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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 ...

JAZZ JOURNAL

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 ...

JAZZ JOURNAL

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 ...

JAZZ JOURNAL

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 ...

JAZZ JOURNAL

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

JAZZ JOURNAL

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

JAZZ JOURNAL

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 ...



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