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Jazz Articles | Blog

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Psalms and Poetry: Den Danske Salmeduo and Nicolai Munch-Hansen

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Sometimes, the answer to the quest for an original sound is so obvious that it is overlooked. While many European jazz musicians have tried to imitate the sound of the American jazz scene and the pulse of New York, fewer have tried to reach back into their own musical heritage. Two new Danish jazz releases find inspiration in their home country. One through the European tradition of psalms and the other through the works of a Danish poet.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kristin Korb: Beyond The Moon

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While Johnny Mercer's place in history has been acknowledged time and again, album-length tributes to the legendary lyricist, songwriter, vocalist, and Capitol Records founder aren't as common as you might think. Yes, there are gems in that category (and/or compilations) from vocal icons like Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Rosemary Clooney; oddities that fit the bill, like drummer Buddy Rich's vocal-centric journey through Mercer's work; under-the-radar dates from unsung vocal treasures like Bill Henderson and Daryl Sherman that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Awakening Orchestra: Atticus Live!

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Sorry. If this is the direction in which big-band jazz is moving, please apply the brakes as quickly and gently as possible so that this listener may exit the train. When it comes to big bands, some members of an older generation cling to standards that must always be upheld. Not swinging is from time to time a forgivable sin, depending on the circumstances; plodding erratically forward with a minimum of charm and no clear purpose in mind is less ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Friends & Neighbors: What's Wrong

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Norwegian quintet Friends & Neighbors' third CD presents a line up unchanged sinceNo Beat Policy(Øra Grammofon, 2011) and Hymn For A Hungry Nation (Clean Feed, 2014). The moniker gives a clue as to their inspiration, referencing one of Ornette Coleman's less well known albums recorded live at his Prince Street loft and featuring a chorus of exactly what the title suggests alongside his regular quartet of the time (Flying Dutchman, 1970). But the reality goes way beyond imitation or homage. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Etienne Charles: San José Suite

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Whenever Trinidadian jazz trumpeter and composer Etienne Charles releases an album, it is an event. In this case, it is his latest opus, the ten-part San José Suite--soon to be performed live in Trinidad and Tobago for the first time on November 20. [The album was released in the US in June 2016 and debuted live at the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest in August 2016.] This suite dares to magnify the idea of the wider Americas as a crucible ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Adam Schneit Band: Light Shines In

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For several years, saxophonist Adam Schneit has been making the rounds as a first-call sideman other than co-leading Old Time Musketry and this talented quartet, instilled with his impressive compositional skills. Here, the musicians' venture into the outside realm while dishing out more conventional fare during various phases or movements. For example, the opener “A Clearer View," is erected with a laid-back groove and a cordial primary theme anchored by Eivind Opsvik's booming bass lines and drummer Kenny Wolleson's steady ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keith Jarrett: A Multitude of Angels

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Music is fundamentally a spiritual experience, but it's still rare for Keith Jarrett to be as forthright about it as he is in the liner notes to A Multitude of Angels. Occasionally he's written oblique blurbs vaguely touching on the mysteries of inspiration--after all, the music always speaks best for itself. By contrast, here he's admirably candid about being helped through the trying circumstances under which he recorded these discs in October 1996: unexplainably weakened with what turned out to ...

Easy Swing, Fours and More, Medicinal Jazz

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Dear Mr. P.C.: I just played a gig, and one of the charts said the feel should be “Easy Swing." What does that mean? The bassist thinks he was supposed to play in two, but I think it would have said “In Two" if that was the case. I think he was supposed to walk, but he says the charts would have said “In Four" or “Walking Bass." Please settle our argument. --Swingless In Seattle


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