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Kate Williams: Atlas & Vulcana

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Atlas and Vulcana formed a strongman and strongwoman act--Vulcana's real name was Kate Williams--whose feats of strength were renowned in Victorian and early twentieth century Britain. Pianist and composer Kate Williams (no relation, presumably) takes inspiration from the couple in titling this album and two of its tracks. Atlas & Vulcana has its own strengths--no brute force, but plenty of power and dynamism. Williams has written some stunning tunes: she's also brought together a septet of some of the finest players in the UK. The combination is a winning one.Williams' 2011 album, Made Up (Kwjazz) was also a ...


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 ...


Pat Metheny Unity Group at Centrepointe Theatre

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Pat Metheny Unity Group Centrepointe Theatre Ottawa, Canada November 12, 2014 “Every time we're planning a tour," he said to the near-sellout crowd at Ottawa, Canada's Centrepointe Theatre, “I always ask 'are we going to play Ottawa?' You think I'm joking..." It's not often that the opportunity arises to catch a group near the beginning and end of a year-long world tour but, after seeing guitarist Pat Metheny's Unity Group at Stavanger, Norway's Mai Jazz Festival in early May, 2014, a second opportunity arose to catch the group's tour in support of Kin ...


Jonathan Kreisberg: Wave Upon Wave

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Wave upon wave of praise has followed the release of each one of guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg's leader dates--small group affairs that are typically built with equal parts energy and taste; Wave Upon Wave, balancing fire with heart, stealth movement with direct engagement, and power with grace, is likely to garner some more. The fleet-fingered Kreisberg focuses on originals here, shifting between the mellow ("Being Human") and the charged ("Until You Know"). And through it all, regardless of style and syntax, his molten-and-focused tone shines through. There's a liquid glow behind his every gesture, whether he's flowing atop ...


Samo Salamon: Ives

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In addition to being a prolific recording artist, each one of guitarist Samo Salamon's projects is uniquely inventive. Quantity with Salamon is never at the expense of quality. Ives, his fourth release as a leader for the year 2014 is a collaboration with two other guitarists, each with his own distinct style.Their individualities contrast and complement one another in delightful and elegant patterns in these fourteen, intensely poetic tracks most of them Salamon compositions. On the impressionistic “Seagulls In Maine," for instance Danish guitaristMikkel Ploug's thick, heady strums echo against Frenchman Manu Codjia's resonant, sparse strings while Salamon ...


Take Five with Jonathan Curtis

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Meet Jonathan Curtis: Jonathan is a drummer from Nottingham, England, and one of the most exciting young talents to emerge onto the music scene. Involved in most things to do with the drums, Jonathan runs an educational YouTube channel, writes and records music, plays with lots of bands, and teaches the drums privately and in schools around Nottinghamshire. Jonathan began learning the piano aged 7, but switched to the drums at 11. Since then, he has studied with many teachers, including Dave Weckl, Thomas Lang, Sergio Bellotti, Stanton Moore, Massimo Russo, Paul Hose, and Grant Collins. While ...


Roger Ingram: Roger Ingram Live at the College Hideaway with the Jim Stewart Orchestra

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In 1960, there was a forgettable little movie titled Visit to a Small Planet (1960, Paramount Pictures) starring comedian Jerry Lewis (with an uncredited cameo by drummer, Buddy Rich). In the flick, all sorts of Lewis-looney shenanigans occur. Recently, trumpeter Roger Ingram landed his craft in Niantic, Connecticut and recorded a half-dozen neat cuts live with this superb local unit. No Looney Tunes here, the mission's result is a swinging and satisfying first encounter of the most enjoyable musical kind. Ingram, whose stellar trumpet has graced Harry Connick, Jr.'s, Maynard Ferguson's, and Woody Herman's bands --and that ...

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