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Stefon Harris: The Tradition of Jazz

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Twenty-two years into his career, Albany, New York's Stefon Harris has fronted seven Blue Note LPs, served as co-lead on two others and recorded with a host of greats including Joshua Redman, Ry Cooder, Courtney Pine and Christian Scott. Because that's not enough for the 45-year-old, he's also a successful educator, public speaker, entrepreneur and an eloquent interview. He and I spoke last week about his upcoming Blackout album, Sonic Creed. All About Jazz: “Dat Dere," ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sasha Mashin: Outsidethebox

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Drummer Sasha Mashin makes clear that he's the real deal within the first fifty seconds of this date. Opening “Sipiagin's Mood," the lead-off track on his debut release, with a solo drum introduction, Mashin immediately stakes his claim. Chops, of course, don't always equate to true artistry or position, but in this case technique and taste shine right through together. As this lengthy number progresses, there's much to admire, including the vocal gymnastics of Hiske Oosterwijk, the spirit of alto ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Another Timbre completes its Canadian Composers Series

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In the spring of 2017, Another Timbre released the first five recordings of a ten-disc series dedicated to Canadian composers. The discs were accompanied by a booklet that contained interviews with each of the eight composers (eight not ten, because two of the composers have two discs each in the series). It demonstrated that the eight were a disparate group in terms of their country of birth, country of residence, age, musical style and experience. Despite that, those first five ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Q Morrow: There Are Stars In Brooklyn

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Like America, the ideas are good. And just like the USA, they are lost in translation, from concept to being. Q Morrow's There Are Stars In Brooklyn combines jazz with Brazilian, Afro-Cuban and Carnatic music. It is the product of a curious mind and an interconnected world, specifically of the United States, where different peoples, cultures, and musics are accessible to the enlightened who seek them out. However, there are post-surgery scars on this splicing of styles, where the ideas ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Bobby Zankel's Warriors Play Muhal Richard Abrams at October Revolution

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Bobby Zankel's Warriors Of The Wonderful Sound Marty Ehrlich, Conductor The Music Of Muhal Richard Abrams: Soundpath October Revolution Festival Christ Church Neighborhood House (Great Hall) Philadelphia, PA October 7, 2018 The late great pianist Muhal Richard Abrams was for many years a major force in modern jazz, accompanying a host of legendary and emerging new musicians, making ground-breaking recordings, and developing new musical forms ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andy Milne & Dapp Theory: The Seasons of Being

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From a scientific stance, the jury may still be out on homeopathic treatments via a wealth of published material--a subject well beyond the scope of this article. However, estimable jazz pianist Andy Milne (Steve Coleman, Ravi Coltrane) has reaped positive homeopathic benefits while fighting prostate cancer. Per the marketing info on Sunnyside's website: “Milne's positive experiences with homeopathy led him to ask how it could influence improvisation and lead to more emotionally meaningful interactions for the musicians playing his music." ...

RADIO

Ambrose Akinmusire, Dairo Miyamoto and Other Great New Releases

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This week we'll go through a heap of outstanding new releases, ranging from tributes to seminal albums like Soul Station by Eli Degibri and the Far East Suite by Pierre Bertrand, to new releases by master pianists like Keith Jarrett, Brad Mehldau (in an unreleased duo with Charlie Haden!), Aaron Parks and Simone Graziano. Seasond avant-veterans on ECM (Andrew Cyrille with Leo Smith and Bill Frisell) and vociferous rising stars on Blue Note (Ambrose Akinmusire and James Francies).

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Daan Kleijn: Passages

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On his album Passages, Netherlands guitarist Daan Kleijn and his cohorts -Tobia Nijboer on bass and Joost Van Schaik on drums -provide a solid and tasteful mix of originals and standards. The entire affair is sunny and impressionistic. Like a day at the park, the musical settings move from tree-lined paths and forest streams to walkways with fountains and lawns that stretch between. The set opens with the Kleijn original “Bird Song." It has a fluid flying feel ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Stefon Harris & Joe Locke: Vibes Away!

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Within the realm of modern jazz, the vibraphone has long enticed unusually imaginative musicians to explore the possibilities of the instrument. Milt Jackson, Bobby Hutcherson and Gary Burton have essentially reinvented the vibes for successive generations, while Warren Wolf and Yuhan Su, among others, continue to reconfigure its appeal to entice contemporary audiences. Respective studio works of Stefon Harris and Joe Locke demonstrate how each may also be rightfully numbered among the modern visionaries of the vibes, the records also ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tessa Souter: Picture in Black and White

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New York-based vocalist Tessa Souter is becoming treasured among jazz fans and musicians alike. Equally effective in clubs, in concert and on her several fine recordings, she combines the sonority, vocal range and discipline of a classical contralto with subtle and sultry jazz inflections. Everything she sings is well thought out and in good taste. She works with the best instrumentalists and has a consummate grasp of both swing and the modern jazz idiom, as well as folk and world ...