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MULTIPLE REVIEWS

The Rarest of Ivories: Fred Hersch, Joey Alexander, Eliane Elias and Renee Rosnes

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One of jazz music's most durable and venerated instrumental formats, the piano-led ensemble, trio and otherwise, has proven flexible beyond its surface simplicity, particularly in the hands of ingenious musicians like Fred Hersch, Joey Alexander, Eliane Elias and Renee Rosnes. Such composers/players, along with their esteemed accompanists, have optimal opportunity to bring their intrinsic creativity to flower in utilizing the sparse lineup and, in so doing, further bond with their bandmates. The musicians also continue to hone their collective and ...

JAZZ JOURNAL

Spring 2018

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Jazz Journal is a regular column consisting of pithy takes on recent jazz releases of note as well as spotlights on those titles in the genre that might otherwise go unnoticed under the cultural radar. Charles Mingus Live at Montreux 1975 Eagle Records 2018 Right from the opening notes of Charlies Mingus' jaunty insistent bass, Live at Montreaux 1975 captures the idiosyncratic jazz icon's personality to a T. Challenging charts for the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Yuko Togami: Dawn

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Drummer Yuko Togami's Dawn arrives as a beautiful surprise. It is the debut of the Japanese-born and now New York-based artist. Debut sets don't carry great expectations--one hopes for competence and a hint of a flair for the art form, the occasional creative spark shooting up from an otherwise acceptable but perhaps mediocre effort. For a newcomer to the scene, this would be a success. Yet Dawn rises up over the horizon with a bright glow that takes things well ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Tibbetts: Life Of

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Minnesota-based guitarist Steve Tibbetts has always gone his own way, crafting his albums in the recording studio with deliberate care. Many of those albums have featured his scorching electric-guitar playing, for example Exploded View (ECM, 1986) and the later A Man About a Horse (ECM, 2002). But beginning with his previous album, Natural Causes (ECM, 2010), he has concentrated on acoustic sounds. His main instrument here is a Martin 12-string guitar, but strung with double-course unison strings (in place of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ben LaMar Gay: Downtown Castles Can Never Block The Sun

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Within any given city you might hear birdsong and church bells competing with buskers, car horns and stereos. Within the realm of Ben LaMar Gay's debut album we run a similar gamut of sonic experience. A cornetist and composer from Chicago's South Side, Gay has worked with Jaimie Branch, Makaya McCraven and Joshua Abrams among others. Yet for reasons unknown, he has never made public some seven albums worth of his own recorded material. All that changes with the release ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Goran Kajfes Tropiques: Enso

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In the 1970s, along with the rise in FM radio and stereo sound, a phenomena called “headphones-only album rock" was devised. A DJ might play all 26 minutes of Pink Floyd's “Shine on You Crazy Diamond" or John Coltrane's version of “My Favorite Things," at 42 minutes. In the same spirit we find Swedish trumpeter Goran Kajfes Tropiques' song “Enso" from the album of the same name, which clocks in at just over 50 minutes. It is not ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nicola Conte: Let Your Light Shine On

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Italian guitarist, bandleader, crate digger and DJ Nicola Conte's journeys into musics originating from beyond Europe--be they Brazilian, Hindustani, Latin American or African--sometimes carry a touch of the touristic about them, but his work is so transparently heartfelt that it never becomes a problem. It is also, always, superbly well crafted. Conte identifies Let Your Light Shine On as a celebration of African American spiritual jazz. It is perhaps his strongest release since his acid-jazz masterpiece, Jet Sounds (Schema), in ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Trondheim Jazzfest 2018

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Olafshallen, Dokhuset and other venues Trondheim Jazzfest Trondheim, Norway May 8-12, 2018 Trondheim, Norway's third largest city, is the country's main center of intelligence in science, engineering and technology. It holds a key place in Norwegian history and identity in general, and in jazz/music specifically. The six-day Trondheim Jazzfest is part of the coastal series of spring festivals along with Stavanger and Bergen. For as long as I have known ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Henry Threadgill 14 or 15 Kestra: Agg: Dirt...And More Dirt

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Pi Recordings, under the leadership of Seth Rosner, got its start in 2001 with the simultaneous release of two CDs from avant-garde reedman Henry Threadgill, Everybody's Mouth's A Book, featuring the band Make a Move, and Up Popped The Two Lips, by the Threadgill group Zooid. This was a re-emergence for Threadgill; his three-record deal with Columbia Records had ended in 1996, with the release of Where's Your Cup. He has since made the most of his relationship with Rosner's ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Borneo Jazz Festival 2018

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Borneo Jazz Festival Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia May 11-13, 2018 When May arrives, jazz fans in South East Asia know it is time for the Borneo Jazz Festival. It has been presented since 2006 in Miri, the second biggest city of Sarawak, one of the two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. The new venue, the Coco Cabana, is a big wooden construction that resembles traditional Balinese architecture, beautifully located on reclaimed land between ...