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Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens

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Monty Alexander Trio The Ballroom at Longwood Gardens Kennett Square, PA February 11, 2017 It's generally a good sign for any show if the players onstage are smiling and laughing more than anyone else in the room. If there's been one main constant to Monty Alexander's music over his 59-year career, it's an irrepressible positivity that runs through everything in any mode or style. His nimble piano might incorporate the blues and reggae roots of ...

NEW YORK @ NIGHT

Monty Alexander: Looking Back

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Monty AlexanderJazz Standard jny: New York, NYFebruary 1, 2017 A lot has changed since I started covering the New York beat for All About Jazz in mid-2016. In that time, we have witnessed epic changes in our city, our country, our world--changes that are already affecting our culture, including and perhaps especially jazz and, in the broader context, African-American life. How can music journalists remain unaffected? Since the presidential election in November, rather than ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alexander Balanescu / Zlatko Kaucic / Javier Girotto: East West Daydreams

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East West Daydreams is one of those recordings that grabs one's attention immediately, only to be quickly and completely overwhelmed by the musicianship, drama and intensity of the music. The trio of violinist Alexander Balanescu, percussionist Zlatko Kaucic and Javier Girotto on woodwinds have collected five live recordings from a number of years ago in cities all over Europe: Vienna, Austria at the Porgy & Bess Jazz Club (October 8, 2009), Florence, Italy at the Pinocchio Jazz Club ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alexander Zethson: Pole Of Inaccessibility

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You are both awake and asleep. Listening, but at the same time paying no heed to the experience. Am I talking about the ancient Buddhist practice of yoga nidra or the recording Pole Of Inaccessibility by Swedish pianist Alexander Zethson? Actually both. The finest tribute that can be paid to these two discs of extended composition and improvisation is that the body is asleep while the unconscious mind is attuned at a much deeper level. Like the nidra ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alex Jønsson: Heart Of Gold: Live In Aarhus

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Recorded live at a living room concert, Heart of Gold presents an intimate portrait of Danish guitarist/composer Alex Jønsson and his trio. The title tune opens the set: it's not the well known Neil Young song, but it does have an Americana tinge. Drummer Andreas Skamby sets up a pillow of sound using mallets, bassist Jens Mikkel Madsen plays a repeating bass pattern, and Jønsson's guitar sings the tune. When he solos he usually favors single note lines with a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Schlippenbach Trio: Warsaw Concert

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There can't be too many outfits still going strong after 44 years, especially with an unchanged roster. But that's exactly the situation German pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach faces with his trio of countryman Paul Lovens on the drum stool and the legendary Evan Parker on tenor saxophone, give or take an occasional bassist. As a consequence they travel in uncharted territory, tasked with finding their own solutions to the challenge of keeping the music fresh and meaningful. While there are ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alex LoRe Quartet: More Figs And Blue Things

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Saxophonist Alex LoRe is a musician of philosophical and poetic bent. With his debut--Dream House (Inner Circle Music, 2014)--that wasn't always apparent, as the scales slightly favored progress over patience. Here, the balance tips the other way, but not so much so that things become tedious. LoRe may be a deep thinker, but he doesn't allow his music to get mired in his own thoughts. There are two major agents of change that help More Figs And ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Forebrace: Steeped

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Steeped is the second album release from Forebrace, the welcome follow-up to Bad Folds (Copecod, 2013). For those who delighted in that album, the good news is that the quartet's line-up remains unchanged, and the balance between composed and improvised music is as before--composed pieces credited to Forebrace's leader and clarinetist, Alex Ward, alternating with improvisations credited to the whole group. The big difference between Steeped and its predecessor is that this album was recorded live in concert (at Cafe ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eric Alexander: Second Impression

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Not only has tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander recorded more than thirty-five albums as a leader since arriving in New York City some twenty years ago, he has appeared on almost as many others as a sideman. He's such an earnest blue-collar worker that one almost expects him to carry his saxophone in a lunch pail instead of the standard instrument case. Any Second Impression would mirror the first: Alexander is a tireless craftsman who loves to play and, more to ...


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