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Why Steely Dan Can Never Really Be Yacht Rock

Read "Why Steely Dan Can Never Really Be Yacht Rock" reviewed by Eric Pettine

The website Really Smooth Music provides the definition of the term Yacht Rock as being “a variation of popular Soft Rock that peaked between the years of 1976 and 1984 (as featuring a) highly polished brand of soft rock that emanated from Southern California during the late '70s and early '80s. The term is meant to suggest the kind of smooth, mellow music that early yuppies likely enjoyed while sipping champagne and snorting cocaine on their yachts." This sounds like ...

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Patrick Cornelius: This Should Be Fun

Read "This Should Be Fun" reviewed by David A. Orthmann

This Should Be Fun occupies middle ground between the various modes of experimentation that infuse present-day jazz, and a fealty to traditional practices. Alto saxophonist Patrick Cornelius and an exceptional band of peers haven't completely abandoned twentieth century jazz orthodoxy, yet their work doesn't flaunt or reference specific, easily recognizable influences. If you're looking for song quotes in the midst of solos, wish to explore the relation of Cornelius' compositions to those by canonized composers, or need to match the ...

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Federico Ughi: Transoceanico

Read "Transoceanico" reviewed by Patrick Burnette

Dozens of jazz albums modeled on trumpeter Miles Davis's Miles Smiles (Columbia, 1966) or saxophonist John Coltrane's Crescent (Impulse!, 1964) get released each year, but a record reminiscent of Albert Ayler's Spiritual Unity (ESP-Disc, 1964) is less common. Drummer Federico Ughi's Transoceanico nods vigorously in Ayler's direction, even as it marks Ughi's twentieth anniversary as a leader. As part of the celebration, Transoceanico features saxophonist Rachel Musson, who also appeared on Ughi's debut release. Bassist Adam Lane rounds out the ...

RADIO

Twilight World - Celebrating Marian McPartland, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Joni 75

Read "Twilight World - Celebrating Marian McPartland, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Joni 75" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin

The penultimate week of Women's History Month broadcast includes new releases from guitarist Mimi Fox, trombonists Naomi Moon Siegel and Natalie Cressman, pianist Lara Downes, the group Five Play led by drummer Sherrie Maricle and vocalists Sivan Arbel and Patrice Jegou, as well as a first listen to the live recording of Joni Mitchell''s 75th year celebration concert, along with birthday shoutouts to Marian McPartland, Stephen Sondheim, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Carol Kaye, Deanna Witkowski, Meredith D'Ambrosio, and Renee Rosnes, among ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Alex Chilton: Roots In The Sky

Read "Alex Chilton: Roots In The Sky" reviewed by Doug Collette

Even (or perhaps especially) if Alex Chilton had lived to a ripe old age rather than passing prematurely at the age of fifty, his post-Big Star stylistic expeditions would've garnered more than a little attention. His history as an original member as one of the earliest progenitors of power-pop certainly would've piqued curiosity about such projects as Songs From Robin Hood Lane and From New Orleans to Memphis, if only because each represents as exploration of roots that goes back ...

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Pete Seeger: Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection

Read "Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard

It is no coincidence that folk singer, songwriter and social activist Pete Seeger (1919-2014) turns up as one of the important voices on the recently released Smithsonian Folkways box set The Social Power of Music (Smithsonian Folkways, 2019). Seeger, one of the towering figures of American folk music, believed in songs as tools that could transform society bit by bit, but he also subscribed to the social aspect of songs. The songs he played were written by the people and ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Jamey Johnson, with Kelsey Waldon and Chris Hennessee, at The Paramount

Read "Jamey Johnson, with Kelsey Waldon and Chris Hennessee, at The Paramount" reviewed by Mike Perciaccante

Jamey Johnson with Kelsey Waldon and Chris Hennessee The Paramount Huntington, NY April 7, 2019 Jamey Johnson is a guitarist and songwriter who personifies the Americana musical genre. His music is a powerful mélange of blues, folk, pop, southern rock and, of course, country. Simply put: it is Americana, with Johnson practically the definition of Outlaw Country and/or Alt-Country. Johnson also has quite the pedigree. During the course of his career he ...

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King Crimson: Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972

Read "Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972" reviewed by John Kelman

"Never say never," or so the old adage goes. When it comes to music, there are two more that should be added: “farewell tour" and, most certainly as it relates to King Crimson's Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972, “the complete recordings." This, the 48th in the veteran group's King Crimson Collector's Club series of archival releases, turns out not just to be an unexpected addition to the group's Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Panegyric), but belies that fifteen-disc, 2012 40th ...

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Howard University Jazz Ensemble: HUJE 2018

Read "HUJE 2018" reviewed by Jack Bowers

One sure sign of spring is the arrival of the latest yearly recording by the superb Howard University Jazz Ensemble, a tradition that dates without pause from the days of vinyl in 1976, one year after the ensemble was formed by its first and only music director, Fred Irby III. For archivists and numbers-crunchers, that's forty-four years and counting. Unlike some of its precursors, HUJE 2018 is entirely instrumental; it does, however, include the usual measure of ...

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Nick Grinder: Farallon

Read "Farallon" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

The striking thing about this CD by Bay Area trombonist Nick Grinder is how warm and soothing it sounds. It is not Smooth Jazz by any means, but there is a broad, melodic tone to Grinder's playing and the way he arranges the music that feels inviting and friendly. This is present even in up-tempo pieces like “New And Happy," with its brisk bebop cadences, and the prickly battle of “5 Steps" between Grinder's dancing horn, Ethan Helm's twisting alto ...

RADIO

Mosaic Blow-Out, Anita @ 100 & More

Read "Mosaic Blow-Out, Anita @ 100 & More" reviewed by Marc Cohn

So, my log book reminded me it was time to play some Fats Waller, and the Savory box just arrived from Mosaic, which contains fabulous Waller airchecks. Done! Well, one thing lead to another, and as you see below, more Mosaics screamed for attention. Anita O'Day is 100 in the Fall--time for a warmup with Sings the Winners, which Will Friedwald considers one of the top 50 jazz vocal records of all-time; DrJ selected three tunes associated with Stan Getz ...

RADIO

Kneebody's Perfect

Read "Kneebody's Perfect" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

In less than two decades Kneebody has established itself as reference band of forward-looking musicians. With a brand new EP out, By Fire, their first release entirely dedicated to covers, a new outlet (the British musician-run reference label Edition Records), and new line-up following the departure of bassist Kaveh Rastegar, there's a been a lot going on for this influential group. So this week we look back at their genre-bending work, and at the busy careers and eclectic collaborations of ...