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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 fans, including this reviewer, have undergone withdrawal symptoms when they had to miss a year! There's nothing quite like it ...

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 section of Abel Pabón on keyboards, Josh Allen on acoustic and electric basses (with Eric England substituting on bass in ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Pat Martino Trio at Chris' Jazz Cafe

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Pat Martino Trio Chris' Jazz Café Philadelphia, PA November 29, 2014 Over the years, Pat Martino's guitar artistry has been powerful and consistent, characterized by his precision, strong attack, uncanny mastery of the instrument, and hard rhythmic style honed in his apprenticeship with saxophonist Willis Jackson and organist Jack McDuff. Frequently on the road, and just returned from a tour of South America, Martino delivered on all these qualities in the first Saturday night set of his annual two day stint at Chris' Jazz Café in his hometown of Philadelphia. But ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Kennedy: Insulation

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This unpretentious but edifying album consists of a series of guitar originals which flow into one another to form a unified whole. The music is relaxing, with a light swing that calls to mind guitarists like Wes Montgomery and Jim Hall, and might be called, to coin a phrase, “soft bop." Mike Kennedy, guitarist and leader, Mike Frank, piano, Paul Gehman, bass, and Dan Monaghan, drums are all Philadelphia-based musicians with extensive track records (no pun intended), and the consistency among the tracks is reminiscent of a little known but outstanding recording by the late great Philly bassist Al Stauffer ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Arturo Sandoval Quintet at the Annenberg Center

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Arturo Sandoval Quintet Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Zellerbach Theater Philadelphia, PA November 15, 2014 The excitement about any Arturo Sandoval performance builds from the time you see his name on an events list and think of his affiliation with Dizzy Gillespie, his tenure with the group Irakere, his stunning career trajectory with ten Grammy awards, films, TV appearances, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom award, and his well-known virtuosic trumpet playing combined with his spontaneous and sincere personal presence. There is no question that this concert delivered everything you would expect ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Low Down

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Low Down Directed by Jeff Preiss Screenplay by Amy Albany and Topper Lilien Oscilliscope Laboratories 2014 Low Down is an independent film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, 2014. It relates to the life of the late Joe Albany, a well accomplished if lesser known swing and bebop jazz pianist during the 1940s through 1980s. Albany performed with the likes of Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Charles Mingus with intermittent periods of descent into heroin addiction. Several decades later, based on the memoirs of Albany's now ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Fred Hersch: My Coma Dreams

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My Coma Dreams Music composed by Fred Hersch Conceived, Written, and Directed by Herschel Garfein Palmetto Records 2014 If you were a composer, would you write a piece of music based on your experience of being unconscious for 40 days in a medically-induced coma? The answer is probably “No!" You'd want to forget the whole ordeal--unless you're a pioneering pianist and composer who is always expanding his reach and someone who for whom bouts of illness are familiar, i.e. a long term survivor of AIDS. That is, unless you're ...



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