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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tyshawn Sorey: Alloy

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From an early age composer/drummer/educator Tyshawn Sorey has found creative outlets in not just music but in painting and literature as well. Never one to compartmentalize his own imagination, he has enthusiastically explored blues, gospel, classical and music for dance so it seems quite natural that his current music defies categories. Whether listening or writing, he takes a non-judgmental approach to the way he engages with music, preferring possibilities over prescription. Sorey has recorded or performed with a veritable who's-who of modern music including trumpeters Wadada Leo Smith and Dave Douglas, saxophonists Anthony Braxton, John Zorn and Tim Berne, and ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five With Marcin Olak

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Meet Marcin Olak: Marcin Olak is one of the most interesting Polish jazz guitar players. He is one of the few who play modern jazz on classical and acoustic guitars, using the specific sound and articulative possibilities of those instruments; sometimes he also plays electric guitar. He moves between various styles: jazz, classical and contemporary, from fully composed pieces to improvised music. Marcin Olak performs solo and with various bands ranging from free-jazz combos, through classical guitar ensembles, to a symphony orchestra. Marcin is also appreciated as an arranger and composer: he writes chamber music and concertos, jazz themes ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Various Artists: Real World 25

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Probably there is no other popular artist in this shrinking world that has promoted various musics and cultures outside the Western world than singer Peter Gabriel. In the beginning, his solo records were influenced more and more by African music, especially its rhythms until those influences became an important and dominant trademark on his records. Then, in 1982, he got involved in World of Music and Dance festival (or WOMAD), a platform for cross-pollination of world music, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. Somehow this overlapped with Gabriel's enduring empathy with human rights and the increasing involvement with human-rights organizations, ...

CATCHING UP WITH

Victor Haskins: Embracing His Audience

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Victor Haskins is one of those young musicians who seems to be able to do it all. He's an award-winning trumpeter, composer/arranger and educator/clinician--all at 21 years old. His debut recording, The Truth (32 Bar Records, 2013) received significant well-deserved acclaim. Haskins, a young visionary, has developed ImproviStory, what he describes as a new and emerging form of audience-generated extemporaneous musical improvisation. We caught up with Victor as he prepares to perform ImproviStory at this year's Festival of New Trumpet Music later this month in New York. All About Jazz: Victor, on behalf of All About Jazz, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marialy Pacheco: Introducing

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The album title is something of a misnomer as Introducing is Marialy Pacheco's seventh release as leader since Benediciones (Weltwunder Records, 2005). The jny:Melbourne-based Cuban's stock has certainly risen since that introduction, notably as a result of becoming the first female winner of the Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition in 2012. A noted classical pianist too, Pacheco has recited Bach with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and guested with the Queensland Chamber Orchestra, the Camerata of St. John's. For her Neuklang debut Pacheco delves deep into her roots, dishing up evocative Cuban-inspired originals and fresh arrangements of old chestnuts.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joel Harrison: Mother Stump

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Given his proclivity for wildly eclectic, big-concept musical projects featuring improbable combinations of multi-ethnic instrumentalists, Joel Harrison is about the last guitarist I'd expect to record a funky slab of power-trio jazz-rock-funk fusion. Across the board, his guitaristic skills have taken a back seat to compositional concerns and rich, detailed arrangements. Yet, here is Mother Stump, Harrison's paean to 70s-era jazz-rooted, rock-powered, funked-up guitar-centric instrumental music. Moreover, Harrison has pointedly eschewed all of the studio polish and post-production nonsense that bogs down must fusion albums these days. Like the best music in any genre, Mother Stump derives its potency from ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jose James: While You Were Sleeping

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Jazz has always had a soft spot for pop music. Icons like trumpeter Louis Armstrong blessed the masses with his positivity and raspy voice in 1967's “What a Wonderful World" and saxophonist John Coltrane transformed Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1960 musical smash “My Favorite Things" into a swinging affair. Fast forward to 2014 as singer, songwriter and producer Jose James continues the practice with a fine rendition of 1972's “Simply Beautiful" by the one-time prince of R&B, vocalist Al Green. James is a singer with a commanding presence, his tenor like velvet with exceptional range that includes folk, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Indigo Mist: Cuong Vu - Richard Karpen: That The Days Go By And Never Come Again

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Pioneering trumpeter, composer Cuong Vu and pianist Richard Karpen push the envelope by not releasing a cut and dry tribute to Duke Ellington and his counterpart Billy Strayhorn . With a standard jazz quartet supported by iPad and electronics performers, to say this album follows mainstream jazz guidelines would be a miscue of sorts. Unconventional wisdom and atypical treatments accentuate this production of three Ellington-Strayhorn compositions and several originals by the quartet. According to Vu, the spirit of Ellington and Strayhorn presided during the recording session, amid references to the music taking on the semblance of an extended ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five With Kevin Ahart

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Meet Kevin Ahart: I'm a native of Austin, Texas but swapped my cowboy boots for a tuxedo when, at age five, I started singing the Great American Songbook--I've been at it ever since. My debut album, Let's Take the World featuring Jane Monheit and Jeff Franzel, and recorded by Phil Ramone, is out June 23--you can listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/ahartmusic I'm also pretty excited about playing two London dates on June 17 at the Pheasantry at Pizza Express, King's Rd and June 18 at The Spice of Life, 6 Moor Street, Soho, London, W1D 5NA.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Omar Hakim Experience: We Are One

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To properly appreciate The Omar Hakim Experience one must look back to move forward. By the time Hakim slipped behind the drum kit of Weather Report in 1983, the band was staggering under the weight of personnel departures, management problems and family issues. Founding member Joe Zawinul went in search of new recruits and in walked Hakim with bassist Victor Bailey and percussionist Jose Rossy. Curt Bianchi's well-researched blog, The Weather Report Annotated Discography, is the go-to site for all things related to the band and on it Hakim explained what he brought to the group besides his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey: Millions: Live in Denver

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Long associated, for better or worse, with the so-called jam band phenomenon of the mid-to-late 1990s, the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey continues to generate intelligent, daring, genre-defying music. JFJO's first live recording in a decade or so, Millions: Live In Denver, is part celebration of their 20th year of existence and part revelry in their new sound: a pared-down lineup of keys, drums and guitar. The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based brainchild of keyboardist and composer Brian Haas, JFJO has gone through a dizzying number of personnel changes and instrumental configurations over the years. Starting out in 1994 as a funky octet with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jenny Hval & Susanna: Meshes of Voice

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After winning the Spellemannpris (Norwegian Grammy) for her first release on the fledgling Susanna Sonata label, the career-defining collaboration with Ensemble neoN, The Forester (2013), singer Susanna resists the urge to repeat herself by moving on to even more experimental territory with Meshes of Voice, this time together with fellow Norwegian vocalist Jenny Hval--a collaboration that, in retrospect, seems absolutely inevitable. Prior to launching her Susanna Sonata label, Susanna was a (largely) Rune Grammofon recording artist, releasing albums like 2009's Flower of Evil under her own name, and others, like 3, from the same year, as one-half of ...

INTERVIEWS

Omer Klein: Theme and Variations

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One of the numerous talents that Israel has produced in the last decade is pianist Omer Klein. He is a much sought-after guest at various music venues in Europe, Israel and the U.S and last April he had his first tour in Canada. Klein, grew up in Netanya, Israel. After he received a special scholarship Klein moved to jny: Boston where he attended the New England Conservatory. In 2006 he moved to New York where he quickly became a notable member of the NYC jazz scene. Nowadays Klein lives with his wife in Düsseldorf. He has given numerous master classes ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Otis Brown III + Revive Big Band at Central Park Summerstage

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Otis Brown III + Revive Big Band Blue Note Records 75th Anniversary at Central Park Summerstage August 3, 2014 New York, NY On an evening dedicated to the 75th anniversary of Blue Note Records (now a subsidiary of Universal Music), drummer Otis Brown III began the proceedings by leading his quintet through hard-bopping original material, opening with “The Way to the Light," a rumba-based tune with a simple structure that became fodder for great improvised moments from everyone involved. A heartfelt take on Herbie Hancock's “I Have a Dream" followed, which Brown ...



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