CD/LP/Track Review

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Taylor's Universe: Across the Universe

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Back in the day, record companies would occasionally issue “Greatest Hits" compilation albums. Usually cheaply packaged (no gatefold, no credits, no liner notes, etc.), these collections were a convenient way to have all of an artist's big hits (plus some filler) in one convenient location. Record companies reaped huge profits from these collections and, perhaps, took a little contractual pressure off of the artist. With the advent of streaming and iTunes, Greatest Hits collections have been rendered unnecessary. What's replaced ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Albert Vila: The Unquiet Sky

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Belgium-based Spanish jazz guitarist Albert Vila delivers his fourth album as leader with The Unquiet Sky, offering a tad more music than a standard album with a presentation of fourteen original compositions of modern-styled jazz that's quite appealing. There's little question whose recording this is as the leader's electric guitar voice becomes the center-piece of the disc from the opening tune. Except for two tracks documented in Barcelona, Spain (Vila's home town), the project was recorded in New ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Noah Preminger: Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground

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Saxophonist Noah Preminger got this backwards. His latest release, Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground should have preceded the 2015 recording Pivot: Live At The 55 Bar. Same quartet of trumpeter Jason Palmer, bassist Kim Cass, and drummer Ian Froman. Same theme, the Delta Blues. The reverse order observation is a historical one. Where John Coltrane would record an album of shortish compositions, then take them to the Village Vanguard to expand them to album length tracks, Preminger ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Goran Ivanovic Trio: Goran Ivanovic Trio

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Virtuoso Serbian guitarist Goran Ivanovic has been busy performing, if not recording since the 2008 Folk Tales and the 2006 Goran Ivanovic Group, with the only subsequent album being the 2009 Guitar Duo with Andreas Kapsalis. That void has been remedied with the very impressive Goran Ivanovic Trio, although listeners familiar with the first two recordings might miss the extra counterpoint of a second solo voice. Matt Ulery continues holding down the bass duties, but Peter Tashjian replaces ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marcus Strickland's Twi-Life: Nihil Novi

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When you wipe away all of the minutiae and technical matters involved with the recording process, there are really only two schools of thought on the subject: You either aim to capture what's literally there or you choose to produce something that's not. Everything else is semantics and dealing with variants, mixtures, and/or a balance between the two. Those who aim to strictly capture are trying to bottle true-to-life sound, and those who produce prefer to use those sounds as ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Randy Simon Jazz Project: The Linda Sessions

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The Randy Simon Jazz Project brings to mind, on The Linda Sessions, a high end sports car in top condition zooming down a straight highway, with a rhythm section/drive train boosted by a piano and a guitar. The sound is clean, momentum smooth and straight forward. The tune--the opener of a two CD set--is “Just Deal With It." The band is as tight as a late fifties/early sixties Blue Note Records session, featuring the four man rhythm section with a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cafêzz: Sol Boricua

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Coffee was introduced by the Spanish to the island of Puerto Rico in the mid 1700's, it's history coinciding with the hybridized Spanish/African musical entity which has come to define the island. The local jazz ensemble Cafêzz based their name and repertoire around coffee inspired themes--releasing “Music & Friends," in 2014-- and on Sol Boricua they delve further into the islands multi-faceted musical heritage with diverse latte and espresso selections.Carmen Noemí, the band's leader, pianist and composer, along ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Terrence McManus & John Hebert: Saints and Sinners

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Here's an album that was recorded in 2010 and released in 2015. Hence, It's better late than never, especially since this duo production by rising star experimental guitarist Terrence McManus and all-universe jazz session bassist and leader, John Hebert tease our imaginations via these nine contrasting works. The duo's creative improvisational sparks and acute call and response mechanisms tender deft expressionism from start to finish. They pose a challenging sequence of circumstances that spawn an abundance of mind-bending gambits.


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