Jazz Journal


January 2007

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Sonny Rollins Sonny Please Doxy 2006

It often happens that, as an artist initiates his own record label, the business move is symbolic of an artistic rebirth. Sonny Rollins' Doxy debut is just such an album: the stalwart jazz icon plays his burly burnished saxophone with radiant authority while Clifford Anderson's trumpet fully complements the elder's bittersweet tone. Bobby Broom's guitar supplies a fluid touch, while you can always feel the rhythm section even when you don't hear the bass, drums and percussion. Rollins' first studio album in five years may not ...


November 2006

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Pat Metheny/Brad Mehldau Metheny Mehldau Nonesuch 2006

A true synergy of exceptional musicians, Metheny Mehldau scores by demonstrating how guitarist Pat Metheny and pianist Brad Mehldau complement each other. In much the same way as the disc's cover art depicts dark colors flowing into lighter ones, the brooding hues of Mehldau's piano darken the grainy pastels of Metheny's guitar. The original compositions that comprise the disc sound like detailed paintings, the formal structure of which may not become apparent until a track is finished. It's a tribute to the rhythm section--drummer Jeff ...


August 2006

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Bobby Previte The Coalition Of The Willing Ropeadope 2006

The jazz Renaissance man's latest project is a far cry from the more esoteric and inclusive concepts with which he's often involved. The straightforwrad simplicity that powers this high-powered instrumental rock compresses and concentrates the energy of the musicians. Each of them plays his role to the hilt. Not least, Previte's erstwhile partner Charlie Hunter, who plays electric guitar as often as bass, and whose playing reminds us of the infectious appeal of both the Beatles and the Who. With the best new band name ...


May 2006

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Gonzalo Rubalcaba Solo Blue Note 2006

The brilliant young Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba has followed his muse in many directions, and played in a variety of formats, during his career, and he's always especially successful in a context grounded in simplicity. Little surprise then that his new solo album ranks with his acoustic quartet work as the most articulate and deeply felt music he's yet recorded. Switching between pre-composed material and free improvisation doesn't stop him giving free rein to his impulses, and the dynamic shows his instincts are on a level ...


December 2005

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Dexter Gordon Manhattan Symphonie Legacy 2005 (1978)

Perhaps the most ambitious of Gordon's work for Columbia(this edition including two tracks not released as part of the original lp) completed upon his return from Europe, this session was recorded with the same band that accompanied Dexter in person. Little wonder the musicianship is so rich it conjures an atmosphere that balances that of late-night club mood and an uptown classy elegance--not coincidentally, an apt description of the late great saxophonist himself.

Pat Metheny Song X: Twentieth Anniversary Nonesuch


August 2005

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McCoy Tyner Counterpoints: Live in Tokyo Milestone 2004

Recorded in Japan in 1978 at the Live Under the Sky Festival, this title could quite conceivably go directly into the must-hear category of the great pianist's discography just by dint of his collaborators: bassist Ron Carter and the late Tony Williams on drums. But this previously unreleased set includes two solo piano pieces by Tyner in addition to some startlingly fluid interplay by the trio. Wayne Shorter Quartet Beyond the Sound Barrier Verve 2005


July 2005

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Miguel Zenón Jibaro Marsalis Music 2005

There's an understated intricacy at work here that is a pleasure to behold. A tension-release dynamic allows and insists the musicians work together to make the changes in the compositions, then play freely in turn. Each member of the ensemble shines in his own way. For his part, Zenón dominates only because he takes the responsibility of setting the tone on a given piece more often than not. He in no way hogs center stage, however, ultimately making for a democratic project the likes of which ...


March 2005

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Dave Holland Big Band Overtime Dare2 Records 2005

This jubilant, colorful jazz bodes well for the success of the great bassist's own label. What distinguishes this set is what made his quintet in recent years such a joy: well-structured compositions into which the musicians breath life through crisp exchanges and tradeoffs that signify their enthusiasm as much as their technical prowess.

John Ellis One Foot in the Swamp Hyena 2005

This newest solo effort by long-time collaborator of Charlie Hunter is all about texture. ...


The Best of 2004

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Brad Mehldau Trio Anything Goes Warner Bros.and...Brad Mehldau Live in Tokyo Nonesuch

Recorded in just one day, the fluid interaction of the trio creates music out of their improvisations that is arguably as memorable as the selection of standards themselves.

On his own, the brilliant young pianist embarks upon full-blown excursions almost as far- reaching as his eclectic selection of material (from Radiohead to Gershwin).

Medeski, Martin & Wood End of the World Party[just in case] Blue Note ...


September 2004

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Groundtruther Latitude (Thirsty Ear)

The first in a series of three editions to feature the Charlie Hunter/ Bobby Previte Previte duo with a special guest gets off to a rousing, atmospheric start, as Greg Osby's sax and flute weaves in and out of an intoxicating sonic mix. In a decidedly less electronic context than their Red Dog Tango Leader project, the guitarist and percussionist interact with and support the always estimable Osby in such a way they generate an emotional bond you feel throughout the cd. This connection between the trio becomes all the more tangible ...


July 2004

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Illuminations McCoy Tyner Telarc

Nowhere near MOR, this is nevertheless one of the great pianist's more accessible works. Arranged to include Terence Blanchard on trumpet and Gary Bartz on saxophone, the horns introduce and embellish melodies to be echoed by Tyner (and crisply punctuated by Lewis Nash on drums and young lion Christian McBride on bass). Nestled deep within those charts, however, is some intricate interplay between all five musicians, the improvisational likes of which is the heart of vigorous jazz.

Music for Two Bela Fleck & Edgar Meyer Sony ...


May 2004

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Evolution Stefon Harris Blue Note

Evolution is a stunning CD, immaculately produced, full of shifting textures with snappy exchanges between band members clearly enthused about their participation. Harris continues to distinguishes himself as one of today's elite vibraphonist's, at the same time making discernible progress as an effective bandleader. This latest effort, is another notable contribution to his Blue Note body of work.

Which Way Is East? Charles Lloyd & Billy Higgins ECM

Lloyd and Higgins document their musical empathy fully and completely on ...


April 2004

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Anything Goes The Brad Mehldau Trio (Warner Bros)

Many of the same songs played live on the trio’s winter tour are on the disc and, in the studio as on the stage, Mehldau and his band create music from the material without ever giving short shrift to it. You can recognize a given song and, like the band itself, use the familiarity as a touchstone to move beyond it. The Mehldau trio makes music of these songs that stands on its own, on par with the material itself, no easy task and no small ...


February 2004

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Damaged in Transit Steve Swallow w/Chris Potter and Adam Nussbaum (ECM) The way Swallow describes this project in his liner notes, the recording of this live disc proceeded directly from the compositions to the rehearsals to the performance. As you listen, however, you can sense the effort expended by each of the three players, even on the quietest, prettiest tunes, as they interact with each other in mastering the material as well as uncoiling their imaginations.

Blazing Horns-Tenor in Roots Tommy McCook (Blood and Fire) Roots ...

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