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Sun Ra Arkestra Directed By Marshall Allen: Marshall's Groove

Read "Sun Ra Arkestra Directed By Marshall Allen: Marshall's Groove" reviewed by Ian Patterson

To celebrate the great Marshall Allen's 100th birthday, what better way than to immerse oneself in the all-enveloping, swinging, soaring, saxophone-singing, ensemble- roaring wonder that is “Marshall's Groove." After sixty-seven years in the Sun Ra Arkestra, and nearly thirty steering the ship since taking over the leadership role from John Gilmore, this occasion is not just a celebration of Allen's landmark birthday, but of his truly enormous contribution to the music. Happy birthday maestro! ...


Säje: I Can't Help It

Read "Säje: I Can't Help It" reviewed by Scott Lichtman

It is rare to encounter, an all-female, professional jazz vocal ensemble. The quartet säje (pronounced like “beige") not only has established itself in this genre with a Grammy nomination, but they raise the bar for all vocal groups. The singers--Sara Gazarek, Amanda Taylor, Erin Bentlage and Johnaye Kendrick--are practically telepathic in synchronizing their phrasing. Any big band would be ecstatic to inject fluid horn hits the way these ladies do. In addition, they transform a potential limitation of female quartets--modest ...


Nicola Caminiti: Adam Arturo

Read "Nicola Caminiti: Adam Arturo" reviewed by John Chacona

Every generation or so, a rhythm section comes along and changes the game. Think of Count Basie's “All-American Rhythm Section" with Freddie Green, Walter Page and Jo Jones, or Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams from Miles Davis' second great quintet. It's up to history to render the verdict about pianist Lex Korten, bassist Ben Tiberio and drummer Miguel Russell. Still, given the fire, precision and reflexes they flash behind saxophonist Nicola Caminiti (no slouch himself) on Vivid Tales ...


Roxana Amed: A Prayer

Read "Roxana Amed: A Prayer" reviewed by John Chacona

The U.S. recording career of Argentine-born vocalist Roxana Amed is a study in the frustration that assumptions about genre can create. Both 2021's Ontology and the following year's Unánime, released by Sony Music, were nominated for Latin Grammy Awards. That was well-deserved, yet these were also among the best jazz vocal recordings of those years. Her 2023 Sony Music release Los Trabajos Y Las Noches, to texts by Argentinean poet Alejandra Pizarnik, is backed by a trio of Frank Carlberg ...


Steps Ahead: Trains

Read "Steps Ahead: Trains" reviewed by Scott Lichtman

"Trains" by Steps Ahead, represents an apex of a certain era of jazz-rock fusion. The band was a supergroup, featuring Michael Brecker on saxophone, Mike Mainieri on vibraphone and rotating top names filling out guitar, drums, bass and keys. By the mid-'80s, the band had evolved from an acoustic sound to one based more on synthesized timbres, power electric guitar and sharp snare/bass drum rhythms. With the release of Magnetic in 1986, they hit gold with “Trains," a head-bobber of ...


David Sanborn: First Song

Read "David Sanborn: First Song" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

There are many ways to remember David Sanborn and we decided to turn to the album that, in our conversation about his collaboration with Hal Willner, the legendary saxophonist described as his favorite, and also happens to be our favorite, Another Hand (Elektra Musician, 1991). It dates back to the time when Sanborn and Willner worked together on the cult TV show, Night Music. The mournful, yet sweet, and unmistakable sound of David Sanborn's saxophone on Charlie Haden's ...


Junius Paul: Asé

Read "Junius Paul: Asé" reviewed by Scott Lichtman

Bass lovers unite! For those who adore the dexterity, the groove, the sheer “plunk" of a crisply-recorded upright bass, check out “Asé" by Junius Paul. The piece opens with an anthemic motif that quickly transforms into a beehive of motion. Paul continues this jaw-dropping flurry of sound until he shifts into a modal groove that welcomes drums and brass accompaniment. “Asé" is off Ism, Paul's first full recording as bandleader. The acclaimed album demonstrates that free jazz can be catchy, ...


Adriano Clemente: Ascent

Read "Adriano Clemente: Ascent" reviewed by Steve Cook

For those who dig John Coltrane's “Ascension," Jimmy Garrison bass intros, and Alice Coltrane on harp--but have less than five minutes--play this! Performed by Adriano Clemente's Akashmani Ensemble with special guests David Murray (tenor sax) and Hamid Drake (drums), “Ascent" soars. ...


Duke Ellington: Isfahan

Read "Duke Ellington: Isfahan" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Part of Duke Ellington's Far East Suite (1967), “Isfahan" took its inspiration from a visit to the city of Isfahan, Iran, in 1963. Of the ancient city Ellington wrote: “everything is poetry," a sentiment transferred beautifully to this most moving of Strayhorn/Ellington compositions. Curious too, to see Ellington holding the sheet music for soloist Johnny Hodges. The same tour also took the Duke Ellington Orchestra to Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, among other stops. Will such an itinerary ever ...


Remembering Albert 'Tootie' heath

Read "Remembering Albert 'Tootie' heath" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Drumming great Albert 'Tootie' Heath played with a who's who of jazz greats, from John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins to Wes Montgomery and Nina Simone. He recorded all too infrequently as a leader, probably because he was so in demand for other people's projects. This clip from the 2014 Chicago Jazz Festival finds Heath in the company of Ethan Iverson and Ben Street paying tribute to Thelonious Monk. Bye-ya Tootie, and thank you! ...

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