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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Klas Nevrin Ensemble: Live At Lederman

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Swedish pianist and composer Klas Nevrin, known for his ongoing collaborations with reed player Fredrik Ljungkvist in Ljungkvist's bands Yun Kan 5 and Yun Kan 10 and in the Norwegian- Swedish quartet Honeyleap, suggests a new arresting sonic aesthetic in his new solo album. His compositions forge a middle path between the rock-inspired lineage of free jazz and the ultra- minimalist school of contemporary improvisation, without settling for any of these contrasting aesthetics. Furthermore, Nevrin applied alternative, non-Western micro-tonal intonation systems to his compositions, such as the Indian Raga or the Balinese Gamelan, following innovative composers and improvisers who were ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Francesco Lo Castro: Chasing Beauty

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Positive energy flows and pleasing melodies abound in Chasing Beauty by guitarist and composer Francesco Lo Castro, the fifth album released on his own label. Using an array of outstanding musicians, voice and instrumentation, Lo Castro creates a sonic canvass that's reminiscent of artists Pat Metheny and Mike Stern. Throughout the disc, Lo Castro displays an innate skill and sensibility in relation to his supporting musicians, instinctively knowing when to hold back and also when to unleash their joyful vigor. The opening track “Dresdin" sets the aura of the entire album, creating an atmospheric quality and keen sense ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Brian Eno: Visual Music

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Brian Eno: Visual Music Christopher Scoates 416 pages ISBN: 1452108498 Chronicle Books 2013 To say that polymath Brian Eno is one of the most influential figures of our time would be a severe understatement. Eno has been one of the pivotal figures of the 20th century music as he introduced a popular voice to a century of musical change, and he has continued to do so in the next one he has helped to envision. Innovative, exuberant and controversial, Eno has, during any point of his illustrious career, found both popular appeal ...

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Take Five With Francesco Lo Castro

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Meet Francesco Lo Castro: Italian born Francesco Lo Castro is a UK-based jazz guitarist and composer known for his personal and melodic approach to improvisation. Style well showcased in his latest album, Songs for Duke.Instrument(s): Guitar.Teachers and/or influences? Gianni Cataleta. He has been my teacher not only with regards to theory and technical things but, more important, he prepared me for the road life, shaping my personality and pushing me in the direction of always trying to be personal rather than someone else's cloneI knew I wanted to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Simon Little: The Knowledge of Things to Come

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The first wave of auteurs to substantially capitalize on the proliferation of sophisticated yet accessibly-priced music production technology hailed from the DJ and electronic scenes. With turntables, samplers and DAT machines in their arsenals, these solitary explorers discovered, manipulated and mixed sound in innovative ways. The boundary between instrument and tool would never be the same. The proliferation of multi-track recorders and expensive effects rigs have increased as their price and physical size has shrunk. As a result, artists like Simon Little can create an ever-increasing array of instrumental music, recorded and distributed as an entirely one-person ...

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Take Five with Simon Little

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Meet Simon Little: I'm a session bassist living in London. I was born in London and started learning the double bass at school in Dorset with Barry Glynn. I went on to study at The Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London (1999-2003) receiving tuition from Kevin Rundell, Jeff Clyne and Steve Watts. I first picked up an electric bass aged 15 and have never looked back...Most people know me as the bassist with The Divine Comedy and Duke Special. I also tour regularly with Clare Teal and Maggie Reilly. As a jazz ...

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Take Five With Fiona Joy Hawkins

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Meet Fiona Joy Hawkins: Fiona Joy Hawkins is an Australian composer and pianist who crosses genres from contemporary classical, to worldj Jazz and new age. Fiona has four award winning albums Portrait of a Waterfall, Angel Above My Piano, ICE--Piano Slightly Chilled and Blue Dream. She has charted at #1 on the New Age Reporter International Radio Charts achieving the highest ranking in the history of the charts. Fiona performs with a group called Blue Dream, each musician has a diverse range of styles and improvisational skills that brings to life the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Russ Kassoff: Bird Fly By

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As of this writing, jazz pianist Russ Kassoff is the pianist and conductor of a seventeen-piece big band, and the musical director of Come Fly Away the Twyla Tharp Broadway dance musical tribute to Frank Sinatra. These associations became the inspiration and, as Kassoff states, the “final piece of impetus...needed," for recording Bird Fly By. Not surprising, however, considering an impressive musical résumé that includes touring with Sinatra for over a decade, culminating in the 1989 “The Ultimate Event" world tour.

After a summer, 2008 concert performance with bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Dennis Mackrel, Kassoff determined the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Arturo Sandoval: A Time for Love

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Years ago, on The Tonight Show, host Johnny Carson asked guest Frank Sinatra what music he enjoyed listening to when “in those romantic moments." Sinatra, to the host's surprise, said he particularly enjoyed the hearing works of Debussy, Ravel and other Impressionists and Romantics. With A Time for Love, trumpet legend Arturo Sandoval steps away from the fast, hard-swinging Afro-Cuban and bebop con fuego jazz for which he is known and delivers a 14-cut romantic love letter con alma. This is fine listening, no matter what the moment might be or what Sinatra--who certainly knew his trumpeters--might have enjoyed.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wayne Brasel: If You Would Dance

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Jazz guitarist Wayne Brasel was born and bred in California, and while currently living in Europe--where he teaches at the University of Stavanger in Norway--the west coast rhythms that tug his heart strings are alive and well in If You Would Dance, a collection of warm and inviting original compositions of relaxing light jazz. Except for the beautiful acoustic work on the soft and lovely “Oleo De Mujer Con Sombrero," and the finale piece “The Hermit," Brasel prefers the electric guitar as his chosen voice.

“Celebration" stands alone as the highlight of the album, featuring stalwart drummer Peter ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Anastasia: Live 1994 - 2001

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Anastasia Live 1994--2001 Lithium Records 2009

Some live albums just document certain concerts in order to fulfill record deal obligations and some capture the essence of a band's magic, something that could be sensed on studio recording but only completely reveals itself at live performances. There are groups that should be heard, but not necessarily seen. Both as a recording and performance entity, Anastasia is a powerful act with musical pieces that resemble an audible art gallery. Its music draws from several powerful sources with the artists steeped in rich musical traditions.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ergo: Multitude, Solitude

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During the past two decades, electronic music has solidified its initial uneasy alliance with acoustic jazz. Newer releases such as Ergo's Multitude, Solitude are able to get past that original awkward balance and meld electronics with jazz improvisation and instrumental technique. The result is a trio that interacts like one but also accesses the broader sound palette and ambience that electronics allow. On most tunes, trombonist Brett Sroka remains at the music's center and in only rare instances plays over the electronics. This ability to interact in a “jazzy" manner is not only due to Sroka's comfort ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marbin: Marbin

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There is an almost Zen-like quality to Marbin, saxophonist Danny Markovitch and guitarist Dani Rabin's debut as a duo. However, the quiet nature and perfectly still life of the music belies the poignant emotional underbelly that simmers constantly throughout the set. That this emotion is deeply personal is evident from the meditative--almost ponderous--nature of much of the music, but the conundrum is further heightened by the fact that what connects Marbin to their music is also a seemingly universal longing for a oneness with all things past, present and future. Dani Rabin's aching guitar lines--almost as tortured ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ike Sturm: JazzMass

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There are people who believe jazz, like the blues, is unholy or “devil's music." However, the spirituality of many jazz artists comes through in their writing, and bassist/composer/arranger Ike Sturm is one of them. Sturm is musical director for the jazz ministry at Saint Peter's Church in Manhattan. The institution has a tradition of weekly jazz services that memorialize such icons as Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk. The church commissioned Sturm to compose a jazz mass for choir, string and septet; the result, JazzMass, features Sturm accompanied by members of his family, a small ...



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