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Kyle Nasser at The Red Room, Cafe 939

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Kyle Nasser The Red Room, Cafe 939 CD release concert Boston, MA October 11, 2018 With an academic background originally in economics and political philosophy, you have to excuse the open mike opportunity jazz saxophonist Kyle Nasser takes to talk a bit about philosophical differences between tonal jazz compositions, counterpoint, harmonic experimentation and the question of original music. He is just a naturally curious human being with a mind that won't be quiet. Fortunately, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Doyle Bramhall II: Shades

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The title of Doyle Bramhall II's Shades intimates a fitting level of nuance comparable to that of his previous album, Rich Man (Concord, 2016), where he married the most profound spiritual themes of his original material to lush production and arrangement. Here, in contrast, he emphasizes his blues and R&B roots so that, as a direct reflection of the guitarist's swarthy visage, the continuity of the black and white cover graphics carries over into the music. The seamless nature of ...

IN PICTURES

Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival 2018

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The third Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival took place over six separate days in October, but the undoubted centerpiece was the day long series of concerts held in St. Luke's Church on Saturday 13 October in front of a healthy-sized audience. Adventurous programming embraced a range of styles which taken together gave a well-rounded definition of what alternative jazz might encompass. The music consistently soared amid the resonant acoustics of the church. The day began with Manchester-based Adam ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Various Artists: Putumayo Presents: Ska Around the World

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For casual fans and newcomers to the music of Jamaica (a growing number, given the popularity of the BBC / France 2 TV mystery series Death in Paradise and its Jamaican-infused soundtrack), the definitions of ska vs. reggae are likely too obscure to worry about. Much as only hardcore jazz fans worry about drilling into the differences between cool and bop, those who simply love the sun-drenched rhythms of all the postwar popular styles of Jamaica are content to listen ...

RADIO

George Gershwin, Frank Foster & Late September New Releases

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Birthday shout-outs to George Gershwin (with a nod to Ann Ronnell and Kay Swift, women writers that he encouraged) and saxophonist/arranger Frank Foster, along with new releases to round out the month of September. Playlist Lou Caputo “Busy Busy Busy" from Uh Oh! (Self-released) 00:00 Danny Bacher “Joy Spring" from Still Happy! (Whaling City Sound) 07:11 Bob Mintzer Big Band & The New York Voices “I'll Remember April" from Meeting of Minds (MCG Jazz) 11:10 Host speaks ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Aguankó: Pattern Recognition

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If the music of Aguankó is any indication, Latin jazz is in good shape in Southeastern Michigan. Conguero/composer Alberto Nacif leads a crack band, most of them from the metro Detroit area. Their previous album, Latin Jazz Christmas in Havana (Self Produced, 2015), presented creative arrangements of a variety of holiday standards, a delightful standout in the usual parade of holiday releases. Here all but one of the compositions is by Nacif, plus one from group reed player Russ Miller. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lars Jansson: Just This

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Swedish pianist/composer Lars Jansson is a Zen Buddhist, concerned primarily with being in the moment. There can be difficulties--"To experience and accept all that happens in our lives is no easy matter," says Jansson. “It takes practice and an open mind (beginner's mind) to ignore expectations and preconceived attitudes and completely immerse oneself in the present as it unfolds." There are two songs on Just This that deal with this problem: the title track and “No Purpose." ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Schnell: Live at Sowieso

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This international trio spares no effort with its plight to create hyper-mode bebop like gamma rays streaming through the universe at light speed. It's a rather amazing live set, that was probably meant to be performed in front of an audience and not in a cloistered studio setting. To say it's invigorating doesn't tell the whole story. Saxophonist Pierre Borel offers many lessons here, largely steeped in intensely focused attacks, where he dishes out a menagerie of stunning improvisational movements, ...

American Pie

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Recently, Your Own Personal Genius celebrated a birthday. I'm 51 now, though I read on a 56-year-old level. I commemorated the event that way I do every year, with a pizza the size and thickness of a braided area rug and a goodly portion of Samuel Adams's Octoberfest beer. Usually, I make my own pizza at the GeniusDome. I've been tinkering with my recipe for nearly half my life, trying to find just the right combination to make my ideal ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Moses Boyd: Displaced Diaspora

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The pre-release anticipation surrounding drummer and producer Moses Boyd's Displaced Diaspora was a sure sign that the cultural revolution that has reset London's jazz world over the last three years has bedded itself firmly into the architecture. Not because the album is a newly recorded set--but because it is not. The disc is a selection of tracks Boyd played on and produced during 2015. When an audience can be as excited as Boyd's is, at the time of writing in ...