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ALBUM REVIEWS

Tor Einar Bekken: Help Us In The Hour of Need

Read "Help Us In The Hour of Need" reviewed by Jim Worsley

Every once in a while, an artist throws a curveball. Blues and jazz pianist Tor E Bekken, renowned for his historical knowledge and authenticity, also has nothing short of a monster left hand. The talented Norwegian has released over a dozen records, including his dynamic upright piano assault Live at Bar Moskus (Blue Mood Records/Grappa, 2017) and the high-spirited Hardcore Piano (Blue Mood Records/Grappa, 2008). Yet it came as a surprise to hear that Bekken's latest release is ...

CATCHING UP WITH

Gary Bartz: Music For Expanding One's Own Mind

Read "Gary Bartz: Music For Expanding One's Own Mind" reviewed by Paolo Marra

Some jazz musicians are the embodiment of a specific historical period. Their performances conjure memories of the very ideals, passions, and philosophies that characterized an era. This is certainly true of American saxophonist Gary Bartz. After joining Art Blakey & the Jazz Messangers and collaborating with McCoy Tyner on the pianist's tenth album, Expansions (Blue Note, 1968), Bartz joined Miles Davis' band in 1970, playing an active role in recording the groundbreaking album Live-Evil (Columbia). Bartz's diverse musical ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Big Lazy: Dear Trouble

Read "Dear Trouble" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

The trio Big Lazy plays a frisky type of instrumental music which draws on jazz, surf rock, country and other genres. In the tradition of versatile guitarists like Danny Gatton and Duane Eddy, Stephen Ulrich's lean, twanging sound creates a sonic landscape full of dusty highways and shadowy streets. He billows, trembles and chugs through leisurely melodies with style as bassist Andrew Hall and drummer Yuval Lion give him rock-steady rhythmic support. Some of the group's work sounds ...

RADIO

Crosscurrents Trio, Dave Douglas, Aaron Dolman and More

Read "Crosscurrents Trio, Dave Douglas, Aaron Dolman and More" reviewed by Bob Osborne

This week a focus on four great new albums from Dave Douglas, The Crosscurrents Trio (Dave Holland, Chris Potter, Zakir Hussain), Aaron Dolman and Matana Roberts. Also a selection of other newly released material and some live Miles Davis. Playlist Dave Douglas “Showing Up" from Engage (Greenleaf) 00:00 Dave Holland, Zakir Hussain, Chris Potter “Ziandi" from Good Hope (Edition Records) 08:15 Matana Roberts “Jewels of the Sky Inscription" from COIN COIN Chapter Four: Memphis (Constellation) 15:55 Matana ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ahmad Jamal: Ballades

Read "Ballades" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

None other than Miles Davis cited Ahmad Jamal (born 1930) as a stylistic influence. So, as he was approaching his ninetieth birthday, what did this vibrant upstart do to further shake things up? He released his first ever solo album which isn't really a solo album because on three of the exemplarily graceful tracks on Ballades, Jamal duets with his longtime bassist James Cammack. That is what he did. And what we're going to do is sit back ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

We Three Holiday Happenings: Season's Greetings From Martina DaSilva and Dan Chmielinski, Benny Benack III and the Steven Feifke Big Band, and Dave Stryker

Read "We Three Holiday Happenings: Season's Greetings From Martina DaSilva and Dan Chmielinski, Benny Benack III and the Steven Feifke Big Band, and Dave Stryker" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

It's Christmas all over again, so deck the halls, break out the eggnog and get ready for a proliferation of holiday albums. As with any and every year, there are plenty of new jazz releases that fall into this most festive category and saturated market. Some lean solely on popular favorites, sticking close to the templates while injecting some swing, soul and individuality into the music; others play with those recognizable and reliable classics like putty, stretching and reshaping them ...

RADIO

Hive Finds

Read "Hive Finds" reviewed by Patrick Burnette

In the late seventies and early eighties, Susan and Jim Neumann helped keep the be-bop flame burning by starting the boutique Beehive Records label. They featured middle-aged boppers left behind by fusion frenzy who just wanted to record some solid blowing dates—and one semi-forgotten vocalist who made his final great recording for the label... and captured Clint Eastwood's heart doing so. For pop matters, things take a swerve for the jazzy when Mike discusses a live Kurt Elling show in ...


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