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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica Quartet: Where Here Meets There

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Fasten your seat belt and make sure your seat is in an upright position. In Where Here Meets There, Mr. Ho's Orchestra travels the world and through time, using an intriguing fusion of genres and unusual instrumentation to create this mesmerizing collection of musical works. The listener is challenged and persuaded to attempt to identify and define which world musical influences are at play in any given moment, and the album abounds with an appreciation of composers of the past and their influence on the members of this quartet. Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica is a quartet that has immersed ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica: Third River Rangoon

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The “Mr. Ho" of Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica is vibraphonist Brian O'Neil, who has put together a vibraphone quartet, also featuring flute, percussion and bass, for Third River Rangoon. The music, dubbed “exotica," drifts back and forth across the less than distinct border between third stream chamber jazz and classical, with hints of world music influenced by a tropical island Tiki god thrown in for good measure.Mr. Ho's previous exotica release explored the artistry of Mexican composer Juan Garcia Esquivel on The Unforgettable Sounds of Esquivel, with a 23-piece ensemble, the music described as a “happy, bouncy puppy of ...

INTERVIEWS

Geni Skendo: Breaking Free

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Flautist and shakuhachi master Geni Skendo does not genre-mash so much as genre-crash, like a late-night interloper joining a lame party and livening it up with exotic sound. It's miraculous, this color he brings to anything, given the drab Iron Curtain he exited under on his flight from his native Albania, traveling to Boston, Massachusetts to study at Berklee College of Music in 2002. Shy but my no means timid, he has rendered his jolt of culture shock into a journey inward and outward through the world of American jazz and beyond. Working at pizza shops to ...

INTERVIEWS

Mr Ho's Orchestrotica: Endless Bachelor Party

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Led by pianist and multi-percussionist Brian O'Neill, Mr Ho's Orchestrotica plays the kind of music you can listen to with your mother. She'll love the '50s atmosphere of The Unforgettable Sounds of Esquivel (Exotica For Modern Living, 2010)--while you'll pick up all the left-of-center global hints--and she won't even know it's good for her! It's good, indeed, wrought as it is from original charts from lounge/exotica avatar Juan Garcia Esquivel, transcribed from actual recordings by ear. For baby boomers, it evokes memories of '60s TV--the flashy big-band blowouts from everything from Bewitched to The Flintstones, with a residual feel of ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

The Waitiki 7: New Sounds Of Exotica

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The Waitiki 7New Sounds Of ExoticaPass Out Records2010 As kitsch as a Jeff Koons Valentine card, and as camp as a Liberace Christmas TV special, exotica first flourished, primarily in the US, between the mid-1950s and the early 1960s. As the Pacific returned to peace after the second world war, and as the US economy entered a newly prosperous, consumer-driven age, increasing numbers of Americans began taking long haul vacations, first in Hawaii and then throughout the Asian-Pacific. Exotica was their soundtrack; a melodious, sun-kissed blend of “exotic" folk music and ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Lua Hadar with TWIST at the Cornelia Street Café, NYC

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Lua Hadar with TWISTJazz with a Twist of Français Cornelia Street Café New York, New York April 24, 2010

Say chanteuse and what comes to mind? A smoky Parisian cellar? A rain-slicked side street in Montmartre? Edith Piaf poised before a thick microphone, spilling her ever-rallying soul for romance and La Resistance?

Well, if you were fortunate enough to catch Lua Hadar with TWIST at the Cornelia Street Café Cabaret on the night of April 24th, you'd have sworn you were in Gay Paree. Hadar sashayed into NYC from San Francisco with French Connection, one ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Betty Bryant: No Regrets

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Fondly referred to as the “Cool Miss B," Betty Bryant is a native of Kansas City who relocated to Los Angeles in 1955. One of a thimble full of stalwart female pianists and vocal stylists, Bryant packed the Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood in November, 2009 to celebrate the release of her appropriately titled No Regrets and her 80th birthday. By the look of the SRO (standing room only) turnout, she needn't have a single compunction; this talented lady and her music are obviously well loved.

Bryant's CD opens with Tomas Gargano pumping his upright bass and Kenny Elliott setting ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Zorn: O'o

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When John Zorn released The Dreamers (Tzadik) in 2008, it might have seemed like a temporary aberration: Zorn the master of the arbitrary (Cobra), the cutting edge (Torture Garden) and the anarchic (too many projects to mention) had embraced the genres of lounge and 1950s exotica to produce music that, perhaps ironically, approached easy listening, building on the more tuneful elements in his Electric Masada and Morricone projects. It seems the aberration wasn't temporary. On O'o Zorn returns to the same blend of genre elements and the same ensemble, with guitarist Marc Ribot, keyboardist Jamie Saft and vibraphonist Kenny Wollesen ...

INTERVIEWS

Fred Hersch: No Limits

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From the start of his career as a sideman in the 1970s for such jazz luminaries as Joe Henderson, Art Farmer and Stan Getz to his own ensembles and solo projects, there has always been a great diversity and intensity to Fred Hersch's art. Having won a Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for composition (2003) and having been the first pianist in The Village Vanguard's 70 year history to do a week's solo residency, Hersch has managed to be both a musician's musician and resonate in the jazz public's consciousness without ever compromising his own artistic vision.

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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Zorn: O'o

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Named after an extinct Hawaiian bird, O'o is the charming follow up to the self-titled debut of composer John Zorn's most accessible project, The Dreamers. Culled from Zorn's inner circle of longstanding collaborators, this all-star sextet of Downtown veterans explores his most tuneful compositions, threading aspects of easy listening, exotica, film soundtracks, surf, and world music into an evocative panorama.

Zorn's recent forays into conventional song forms and traditional structures reveal a softening approach to composition. Though no stranger to melody or harmony, Zorn's musical statements have become more cohesive and predictable over the past few years--the polar ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Timothy Leary: Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out

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The historic Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out is not to be confused with the synonymously titled musical recording that infamous '60s “tune in, drop out" spokesperson Timothy Leary also did for ESP Disk. That disc consisted of narrated meditation by Leary mixed in with psychedelic rock music played on the veena, an Indian drone instrument, by Maryvonne Giercerz, along with guitarist Lars Eric and tablaist Richard Bond. That recording is rather a guided tour of mind-expanding meditation; this record, engineered by renowned classical pianist and engineering aficionado David Hancock, is purely spoken word. While it inevitably touches upon the ...



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