Paolo Fresu: When Musician Turns Poet

Read "Paolo Fresu: When Musician Turns Poet" reviewed by Nathalie Tamara Freson

Paolo Fresu—a multidimensional artist whose creative overdrive has shaped the Italian jazz scene for almost forty years. With definite hints to Chet Baker and Miles Davis, Fresu has honed a particularly mellow, velvety sound which is absolutely compelling. Even when he tackles coarser, more upbeat tempos, he captivates his listeners with his original approach, switching between trumpet, muted trumpet and flugelhorn, and sometimes employing electronic effects. Indeed, using technology in a creative process, as Paolo Fresu occasionally does in live ...


Stephen Philip Harvey: Big Band Superhero In the Making

Read "Stephen Philip Harvey: Big Band Superhero In the Making" reviewed by John Chacona

There's a passage in “Party Song," the concluding cut on the Stephen Philip Harvey Jazz Orchestra's debut recording, Smash! (Next Level, 2022) where the band claps hands, whoops and cheers over a syncopated praise-band saxophone riff. It's pure, unbridled joy and just like the exuberance implied by the exclamation point in the album's title, it's an essential element of the composer's extroverted music and personality. There's a fine indiscipline to Harvey's big band writing. Ominous horror-film riffs sit ...


Barbara Carroll: Barbara’s Piano

Read "Barbara Carroll: Barbara’s Piano" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard

Every record is a moment in time, but also a musical portrait of the artist who creates it. When Barbara Carroll released the Verve album, Barbara, in 1958, it would mark a watershed moment in her personal and musical life. Her husband and close collaborator, bassist Joe Shulman, died of a heart attack the same year at 33. This was one of their last sessions together. Shulman began playing in Carroll's trio in 1949, and they married in 1954. Recorded ...


Hazel Scott: Swing and Silence

Read "Hazel Scott: Swing and Silence" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard

Ahmad Jamal is often credited with creating a new spacious sound in jazz. He had a tingling sense of touch on the piano that let each note ring profoundly and famously inspired Miles Davis to explore the effects of silence and space. It was a sound equally admired and belittled as cocktail jazz because of its relaxed sound, perfect for the clubs, but it was more than light easy listening. It was a sophisticated kind of music that married classical ...


Laila Biali's Jazz In The Age Of Lonely Hearts

Read "Laila Biali's Jazz In The Age Of Lonely Hearts" reviewed by Sean Conroy

Releasing art into the wild is an act that is fraught with doubt and second guessing. These feelings are not unique to jazz artists, or even artists of this generation of immediate sharing and viral sensations. Writing of her friends' decision to surprise her by publishing her verse, 17th century American poet Anne Bradstreet was apologetic: a mother helplessly subjecting her child to public scrutiny. As a shield, a mother's love was not enough: “I cast thee by ...


Jazz Alley: Jazz Finds A Way In Ashland, Kentucky

Read "Jazz Alley: Jazz Finds A Way In Ashland, Kentucky" reviewed by Sean Conroy

Jazz returns this summer to the Paramount Arts Center--Ashland, Kentucky's ninety-year-old Art Deco shrine to early American film. It is perhaps poetic that the PAC, designed to showcase the silent films of Paramount Studios, now hosts not only musicals, plays, and rock concerts, but also-- every summer--live jazz, crossing genres and planting its flag in new soil. Jazz has a way of insinuating itself where it was not wanted, planned for, or easily accommodated. Or, as ...


From Generation to Generation, A New Collection Transcends Borders and Barriers

Read "From Generation to Generation, A New Collection Transcends Borders and Barriers" reviewed by John Chacona

The release of the three-disc set The Concert for Bangladesh (Apple) in 1971 established a template for the charity benefit album that is still followed to this day: multiple discs in lavish packaging, a grab-bag of songs and most importantly, a red-carpet lineup of established, often older stars, one of whom was invariably the organizer of the project. Stephany Calembert threw out much of that playbook for Black Lives: From Generation to Generation (Jammin' Colors, 2022). While ...


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