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Album Review

Joel Haynes: The Return

Read "The Return" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The Return! is certainly well-named, as it is drummer Joel Haynes' third album as leader of his own group but the first in fifteen years, following Cellar Music recordings The Time Is Now (2005) and Transitions (2008). During his long absence from a recording studio, however, Toronto-based Haynes has managed to stay busy, performing with many of the finest jazz artists in Canada and appearing at jazz festivals and other events in North and South America, the Caribbean and Europe. ...

Album Review

Alexander Claffy: Music From Big Orange

Read "Music From Big Orange" reviewed by Pierre Giroux

Alexander Claffy has released an impressive album entitled “Music From Big Orange" which showcases his skills as a bassist and composer, and captures the essence of contemporary jazz while paying homage to the rich traditions of the genre. Switching seamlessly from acoustic bass to electric, depending on the sonic flow of any given tune, it is clear that Claffy's bass playing is the foundation upon which the entire album is built. On this orange-coloured vinyl LP, ...

Liner Notes

Conrad Herwig: Obligation

Read "Conrad Herwig: Obligation" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan

Jazz fans tend to be fanatical about those artists that most directly speak to their own musical tastes. Over time, a sense of familiarity with the musical personalities of their iconic favorites becomes entrenched, followed by categorization based on style and genre. Those already familiar with Conrad Herwig's musical endeavors over the past 20 years are likely to speak to his great versatility, at home in both jazz and Afro-Cuban musical circles as he is in leading his own varied ...

Liner Notes

Seamus Blake: Bellwether

Read "Seamus Blake: Bellwether" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan

The music speaks for itself. This timeworn axiom has often served as a suggestion that there's an intangible aspect to music's universal language that is somehow beyond mere words. In some cases this may be true, but on the other hand, this outlook has occasionally in the past served as a viable excuse for justifying music of a somewhat dubious nature.In recently talking with saxophonist Seamus Blake by phone from Vancouver, it occurred to me that his “less ...

Liner Notes

Opus 5: Introducing Opus 5

Read "Opus 5: Introducing Opus 5" reviewed by Josef Woodard

The Evident Charms and Secret Powers of Five For all the myriad varieties and contextual possibilities under the rubric of what makes for a valid jazz group, there is something distinctively powerful and tradition-enriched about the number five. Smaller groups tighten up the focus on individual voices involved, and often frame a specified protagonist leader, while larger groupings accentuate the greater good of the team. By contrast, the quintet format, especially in the conventional format of trumpet and tenor sax ...

Album Review

Opus 5: Swing On This

Read "Swing On This" reviewed by Paul Beard

Recorded in September 2021, at the Samurai Hotel Recording Studio under the direction of Mike Marciano, this is the fifth album from contemporary jazz group, Opus 5. Entitled Swing On This, it comprises eight tracks that average around seven minutes each. Hailing from the Netherlands, Opus 5 is a stylish quintet made up of Seamus Blake on tenor saxophone and Alex Sipiagin on trumpet, with drums by Donald Edwards, bass in the hands of Boris Kozlov and last ...

Album Review

ARC Trio and the John Daversa Big Band: ARCeology: The Music of MSM Schmidt

Read "ARCeology: The Music of MSM Schmidt" reviewed by Jim Worsley

What would happen if fusion, already a hybrid of musical genres, was compounded with the sound of big-band? Further, that both genres were stretched well outside the box? An ensemble of bright musical minds came together on just such a project. The results could have been the disastrous soup of too many cooks in the kitchen or, perhaps, something special and creative. Fortunately, they served up an entree which is very much the latter. It starts with quality ...


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