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

John La Barbera Big Band: Caravan

Read "Caravan" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Summoning Juan Tizol's travel-worn “Caravan" to raise the curtain on a big-band album poses a challenge for any arranger, one that John La Barbera easily brushes aside on the third recording as leader of his own ensemble. And while “Caravan" dazzles in La Barbera's capable hands, it is merely the opening salvo in a session that smolders from end to end, clearly rivaling and and some ways even trumping his Grammy Award-nominated debut album, On the Wild Side.

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Album Review

John La Barbera Big Band: Caravan

Read "Caravan" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello


The beautiful Mediterranean island of Sicily--and the triple-legged image on its national flag--are also known as the “Trinicria." That name translates as--and also describes--the triangular shape of the island. Whether that's a geo-historical lesson or not, the three La Barbera Brothers--John, Joe and Pat have established themselves as a most formidable familial trio in jazz history, right up there with the Joneses, Heaths, Adderleys, Breckers, and others. And, with Caravan that La Barbera legacy will assuredly continue to resonate.

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Album Review

The Joe La Barbera Quintet: Silver Streams

Read "Silver Streams" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello


If there is a stream of any kind that runs through Silver Streams by The Joe La Barbera Quintet, it is the flow of energy--intense to the point of ignition--that is tapped. No meandering “Old Man River," this team drinks from the source with gusto and unified creativity. That shouldn't be a surprise, since La Barbera and his mates--each a Los Angeles first call musician--have performed together for decades.La Barbera, one-third of a celebrated jazz family, with brothers ...

137

Album Review

Larry Koonse & Darek Oleszkiewicz: Storybook

Read "Storybook" reviewed by Michael P. Gladstone


In a new venture and on a new jazz label, Jazz Compass, West Coast guitarist Larry Koonse and bassist Darek “Oles" Oleszkiewicz essentially perform a series of duets, with the subtle assistance of percussionist Munyungo Jackson.

These ten original compositions feature the musicians in a series of intimate duets and trios that feature the melody played by both the bassist as well as the guitarist. The compositions have a feeling of shared lyrical empathy and seem influenced by ...

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Album Review

Koonse / La Barbera / Warrington / Jenkins / Cunliffe: Snowfall: A Jazz Compass Christmas Celebration

Read "Snowfall: A Jazz Compass Christmas Celebration" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey


Jazz Christmas recitals are tricky affairs and nominally follow a bell distribution when considering the variables of combo size compared to the arrangement expertise necessary to render a quality performance. Solo and duet formats offer the most freedom and exposure in performance, requiring only simpatico from those involved in the arrangement. The middle-sized combos (trios, quartets, quintets) merit great care in arranging holiday pieces, while big band and orchestral affairs are tacked down with arrangement. Poor medium-sized combo arrangements can ...

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Album Review

Koonse / La Barbera / Warrington / Jenkins / Cunliffe: Snowfall: A Jazz Compass Christmas Celebration

Read "Snowfall: A Jazz Compass Christmas Celebration" reviewed by Jim Santella


The holidays provide a chance for everyone to sit back, relax, and enjoy something different. It's not like the rest of the year, where we're pulled and pushed this way and that. Instead, the year-end holidays give us an opportunity to set things right, and we've earned it. As the song goes, “we're gonna find out who's naughty or nice. For most of us, that means we can enjoy a special treat that lasts from Christmas Eve to New Year's ...

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Album Review

The John La Barbera Big Band: Fantazm

Read "Fantazm" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Fantazm is the second album by the John La Barbera Big Band, following last year's impressive debut, On the Wild Side. While the songs are new, almost everything else, we are happy to report, remains invariable--even the band's personnel is essentially the same, with guitarist Larry Koonse added on two tracks. La Barbera's charts (he arranged everything) are once again superb, his hand-picked crew of West Coast heavyweights deciphers them flawlessly, and John's brothers, tenor saxophonist Pat and drummer Joe, ...


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