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Jazz at Lincoln Center: The Search for Original African Music

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Although jazz emerged as an art form around the turn of the Twentieth century in the southern United States, its roots extend backward over several centuries. The music largely developed from a synthesis of many African and European forms that was achieved through the institution of slavery. Blacks were captured or purchased from specific “factory" areas in West Africa--the Portuguese took from Senegal and transported to Brazil, the English plundered the Ashantis of the Gold Coast and sold them in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alekos K. Vretos: K On Top

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All musical genre can be blended with one another. As I get older and more persnickety, I am coming to believe that just because two musical traditions can be blended that they necessarily should be. I have listened to countless experiments with cross-pollination that best have been left alone. Gratefully, this is not true of Greek musician and composer Alekos Vretos, who seamlessly divines the perfumed essence of Middle Eastern music, infusing that essence into jazz and creating a rich ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Anouar Brahem: Souvenance

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If we are, in the final analysis, the sum total of our experiences, then it stands to reason that the work of musicians (and other artists) is a reflection of the events that touch their lives. Souvenance means “recollection," and if there is not, as oudist Anouar Brahem claims, “a direct link between my compositions and the events taking place in Tunisia," then there's little doubt that the album's cover image--taken by Nacer Talef in the Tunisian capital of Tunis ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pablo Menendez & Mezcla: Pure Mezcla: Direct from Cuba – Live at Yoshi’s Oakland

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The music of the United States and Cuba are forever comingled in jazz. Rarely have two cultures proven so simpatico than in music, each benefiting from the other. Political normalization of relations between the two neighbors is long overdue and music remains the most potent cultural element than can be shared and exchanged. That is why this live recording by Pablo Menendez and his fine outfit, Mezcla at Oakland's Yoshi's is so special. The symbiotic, indeed, synergistic, relationship between the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Meeco: Souvenirs of Love

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Pianist, composer and producer Meeco alias Michael Maier delivers his fourth album with Souvenirs of Love offering a “collection of love songs that tell my life" story as the artist states, through a range of R & B, intimate jazz ballads and a touch of the hip-hop influence provided in a tasteful elegant platform. Not a conservative musician by any stretch, Meeco is used to doing things big, out of the norm and striking a new approach. On this venture, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Meeco: Souvenirs Of Love

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Meeco doesn't skimp on star power when he puts a record together. The personnel listings from his previous projects--Amargo Mel (Connector Records, 2009), Perfume E Caricias (Connector Records, 2010), and Beauty Of The Night (Connector Records, 2012)--read like the invite list for the NEA Jazz Masters Awards Ceremony: Jazz elders--bassists Ron Carter and Buster Williams, flautist Hubert Laws, trumpeter Eddie Henderson, saxophonist Benny Golson, and pianist Kenny Barron, to name a few--joined in at one time or another, and younger ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Francesco Marcocci: FOLKLORiCO

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If the Mediterranean can be arguably construed as the cradle of civilization, then Italy certainly has a favorable geographical position in this debate, as it protrudes into the middle of the sea. Francesco Marcocci learned the bass in his hometown of Pisa, Italy, and in the process absorbed the rich musical legacies prevalent in the region. His release FOLKORiCO, is an accumulation of influences as vast as the waters which surrounds his homeland and spreads to the ancient beyond.

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five with Eddie Reyes

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Meet Eddie Reyes: Eddie Reyes has evolved a unique and personal style on the guitar. Although for much of his playing career he has focused on electric jazz guitar, he now turns mostly to the acoustic. He has evolved his style from, first, a fascination with Brazilian Jazz to his present passion, Flamenco. In the process he developed a way to fuse the authentic rhythms and style of playing inherent in Flamenco with his contemporary jazz language and sensibility. ...



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