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by Glenn Astarita
This Brooklyn-based jazz quintet comprised of nascent talent takes a unique approach to composition. Here, the musicians share a sketch from a notepad, denoting an incomplete composition or musical fragment and another band-member runs with it to use as a foundation for a new composition. Nonetheless, it's a balanced program, where the musicians fuse probing melodic content via regimented flows and loose grooves, while occasionally skirting the outside realm. Essentially, these pieces are structured by design, yet the band doesn't ...read more
by C. Michael Bailey
It should not be so hard to identify the most important jazz musician in the history of the genre. It is one of five artists: Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and Miles Davis. Much can be made for Ellington being the logical choice. Edward Kennedy Ellington (1899-1974) lived the entire history of jazz. He led arguably the most important big band of the swing era while also recording widely in smaller formats. But Ellington considered his music ...read more
by Chris May
Many albums in the Original Jazz Classics reissue series include alternate takes or tracks recorded for, but ultimately not included on, the original vinyl LP. The label's 2011 Remasters edition of pianist Thelonious Monk's Monk's Music (Riverside, 1957) is no exception--but is something of a first, in that Blues For Tomorrow," the 13:33 minute bonus track, does not include a single note from the leader. The track was recorded on June 25, 1957, in the closing minutes of ...read more
by Andrew Velez
Although he'd lived a scant 50 hard years when he died in 1959, tenor sax giant Lester Willis Young was and remains one of the most vital and influential forces in jazz. He used words as singularly as he played, dubbing Billie Holiday Lady Day"; theirs was an incomparable musical pairing and she returned the favor, calling him Prez" for president. Prez proved to be the key link between the early jazz of Louis Armstrong and Coleman Hawkins with the ...read more
by Mark Corroto
Adapting the poetry of Wallace Stevens to music is an almost natural task for Frank Carlberg. The ex-lawyer turned insurance executive (Stevens not Carlberg) wrote from pure imagination. His early associations had been with the New York intelligentsia, including William Carlos Williams and Marcel Duchamp. Carlberg, a Finnish born pianist and composer has been a frequent collaborator with Indian vocalist Christine Correa. Their work includes the duo Ugly Beauty (1994) and The Crazy Woman (1996).
This Stevens project, significant for ...read more
by Glenn Astarita
Hailing from Helsinki, Finland – composer/pianist Frank Carlberg provides the musical setting for Variations On A Summer Day which is a collection of poems by Wallace Stevens. Vocalist Christine Correa is co-featured on this production along with a prominent assemblage of modern jazz all-stars consisting of saxophonists Chris Speed, Andrew D’ Angelo, drummer Kenny Wolleson and others.
Carlberg’s compositions are often richly thematic by design as the composer melds ambient textures with cyclic patterns, while the horns create understated tension ...read more
by Derek Taylor
Frank Wess was a busy man in the 1960s. Along with juggling roles as Count Basie’s chief tenor and sessions as a sideman he was also fortunate enough to secure plentiful dates as a leader. In each setting his tenor was allowed room to move, but it was on his own gigs where his powers were put to most expansive use. The two albums combined on this disc highlight two Wess-fronted ensembles: a large eight-piece unit colored with a Latin ...read more