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Courtney Pine: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

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Courtney Pine didn't pick up his beloved tenor saxophone for more than a decade, until an album exploring the black British experience demanded it. The multi-instrumentalist eschewed the horn on the likes of Europa, House of Legends and Song (The Ballad Book), his two-hander with pianist Zoe Rahman. “I spoke to Sonny Rollins about five years ago at a concert, and I asked him, 'Why don't you play loads of instruments, like John Coltrane?' What he said was, ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Courtney Pine: House of Legends

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Though multi-reedist Courtney Pine has been playing soprano for almost 30 years, this is the first occasion he's recorded an entire album with the instrument. Following his bass clarinet adventures on the European roots album Europa (Destin-E, 2011) it's clear that the modern British jazz legend doesn't tire of setting himself new challenges. Taking as his inspiration the roots of the British Afro-Caribbean community, Pine visits calypso, soca, zouk, reggae and South African rhythms in a joyous dance party that's ...

SCUMBLES

Courtney Pine: Suffolk, UK, September 20, 2012

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Courtney PineSuffolk, UKSeptember 20, 2012Courtney Pine is not so much a musician as an experience. The event was the opening night of the Ipswich Music Festival and the venue was the grand hall of Ipswich High School-grander than most school halls granted but not the sort of venue Pine would normally be associated with. The last time I saw him in action was just over a year ago at Snape Music Festival, where he ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Courtney Pine: Transition In Tradition

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British reed player Courtney Pine began his professional life in reggae bands, and reggae's “conscious" music tradition has since been a defining feature of his work. Pine plays conscious jazz, in that many of his compositions and recording projects have held a focus on social rights and justice as seen through the prism of the black experience. Sometimes the story has been told with the aid of vocalists; sometimes, as on the exuberant Transition In Tradition, instrumentally--through track titles, liner ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Courtney Pine: Devotion

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It's not the instrument; it's how you play it.Considering the commercial aspects of contemporary music, it would be easy to dismiss any solo artist who plays soprano saxophone as being among the hordes of sax players who try to emulate Kenny G, but wind up falling far short of their goal. Don't make that mistake with Courtney Pine. His music isn't trite enough to be lumped into that category, and it's too innovative for even a fair comparison ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Courtney Pine: Devotion

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The management typically frowns on an initial discourse regarding the issuing record label when writing a review, but in the case of Courtney Pine's debut on Telarc Jazz, I feel it is warranted.  Compared with the majority of Telarc's releases (dead middle mainstream) Mr. Pine's new release can only be approached by those of Monty Alexander's with respect to pushing the genre envelope, and honestly, Mr. Alexander has nothing on Courtney Pine.

Born March 18, 1964 ...


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