightclubs. In this instance, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, a premiere art school and museum, featured a one-time-only jazz concert to complement its exhibition entitled “Spiritual Strivings: A Celebration of African American Works ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kosi: Pictures of Us

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This is an album whose authenticity and directness of expression is matched only by its underlying artistic complexity and conceptual nuances. Kosi Gyebi Sorensen (Akosua Gyebi) is a New York-based singer and composer whose vocal persona on this album is that of a young woman of humble origins struggling with the trials of intimacy and love, the apotheosis of Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The Facebook pages of the singer herself, however, reveal a sophisticated, intellectually gifted African American woman who thinks deeply about such literature as Milton's Paradise Lost and Dante's Divine Comedy. Since she ...

INTERVIEWS

Steve Swell: Unlimited Musical Possibilities

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"Free Jazz" and “Avant-Garde Jazz" are catch phrases often associated with musical pioneers such as Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor but more broadly refer to music that goes outside of the mainstream of melody, harmony, rhythm, and structure. When that happens, opinions and emotions abound. Reactions vary from disgust to excitement and enthusiasm, and it is rare to find a balanced view on the subject. The question arises, why does the same music so strongly attract and repel? To seek answers to this and related questions about music that presses the limits of the expectable, All About Jazz initiated a ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Odean Pope Quartet at Chris’ Jazz Cafe

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Odean Pope Quartet Chris' Jazz Café Philadelphia, PA July 19, 2014 Legendary tenor saxophonist Odean Pope, in addition to his international status and iconic recordings, often appears in Philadelphia, his home town, but usually in festivals, concerts, and other situations where he is part of a bigger mix. His one evening show at Chris' Jazz Café gave listeners a special opportunity to hear him in an intimate setting where they could really attend to the subtlety of his playing in addition to his intricate long runs fueled by his innovative circular breathing. For the ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Paul Combs: Dameronia: The Life and Times of Tadd Dameron

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Dameronia: The Life and Times of Tadd Dameron Paul Combs 264 Pages ISBN: # 978-0-472-03563-2 The University of Michigan Press2013 “There is enough ugliness in this world; I'm interested in beauty."--Tadd Dameron “Nature's first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf's a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf, So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day Nothing gold can stay. “ --Robert Frost Composer, arranger, and pianist Tadd Dameron ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Martin Wind Quartet at Kitano

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Martin Wind Quartet Jazz at Kitano New York, NY May 31, 2014 It was a clear, warm late spring evening in Manhattan, and Jazz at Kitano, by now a familiar part of the New York nightclub scene, provided a perfect setting for a CD release event, a place with great acoustics, ambience, menu, and a coterie of dedicated fans. Bassist Martin Wind had recently come out with an album dedicated to legendary pianist Bill Evans: Turn Out the Stars (What If? Music, 2014) featuring his quartet and the Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana. Of course, a ...

INTERVIEWS

Danilo Perez: Bridging Cultures and Dimensions of Jazz

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Whether with his own ensembles or as a sideman, Danilo Perez has long been an iconic jazz pianist, but above and beyond his success as a performer and recording artist, he has become a manifestation and symbol of cross-cultural dialogue. His music brings together mainstream and Latin influences in a unique way. He always brings something new into the mix, whether early on with Dizzy Gillespie, Jon Hendricks or Wynton Marsalis, his award-winning CD, Panamonk (Implulse, 1996), and more recently with the Wayne Shorter Quartet as well as his own groups featuring Brian Blade, John Patitucci, Ben Street, Adam Cruz, ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Sonny Rollins: Road Shows, Vol. 3 (2014)

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Legendary tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins has proven himself to be one of the most durable, consistently strong musicians of any era and genre. He started playing tenor saxophone in the 1940s, came into his own as a recognized player in the 1950s, and, except for short interruptions has been working and recording ever since. The reason he has been so steadily successful and productive is that he has unswervingly pursued his own exciting and highly inventive style that incorporates the bebop and hard bop idioms in a timeless way. His live performances and recordings therefore have remained fresh and vital ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Diane Schuur: I Remember You (With Love to Stan and Frank)

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Diane Schuur is that rare songbird who is equally competent as a jazz singer and a pops entertainer. While some vocalists go with more lucrative popular music and some take the road of the jazz artist in the pure sense, Schuur is able to straddle the two careers. Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole had a superb grasp of the jazz idiom, but they made the decisive choice to become entertainers. By contrast, Chris Connor, Betty Carter, and Johnny Hartman all had shots at the klieglights and hit parade but took the route of the jazz scene. Schuur has made ...



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