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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Florian Ross Quintet: Lines & Crosscurrents

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Although you'd be hard-pressed to pick Florian Ross' quintet out of a lineup, the German-based helmsman wrests as much color and contrast as can be envisioned from a group that includes himself on piano or synthesizer, Markus Segschneider on pedal steel guitar and Niels Klein on clarinet, bass clarinet or tenor sax. If the music on Lines & Crosscurrents veers at times toward smooth jazz, it never quite crosses that line, thanks mostly to Ross's perceptive charts and the quintet's ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

The Girls in the Band

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The Girls in the Band Collective Eye (Educational version) 2011 That there are problems of race and gender in the history of American jazz comes as no surprise. Music, and popular music (as swing was in the 1930s and 1940s), is a part of everyday life. Why should jazz be any different? Yet the issues manifest themselves in many different ways. In all my time listening to swing bands as a kid, and you could ...

BOOK REVIEWS

The Best Gig in Town: Jazz Artist at the White House 1969-1974

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The Best Gig in Town: Jazz Artist at the White House 1969 -1974 Edward Allan Faine 229 Pages ISBN: #9780985795245 IM Press 2014 There is something puzzling and curious about a book documenting jazz performances at the White House specifically during the Nixon Administration. A thoroughly divisive historical figure, President Richard Nixon, has on only rare occasions since his resignation, been treated in a positive, or even neutral, light. Author Edward Allan Faine ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

George Gee Swing Orchestra: Swing Makes You Happy!

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Swing Makes You Happy! isn't just an album title: it's a mantra and belief system that guides the George Gee Swing Orchestra, a little big band intent on rekindling the ear's love affair with music associated with a bygone era. Gee has been in the big band business for more than three decades, but it's his eighteen-years-and-counting residency at New York City's Swing46 Jazz and Supper Club that has afforded him the opportunity to fine tune and ...

REDISCOVERY

Vince Mendoza: Start Here

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Vince Mendoza Start Here World Pacific1990 In the fall of 1990, I was visiting Amsterdam for four days between business engagements in other European countries and, as usual, the first order of the day was to scope out a good music store. Luckily, there was one within walking distance of the hotel, and amongst the goodies I bought that day was Vince Mendoza's second recording as a leader, first to be released outside of Japan ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Whiplash, Snidely

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Jazz lovers, while always attuned to the possibility of their cherished art form entering the media mainstream, are also equally filled with dread when it occasionally does happen. Inevitably we end up consoling ourselves with a revived career (Dexter Gordon--Bird) or an outstanding performance (James Carter, et al.--Kansas City) in lieu of an actual believable plot or an authentic resemblance to any known jazz milieu. In Whiplash, we have both deficiencies illustrated. Seriously, are there any real life ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

George Gee: Swing Makes You Happy!

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The George Gee swings in the manner of Gee's friend and mentor, Count Basie, albeit on a somewhat smaller scale (Gee's group numbers only eleven, and that includes vocalists Hilary Gardner and John Dokes). Even so, the Basie spirit is ever-present, and if Swing Makes You Happy, Gee's eighth album as leader (and first for Rondette Records) should put a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Thanks to resourceful charts by trombonist / music director David ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Whiplash

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Whiplash Directed by Damien Chazelle Sony Pictures Classics 2014 Whiplash is director Damien Chazelle's portrait of an aspiring jazz drummer who falls prey to an overbearing conservatory teacher. Although the film has attracted well-earned praise for its acting and editing, this review sets technical flourish aside and approaches Whiplash not as a film, per se, but as a failed musical exercise--a didactic riff, if you will, on the power of “greatness" and the suffering born ...



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