Album Review


Ronny Wiesauer: September

Read "September" reviewed by Geno Thackara

There's a certain mix of emotions that always comes with the end of summer, and if it may not be possible to sublimate it all straight into sound, Ronny Wiesauer does an admirable job at capturing some of the shades. His September is a quietly vibrant sound painting that presents a series of scenes wistful and charming. Those in the southern hemisphere might ignore the title and find it fitting for March instead, although it could also simply be a ...


Emmet Cohen: Master Legacy Series Volume 5 Featuring Houston Person

Read "Master Legacy Series Volume 5 Featuring Houston Person" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

From its languid beginning, saxophonist Houston Person's own warmly engaging “Why Not?," to its closing, Etta James' slinky seduction “Sunday Kind of Love," Emmet Cohen's Master Legacy Series Vol. 5 Featuring Houston Person is a decidedly laid-back affair, unlike much of its predecessors which featured Jimmy Cobb, Ron Carter, George Coleman, Benny Golson and Albert “Tootie" Heath. Maybe that is just seventy-five year old Person's influence. His big tone and big presence fill the studio with a master's ...

Jared Sims: Hellbender: the Resistance

Read "Hellbender: the Resistance" reviewed by Geannine Reid

Saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Jared Sims has taken a bold step with his latest project. Hellbender: The Resistance, released April 7, 2023, captures Sims' desire to blend the improvisational freedom of jazz with the intense rhythms of rock. Inspired by such groundbreaking jazz albums as Steve Grossman's Some Shapes to Come (PM, 1974) and Miles Davis' On the Corner) (Columbia, 19720, Sims also weaves in the deep grooves of dub reggae and funk music. For Hellbender: The Resistance, Sims ...


Willie Morris: Conversation Starter

Read "Conversation Starter" reviewed by David A. Orthmann

The story is old, predictable and often exasperating. A virtually unknown jazz musician distinguishes himself or herself as part of the supporting cast on a handful of recordings. And then begins the wait to see if any label will offer the young, deserving player a shot in the driver's seat. Early this year, two releases on Posi-Tone Records stimulated an appetite for more music by Willie Morris. The tenor saxophonist acquitted himself well as an ensemble player, ...


Omri Mor / Yosef-Gutman Levitt: Melodies of Light

Read "Melodies of Light" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

It is quite rare in a culture and society driven by autocrats, hits, likes, blogs and podcasts, that recordings as ethereal, yet born of the ageless earth, as Melodies of Light come around to release us from the daily ugly. Spontaneous music of this hypnotic, mysterious beauty and elusive grace give us pause to reflect on where we are, individually and collectively, and to seek a better way. It haunts. It comes at the listener from some timeless ...


Yuji Takahashi / Sabu Toyozumi: The Quietly Clouds And A Wild Crane

Read "The Quietly Clouds And A Wild Crane" reviewed by John Sharpe

Unlike most drum and piano duets, where the keyboard gets all the best lines, Sabu Toyozumi and Yuji Takahashi craft a truly egalitarian meeting of minds on The Quietly Clouds And A Wild Crane. Recorded in 1998, it represents another bulletin from the vital Japanese free scene of the period issued by the Lithuanian NoBusiness imprint in collaboration with Chap Chap Records. Toyozumi may be one of the more recognizable names from this milieu, given his regular excursions ...


Jürg Frey: Circular Music Ext. no. 1 / no. 2 / Ext. no. 2.

Read "Circular Music Ext. no. 1 / no. 2 / Ext. no. 2." reviewed by John Eyles

On May 15th 2023, Swiss clarinetist, composer and Wandelweiser member Jürg Frey reached the age of seventy. From February 14th to 16th 2023, the tracks which comprise this album had been recorded at Rue des Fabriques, Brussels; they are all Frey compositions which were adapted by the eight players performing them. On the album sleeve, no mention is made of Frey's milestone event; however, this album serves well as a (belated) celebration of it. Between 2011 and 2016, Frey composed ...


Gard Nilssen's Supersonic Orchestra: Family

Read "Family" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Why can't all music be supersonic? That does not mean supersonic as in a speed exceeding that of sound, but sound that is sonically superlative. Drummer, composer, and bandleader Gard Nilssen's music is seemingly always sonically superb. His 17-piece Supersonic Orchestra was captured in 2022 at the Mondriaan Jazz Festival in Den Haag, Netherlands, for Family, his follow-up to If You Listen Carefully The Music Is Yours (Odin 2020). The Supersonic Orchestra is made up of seven saxophones ...


Christopher McBride: Ramon

Read "Ramon" reviewed by Geannine Reid

Jazz is a conversation that has been going on for over a century. Each musician adds their own statement to the discourse, and one of the most exciting aspects of engaging with jazz is the opportunity to witness and appreciate the various voices that emerge and contribute to this ongoing dialogue. Here is one such profound contribution, a riveting piece of art by the multi-faceted saxophonist and composer Christopher McBride with his sophomore album, Ramon. McBride brilliantly straddles the territories ...


Miho Hazama's M_Unit: Beyond Orbits

Read "Beyond Orbits" reviewed by Chris May

Beyond Orbits is the fêted composer and conductor Miho Hazama's fourth album with M_Unit. She founded the band in 2012, two years after moving from Tokyo to New York and while she was still studying for a masters in jazz composition at the Manhattan School of Music. Hazama released M_Unit's first album in 2013. The band's third, Dancer In Nowhere (Sunnyside, 2019), was nominated for a Grammy. Among her other achievements, Hazama was in 2019 appointed chief ...

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