Jazz Articles

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Album Review

Linley Hamilton: Ginger's Hollow

Read "Ginger's Hollow" reviewed by Ian Patterson

The follow-up to trumpeter Linley Hamilton's For The Record (Teddy D Records, 2020) has taken over three years to materialize, but when you consider what transpired globally in that time, just the act of picking up where he left off is something of a victory in itself. Talk about the difficult second album... Hamilton's trans-Atlantic quartet has its roots in the annual summer school/festival Sligo Jazz Project, where Hamilton, drummer Adam Nussbaum and bassist Mark Egan have all taught. The ...

Album Review

Sultan Stevenson: Faithful One

Read "Faithful One" reviewed by Chris May

It is rare for a debut album by a young musician to merit four stars, but Faithful One, by the 22 year old London pianist and composer Sultan Stevenson, deserves every shining one of them. An alumnus of the community programme Tomorrow's Warriors, in his liner note he singles out the Warriors' founders, Gary Crosby and Janine Irons, and one of its tutors, tenor saxophonist Binker Golding, for special thanks. Stevenson has been a fast study. For confirmation of that, ...

Album Review

Lakecia Benjamin: Phoenix

Read "Phoenix" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

The previous album by saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin, Pursuance: The Coltranes, (Ropeadope, 2020) was a multifaceted tribute to the music of both John Coltrane and Alice Coltrane. Her new album takes on societal and human issues with similar diversity but in a more compact and organized manner. It moves from a socially aware mix of soul, R'n'B, and jazz fusion in its first half to full-blown spiritual jazz in its second. The album begins with the sound of sirens ...

Album Review

Jo Lawry: Acrobats

Read "Acrobats" reviewed by Troy Dostert

Australian vocalist Jo Lawry has covered a lot of ground in a musical career that goes back to her well-received debut in 2008, I Want to Be Happy (Fleurieu). Her formidable jazz chops were readily apparent on that release, but she then turned to other genres, including folk and pop on albums like Taking Pictures (ABC Music, 2015) and The Bathtub and the Sea (Fleurieu, 2018), not to mention a few guest spots with Sting, as on Symphonicities (Deutsche Grammophon, ...

Album Review

Lakecia Benjamin: Phoenix

Read "Phoenix" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

True to her nature, saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin keeps the flame to the dynamite on her smoking follow-up to the wildfire of Pursuance (Ropeadope, 2020), her still hot-to-the-touch dedication to the music and spirituality of John Coltrane and Alice Coltrane. Co-produced with maximum female power by Benjamin and Terri Lyne Carrington, the torrential riptide “Amerikkan Skin" ambushes one's consciousness via the urgency of police sirens only to give way to the equally urgent dictum of radical thinker, activist, educator ...

Album Review

John Escreet: Seismic Shift

Read "Seismic Shift" reviewed by Mark Corroto

John Escreet's recording Seismic Shift, the pianist's first trio recording, might be the case for the return of warning labels on packaging. Not that there are explicit lyrics or violent images, it is just that the 52 minutes of music contained here are quite tempestuous and unrelenting. By design. Escreet is known for his wide-ranging interests in creative music. He has recorded in both the acoustic and electric realms, performing on instruments including the harpsichord, synthesizers, Fender Rhodes ...

Album Review

Walter Smith III & Matthew Stevens: In Common III

Read "In Common III" reviewed by Chris May

The third iteration of tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III and guitarist Matthew Stevens' In Common project is another delightfully lyrical and inventive affair. Each of the albums presents Smith and Stevens in the company of a different three-piece rhythm section. The first had vibraphonist Joel Ross, bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Marcus Gilmore. The second had pianist Micah Thomas, bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Nate Smith. On In Common III, the quintet is completed by pianist ...

Album Review

Chet Doxas: You Can't Take It With You

Read "You Can't Take It With You" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

Tenor saxophonist Chet Doxas has been getting attention in recent years by collaborating with prominent musicians such as Dave Douglas and Carla Bley. On this album he explores his own compositions in a trio with two sympathetic partners, pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Thomas Morgan. Doxas' music here falls into one of two general styles, slippery blues-inflected pieces reminiscent of Jimmy Giuffre's trios with Jim Hall or more abstract work where the three musicians take on roles complementary to each ...

Album Review

Ivo Neame: Glimpses of Truth

Read "Glimpses of Truth" reviewed by Chris May

"The Rise of The Lizard People," the title of the scene-setting opening track on Ivo Neame's Glimpses Of Truth, was prompted by an article Neame read which claimed that 12 million Americans believe that interstellar lizards run the United States. Only 12 million? In a country with a population approaching 332 million, around half of whose voters are idiots and conspiracy theorists, one might imagine that a far greater number would be feeling threatened by shape-shifting reptiles. To be fair, ...

Album Review

Matthew Stevens: Pittsburgh

Read "Pittsburgh" reviewed by Chris May

Good things were promised by New York-based guitarist Matthew Stevens' fusionesque sophomore album, Preverbal (Ropeadope, 2017). It was made with a kicking trio comprising the exceptional bassist Vicente Archer, a longstanding associate of Robert Glasper, and drummer Eric Doob, whose credits include organist Dr Lonnie Smith and, alongside Stevens, trumpeter Christian Scott. In the normal course of events, said good things would likely have come by autumn 2021, perhaps in the form of another trio album. But the timeline was ...

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