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LIVE REVIEWS

Donny McCaslin Group / Ensemble LPR: Symphonic Bowie at Central Park SummerStage

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Donny McCaslin Group / Ensemble LPRCentral Park SummerStage Symphonic Bowie New York, NY June 9, 2018 New York City can't stop saying goodbye to David Bowie. And with good reason. The rock legend lived in Manhattan for more than 20 years and often spoke fondly of his adopted city. On June 9, another tribute was staged, this one at Central Park's SummerStage featuring Donny McCaslin, whose band backed Bowie on his final album, followed ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jerry Weldon: Those Were the Days

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It's no longer certain what music cold be classified as “mainstream" jazz. One can argue that the genre (and all others, for that matter) have atomized to the point of each performance being considered a genre in itself (a desirable outcome to the music anarchists among us). That said, some type of classification remains useful in describing music, if for no other reason than to let a listener know that “this sounds a great deal like that." Which brings us ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Donder: Untitled Album

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The Belgian piano trio Donder released their debut album in 2016. Entitled Still (Self Produced), the music is spacious and oddly beautiful, inspired in part by “cries and whispers of the world." It proved to be an adeptly-crafted piano trio outing, remarkable for the mix of avant-garde sensibilities and an overall prediction of Donder's dawning profundity. This from three men born in 1995, clocking in at twenty years of age apiece at the time of the recording. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gloriæ Dei Cantores: James Weldon Johnson: God's Trombones

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In literature, the “New Criticism" focused on the structure and meaning of a given text, and that these were intimately connected and should not be analyzed separately. Also, texts should be analyzed without regard to the author, era, or circumstances of the text. Clinically, this may be all well and good, but this approach to the analysis of anything is at the expense of the rich loam of experience surrounding art. That is why I will not use the “New ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gordon Beck: Jubilation! Trios, Quartets and Septets In Session 1964-1984

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For this 3 CD box set, the estate of Gordon Beck, who died on 6 November 2011 aged 76, granted access to Beck's collection of analogue tapes of live and some studio performances. None of these recordings has ever been previously released. Beck was indubitably one of Britain's finest jazz pianists. He recorded on three key Tubby Hayes albums, 100% Proof and two live albums, Late Spot At Scott's and Down In The Village, considered by many to be Hayes's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fat Kid Big Band: New Beginnings

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Note to Montreal's Fat Kid Big Band: If you really want to make a favorable first impression on your audience, move the opening track on New Beginnings, “Bustin' My Ass," and replace it with any of the album's five instrumental numbers. Nothing personal, and no disrespect meant to singer Othniel PF, but why would a big band introduce itself with a rather anemic vocal set to a quasi-rock beat when there are so many more enticing choices available?

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

B's Bees: Kanata

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B's Bees, from Montreal, Canada, led by drummer Brandon Goodwin, are a class act, a beacon of hope for the future of jazz. Kanata, title of their third album, is the Iroquois Indian word for “village," from which derives Canada. The first four numbers make up the “Kanata Suite," a powerful statement of intent by Goodwin. He calls it “a reminder of our history and of the moments that shaped our country." The suite opens with Goodwin's ...

MIXCLOUD

Interview with James Brandon Lewis & Further Notable New Releases

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Great new albums keep coming and we are previewing them for you. In this episode we interview saxophone titan James Brandon Lewis, and sample music from his upcoming duo album Radiant Imprints with Chad Taylor. Playlist Ben Allison “Mondo Jazz Theme (feat. Ted Nash and Pyeng Threadgill)" 0:00 Caroline Davis “Dionisyan" from Heart Tonic (Sunnyside) 00:16 Host talk 7:44 Dafnis Prieto Big Band “Song for Chico (feat. Steve Coleman)" from Back to the Sunset (Dafnison) ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

James Brandon Lewis and Chad Taylor: Radiant Imprints

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When saxophonist James Brandon Lewis released Divine Travels (Okeh, 2014) with bassist William Parker and drummer Gerald Cleaver, the jazz world went from “who is this guy?" to “make space at the table," because listeners had discovered a truly distinctive voice. After that came Days Of Freeman (Okeh, 2015) with Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Rudy Royston and No Filter (BNS Records, 2017) where Lewis injected hip hop culture and punk rock into improvised music without resorting to the dreaded crutch of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gordon Hyland: NEVER DIE! by \\livingfossil//

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\\livingfossil// is the most recent brainchild of Canadian saxophonist Gordon Hyland. The Toronto-based musician and composer continues to release his versatile compositions in a multitude of formations of various different names, such as the acoustic saxophone trio Simple Shapes or the progressive-electronic project Ninja Funk Orchestra. Members of the latter are reunited with Hyland on his newest endeavor \\livingfossil//, making for an intriguing instrumentation of two saxophones, two electric guitars, drums and an electric as well as acoustic bass. The ...