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CD/LP/Track Review

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Turner Quartet: Lathe of Heaven

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Saxophonist Mark Turner favors quality over quantity. Lathe of Heaven--his first outing as a leader since 2001--is his first on the ECM label. Turner has hardly been absent from the music scene as the intervening years have seen him as a sideman for guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel and saxophonist David Binney among many others. He's gathered strong praise for his role on trumpeter Enrico Rava's fine New York Days (ECM, 2009) and as one-third of the trio Fly with drummer Jeff Ballard and bassist Larry Grenadier. Turner cites saxophonists Wayne Marsh and John Coltrane as primary influences; not ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Conrad Herwig: The Latin Side Of Joe Henderson

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So what makes The Latin Side Of Joe Henderson different from trombonist Conrad Herwig's previous Latin Side albums? Well, for starters, Herwig played with Henderson for several years, an experience which gave him great insight into the music and the man who made it. Then there's the material itself. Henderson's music, more so than that of previous Latin Side honorees like Herbie Hancock or John Coltrane, is tailor-made for this type of project, as some of the songs already lean toward the Latin side. This album, recorded live at New York's Blue Note in July of 2012, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Carsten Dahl Trio: A Good Time

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With this album, Denmark's premier jazz pianist Carsten Dahl throws into doubt the old adage that familiarity breeds contempt. First, there's the line-up: he's played with Lennart Ginman (bass) and Frands Rifbjerg (drums) many times before, most notably on two previous albums for Storyville, Will You Make My Soup Hot & Silver from 1996 and Message From Bud, recorded two years later. Fine albums, both, but eclipsed by this one. Secondly, there's the content. Nearly all the numbers on A Good Time will be familiar to Dahl aficionados, yet none have received such relaxed ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kristin Korb: Finding Home

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A home isn't just a physical space and a place to hang your hat; a home is wherever an individual finds comfort, acceptance, and personal fulfillment. On Finding Home, bassist-vocalist Kristin Korb explores the journey and process that brought her to such a place in her life. Korb, who grew up in Montana, found a new home in California a long time ago. She studied at the University of California at San Diego, became a pupil of the late Ray Brown, and eventually set up shop in 2002 in Los Angeles, developing a career as teacher, recording ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Jennett: Everybody Says Don't

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On Everybody Says Don't, his second album, London-based singer Mark Jennett joins a bunch of top flight instrumentalists, including producer Geoff Gascoyne, on a collection that takes in an impressive array of songs, composers and moods. Great songs, interpreted with style. Jennett opens up with Stephen Sondheim's “Everybody Says Don't," taken at speed. Gascoyne's acoustic bass and Sebastian De Krom's drums move the song forward with swing and precision, Jennett's vocal is suitably emphatic and Rob Barron's swift and percussive piano solo is all-too-brief. The pace drops for a ballad reading of Cole Porter's “Just One ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Christian Vuust: Urban Hymn

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Multi-reedist/composer Christian Vuust has been a mainstay of the Danish jazz scene for close to thirty years. A professor at the Royal Academy of Music in his hometown of Aarhus, Vuust has crafted a significant discography as leader, working with some of Denmark's best jazz musicians. Urban Hyms marks a departure for Vuust, being his first CD recorded outside Denmark. Recorded in a single day in jny:New York, Jeff Ballard, Ben Street and Aaron Parks's sophisticated yet subtle support frames Vuust's original compositions, which draw deeply from European and American wells alike. Danish psalms have heavily influenced Vuust--he's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Oren Ambarchi and Eli Keszler: Alps

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A release on the Dancing Wayang label is always cause for celebration for several reasons. Firstly, they are few and far between, with Alps being only the label's ninth release since it began issuing records in 2007; rarely do two appear in a year, and never more than two--which makes 2014 a special year as Alps follows the release of Motion by N.E.W. earlier in the year. Secondly, the reason for their scarcity is that each Dancing Wayang release is a labour of love, with great care and attention to detail lavished on each one. That extends from the careful ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joel Harrison: Mother Stump

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Given his proclivity for wildly eclectic, big-concept musical projects featuring improbable combinations of multi-ethnic instrumentalists, Joel Harrison is about the last guitarist I'd expect to record a funky slab of power-trio jazz-rock-funk fusion. Across the board, his guitaristic skills have taken a back seat to compositional concerns and rich, detailed arrangements. Yet, here is Mother Stump, Harrison's paean to 70s-era jazz-rooted, rock-powered, funked-up guitar-centric instrumental music. Moreover, Harrison has pointedly eschewed all of the studio polish and post-production nonsense that bogs down must fusion albums these days. Like the best music in any genre, Mother Stump derives its potency from ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marius Neset/Trondheim Jazz Orchestra: Lion

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Lion is a good name for Marius Neset's first recording with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, for like a great cat, the Norwegian orchestra purrs and prowls, roars and pounces. Regardless of tempo--whether cruising or charging--there's majesty in the collective voice. Commissioned for the Molde Jazz Festival in 2012, the momentum from that performance took Neset and this twelve-piece orchestra into the recording studio with spectacular results. In fourteen years, the TJO has become something of a Norwegian national institution, reaching an ever-greater audience across Europe. Lion is another feather in its cap, following collaborations with Chick Corea, Pat ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mammal Hands: Animalia

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When is a trio with a piano not a piano trio? British outfit Mammal Hands offers one answer to that conundrum with debut album Animalia, released on Gondwana Records, the label run by discerning trumpeter and producer Matthew Halsall. Actually, given the varied nature of the tunes on display--co-written by the band members--it offers eight answers. Nick Smart's piano is certainly a key element of the Mammal Hands sound, but it's by no means the dominant one--brother Jordan Smart's saxophones and Jesse Barrett's distinctive percussion are equally as important. Jordan Smart often favors the soprano saxophone--a choice that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Théo Ceccaldi / Roberto Negro / Valentin Ceccaldi / Adrien Chennebault: La Scala

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La Scala (the ladder or stairway in Italian} was a theatrical production that bore this atypical chamber ensemble featuring French pianist Roberto Negro, brothers Théo Ceccaldi on violin and viola with Valentin Ceccaldi on cello and percussionist Adrien Chennebaut. The idea, like the play's title, was to find a musical equivalent to the concept of ascension. The music--composed and improvised---symbolizing a pathway through a spiral staircase, a paper stairway, a stepladder, an ever unpredictable rope ladder, used by this sure-footed, opinionated quartet with a constant ear to each other's movements. It can also be listened to as a reflection on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Elisa Arciniegas Pinilla: Improvisible

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Colombian, Strasbourg-based viola player and vocal artist Elisa Arciniegas Pinilla studied classical music and viola at the Conservatorio de Música de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogota and jazz and improvised music at the Conservatoire de Strasbourg in France. She also specialized in performance and free improvisation at the Hochschule für Musik in Basel, Switzerland (one of her teachers there was Fred Frith. This wide spectrum of approaches enable Pinilla to create a musical universe that transcends borders, genres or conventions. The music on her debut album--after a yet-to-be-released collaboration with Chilean composer Javier Muñoz ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tori Freestone Trio: Tori Freestone - In the Chop House

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Tori Freestone is a name that will be familiar to those with an interest in the British Jazz of the last few years. A multi- instrumentalist she contributed flute and sax to Ivo Neame's excellent Yatra from 2012 but you may equally have come across her work with the likes of Rory Simmons or Neil Yates. This trio collection on emerging London indie label, Whirlwind, sees Freestone making the leap to band leader on record for the first time showcasing the tenor saxophone side of her undoubted talents.As that CV implies Freestone is no rookie and there is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York: Shiki

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Even among established groupings Japanese composer and pianist Satoko Fujii continues to search for new means of expression. For the ninth disc from her New York Orchestra, Fujii departs from accustomed practice, particularly in the 36-minute plus title track which dominates proceedings. Truly orchestral in its scope, Fujii wields her composer's wand in a way which largely avoids some of the expected intricacy, in favour of more opaque connections, organically developed soundscapes and ragged choruses, from which the compositional signposts unexpectedly emerge. The loose painterly style recalls the trumpeter Bill Dixon's large scale works, in that the talented cast is ...



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