Articles by Jack Bowers

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Album Review

Alexis Parsons: Alexis

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The self-named Alexis is the third album by New York-based vocalist Alexis Parsons. To showcase her talents, she has chosen a medley of standards (half a dozen) and lesser-known but engaging originals, opening and closing with the Cole Porter classics “Easy to Love" and “In the Still of the Night." Rodgers and Hart, the Gershwins, Kurt Weill, Astrud Gilberto and even Franz Schubert are also represented. For back-up, Parsons employs two trios—pianist David Berkman, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Matt ...

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Album Review

Chad Lefkowitz-Brown and the Global Big Band: Open World

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There are times, thanks to the indestructible human spirit, when even the most horrendous scourge--say, a global pandemic that has claimed millions of lives in countries around the world--can lead to the occasional silver lining, a small yet persistent light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Case in point: Open World, a superlative new album by saxophonist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown (commonly known as Chad LB) and the Global Big Band, whose name describes exactly what it is: an ensemble ...

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Album Review

Simply This Quintet: Stepping Up

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On its first full-length album, the modestly named Simply This Quintet boasts a sturdy two-tenor front line (Reginald Lewis, Matthew Storie) and an able rhythm section (Jesus Fuentes, piano; Emma Taylor, bass; Frank Kurtz, drums) performing eight original compositions by members of the group. The quintet was formed in 2018 by friends at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Its goal, according to the album's liner notes, is “reinterpreting the classic two- tenor saxophone jazz ensembles of the 1950s and ...

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Album Review

Gemma Sherry: Music To Dream To

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Vocalist Gemma Sherry's fourth album, Music to Dream To, recorded in July 2020, closely follows her third, Let's Get Serious, released less than a year earlier. This latest album expresses Sherry's love for the music of South America in general and Brazilian bossa nova in particular, with half a dozen engaging songs that sway to an irresistible bossa (or samba) beat. Two numbers—"The Telephone Song" and “Keep Talking"—are repeated ("acoustic version," the track listing points out), and even counting the ...

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Album Review

Alon Farber Hagiga: Reflecting on Freedom

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Israeli saxophonist Alon Farber's Hagiga (in Yiddish, “celebration") is exactly that--a warm tribute to contemporary jazz from the Middle East to South America and beyond, ably performed on the group's fourth album, Reflecting on Freedom, by half a dozen well-schooled Israeli musicians and--on several of the album's nine tracks--special guest percussionist Rony Iwyrn and vocalist Sarai Zak-Levi. Hagiga has been in the forefront of Israel's burgeoning jazz scene for more than two decades, thanks for the most part to bright ...

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Album Review

Graham Dechter: Major Influence

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If you're a jazz guitarist who plans to record a quartet CD, you obviously want the most able and supportive rhythm section you can possibly find to lend its weight. For Los Angeles-based Graham Dechter, assembling such a peerless trio to enhance Major Influence, his third album as leader and first in nearly a decade, posed no problem whatsoever: Dechter's bandmates in the world-class Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra would do quite nicely. Yes, there may be rhythm sections whose talents are ...

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Album Review

Andy Farber and His Orchestra: Early Blue Evening

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Saxophonist Andy Farber's New York-based orchestra came together and cut its teeth as the onstage band for three hundred performances of After Midnight, a Broadway revue that paid tribute to Jazz Age nightclub luminaries from Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford and Count Basie to Harold Arlen, Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh. As one might presume from the orchestra's provenance, echoes of Ellington and Basie can readily be discerned on its first recording since After Midnight closed in 2014--but Farber, who wrote ...


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