Few artists could call an album The Nature of Connections with as much veracity as Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen. There's been the myriad of collaborations on his own albums--just a small handful of the contributors to recordings including Places of Worship (Rune Grammofon, 2013), Cartography (ECM, 2008), Strjon (Rune Grammofon, 2007) and Chiaroscuro (Rune Grammofon, 2004) including producers/Punkt Festival co-directors Jan Bang and Erik Honoré; bassist Lars Danielsson; drummer Audun Kleive; Supersilent mates, keyboardist Ståle Storløkken and guitarist Helge Sten; singers David Sylvian and Trio Mediaeval's Anna Maria Friman; guitarist Eivind Aarset; and pianist Christian Wallumrød. And that doesn't account ...read more
Discovering unheard John Coltrane material is the Holy Grail for serious music devotees, and the imminent release (Sept.23,2014) of a 1966 live date in the form of Offering: Live at Temple University on the Impulse! label (in conjunction with Resonance Records and Universal Music) to join The Olatunji Concert and One Down, One Up Live at the Half Note in the Coltrane archive is good news, indeed, for those wishing to explore the iconic saxophonist's later years. Adding significantly to the first-class feel of this production is the inclusion of a 23-page liner booklet written by the always perceptive Ashley ...read more
Anyone who's had the pleasure of watching pianist Stefano Bollani in concert--whether it's in duo with fellow Italian, trumpter Enrico Rava, at the 2009 TD Ottawa Jazz Festival; in the trumpeter's New York Days quintet at the ECM 40th Anniversary celebration, part of the 2010 Enjoy Jazz Festival; or in one of his own various contexts (solo, trio, large ensemble)--knows that, above all, joy is fundamental to the music he makes. Sometimes it's blatantly obvious, as on his 2013 duo release with bandolim master Hamilton De Holanda, O Que Sera (ECM), where these two virtuosos could barely contain themselves and ...read more
Duets allow two musicians to work together intimately without the complications of a rhythm section. Such recordings are often done on the spot at the suggestion of one of the musicians or an agent. Historically, two iconic collaborations of this type were a studio gig with Jerry Mulligan and Thelonious Monk (Mulligan Meets Monk, Riverside, 1957 ), and Oscar Peterson et Joe Pass a la Salle Pleyel(Pablo, 1975). When musicians such as these are creative and can think quickly on their feet, the results are often exciting, even though the arrangements are severely limited by the fact that they haven't ...read more
It has been 14 years since the release of Vantage Point, Simon Phillips' last project as a leader, and nearly 26 years since his debut album Protocol. In these years, Phillips has become a drummer to the stars, recording and performing with the likes of Jeff Beck, The Who, and Judas Priest. In '92, following the death of founding member Jeff Porcaro, Phillips was asked to fill the drum chair for Toto. He would go on to occupy this position for 22 years, performing for and engineering landmark albums such as Through The Looking Glass and Falling In Between. Currently, ...read more
Margie Baker didn't begin her career as a jazz and blues vocalist in the San Francisco area until she was nearly 40, but she made up for this delayed entry with endurance: She was often featured at the Monterey Jazz Festival and as in Festival road shows led by Richie Cole and the legendary James Moody (for whom Baker penned Mood for Mr. Moody"). Baker also became one of Dizzy Gillespie's favorite vocalists and sat in with his band whenever she could--"He was my mentor until the day he died," she once recalled. This two-CD retrospective celebrates not ...read more
Tony Kadleck, who has done almost everything one can do on a trumpet, adds the designation big-band leader to his resume with Around the Horn, an impressive debut CD for which he has written all the charts and enlisted a group of the New York area's A-list musicians to interpret them. If leadership is best imparted by example, Kadleck shouldn't have a care in the world, as his discography includes more than eighty albums from pop to blues to jazz and various genres in between. An abbreviated inventory of the (big) names with whom he has played and recorded reads ...read more
Things are looking up for Bergen-based Stein Urheim, a musician who, on the basis of Stein Urheim--his second release on Hubro after the vinyl/download-only Kosmolodi (2012) and third as a leader following his 2009 debut, Three Sets of Music--seems interested in just about anything with strings...and a few without. Beyond his own career, which includes work with Gabriel Fliflet´s Åresong and a guest appearance on The Last Hurrah!'s 2011 Rune Grammofon debut, Spiritual Non- Believers, his Stein and Mari collaboration with Mari Kvien Brunvoll--an electro- acoustic singer who, since enthralling a group of international guests at a church showcase, continues ...read more
One of the Berklee College of Music's youngest instructors, violinist/mandolinist Jason Anick had already made a name for himself in 2008, when at twenty two years of age he was invited to tour with Grammy-winning guitarist John Jorgenson. Anick's tremendous virtuosity was to the fore on the acoustic Rhythm Future Quartet's Sleepless (Self Produced, 2011), a lively gypsy jazz romp--a genre he excels in. Tipping Point, however, showcases Anick's more contemporary songwriting acumen and the numerous stylistic strands that define his voice. Seamlessly fusing swing, bebop, hard-bop, classical, folk, as well as contemporary influences in his playing, it's a vibrant ...read more
When München's Haus der Kunst sponsored a nearly three-month exhibition about the ECM Records label, ECM: A Cultural Archeology, which ran from November, 2012 to February, 2013, there was far more to it than just bringing together collections of album covers, rarely seen video, archival tapes, imagery and concert performances. As much as ECM has carved a niche for itself as a label concerned about the whole package, including quality of sound, design and artwork, it is, after all, a record label, and one that has, in a history now spanning more than forty years, emerged as a singular, inimitable ...read more
Bay Area vocalist Laurie Antonioli has been performing and recording for more than 30 years. Early on she mixed paints with the likes of Joe Henderson, Mark Murphy and Pony Poindexter with whom she undertook an 8-month European junket in 1980, quickening her already impressive jazz chops. Antonioli's discography is a slim yet intense affair that is full of brilliant pathos and musicianship. She has had much time pass between releases resulting in a sonic career where her evolution as an artist is experienced in fits and starts. That was, until the release of American Dreams (Intrinsic Music, 2010) when ...read more
Much is said about records once they've come into the world, but little is discussed about the motive(s) surrounding the birthing of a record. Sometimes it's simply about marketing, exposure, money, and pure narcissism. There's nothing necessarily wrong with that on some level(s), and many classic albums have been made with little to nothing else in mind, but it's harder to appreciate the artistry and the artist when records made for such reasons appear on the horizon. It's far more satisfying to sit back and soak in the beauty and power of expertly-crafted music that's been made in the name ...read more
Who could ever forget the assertive, pulse-quickening theme from Peter Gunn, the urbane TV detective series that ran from 1958-61, with its jazz-centered score by the incomparable Henry Mancini. In case you are one of those who has (forgotten the theme, that is), you can now savor it anew (with much more music from the show), splendidly performed by the Harmonie Ensemble / New York, directed by Steven Richman. Among other things, the series showcased a small jazz group playing unassuming themes at Gunn's waterfront hangout, Mother's, while backing the establishment's stylish singer, played by Lola Albright. Although it wasn't ...read more
Ever since the jazz was created in the clubs and dancehalls of New Orleans, there was always a significant influence from the Caribbean region, specifically from Cuba. The island, which was just a ferry ride from the port city, had such a significant effect on the development of the music that Jelly Roll Morton always spoke of the importance of Afro-Cuban based rhythms (the Spanish Tinge) in creating and performing this nascent music. However, it was the arrival of a prodigious trumpet player named Mario Bauza from Havana who not only embedded himself into the swing band culture which dominated ...read more
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