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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jerrold Dubyk Quintet: Invitations

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Canadian saxophonist Jerrold Dubyk delivers his third album as leader on Invitations , where he blends an array of fresh original music with a few cover tunes in forging an audacious musical experience of modern-styled jazz. An educator by profession, Dubyk is the Director of Music at Strathcona High school as well as serving on the faculties of Macewan University and the University of Alberta. However, recording has been keeping the educator busy as he also unveils an album of semi-improvised music entitled PREQUAL by his Edmonton-based quartet. On this project, the saxophonist reunites with his Vancouver bandmates ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Denny Zeitlin: Stairway to the Stars

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Pianist Denny Zeitlin's Stairway to the Stars recording sparkles to life on the familiar Great American Songbook jewel, “There Will Never Be Another You." This version has everything that the best piano trio efforts offer: elegance, inspired three-way interplay, a vivacious groove--thanks to drummer Matt Wilson and bassist Buster Williams--and Zeitlin's always supple touch and endless inventiveness. Zeiltin, has rolled in a creative high gear since his teaming with Sunnyside Records in 2009, beginning with In Concert with Buster Williams and Matt Wilson. Since that Sunnyside debut, he has released on the label two masterpieces of solo piano, ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

My Pet Peeve: The Mislabeled CD – Clifford Brown Memorial Album – Blue Note 1526

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And now it's time for a personal pet peeve, something far worse than a squeaky sax or a fumble-fingered pianist: The mislabeled CD. Today's example: The Clifford Brown Memorial Album. Let's start by noting that this is a terrific record--recorded in 1953, released in 1956, shortly after Brown's tragic death in a car crash at age 25. This is early Brown, the great hard bop trumpeter, on the verge of stardom. It's a 4-star record that might be even better if only I knew the names of the songs and who's playing on them!

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Magnarelli: Lookin' Up!

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Trumpeter Joe Magnarelli has been a jazz scene stalwart for 30 years. Based in New York since 1986 he's worked with a broad range of musicians including Lionel Hampton, Jimmy Cobb and Michael Feinstein and has released a series of albums as leader. Lookin' Up! is his first recording for the Posi-Tone label and it proves to be a fine addition to that label's roster of top-flight straight-ahead jazz.Lookin' Up! is a quintet outing, with trombonist and fellow Posi-Tone artist Steve Davis sharing the front line with Magnarelli. The album has a full, rich, sound courtesy of producer ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob Mamet: London House Blues

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Chicago's now defunct London House was one of the great jazz clubs from a bygone era. Stellar talents like pianist Oscar Peterson and vocalist Sarah Vaughan recorded live albums there, and most of jazz's legendary figures, from Dave Brubeck to Bill Evans to Cannonball Adderley, passed through at one time or another. On his first release for the Blujazz imprint, Chicago-based pianist Bob Mamet tips his cap to this venue and the other clubs (i.e. Mr. Kelly's, Rick's Cafe Americain, etc.) that kept Chicago's jazz scene jumping in the mid-to-late(r) twentieth century. London House Blues finds Mamet ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jimmy Cobb: The Original Mob

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As the Smoke Sessions list of titles continues to grow, so too do we get to check out some of the country's greatest drummer. The much in-demand Joe Farnsworth has been featured on the label's releases by Harold Mabern and David Hazeltine. Furthermore, one of the most recent titles is a headlining date for the legendary Louis Hayes. Now, comes along a new set that puts the spotlight on renowned drummer Jimmy Cobb, a gentleman that for most of his career worked almost exclusively as a sideman. However, since the late '90s, Cobb has had more than several occasions to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Louis Hayes: Return of the Jazz Communicators

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Much like what has happened with Smalls Records, the cottage industry that Smoke jazz club started when they debuted their own record label last fall has continued to grow into a viable commodity. So too, there is common ground to the look and feel of each release, even as the color scheme and the music itself changes. For the label's 5th full release, they have documented a November 2013 set led by the mighty Detroit drummer Louis Hayes and his quintet. As the story goes, the original Jazz Communicators were formed back in 1967 when Hayes put together ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Helge Lien Trio: Badgers and Other Beings

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Since he signed to Dagobert Böhm's Ozella Music, Norwegian pianist Helge Lien has reached a new artistic plateau with his trio. Hello Troll (Ozella, 2008) was an immediate success that showcased the group's lyricism and tight interplay and the spacious beauty of Natsukashii (Ozella, 2010) added new colors to a wide musical vocabulary rooted in the Nordic aesthetic. Badgers and Other Beings continues the trio's journey in sound and like the previous releases, it has been superbly sculpted by famous engineer Jan Erik Kongshaug in his Rainbow Studio in Oslo. However, there is a significant change. Drummer ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival 2014

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Saratoga Performing Arts Center Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival Saratoga Springs, NY June 28-29, 2014 Perfect weather accented this years Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival, an event that had an eclectic mix of young musicians with interesting ideas and approaches, and veterans who deliver consistently. The weather is always a factor because it's primarily an outdoor festival for two days, on two stages, at the beautiful Saratoga Performing Arts Center. (There is some covered amphitheater seating). But the most important ingredient, naturally, is what the array of artists bring to the table. Those assembled this ...

INTERVIEWS

Orrin Evans: Hot Irons In The Fire

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A pianist with great chops, great touch and an attack that fancies many influences from fierce swing to gospel, Orrin Evans is one of the outstanding creative musicians on the New York City scene. His work, no matter what the context--and he loves different contexts--is downright riveting at times. But for the 38-year-old who hails from jny: Philadelphia, jazz, though a pleasure, was a bit of a mystery when he was first experimenting with it. “I didn't know what improvisation was, to be honest. I didn't know what they were doing," when he listened to records, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Yvonnick Prene: Wonderful World

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Before arriving in jny:New York in 2007, jny:Paris-born harmonica player Yvonnick Prené had already gained schooling of the practical kind, touring and recording with pianists Laurent Cugny and Yaron Herman, and trumpeter Alex Tassel. Prené hit the ground running in the States, winning several scholarships that enabled him to study with saxophonist Lee Konitz, bassist John Patitucci and guitarist Peter Bernstein. His stylistically diverse debut, Jour de Fete (Steeplechase Records, 2013) mixed up classic tunes with original compositions and announced the arrival of a real talent on an instrument rare in jazz. Wonderful World doesn't significantly break the mold but ...

CATCHING UP WITH

Bernard Purdie: Letting The Drums Speak

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Known primarily for his half-century long career as a studio musician, Bernard “Pretty" Purdie is an icon in the recording industry. With a catalog of 3,000+ recordings including landmark albums such as Steely Dan's Aja Aretha Franklin's Young, Gifted and Black, BB King's Completely Well, and James Brown's It's a Man's Man's Man's World, Bernard Purdie is quite possibly the most influential studio drummer in history. Recently, Bernard paid a visit to jny: Chicago to perform with veteran guitarist George Freeman. We caught up with him to talk about his Chicago jazz connections as well as his new book, Let ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

T.K. Blue: A Warm Embrace

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Saxophonist and flutist T.K Blue's tenth album A Warm Embrace is an enchanting and elegant work with richly textured harmonies and captivating melodies. Even though not all of the tracks are strictly speaking ballads there is a sublime sense of poetry that runs throughout the record and is its prevailing and cohesive motif.The solemn “Requiem for a Loved I" dedicated to several deceased musicians is intensely, yet quietly, lyrical and somber. It opens with a pensive and melancholic dialogue between Blue's yearning, clean saxophone and guitarist Russell Malone's earthy tones. Blue's haunting improvisation builds an aura of nostalgia ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

J.J. Johnson: The Eminent Jay Jay Johnson, Volumes 1 and 2 – Blue Note 1505 and 1506

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Think of jazz, and the trombone almost never comes to mind. Didn't used to be. In the beginning, every jazz band had a trombone. But that was the Dixieland era, and Dixieland bands aren't much in vogue anymore. (Unless you're a fan of HBO's Treme and you listen to Trombone Shorty. Sadly, not enough people do, or Treme would still be on the air.) Then came the big band era, and suddenly lots of trombones were the fashion, all in one band. Think Tommy Dorsey or Juan Tizol of the Duke Ellington band. And ...



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