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Articles by Blaine Fallis


Jon Davis: Changes Over Time

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Jon Davis plays with a richness of soul, exhibiting a well versed jazz character that can go from Jaco (whom he worked with for several years), New Orleans swamp, and freedom jazz dance, to Stevie Wonder, and back. Although he doesn't try to sound like Bill Evans, he did pen a tune called Waltz for U, named for the trio's bassist Ugonna Okegwo who was perhaps tiring of the challenges of playing in so many of Davis' multiple time signatures ...


Walt Weiskopf: Open Road

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"Premonition" was the perfect opening tune on Walt Weiskopf's Open Road album, because it sets the tone. It even matches the album cover...we're going somewhere fast, barely able to quite focus in due to the speed. But it's exciting! Bassist Mike Karn drives the band until 1:45 when he and pianist Peter Zak suddenly drop out, and the duo of Weiskopf and drummer Steve Fidyk keep pushing forward, as if during a high-speed corner two passengers couldn't hold ...


Chris McNulty: Eternal

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Losing a child. The pain can't be explained, although a close personal friend of ours lost their first born during childbirth. After the months of preparation, the painting of rooms, the choosing of a name. In response to their loss, they built a gorgeous rose garden, and placed poetic emblems on the back fence. And our friendship was was re-established through many long suppers and after- dinner jazz listening sessions, our families spending time just being with each other.


Joel Harrison: Spirit House

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Spirit House is a Joel Harrison original! Original compositions, ideas, instrumentations, and grooves. While jazz sometimes repeats itself (in style, instrumentation, or choice of songs etc.), Harrison creates completely new music worth listening to, “repeatedly." I say this because he wrote the music “specifically for this unique group of individuals," using electric guitar with bassoon (Paul Hanson), and the echoed voicings of trumpeter Cuong Vu. Add in veteran drummer Brian Blade and bassist Kermit Driscoll, and you have ...


Matt Renzi: Between the Lines

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Matt Renzi is a multi-reedist, best known for his tenor sax playing and clarinet (his two main horns), but who has a knack for picking up other instruments as needed such as oboe, piccolo and flute. His New York City-based trio has been well-recognized for its group improv and composition and has recorded several CDs. Also performing internationally, it tends to push the limits of music that is simultaneously structured and wide open.

A San Francisco native, Renzi ...


Matt Renzi: Lunch Special

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Lunch Special should win a marketing award for having the freshest CD design concept, although the actual photo of linguine with oysters used as the CD imprint may not be as fresh as the music itself. At least the designer was nice enough to reveal a relatively clean plate inside the tray card once the CD is removed. However, a long and winding piece of linguine is not a bad way to describe a typical sax line from Matt Renzi, ...


Ralph Bowen: Dedicated

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Ralph Bowen Dedicated Posi-Tone Records 2009

Tenor saxophonist Ralph Bowen's Dedicated is a project that was nurtured and produced by Posi-tone Records' founder Marc Free, who felt that Bowen was under-appreciated by the jazz public at large. Bowen has influenced hundreds of players through his teaching position at Rutgers, and many top jazz players know how skilled he is. Having heard him live several times, Free has long admired Bowen's sound and ...


Stanton Moore Trio at the Last Concert Cafe

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Stanton Moore Trio Last Concert Cafe Houston, Texas December 5, 2008

Jazz shows don't always draw large crowds in Houston, especially for music that leans towards experimental funk, but the Stanton Moore Trio's show at The Last Concert Cafe was in fact very well attended, and the venue's outdoor stage was put to good use, despite the sub-50 degree temperatures (BRRR!) which for South Texas is considered COLD. Didn't seem to phase the crowd ...


Kate McGarry: Less is More... Nothing is Everything

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Coming across Kate McGarry's If Less is More... Nothing is Everything on an iPod in shuffle mode, it's possible that “Man of God," might be followed by “The Priest" and “Just What I Needed;" a couple of spiritual songs followed by a slow acoustic version of the hit song by The Cars. Listeners might at first be reminded of Sara Groves, Suzanne Vega, and Joni Mitchell, and not really understand the depth of McGarry's jazz chops until hearing “You're My ...


Tim Hagans: Subversive Jazz in Houston

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Tim Hagans, Subversive Jazz DiverseWorks Theater Houston, Texas August 10, 2008

What would you expect when going to hear trumpeter Tim Hagans heading up a jazz show called Subversive Jazz, at DiverseWorks Theater in Houston Texas? Perhaps a free-flowing trumpet intro, followed by gongs and trap set? Sure. But when saxophonist Seth Paynter entered playing a Korean Tae Pyong So (or Nal Ra Ri, a copper-made trumpet attached to a wooden tube), while shooting ...