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CD/LP/Track Review

April 17, 2014

Get Me Joe Beck

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By DAN BILAWSKY

It would be something of an understatement to say that the late Joe Beck was a fine guitarist. In truth, he was one of the most multifaceted players to wield the instrument during his lifetime. Beck was hailed for his funky fusion work, both as an individual and in combination with saxophonist David Sanborn, he was an ace studio musician, working with everybody from Miles Davis to Paul Simon to Gloria Gaynor, and he was a brilliant and daring interpreter of standards. It's that last aspect of his playing that shines brightly on this posthumously released live date.

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April 17, 2014

Roots and Stems

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By JOHN KELMAN

For those who think the Norwegian jazz scene is all about electronics, sampling and processing (not that there's anything wrong with that), one look at Hayden Powell, born in England but relocated to Norway as a young child, and any such accusations and generalizations are quickly put to rest. A trumpeter on the ascendance with Magic Pocket and the esteemed Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Powell recently replaced Mathias Eick in Finish pianist/harpist Iro Haarla's quintet, and so it's only a matter of time before the trumpeter makes a showing on an ECM recording and garners more international acclaim. Until ...

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April 17, 2014

Mukashi (Once upon a time)

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By GABRIEL MEDINA ARENAS

Japan and South Africa were never so close. The acclaimed pianist and flautist Abdullah Ibrahim fused the Asian zen calmness with stories and inspiration from his native homeland in his latest album Mukashi. Mukashi translates in Japanese as “Once upon a time" is a very appropriate title considering Ibrahim's impressive storytelling skills, as well as the visual evocations of the record. “Krotoa" is one of the most interesting tracks of the album and it is split in three. Krotoa is the name of a 17th Century Cape Town young girl from the tribe of the Khoikhoi ...

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April 17, 2014

The Wøøøh: Souvenirs, Souvenirs

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By EYAL HAREUVENI

The Wøøøh is a Danish-French schizophrenic quartet. Its saxophonist thinks that he is is a singer in a rock band and its guitarist is addicted to myriad effects and sonic experimentations. This quartet treats melodies as a springboard to noisy excursions and its intense improvisations are charged with raw, aggressive power. The musicians are Danish saxophonist Henrik Pultz Melbye, guitarist Lars Bech Pilgaard (both play in Pilgaard-led Svin), and drummer Casper Mikkelsen (who hosts Melbye and Pilgaard in his Audiograph band), together with French bassist Sylvain Didou, who wrote the music for this quartet. The four ...

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April 16, 2014

Further

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By DAVE WAYNE

The great dilemma facing a music reviewer is how to discuss an artist's work intelligently within an historical continuum without getting too hung up on musical influences and reference points. Such is the case with drummer / composer Franklin Kiermyer whose music, while totally original, is redolent with the intensity and seeking spirituality of the John Coltrane Quartet. Describing this music as Coltrane-influenced simply doesn't do it justice. What the Canadian drummer and his quartet are doing here is unique, while being recognizably based in the languages first developed during the mid-to- late 1960s by John Coltrane, and subsequently extended ...

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April 16, 2014

Bloodlife: Solo Piano Inspirations Based on the Melodies of Ronald Shannon Jackson

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By JOHN KELMAN

Best known for his mainstream work with Woody Shaw on classic albums like The Moontrane (Muse, 1975) and Stepping Stones (Columbia, 1978), it may come as a surprise to learn that pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs was not just a friend and mentor to Ronald Shannon Jackson, but that he also played on the drummer's Decode Yourself (Island, 1985)--an album that, like much of Jackson's Decoding Society work, took Ornette Coleman's harmolodic Prime Time group as a starting point for his own innovations. If Jackson's Decoding Society garnered him the most attention, he had other things to say as ...

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April 16, 2014

Sentiana

By DAN BILAWSKY

Croatian pianist Matija Dedić demonstrates exquisite taste in selecting trio mates for his projects. His debut--From The Beginning (Dallas Records, 2009)--brought him into contact with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, best known for their work in pianist Brad Mehldau's acclaimed trio. The follow-up record--M.D. In N.Y.C. (Origin Records, 2011)--found him working with bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Kendrick Scott, a pair that's done fine work together with pianist Danny Grissett. On a portion of this album, his third to date, he's aligned himself with drummer Antonio Sanchez and bassist Scott Colley, a dream team of a rhythm combo ...

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April 16, 2014

Mother's Touch

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By MARK CORROTO

Nobody does big bands these days. Nobody. Not without institutional support like a university or a foundation. Not unless you are Orrin Evans. The jny: Philadelphia pianist writes and arranges music so appealing, a revolving cast of musicians can't resist playing his music. While we will never see an independent outfit like the Captain Black Big Band, which can swell to thirty plus musicians, touring for months on end, their occasional gigs and recordings are a godsend. The studio recording Mother's Touch follows the self-titled Captain Black Big Band (Positone, 2011) recorded live in various locations in 2010. ...

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April 16, 2014

Inti

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By GLENN ASTARITA

Renowned saxophonist Dave Liebman's legacy as a musician who radiates illimitable vigor and a broad artistic expanse, hearkens back to his stint with Miles Davis and seemingly countless collaborations with a who's who in jazz amid an extensive resume as a leader. On this supercharged jazz-fusion gala he is the featured artist with spiraling young star, Belgium guitarist Michel Delville (The Wrong Object), ace drummer Tony Bianco (Elton Dean, and Alexander Von Schlippenbach). Delville's stinging phraseology, angular wah-wah licks, foreboding crunch chords, and Bianco's springy beats generate a simmering, multi-tempo gala as Liebman often sprays bullets across the ...

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April 15, 2014

The L.A. Treasures Project:Live at Alvas Showroom

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By JACK BOWERS

The “L.A. Treasures" heralded herein are singers Ernie Andrews (eighty-six years young when the album was recorded in September 2013) and Barbara Morrison (a relative novice at sixty-one). The idea to record sprang from rehearsals earlier that year by the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra in which Andrews and Morrison were invited to sit in. Afterward, co-leader John Clayton writes, it was decided that “we need to document these artists . . . these treasures!" What a splendid idea! An idea, in fact, that leaves most others in its wake and gasping for breath. The album, taped before an ...

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April 15, 2014

Young Guns

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By JACK BOWERS

The name Young Guns seems ironically amiss until one learns that this recording dates from 1968-69 when organist Gene Ludwig was thirty years old, guitarist Pat Martino twenty-three and drummer Randy Gelispie somewhere in that neighborhood, long before he became fondly known as “Uncle G." The organ trio was in its heyday then, and this one was caught on tape during an exciting live date at Club 118 in Louisville, KY. How many other such performances have been lost forever owing to the absence of a tape recorder or the failure to turn it on is anyone's guess. But this ...

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April 15, 2014

Kinesis

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By DAN BILAWSKY

"Kinesis," when defined as simply as possible, means “movement." When the definition is expanded, or given a biological reading, it references the idea of movement that takes place in response to external stimuli. Without knowing the circumstances surrounding the recording of this oh-so-brief solo piano EP, it's hard to know which one Scottish pianist Jamie Smith is citing in the title, but it's irrelevant. Smith's music, whether influenced by external or internal forces, is ever-mobile. This five track EP, with a running time of approximately twenty-one minutes, seems to end before it even begins, but Smith deserves ...

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April 15, 2014

Kin (<-->)

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By DOUG COLLETTE

Pat Metheny's Unity Group is perfectly named because, in its quintet lineup even more so than the original quartet, the group's approach brings together every musical element the famed guitarist has pursued during the course of his career. Acoustic guitars of the solo projects, dense high-tech arrangements à la Pat Metheny Group, traditional jazz horns recalling 80/81 (ECM, 1980) and vigorous ensemble improvisation hearkening to his various trios all mix on Kin ()'s very first track, “On Day One," and subsequently in varying proportions as the album progresses. The music of The Pat Metheny Unity Group isn't much ...

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April 15, 2014

Stein Urheim

By EYAL HAREUVENI

Norwegian, Bergen-based guitarist Stein Urheim, known for his duo with vocalist Mari Kvien Brunvoll and his own drone band The Last Hurrah, released an impressive, limited edition album two years ago, Kosmolodi (Hubro Music, 2012), where he began to explore his breadth of musical vocabulary on guitars and other acoustic stringed instruments. Urheim melts organically exotic elements of blues and jazz, West-African, Middle-Eastern, Indian, and East-Asian traditional legacies with Nordic folk music and even compositional ideas of seminal American composers as Lou Harrison and Steve Reich into a cohesive, effective entity. At times he sounds as if updating and improving ...

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