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Album Review

Mike LeDonne: The Heavy Hitters

Read "The Heavy Hitters" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

Homing in on the electric, ancestral vibe of Rudy Van Gelder's house of musical myth and magic in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, the Heavy Hitters, spearheaded by journeyman pianist Mike LeDonne and well-traveled saxophonist, Eric Alexander, approach this eponymous debut with a ballsy, brassy, big sounding blueprint which carries through the entire recording. In deciding who best to share Van Gelder's hallowed space with, LeDonne and Alexander brought in the big guns--namely trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, alto saxophonist Vincent ...

Album Review

Mike LeDonne: The Heavy Hitters

Read "The Heavy Hitters" reviewed by Pierre Giroux

There was a period back in the middle years of the 20th Century and beyond when All-Star Groups were quite common, including the Buck Clayton All-Stars, Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars, and Gene Harris and the Phillip Morris Superband among several other similar aggregations. In today's musical environment, this kind of coming together of high profile musicians is exceedingly rare, primarily driven by cost issues, although availability of the musicians is also a limiting factor. Pianist & organist Mike LeDonne was ...

Album Review

The Heavy Hitters: The Heavy Hitters

Read "The Heavy Hitters" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The Heavy Hitters. Hyperbole? A matter of fact? Or simply the name given by co-leaders Mike LeDonne and Eric Alexander to their newly minted sextet. The third statement is true--but so is the second. From pianist LeDonne and tenor saxophonist Alexander to fellow front-liners Jeremy Pelt (trumpet) and Vincent Herring (alto sax) and the Washingtons, Peter on bass and Kenny at the drums, these gentlemen are by any measure heavy hitters. Their first album as a unit ...

Album Review

The Heavy Hitters: Heavy Hitters

Read "Heavy Hitters" reviewed by Troy Dostert

The self-titled debut from the Heavy Hitters, pianist Mike LeDonne's latest sextet, has the feel of a tribute album. However, unlike most recordings of that nature, there is no classic repertoire present, as all nine tracks are penned either by LeDonne or his colleague, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander. Instead, it is a tribute to a sound that LeDonne and partners are aiming for: in this case, that of the iconic Blue Note label's 1950s-60s period, when artists such as Freddie ...

Album Review

Rale Micic: Only Love Will Stay

Read "Only Love Will Stay" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Only Love Will Stay, a tasteful and even-keeled trio date, embodies seven of Serbian-born guitarist and leader Rale Micic's original compositions and a lone standard, Irving Berlin's venerable “How Deep Is the Ocean." Micic is ably supported by organist Jared Gold and either Johnathan Blake (five tracks) or Geoff Clapp (three) on drums. Micic's themes are respectable but, if you want to hear the trio at its best, go straight to Berlin (Irving, that is). Micic is even brighter and ...

Album Review

Rale Micic / John Abercrombie / Peter Bernstein / Lage Lund: Inspired

Read "Inspired" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Inspired showcases four of the world's most accomplished jazz guitarists honoring the legacy of a fifth: the late maestro Jim Hall, an exemplar to all and mentor to many. The quartet consists of American luminaries Peter Bernstein and John Abercrombie, Norway's Lage Lund and Serbian-born Rale Micic (Rah-lay Mee-cheech). Four unique personas with one inflexible purpose: to enhance and perpetuate the vision of a friend, comrade and archetype. The album consists for the most part of songs ...

Album Review

Rale Micic: Night Music

Read "Night Music" reviewed by Jack Bowers

On Night Music, his fourth album as leader of his own group, Rale Micic (pronounced Rah-lay Mee-cheech), a Serbian-born guitarist who has lived and gigged in New York City for more than fifteen years, pays tribute to the music of the Hungarian classical composer Bela Bartok who, as it turns out, spent his last years living in the same Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx, in upper Manhattan, where Micic has made his home for the past dozen years. Having learned ...


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