Articles by Kyle Simpler

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Album Review

Scott Hamilton and Duke Robillard: Swingin' Again

Read "Swingin' Again" reviewed by Kyle Simpler


In 1987, Duke Robillard released the album Swing (Rounder), a successful combination of jazz and jump blues. He got his old friend, tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton to help him out with the recording. Although Robillard is primarily known as a blues guitarist, the record made it obvious that jazz is also deeply rooted in his musical DNA. With Swingin' Again, he revisits the jazz world, and he once again teams up with Hamilton to help him out. Robillard ...

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Album Review

Clifford Lamb: Blues & Hues New Orleans

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There are quite a few cities in the world that have an important musical legacy, and in many cases, the city's musical history might be one of the first things people associate with it. Take New Orleans. Commonly known as the birthplace of jazz, it's hard to imagine New Orleans without conjuring up brass bands, jazz clubs and juke joints. San Francisco-based pianist Clifford Lamb explores New Orleans' musical and cultural aspects with Blues & Hues New Orleans by offering ...

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Film Review

The Modern Jazz Quartet: From Residency To Legacy

Read "The Modern Jazz Quartet: From Residency To Legacy" reviewed by Kyle Simpler


There are plenty of fictional stories about utopian societies where life is good and everybody gets along. Of course, the word utopia literally means “no place," suggesting that an actual utopia is nothing more than an illusion, but that hasn't stopped people from trying. Although there are many utopian societies that didn't work, there are a few real world attempts that have come close. One such example could be The Music Inn in Lenox, Massachusetts. Even though it wasn't a ...

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Album Review

Will Lyle: L.A. Source Codes

Read "L.A. Source Codes" reviewed by Kyle Simpler


For computer programmers, a source code is a piece of computer language, which they are able to read and transfer and put to use in a practical way. With his debut album, L.A. Source Codes, bassist Will Lyle makes a connection between this concept and jazz. As with computer programming, jazz has its own language, and learning the language of jazz can be somewhat challenging. A skilled player, however, can take musical “source codes," such as chords, scales and arpeggios, ...

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Album Review

Will Bernard: Ancient Grains

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In the culinary world, ancient grains is a term used to describe grains that have been virtually unchanged for centuries but are often used in modern recipes. Will Bernard uses this idea as a metaphor in his album Ancient Grains. The basic concept is that the instruments used in this recording, such as guitars, organ, amplifiers and drums, are vintage in different ways. Some are actually vintage instruments while others are based on designs of vintage instruments. As with the ...

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Book Review

Beneath Missouri Skies: Pat Metheny in Kansas City 1964-1972

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Beneath Missouri Skies: Pat Metheny in Kansas City 1964-1972 Carolyn Glenn Brewer 266 Pages ISBN: # 978-1-57441-823-1 University of North Texas Press 2021 Although Pat Metheny is in many aspects a global citizen, he is first and foremost a native of Missouri. His midwestern-American background and influences appear in his music much like a motif appears in literature. Perhaps this is most evident in his 1997 album with Charlie Haden, Beyond the Missouri ...

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Album Review

Pamai Chirdkiatisak: Dreamer

Read "Dreamer" reviewed by Kyle Simpler


Some musical rites of passage happen so often they are somewhat universal. Take for example a kid who hears rock music for the first time, becomes interested in playing guitar, and dreams of becoming a professional musician. While many people experience this exact same scenario, few actually see their dream come to fruition. For those who do, their musical journey is probably not quite the way they envisioned it when they first started. This is certainly the case with guitarist ...


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