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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jonas Kullhammar: Gentlemen

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Swedish saxophonist Jonas Kullhamma continues to capture the late-fifties and early-sixties Blue Note sound. That magic golden age of jazz, when legends roamed roamed the earth, and recorded their music at Rudy Van Gelder's studio. His music conjures names like Joe Henderson, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane. The twelve compositions recorded here are the motion picture soundtrack for Gentlemen, an adaptation of Klas Östergren's novel, directed by Mikael Marcimain. The film features the club scenes of 1960s and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tomasz Stanko: Leosia

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Recorded in 1996 and released in 1997, Leosia is not only one of the high points of trumpeter Tomasz Stanko's forty-year career, but one of the absolute gems in the ECM catalogue, twenty years removed from his first ECM recording, Balladyna. The album itself is one of those things that just seems perfect from start to finish. “Morning Heavy Song," which first appeared on Bosonossa and Other Ballads, opens the set and sets the tone. From pianist Bobo ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Makiko Hirabayashi/Flemming Agerskov: Binocular

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Binocular is an extraordinary piece of musical art. Pianist Makiko Hirabayashi has a distinct, recognizable style of composition and performance. Her music has a kind of floating quality created by melodic phrases and lines which imply tonality rather than stating it, phrase lengths and rhythmic accents which further weaken any overt tonality, plus a piano and pedal technique which many times overlaps notes, creating many high overtones that add a shimmering envelop to the sound. She ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Kenny Wheeler: Songs for Quintet

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With the passing of Kenneth Vincent John Wheeler--Kenny Wheeler to his legion of friends and fans--the world lost yet another significant figure in the history of jazz from the mid-'60s through to the second decade of the new millennium, the artist that Norma Winstone (more often than not his singer of choice) called “the Duke Ellington of our times." While Wheeler had, since 2004, been releasing his music on the Italian Cam Jazz label, but it seems wholly appropriate that ...

BOOK EXCERPTS

John Coltrane: Exploring the Mystery of A Love Supreme, Part 2

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Part 1 | Part 2 This year marks the 50th anniversary of John Coltrane's album, A Love Supreme. Here is a critical engagement of various parts of A Love Supreme by UC-Berkeley professor and author Dr. Scott Saul. The excerpt is taken from his award winning book Freedom Is, Freedom Ain't: Jazz and the Making of the Sixties. Saul provides a penetrating analysis of the deep spirituality embedded in Coltrane's iconic album, supported by a sharp musical ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kenny Wheeler: Songs for Quintet

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In the end, time--as is its wont--caught up with Kenny Wheeler, the much-loved Canadian-born trumpeter/flugelhornist and composer who made England his home for over sixty years. Happily, he was able to hear the results of the two-day Abbey Road sessions that produced, Songs for Quintet before he passed away last September 18. These Wheeler originals reveal the inevitable fragility that had crept into Wheeler's delivery--even since the remarkable Mirrors (Edition Records, 2013)--due to declining health but just as clearly emphasize ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wadada Leo Smith: The Great Lakes Suites

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The intrepid composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith's creative energy continues unabated after a career spanning over four decades. His artistry has crystalized and matured without losing its progressive edge and The Great Lakes Suites is the fruit of this sophisticated ingenuity. For these six imaginative pieces, inspired by the bodies of water of the title, Smith has brought together three of the most original improvisers in a perfect and sublime balance of bold spontaneity and intuitive discipline. ...

INTERVIEWS

Working the Rhythm Section: Tom Lawton, Lee Smith, and Dan Monaghan

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As Duke Ellington's standard goes, “It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got that Swing." The rhythm section (piano, bass, drums, with guitar and percussion sometimes added) is the core of the typical jazz ensemble. They set the frame for the leader, singer, and soloists and contribute their own solos as well. Even though they work primarily in the background, they can make or break the performance of the horn players or singer. In order to call ...



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