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Articles | Featured | Future

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jay Thomas with the Oliver Groenewald Newnet: I Always Knew

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Jay Thomas has lived the jazz life. He has endured, overcome, and continued to artistically thrive through all the ruminations of a path chosen by few. While much of his life may form a parallel story to those of many, Thomas' version, his personal adjunct to its litany, is a story of artistic triumph that opened doors seldom walked through. It is a musical legacy in Seattle, unmatched in the colorful history of jazz in his hometown, documented by a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jacob Duncan: It's Alright To Dream featuring JD Allen

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In many instances, saxophone summits are ballsy blowouts steeped in performing jazz standards, especially when the hornists are used to leading their own bands, and they just want to get down to business in the studio. But such is not the case here, thanks to superb Louisville, KY-based saxophonist Jacob Duncan's (Norah Jones, Aretha Franklin) original compositions that add a harmonious cohesion to this session. The quintet features NY-based poll-winning tenor sax artisan JD Allen, who has been releasing widely ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kelly Green: Volume One

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If we were talking baseball, pianist, vocalist, and composer Kelly Green would be highly touted as a three tool player. And she deserves to be. From every angle she hears breaks and stops, harmonic and melodic whoops, swoops and vocal dips and dives that the rest of us maybe don't until the artist makes them as present and immediate as breathing. Stepping away from the larger sound that powered 2017's critically accepted, self produced debut, for the bracingly ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

James Austin, Jr: Songs in the Key of Wonder

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Hailing from the windy city of Chicago, James Austin, Jr. has established himself as an accomplished pianist and bandleader. He honed his craft under the tutelage of a number of legendary musicians, including extensive study with renowned jazz educator Barry Harris, receiving numerous accolades and awards along the way, including the honor of being selected as a semi-finalist in the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano competition. Each year he has curated and led the New Jersey Performing Arts Center ...

RADIO

Quinsin Nachoff’s Flux & Hot Heros

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A pair of albums from Northern European artists demonstrate a similar approach in this episode--improvising upon the folk melodies of their countries--Poland's Irek Wojtczak and his Folk Five and Finland's Hot Heros. For Wojtczak, he's just happy to see his recording available: the radio station that was recording the live concert lost the tapes, but fortunately, like a lot of other musicians, he recorded the shows himself. Hot Heros is a trio with connections to another prominent Finnish band: Black ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sal La Rocca: SHIFTED

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The saxophone lines snake out of the speakers, rustling the airwaves like a breeze through firs or singing with all the lyricism of the finest vocalist. The double bass's hardwood lays a strong foundation. The electricity of the Wurlitzer piano growls atop that age-old sound, like a lightning storm rolling over treetops. Sal La Rocca's Shifted melds the gentleness of a forest with all the freedom of its animals. The sounds can roam uninhibited and wild. But they all play ...

RADIO

Up In Harlem - Stride

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In the last hour, we listened to several of the bands associated with New York, with an emphasis on the new large ensemble form, the jazz orchestra. In this hour we'll stick with New York, but focus in on the piano music of Harlem--"Stride." We are joined in this hour by Art Wheeler, pianist, producer, composer and educator. In his History of Jazz, Ted Gioia writes, “It is not going too far to suggest that piano was to ...

HI-RES JAZZ

TRPTK: Breaking Genre Walls

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Visitors to the website of TRPTK, an independent music label based in the Netherlands, will find a small but growing number of hi-res recordings in a wide range of musical genres. TRPTK's catalog includes Prokofiev's rarely-performed opera “The Fiery Angel" in an arrangement for cello and piano; new classical music for a violin ensemble; Persian traditional music; classical cello recitals; solo guitar music; new progressive rock, solo ambient piano, solo accordion, French chansons, American songs, Portuguese songs, and cross-cultural contemporary ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Susanna Risberg: Vilddjur

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If the proverbial ten thousand hours of practise does lead to mastery of one's craft, then it's a safe bet that twenty-six-year-old Swedish guitarist Susanna Risberg has long since passed that milestone since taking up the guitar aged ten. Nor is it just her virtuosity that compels on Vilddjur, her third album as leader, but her emotional shading and the compositional sophistication at play too. These nine refined yet visceral tunes also suggest that Risberg's musical vision is broader than ...

BEST OF / YEAR END

Friedrich Kunzmann's 2018 Top 5: A fine year for the ECM catalogue

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When looking back at the year one won't find more peace or joy than on the musical side of things. For in this realm there are nor real losers. Here, disappointment is relative and success is all over the place because everyone is trying to be their best possible selves, constantly on a path of self-improvement and reflection. A collective inwardness mirrors the individual looking outward; musicians listening to one another, understanding one another and building upon the constant exchange ...