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Album Review

Spike Wilner Trio: Contrafactus

Read "Contrafactus" reviewed by Pierre Giroux

Pianist Spike Wilner, bassist Paul Gill and drummer Anthony Pinciotti have crafted an exquisite jazz listening experience in their release Contrafactus. Recorded in a single session, with only one take at GB's Juke Joint, the spontaneity and cohesion of the trio are manifest throughout the eleven compositions which seamlessly blend Wilner's original compositions with some better-known standards. The album opens with a Wilner original, “At First Blush," which is a lively and infectious swinger. Wilner dashes ...

Album Review

Jill McCarron Trio: Gin

Read "Gin" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Gin, pianist Jill McCarron says of the title of her second recording as leader of the Jill McCarron Trio, refers to the card game of that name, and not to the alcoholic beverage. She balances the joy of winning with the luck of the draw in her entrancing three-part suite. While McCarron leads an admirable threesome (Paul Gill, bass; Andy Watson, drums), this is a trio album with an asterisk, as saxophonist Vincent Herring sits in on four numbers (including ...

Liner Notes

Joe Magnarelli: Hoop Dreams

Read "Joe Magnarelli: Hoop Dreams" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan

As Duke Ellington would often remind us, music comes in two varieties, that which is good and that which is bad. This suggests that genre and category are really of little concern and that overall quality is really the defining factor in considering the validity of any musical expression. Taking this axiom one step further, let me suggest that good music comes in assorted varieties. On one end of the spectrum you have music brimming with complex structures and technical ...

Album Review

Kevin O'Connell Quartet: Hot New York Minutes

Read "Hot New York Minutes" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Although Hot New York Minutes is Chicago-based pianist Kevin O'Connell's date, it could well be saxophonist Adam Brenner's, as the two share roughly equal time soloing and contribute their talents as writer and/or arranger on half a dozen of the album's ten numbers. In fact, the subtitle reads “Featuring Adam Brenner," and the album, O'Connell writes, was actually Brenner's idea after they had reunited in Chicago for a pair of impromptu jam sessions. To make it a ...

Album Review

Kevin O'Connell Quartet Featuring Adam Brenner: Hot New York Minutes

Read "Hot New York Minutes" reviewed by Neil Duggan

Finding one's own voice as a musician is never an easy process; extending that to taking the spotlight and leading your own band is another step up. For some, it can take years. Kevin O'Connell is an example of exactly that. He has been a jazz pianist since the 1980s, working with the Clifford Jordan Quartet for six years, Vernel Fournier's trio for eight years and as a sideman in countless other projects. He has finally delivered his long overdue ...

Album Review

Michael Weiss: Persistence

Read "Persistence" reviewed by Edward Blanco

An in-demand veteran of the vibrant New York jazz scene since the '80s, pianist Michael Weiss presents the warm and engaging Persistence, his fifth as a leader and first on the Cellar Live label, as well as being his first since the critically acclaimed Soul Journey, (Sintra Records, 2003). The long time span between recordings, despite many other opportunities since then, was primarily due to the artistic and creative terms not being ideal enough until the Cellar Live proposal. One ...

Album Review

Jim Snidero: Strings

Read "Strings" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Another saxophonist with strings. Ever since Charlie Parker first took the plunge in 1950, a goodly number of disciples has followed suit. Alto player Jim Snidero's deep dive, Strings, was actually recorded two decades ago, in 2001, and released to widespread acclaim on Milestone Records. The remastered edition, on Savant Records, is even better, thanks to enhanced sound and arco bass parts that breathe new life into Snidero's engaging compositions (he wrote and arranged every number save the lone standard, ...


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