CD/LP/Track Review


Tineke Postma/Greg Osby: Sonic Halo

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Greg Osby has influenced legions of saxophonists over the past two-plus decades. On Sonic Halo, one of those players stands tall beside him. Once upon a time, Osby and dutch saxophonist Tineke Postma had a mentor-mentee relationship, but that was then, and this is now. Both players are equals on this probing venture. Nine tracks--five from Postma's pen, three from Osby, and an abstraction on a standard ("Body And Soul")--give this pair ample room to feel each other out ("Sea Skies"), travel angular pathways ("Facets"), look straight into the face of uncertainty ("Source"), and succumb to the ...


Alex Belhaj's Crescent City Quartet: Sugar Blues

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Trad jazz isn't trending on Twitter or climbing the charts, but that doesn't mean it's completely irrelevant in today's musical landscape. There's still a segment of people, both on the delivering and listening ends, who enjoy the way multiple horns can snake around one another in a polyphonic dance of joy, supported and driven by guitar and bass below. Many of these people find themselves drawn to New Orleans, where the music first took firm shape, and that's where the story of this project begins. Michigan-based guitarist Alex Belhaj visited New Orleans in the spring of 2010, ...


Carmen Lundy: Soul To Soul

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There are records created through years of preparation and production that take a lifetime to achieve. Soul to Soul by vocalist Carmen Lundy, indeed falls in that category, yet defies categorization. Lundy is setting her own course, while other singers seek safe refuge in tepid covers of popular standards. She offers original material delivered with authenticity that can only come from a seasoned jazz veteran. Studying the roster of musicians on this record, there is no surprise that the outcome is poised and polished. Securing and featuring pianists Patrice Rushen and Geri Allen was a major coup for ...


Manuel Valera Sr.: Recuerdos

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Recuerdos might translate as “Remembrances," but save for maybe a track or two, this album is clearly not about nostalgia--it is a contemporary Latin jazz album filled with inspired moments--among these “Solitude," a tune in which veteran saxophonist Manuel Valeras, Sr. and his son (pianist Manuel Valera) share a close duet. “Si La Comprienderas" opens the disc with an up-tempo groove, and “Si Te Contara" has a very modern feel thanks to the solid backing from the rhythm section of bassist Hans Glawischnig drummer Ludwig Afonso and percussionist Mauricio Herrera. The same can be said of “Alma Con Alma," a ...


Rachel Therrien: Home Inspiration

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Montreal-based trumpeter and composer Rachel Therrien's second album, Home Inspiration is a salutary reminder of something that the American jazz scene doesn't always seem to acknowledge--there's a thriving, young and imaginative jazz scene up north, in Canada. All the tunes on Home Inspiration are originals, with Therrien taking composer credit for around half of them. They hark back to the glory days of the big bands and to the bebop era, they're rooted in more contemporary sounds as well. Handclaps open proceedings on “To John" before Simon Pagé kicks in on electric bass. Therrien's first appearance ...


Clare Fischer Big Band: Pacific Jazz

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The late Dr. Clare Fischer enjoyed a long and storied career as a composer, arranger, pianist, bandleader and educator, primarily on the West Coast. Luckily, one of those he educated was his son Brent who was at his father's side as a musician and adviser for more than three decades and has safeguarded the Fischer legacy since Clare's passing in January 2012. Pacific Jazz, the second album by the Clare Fischer Big Band under Brent Fischer's supervision, consists of music written and / or arranged by the elder Fischer during his remarkable career alongside a trio of new compositions and ...


Pierre de Surgères: Krysis

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Belgian pianist Pierre de Surgères is an autodidact musician who pursued a musical career only after he studied journalism and philosophy. So far, that career has been quite erratic, he attended master classes with diverse mentors such as Toots Thielemans and Anthony Braxton, launched a project dedicated to the provocative songs of Serge Gainsbourg, worked in Florida with funky jazz masters like George Duke and Marcus Miller. Surgeres formed a quintet back home featuring acclaimed French saxophonist Alexandra Grimal that played his compositions influenced by traditional jazz and ideas from Steve Coleman's M-Base. Just recently, Surgeres founded the Krysis trio. ...

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