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Articles | Featured | Future

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hearts & Minds: Electroradiance

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It took millions and millions of years of evolution to produce dinosaurs that weighed 40 tons. Who'd have thunk it possible that those creatures are the ancestors of modern birds? Same consideration might be applied to the trio Heart & Minds. That is, if you're not into the whole creationist jazz scene. Some of those dinosaurs appeared to be a bizarre patchwork of feathers, armor, and teeth. Really big teeth. But there was an internal logic to these evolutionary adaptations, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jason Stein's Locksmith Isidore: After Caroline

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By 2018 he doesn't have to do it. Do what? Prove himself, and maybe also demonstrate the bass clarinet worthy of leading an ensemble. Jason Stein has the bona fides these days, proof being his much admired quartet and trio Locksmith Isidore. His trio was the opening act for his sister, comedian Amy Schumer's 10,000-seat arena tour the past few years and some of that rock star juju clings to After Caroline, the fourth release by Locksmith Isidore.

BAILEY'S BUNDLES

The Delmark Sound: Jason Stein Quartet and Corey Dennison Band

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Delmark Records has been a jny: Chicago institution for better than 60 years, most under the watchful eye of founder Bob Koester. The label remains the oldest jazz and blues record label operating in the United States. Like its fabled successor, ECM, the label sports a sonic world all its own. While an odd comparison, any jazz enthusiast breathing air recognizes and understands the “ECM Sound." Demark has a similar distinctive sound. No, it is not that light and vaporous ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jason Stein Quartet: Lucille

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Jason Stein continues to curve a niche in the jazz world, but it's not what you might assume. Listeners straightaway assume that he is an idiosyncratic outlier because his sole instrument is the bass clarinet. We've grown accustomed to saxophonists like Eric Dolphy and David Murray doubling on the bass clarinet. Stein's constancy to this one woodwind instrument, like Germany's Rudi Mahal, is unequivocal, yet the sound of the instrument doesn't define his trajectory.Stein plots an unconventional and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jason Stein/Paul Giallorenzo/Frank Rosaly: Hearts & Minds

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When the Chicago trio of Jason Stein, Paul Giallorenzo, and Frank Rosaly, known as Hearts & Minds, plays music Sun Ra smiles from somewhere interplanetary. Not that the mighty Ra favored small groups, he mostly worked with his large Arkestra, rather, it's that the wellspring for this 21st century music are his concepts and instrumentation. Sun Ra's saxophonist John Gilmore, then later Robert Cummings, employed a bass clarinet as Jason Stein does here. Drummer Frank Rosaly juggles varied and complex ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jason Stein Quartet: The Story This Time

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The two horns, bass and drums quartet is becoming a commonplace grouping even though it hasn't quite reached the saturation point of the piano-bass-drums trio. A consequence of this instrumentation is the obvious decline in novelty value and, indeed, the ability to catch the ear, but this is a leader and group only too aware of that, which explains why this is such a fresh body of music. Jason Stein also plays the bass clarinet exclusively, which in a sense ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jason Stein's Locksmith Isidore: Three Kinds of Happiness

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Locksmith Isidore's third release is a study in improvisational and composition-based contrasts. Led by bass clarinetist Jason Stein, the program is underscored by a frothy outlook amid temperate interludes and more than enough pop, snap and fluid progressions. Other than his inventive soloing jaunts, Stein communicates a keen jazz vernacular, molding conventional jazz fare with a nouveau slant. These compelling attributes radiate on “Little Bird." Stein launches the ballad with subtle phrasings, entrenched in a soul-stirring gait. He ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Got Bass Clarinet? Jason Stein Does

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In the short history of jazz--only about 110 years--the bass clarinet has had an even shorter existence. Students of Charles Darwin's evolutionary studies might point towards the adaption of the instrument into the new jazz of the 1960s; or perhaps the branch of evolution studies called biogeography might explain that fertile locations spawn growth in the use of certain instruments. Nonetheless, the bass clarinet has only appeared in fits-and-starts throughout the jazz story. If the progenitor was Eric Dolphy, his ...