Chicago-based saxophonist Pat Mallinger's Home on Richmond (Self Produced, 2011), featuring pianist Bill Carrothers, introduced a superb teaming of talents. Mallinger could be tagged as a mainstreamer, but only in an elastic interpretation of the label, something like calling sax man Jackie McLean a straight ahead jazz guy. Maybe, but he, like Mallinger sure does test the edges of that tag. Carrothers is an original who rollicks in whatever direction his muse points out--Civil War tunes, twenties music, a tribute to bopper/trumpet great Clifford Brown. The set of eleven Mallinger originals opens with Copacetic." Mallinger blows tart alto ...read more
Some musicians appear to conjure their tunes from thin air, others work with raw material furnished by the great composers, still others take their inspirations from many different sources and give them due acknowledgement. Saxophonist Tommaso Starace is in the latter camp. This lyrical, engaging, player's second album, Tommaso Starace Plays The Photos Of Elliot Erwitt (Frame Records, 2006), drew on eight photographs by this master of the camera. For Italian Short Stories Starace returns to this source of inspiration. These are short stories from a very particular Italian--photographer Gianni Berengo Gardin--and they inspire Starace's most ambitious album to date. ...read more
Spiritualized Secret Project Robot April 2, 2013 The English cosmo-psychedelic drugsludge-rock combo Spiritualized would usually be expected to play at one of NYC's larger venues, such as Terminal 5 or Webster Hall. Just prior to their U.S. West Coast dates, Spiritualized suddenly announced a micro-gig, leaking the news on the morning of the show after rehearsing locally in preparation for the tour. Secret Project Robot is a small d.i.y. joint in the heart of the industrial wasteland of Bushwick, in Brooklyn (only a few weeks ago, its original Williamsburg building was ...read more
Local star Akua Allrich continued her rapid rise this month performing music from her latest album Uniquely Standard (Self Produced, 2012) at the historic Howard Theater on Washington, DC's U Street.An accomplished vocalist whose vibrant performances and inviting stage presence have built a loyal following and propelled her to the forefront of Washington, DC's main jazz venues, Allrich's rise in many ways parallels the resurgence of Washington, DC as a major jazz city, making her debut at the recently reopened Howard Theater both a fitting and symbolically resonant accomplishment.Just five years ago, Allrich was only beginning ...read more
The jazz vocals standard repertoire has a quantum mechanics of its own. Artists seem attracted to certain dense loci within the repertoire and orbit there. Then there are some artists that do this while accumulating other pieces outside of this loci to make their own. This is what Washington, DC native Akua Allrich does and displays on Live!: Uniquely Standard. Allrich's set list, from two performances in DC between February and April 2012, reveals a special reverence for incomparable singers Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba, for whom Allrich has developed tribute programs. But this young and exciting artist takes things ...read more
When the Hot Club Of Detroit's journey began, they followed the road that guitarist Django Reinhardt laid before them. They traveled the highways and byways of so-called Gypsy Jazz," walking in the footsteps of their forefathers while picking up and exhibiting other influences and sounds along the way, and eventually reached a crossroad. Rather than choose a single path, the group decided to try them all out and Junction is the artistic byproduct of that decision.Personnel adjustments, whether born of sad circumstances or the positive power of choice, are responsible for a good deal of the shake-up in ...read more
Saxophonist Tommaso Starace is not a man to keep his influences hidden, nor does he simply take inspiration from the saxophone greats. The tunes on Plays The Music Of Elliott Erwitt (Frame, 2006) were inspired by a series of pictures from one great photographer; another, Robert Capa, inspired the title track of Blood And Champagne (Music Center Real, 2011). The gorgeous Simply Marvellous celebrates the life and work of another of Starace's favorites, the much-admired and loved pianist Michel Petrucciani who died in 1999 at just 36 years of age. Starace and his fellow musicians play nine of Petrucciani's songs ...read more
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