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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Doug MacDonald: Jazz Marathon 2

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For those who thought that guitarist Doug MacDonald's happy-go-lucky jazz marathon had crossed the finish line with the release more than a year ago of Just for Fun, the good news is that MacDonald and his talented teammates have found their second wind and the marathon continues through a second effervescent two-CD session taped at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Redondo Beach, CA. The group remains largely intact, with trumpeter Carl Saunders and saxophonist Pete Christlieb added and trombonist Linda ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Donna Khalife Quintet: Heavy Dance

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Lebanese bassist and vocalist Donna Khalife is an accomplished and prize winning musician. A child prodigy she received a premier education both in Lebanon and France and has forged lasting relations with musicians from both countries. Her quintet's debut release, Heavy Dance, is a testament to her multi-pronged talent as it showcases Khalife leading the band through a series of intriguing original compositions and improvisations. The various pieces do not abide by a single motif and often evolve ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marius Neset/London Sinfonietta: Snowmelt

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That Marius Neset would eventually produce an extended orchestral-inspired work had been on the cards for some time. As early as his debut as leader, Suite for the Seven Mountains (Calibrated, 2008), the Norwegian saxophonist was incorporating strings into a contemporary jazz setting with a very personal stamp of authority. The extraordinary Birds (Edition Records, 2013) took the concept to exhilarating heights, with the addition of just a seven-piece chamber ensemble to his quintet producing complex, multi-layered sonic tapestries that ...

LIVE REVIEWS

The Last Waltz 40 Tour at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury

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The Last Waltz 40 Tour NYCB Theatre at Westbury Westbury, NY February 3, 2017 On November 25, 1976 (Thanksgiving), the Canadian-American rock group the Band gave its farewell concert at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom. The concert was filmed by director Martin Scorsese and made into the documentary, The Last Waltz. The movie included appearances by over a dozen special guests, including Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, Paul Butterfield, Ronnie Wood, Bobby Charles, Ronnie Hawkins, Eric Clapton, ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

The Best of Lou Donaldson, Volume 1 – 1957-1967

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I'm not a huge fan of Best Of albums. Artists make albums of music--some with themes, some without--and you go with it. One album generally equals one mood, so why mix them up? But then... Lou Donaldson is an alto saxophonist who spent virtually his entire career at one label: Blue Note. Bigger names have recorded on Blue Note--Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins--but none so extensively, from the 1950s to '70s. Trouble is, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chicago / London Underground: A Night Walking Through Mirrors

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As an artist and a surveyor of a broader universe, Rob Mazurek focuses on the journey rather than on planting a flag in undiscovered territories. Whether on his multi-instrumental solo work Mother Ode (Corbett vs Dempsey, 2014) or in the large ensemble formation of his most recent Exploding Star Orchestra project, Galactic Parables: Volume 1 (Cuneiform, 2015), Mazurek has left his creative intuitions open to the influence of a deeply personal life force that often serves as his guide. More ...

LIVE REVIEWS

The Donny McCaslin Group at The Arden Gild Hall

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The Donny McCaslin Group Arden Gild Hall Arden, Delaware January 14, 2017 Arden Delaware isn't exactly known as a jazz mecca but, with the coming of the Donny McCaslin Group to the Arden Gild Hall, it became one--for a little while at least. And in the best jazz traditions, the show presented in Arden had all of the elements you would expect from one of those meccas--innovation, exploration, technical excellence and passion--presented by players in ...

INTERVIEWS

Donny McCaslin: Bowie Deepened The Relationships In My Band

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Wherever the boundaries were in music, in most cases, they have perished and are no more. Jazz has always been a music of exploration and taking chances and as a result, has benefited from the dialogues with other music, be it folk, rock, classical or electronic. Saxophonist and composer Donny McCaslin certainly doesn't believe in boundaries. He is one of the handful musicians who uses different strands as a launching point for further exploration. His recent records Fast Future (Greenleaf, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

James Brandon Lewis Trio: No Filter

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James Brandon Lewis's authoritative horn is demonstrated in his cultural influenced releases --gospel spirituality in Divine Travels (Okeh, 2014) featuring bassist William Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver; soulful lyricism and hip hop in Days of Freeman (Okeh, 2015) with heavies bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma and drummer Rudy Royston. He continues that exploration with a new trio in No Filter an edgy but short LP which pays respect to early 90's hip hop, experimental jazz, and groove. Lewis's inclination ...


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