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UNDER THE RADAR

Blue Highways and Sweet Music: The Territory Bands, Part I

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OriginsBy the second half of the 1920s, New York had supplanted Chicago as the center of jazz. The “Jazz Age"--a label incorrectly ascribed to F. Scott Fitzgerald--could rationally have been framed as the “Dance Age." Prohibition, and the speakeasies that it spawned, were packed with wildly enthusiastic patrons of the Charleston, Black Bottom, Shimmy, Collegiate Shag, the Baltimore and the Lindy Hop. It was often a simple step or two that distinguished one dance from another, but the physical demands ...

DVD/FILM REVIEWS

Still On The Run: The Jeff Beck Story

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Jeff Beck Still On The Run: The Jeff Beck Story Eagle Vision 2018 Unlike its decidedly idiosyncratic subject, Still On The Run: The Jeff Beck Story is a wholly conventional piece of video work focusing almost exclusively on the musical progression of the British guitar hero. It may be intended less for devoted fans than those more casual musiclovers who've had their curiosity piqued about what of the man's done and how he's done it ...

IN PICTURES
CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andrew Rathbun Large Ensemble: Atwood Suites

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The marriage between jazz and poetry is having a true moment in the present artistic sphere. The two have long mixed and mingled, oft proving sympathetic and symbiotic in their multidirectional moves, unique cadences, and improvisational capacities. But never before has the connection been so strong and centralized. With drummer Matt Wilson's triumphant encounter with the work of Carl Sandburg, soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom's exploration of Emily Dickinson's writing, saxophonist Benjamin Boone's collaboration with Philip Levine, and a handful ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Thumbscrew: Theirs

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It has been four years since Thumbscrew, the trio of guitarist Mary Halvorson, bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Tomas Fujiwara, released their self-titled debut (Cuneiform Records, 2014). The trio is simultaneously releasing two albums--their third and fourth--Ours and Theirs on the same label. As the titles indicate, one album consists of original compositions and the other, covers from a very eclectic assortment of artists from Benny Golson to Wayne Shorter and far less familiar names. The latter of the two ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jim Snidero & Jeremy Pelt: Jubilation!

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The complete title of this splendid album by alto saxophonist Jim Snidero and trumpeter Jeremy Pelt's New York-based quintet is Jubilation! Celebrating Cannonball Adderley. In other words, honoring the life and music of one of the jazz world's most illustrious altos, a consummate artist (and showman) who ranks alongside Bird, Stitt, Pepper, Konitz, Desmond, Woods, McLean and Nelson as undisputed alto giants and pacesetters of the bop and post-bop eras. As there was only one Cannonball Adderley ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ab Baars: And She Speaks - A Collection Of Ballads

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Mike Doughty of the rock band Soul Coughing wrote the lyric “is Chicago, Is Not Chicago..." to the song of the same name, followed by “a man cuts in half, just like he snaps a pencil..." The same could be said of And She Speaks -A Collection Of Ballads by saxophonist / clarinetist Ab Baars. This solo recording, with each song dedicated to a different composer or musician, is devotional without an obligation to be faithful. Johnny Green's 1930 jazz ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chris Kase: Let Go

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Chris Kase is one of those artists that those in the know, know. The trumpeter, who currently resides, teaches and performs primarily in Spain, is a superb player and composer. All those qualities can be seen in Let Go. It is an intelligent, thought-provoking display of his fine musicianship. “Teaser" opens the session with a catchy, “lick-like" up-tempo theme on which Kase displays his playful, yet focused approached to the melody and his improv. “The Wishing Song" ...

THE VINYL POST

Beloved of The Sky

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Back in the late '80s, the life cycle of the vinyl record seemed to have run its course. Promoters of the compact disc had lulled people into the ideal that the little silver discs would offer perfect sound forever. Fast forward to today's marketplace and it's ironic to see new releases as available in both CD and vinyl formats. While the reissue concerns were the first ones to jump on board the record resurgence, several new music labels have started ...

FROM FAR AND WIDE

Ryles Jazz Club Closes

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I wrote the following article for the February issue of my monthly newsletter. As of the end of June this year, Ryles Jazz Club will cease to exist, unless someone comes along to buy it and reopen it, which seems unlikely at this point. The latest news from a newspaper was this article in the Boston Globe. Even though I no longer live in Cambridge, I have my own history with this club, mentioned in the article. I plan to ...