Jazz Articles

Daily articles including interviews, profiles, live reviews, film reviews and more... all carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. You can find more articles by searching our website, see what's trending on our popular articles page or read articles ahead of their published dates on our future articles page.

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Album Review

Shawn Maxwell's Alliance: Bridge

Read "Bridge" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


The eponymous debut from Shawn Maxwell's Alliance was a giant step forward for the saxophonist/composer; his previous albums all had musical merit, but all were built with limited color schemes, hewing, for the most part, to jazz norms. With Shawn Maxwell's Alliance (Chicago Sessions, 2014), Maxwell stepped way outside the box, writing music for a dectet that was anything but formulaic or commonplace. Now, less than a year later, Shawn Maxwell's Alliance returns with the shorter, but no less intriguing, ...

6

Album Review

lePercolateur: Pop Manouche

Read "Pop Manouche" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


Something different and exciting is brewing on lePercolateur's Pop Manouche. This Chicago-based, Hot Club-indebted outfit finds a way to blend the sonic sensibilities of Django Reinhardt's famed band into an alt- pop/alt-folk/alt-instrumental format on their debut album, creating something unique in the process; it's as if songstress Sam Phillips, the beyond-category Pink Martini, indie folk band Hem, Reinhardt, and a few other unlikely collaborators got together to make some music. The core instrumentation--violin, multiple guitars and bass--immediately ...

3

Album Review

Aaron Koppel: Multiverse

Read "Multiverse" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


The city of Chicago has always been a breeding ground for musicians looking to expand the horizons of their own art and the styles that they represent, so it should come as no shock that guitarist Aaron Koppel was born and raised in this Midwestern musical mecca. Koppel, who made his initial entrée into the world of leader-on-record with The Wild Call Of The Multi-Tasker (Self Produced, 2007), and followed that up with Falling Together Falling Apart (Chicago Sessions, 2009), ...

5

Album Review

Makaya McCraven: Split Decision

Read "Split Decision" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


Drummer Makaya McCraven supposedly “thinks about rhythm last" when composing, yet his music is all about rhythmic perspicacity. McCraven, who was born in Paris, spent his formative years in Massachusetts and eventually uprooted himself to move to Chicago, uses rhythm as a thickening agent, call to arms, catalyst and continual game changer, throughout this engaging debut. McCraven put together a piano trio for his first leader date, but he doesn't make the same old piano trio music. ...

230

Album Review

Matt Nelson Trio: Nostalgiamaniac

Read "Nostalgiamaniac" reviewed by Alex Marianyi


According to The Oxford English Dictionary, nostalgia is defined as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past," and a maniac is “an obsessive enthusiast." Chicago pianist Matt Nelson embodies both qualities on Nostalgiamaniac. The sentimentality of his ballad playing and the keen musical citation of past generations of jazz musicians clearly display the conversation he's having with his own past, and his dedication to music. Without losing momentum in his constant foray into modernity, Nelson ...

334

Album Review

Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble: Blueprints

Read "Blueprints" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello


When cooking a marvelous soup or stew from scratch with all the finest ingredients, there's that special moment when the culinary creation rushes to a boil and marvelous flavors burst out explosively into the air. It's the penultimate moment only surpassed by the delicious devouring. Contentment follows. The selections contained in the Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble's fine Blueprints are wonderfully reminiscent of a musical recipe that simmers slowly and then bursts into a fiery buffet. This is ...

348

Album Review

Paul Wertico: Impressions of a City

Read "Impressions of a City" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian


Almost 40 years after its inception and despite many detractors among master musicians and critics, jazz-rock fusion continues to have a tenacious hold on both creators and consumers of instrumental music. Percussionist Paul Wertico's Impressions of a City puts a modern spin on the genre by creating a work that brings together jazz like improvisation and the sound of rock jam bands. The concept behind the CD is interesting; it is supposed to be free musical impressions ...


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