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Articles | Featured | Future

ALBUM REVIEWS

Christian Artmann: Our Story

Read "Our Story" reviewed by Troy Dostert

There are a number of different stories woven into Our Story, flautist Christian Artmann's first offering since 2015. Quotations in the liner notes from Zen sages Thich Nhat Hanh and Yasutani Roshi point to Artmann's Buddhist faith, but the fifth cut of the record, “Amazing Grace," makes a bit of room for the Christian narrative as well. And the album's cross-pollination of musical styles, from Brazilian inflections to funk to straight-ahead jazz, suggests that Artmann's ultimate purpose here is to ...

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Empathy Project: Influences

Read "Influences" reviewed by Don Phipps

Influences, a breezy affair from Empathy Project, is like viewing fluffy white clouds while seated at a street side café on the South Bank of Paris or the beach in Rio. The music swirls and bounces gently in boppish fashion -a happy affair with an emphasis on romance. Featuring soft but assured vocals from Alexandra Kurkova and Dmitry Vasiliev, the songs cover bossa nova, bop, classical, and swing (and The Swingle Singers), among other musical styles. Vasiliev composed ...

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Vijay Iyer and Craig Taborn: The Transitory Poems

Read "The Transitory Poems" reviewed by Mark Corroto

The Transitory Poems might be the first improvised solo piano recording accomplished by a pair of pianists. Vijay Iyer and Craig Taborn are 21st century masters and descendants from the likes of Cecil Taylor, Keith Jarrett, Andrew Hill, Anthony Davis, and Paul Bley. This live duo recording, from 2018 in Budapest, is an act of improvisatory construction where both contribute to the orchestration, structure, and density of eight pieces. We are certainly not hearing James P. Johnson and Willie “The ...

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Brent Birckhead: Birckhead

Read "Birckhead" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

As an alumnus of Lauryn Hill, Nas, George Duke, and Larry Graham as well as a Downbeat Award winner for outstanding instrumentalist, alto saxophonist Brent Birckhead has certainly absorbed his influences well. So it's anyone's conjecture why he would possibly want to undermine his musical intentions by intro-ing his eponymous release with a brief but utterly predictable bit of fusion before getting down to some serious business. Fleeting bits of predictability nag throughout, most noticeably on “Flux," which ...

RADIO

Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Porter and More

Read "Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Porter and More" reviewed by Joe Dimino

The 587th Episode of Neon Jazz is ushered in by the sounds of Lewis Porter on the keys and followed by those of his friend Dizzy Gillespie. From there, we look into Kansas City-born, New York-based trumpeter Dave Scott with a cut off his new CD In Search of Hipness. We then move on to the world of Kansas City singer Bukeka Blakemore and pay our respects to both Andre Previn and Ed Bickert. Finally, we give listeners a look ...

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Sonar: Live At Moods

Read "Live At Moods" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

Recorded Live at Moods jazz club in Zürich (Switzerland) in May 2018, this set reconnects guitar electronics visionary David Torn with the band Sonar. Torn played with Sonar on their previous album Vortex, and this live set picks up three tunes ("Waves and Particles," “Red Shift" and “Lookface!") from that earlier collaboration. How does Sonar make their music sound so different? For starters, founding guitarist Stephan Thelen and Bernhard Wagner play guitars, and Christian Kuntner plays bass, in ...

RADIO

ADHD Live at BIMHUIS Amsterdam

Read "ADHD Live at BIMHUIS Amsterdam" reviewed by BIMHUIS

ADHD is the band featuring the brothers Óskar and Ómar Guðjónsson. Óskar is also part of Malamutute, the band led by Jim Black that performed at the BIMHUIS last year. ADHD's organic improvisations lead towards a music that is simultaneously exciting and calming, backed by the trance-like rock beats of drummer Magnús Trygvason Eliassen. On top of that, Davíð Þór Jónsson draws a colorful layer of Hammond, synth and piano. All four members are well-known players in the Icelandic jazz ...

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Cory Weeds Quintet: Live at Frankie's Jazz Club

Read "Live at Frankie's Jazz Club" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Yes, this is saxophonist/master of all livelihoods Cory Weeds' quintet, the year is 2018, and the group is beyond a doubt Live at Frankie's Jazz Club in Vancouver, British Columbia. But close your eyes, open your ears and it's the unapologetic re-creation of a quintessential hard-bop session from the historic Blue Note / Prestige years of the 1950s-60s. Indeed, to underscore the point, the quintet's pianist is the venerable Harold Mabern who actually performed and/or recorded back in the day ...

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Caterina Palazzi Sudoku Killer: Asperger

Read "Asperger" reviewed by Don Phipps

An album dedicated to villains in Disney films might be brushed off as novelty, but those that do would be mistaken. Rather than childhood fears, the tunes on Caternina Palazzi Sudoku Killer's album Asperger explore a dark and sinister side to being, like a non-stop view of a snarling Donald Trump barking insults from an 85-inch flat screen. A mix of prog rock and jazz idioms, the gloom of Palazzi's compositions pervades the very pores of the music. ...

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DKV & Joe McPhee: The Fire Each Time

Read "The Fire Each Time" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Do you participate in the 21st century phenomena called 'binge-watching'? With the advent of Netflix and downloadable television, consumers can view an entire television series in one sitting. Be it eight episodes of Russian Doll or sixty hours of The Wire, it's all available, and the possibilities to feast are tempting. Where a filmmaker might have two hours to create something for the cinema, these series allow a deeper dive into story telling. The same can be said of music, ...

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Juan Ibarra: NauMay

Read "NauMay" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

One of the fun parts of listening to jazz musicians from foreign countries is when they combine some of the musical styles of their native land with jazz. Drummer Juan Ibarra is from Uruguay and he mixes a local rhythm called candombe with jazz on his first album. The result is a choppy rhythmic undercurrent that provides a stimulating foundation for stretching out into the direction of musicians like John Coltrane and Chick Corea. The local rhythms are ...

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Molly Tigre: Molly Tigre

Read "Molly Tigre" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

Personally, I can't resist a musical story that begins: “Molly Tigre set out from Brooklyn to answer one tough question: What if the 70s vibes of the cult Ethiopiques series collided with Saharan desert rock and West African blues, but with no guitar to lead the melodic way?" I'm not quite sure what some of that even means. But I do know that it intrigues me enough to find out. “I wanted to bring together some of the ...