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MULTIPLE REVIEWS

CTI on BGO

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"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." The echo of Charles Dickens' famous novel A Tale of Two Cities is suitable to describe the climate of jazz when Creed Taylor launched CTI. It was 1970 and acoustic jazz was in crisis. Following the invasion of rock, it had survived by becoming electric, but the question was if jazz didn't get lost in translation? To Taylor the mission was simple. He wanted to bring jazz into ...

PROFILES

Istanbul’s İKSV: An Intensity Beyond Cool

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It would be easy to get breathless, even giddy, about the range and schedule of cultural events organized by İKSV, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (in Turkish: İstanbul Kültür Sanat Vakfı). One individual could not possibly keep up with its jazz and classical music festivals and everything else that's offered by İKSV. It brings under one organization something like the variety and aspirations of Lincoln Center in New York, the National Endowment for the Arts, commercial promoter Live ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Greg Diaz & The Art of Imagination Jazz Orchestra: Begin the Agora

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At a time when many contemporary big bands are eager to brush aside the past and “break new ground," it's always a pleasure to welcome an ensemble that honors and espouses jazz tradition with no appreciable loss of savoir-faire or, well, imagination. Begin the Agora, the debut recording by saxophonist Greg Diaz's Florida-based Art of Imagination Orchestra, embraces a customary point of view that in no way encumbers the leader's resourceful compositions (three) and arrangements (all). In other words, this ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Formanek Elusion Quartet: Time Like This

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In the olden days of jazz, an album consisting of trailblazing instrumentalists akin to these performers may have been billed as Michael Formanek and his All-Stars instead of a band moniker. Nonetheless, the Elusion Quartet lives up to preconceived or implicit expectations. Consequently, the heavyweight lineup imparts an abundance of mood-eliciting and symmetrical works, along with other components for our psyche's to nibble on. As a premise for this session, Michael Formanek says he sought “a more ...

RADIO

Nicole Mitchell, Brom & Thomas Morelli-Bernard

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This episode features another of those wonderful bassists from Portugal: Carlos Bica. His latest release with his trio, Azul, makes its One Man's Jazz debut and an earlier album with Prima Matéria closes the show with a familiar melody. Nicole Mitchell's latest, Maroon Cloud, the German trio, Brom, and the latest instalment of Satoko Fujii's birthday releases and her new quartet Mahodin are all sampled. And Montréal's trombonist and composer Thomas Morelli-Bernard provides a taste of his very ambitious Cuban ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tim Rachbach: Under One Moon

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"Ancient Thread" forcefully opens 23 year-old drummer Tim Rachbach's solid debut, Under The Moon, and it's a fitting title, indeed. Throughout this and six other Rachbach compositions, ("Toy Tune" belongs to none other than saxophonist Wayne Shorter) a group of young adventurous players explore their way through the music's many nuanced turns. Saxophonist Xavier Del Castillo carries the charging lead, arpeggiating freely and high flying until the song literally breaks in half, carried with versatile bop by bassist ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dawg Yawp: Doubles, Vol. 1

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jny: Cincinnati's folk-rock duo Dawg Yawp is rolling out their new music in a series of two-song singles that they are calling “Doubles." (And why did nobody think of that bit of marketing genius in the heyday of the 45?) Their first such set shows a nice progression from their 2016 self-titled full-length release, as well as their 2015 EP “Two Hearted." Wholly consistent with their earlier work, the two tracks on “Doubles, Vol. 1" also exhibit new ...

CATCHING UP WITH

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 ...