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Jazz Articles

ANATOMY OF A STANDARD

Prelude to a Kiss by Duke Ellington

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Last month's initial installment of this column opened with an introduction to the concept of analyzing jazz standards for the purpose of adding to our understanding about the structure and elements of great songs having enduring qualities. I did not feel it required mentioning that a song's final structure and the process of songwriting were completely different viewpoints. One purview implies looking back at a final product of art and the other requires looking ahead at a blank page of ...

LIVE REVIEWS

2016 Hope College Jazz Organ Summit

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Jazz Organ Summit Hope College Holland, Michigan September 9-10, 2016 Located in Western Michigan along the banks of Lakes Michigan and Macatawa, the small college town of Holland is not the type of place you might imagine for a gathering of musicians, students and jazz organ aficionados. Nonetheless, this quaint spot would serve as host to a very unique two-day event that was the brainchild of organist Tony Monaco. Working with Hope College, a small ...

LIVE REVIEWS

The Billy Hart Quartet at the 21c Museum Hotel

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The Billy Hart Quartet The 21c Museum Hotel Durham, NC September 26, 2016 Nearing the end of their first set at the 21c Museum Hotel in downtown jny: Durham, Billy Hart stepped out from behind his set and looked out into the crowd. When he plays the drums, Hart's face often looks strained and stressed, as if every rush across the toms and intricate series of cymbal play comes from some deep place and must ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eric St-Laurent: Planet

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Given the fact that guitarist Eric St-Laurent pulls from many different places and styles in his work, it's tempting to consider him a musical polyglot. The truth, however, is that he really only speaks a single language--his own, which just so happens to be influenced and informed by everything from Afro-Cuban grooves to bebop lines, classical music to rock, and pop to minimalism. All of that and more blends together and/or surfaces in organic form on the short and pleasing ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

AGNZ: Chance Meeting

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Before proceeding, a word about the name of this admirable quartet: AGNZ (jazz from A to Z?) comprises the first letter in the last names of its four members--guitarist Jay Azzolina, tenor saxophonist Dino Govoni, drummer Adam Nussbaum and bassist Dave Zinno. It further denotes, presumably, a certain level of parity, a selflessness and camaraderie among equals in which the sum of their efforts is always more decisive than its component parts. Chance Meeting, the group's first ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Evan Parker / Alexander Hawkins: Leaps In Leicester

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Leaps in Leicester furthers a sequence of duets between renowned saxophonist Evan Parker and pianists that already contains such luminous entries as Rex, Wrecks and XXX (Rogue Art, 2013) with Matthew Shipp and Either, Or And (Relative Pitch, 2014) with Sylvie Courvoisier. His partner this time is Alexander Hawkins, a burgeoning presence on the UK scene who fronts his own ensembles and also works with leaders as diverse as Louis Moholo-Moholo and Mulatu Astatke. While it's not their first documented ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Milt Jackson: Sunflower / Goodbye

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Even if vibes player Milt Jackson had just played with The Modern Jazz Quartet and not embarked on a solo career, his place in jazz history would be secure. However, Jackson was much more than a vital part of the famous chamber jazz group and he recorded a string of excellent albums, including three sessions as a leader for Creed Taylor's label, CTI. Two of those albums are now conveniently gathered in a single-disc package from British ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Grant Green: The Complete Quartets with Sonny Clark – 1961-62

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Imagine if someone discovered a stash of unreleased Beatles records 15 years after they broke up. Then imagine Apple Records released all that music in a 2-CD set. That's what Grant Green: The Complete Quartets with Sonny Clark is like. I exaggerate, but not by much. Grant Green wasn't the Beatles of jazz. But for about five years in the early-to mid-1960s, he was arguably the best jazz guitarist around. He was in the same class ...


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