Articles by Larry Taylor

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Album Review

Gary Smulyan & Dominic Chianese: Bella Napoli

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Some concepts that seem far out, turn out to be right on. That is the case of the unlikely musical combination which comes together in the entertaining CD Bella Napoli--a salute to popular Italian song classics. Two greats pull this all together: acclaimed poll winner Gary Smulyan on baritone sax and actor-singer Dominic Chianese, well known as Uncle Junior on “The Sopranos," the Emmy-winning HBO TV series. And, as it turns out, Chianese is also a respected ...

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Album Review

Bob Mover: My Heart Tells Me

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Jazz saxophone veteran Bob Mover has put together a very satisfying two-disc release, My Heart Tell Me, with both swinging instrumentals and his very effective,unadorned vocals. Disc one has Mover mostly singing standards in soft pensive fashion, bringing to mind Nat Cole, as well as Chet Baker, his early-days cohort. Standouts on this are Warren/Gordon's “My Heart Tells Me” and Carey/Fischer's “Gone With th Wind," featuring pianist Kenny Barron's impeccable accompaniment---no embellishment, unadorned, but lots of soul. ...

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Live Review

Monterey Jazz Festival 2013

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Monterey Jazz Festival Monterey, California September 28-30, 2013 Like a lavish banquet, one can't indulge in the whole spread, but only savor favorites. That was the case with the lineup at the 56th annual Monterey Jazz Festival which ran at the Monterey Fairgrounds in Northern California. Topping the fare were Wayne Shorter, Diana Krall and Joe Lovano. For three days, from afternoon to late evening, great jazz was performed by the best ...

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Album Review

Michel Camilo: What's Up

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Jazz piano virtuoso Michel Camilo is known for his bombastic technique. For example, after a set at the Monterey Jazz Festival a couple of years ago, I stuck around and talked to the piano-tuner hired to rejuvenate the strings. He stood shaking his head in dismay after Camilo's hard driving workout, which had been a crowd-pleaser. Camilo's What's Up takes, however, a different approach. This is his second solo effort in his nearly 30-year career, his first ...

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Live Review

Newport Beach Jazz Party: Newport Beach, CA, February 14-17, 2013

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Newport Beach Jazz PartyNewport Beach, CAFebruary 14-17, 2013Thursday was Valentine's Day and the kickoff for the 13th Annual Newport Beach Jazz Party at the Marriott Hotel, Southern California. This four-day event combined two holidays, Valentine's & President's Weekend, bringing together some 70 great musicians, playing day and night--evening concerts in the Grand Pacific Ballroom, afternoon pool-side events and Saturday and Sunday morning brunch shows. For night owls, there were after-hour sessions for listening and dancing. Fans with ...

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Album Review

Grace Kelly: Grace Kelly: Live at Scullers

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Grace Kelly is indeed a prodigy on alto sax, having made her first recording at 12. Two years ago, at 18, her sixth album was released The Man with the Hat (Pazz Productions), a collaboration with the renowned Phil Woods on alto. That CD turned up the spotlight on her genius, bringing her increased attention. She shined in duets with Woods and had ample space to stretch in solos, playing mostly standards. She also adequately sang two songs. ...

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Album Review

The Clayton Brothers: The Gathering

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The Clayton Brothers--John on bass and Jeff on reeds--have been playing together for over 30 years, either in their small groups or in the large Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, formed in 1985 in partnership with drummer Jeff Hamilton. In small contexts, they have specialized in post-bop swing with a touch of funk, while the critically acclaimed big band is known for its crisp, intricate arrangements. The brothers have recorded many CDs in both configurations and traveled worldwide. In ...


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