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John McNeil: Hush Point III

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Trumpeter John McNeil is a real trooper, battling and overcoming much physical adversity, but nevertheless engaging in long-term projects such as the group Hush Point. Joined by saxophonist Jeremy Udden, with Aryeh Kobrinsky on bass and Anthony Pinciotti on drums, McNeil's somewhat idiosyncratic sense of humor (musical and otherwise) is on display, as is his desire to forge a true group sound and aesthetic. The group's marvelous, and purposefully underwhelming third release Hush Point III is full of ...


John McNeil: Hush Point

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Anyone who has played music with others on a regular basis understands inherently that, during a live performance, the sounds emanating from the instruments themselves have a way of clashing or canceling each other out. It's all in the frequencies. Bass and toms get mixed up on the low end, cymbals can kill a clarinet or soprano saxophone. It's not a coincidence that many horn players breath a sigh of relief when they see the drummer go to the brushes. ...


Hush Point: Hush Point

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The quartet Hush Point conjures the possibilities of small group hipness. One that quips instead of guffaws, and prefers covertness to the obvious. Led by John McNeil, this quartet of saxophonist Jeremy Udden, bassist Aryeh Kobrinksy, and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza may be new, but McNeil's sage coolness isn't. The sixty-something trumpeter has been delivering hip since the 1970s with the Horace Silver Quintet and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. As with his previous recordings with saxophonists Bill McHenry, ...


John McNeil's Backbone

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Like many trumpeters, John McNeil has a unique brand above his upper lip where flesh meets metal. It looks like a setting sun, and was visible from up close, as he removed his instrument from his mouth, rose steadily from his stool, and grasped the microphone. “This is the part of any jazz gig where the band plays a blues and one of us talks over it. That's how you know it's jazz...I think," said McNeil, 62, ...


John McNeil and Bill McHenry: Chill Morn He Climb Jenny

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Navigating the wide avenue of American Song can be boring, because the same charts appear on album after album; but when musicians either pick little-known charts of the celebrated composers of the American Songbook, or add little-known composers to that musical tome, things get quirky, but utterly refreshing. This is exactly the case in point regarding Chill Morn He Climb Jenny, the anagrammatic title that would otherwise spell the names of thois quirky duo--trumpeter John McNeil and tenor saxophonist, Bill ...


John McNeil: More Than Just Notes, Man

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Trumpeter John McNeil arrived in New York in the early 1970s and has played with such luminaries as Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, Horace Silver and Gerry Mulligan. He has led his own bands since 1980 and his recordings have garnered worldwide critical acclaim. In addition to his touring schedule, McNeil co-leads a quartet with saxophonist Bill McHenry every Sunday night at Biscuit BBQ (formerly Night and Day) in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. With his eyes frequently brimming with ...


The John McNeil / Bill McHenry Quartet at the Village Vanguard

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The John McNeil / Bill McHenry Quartet at The Village VanguardThe Village VanguardNew York CityAugust 22, 2007 Trumpeter John McNeil, whose release East Coast Cool was on many “Best of--" lists for 2006, has created a band that fulfills his personal musical vision. This quartet, with tenor saxophonist Bill McHenry, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Jochen Ruekert, plays regularly on Sundays at the Biscuit BBQ restaurant in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and thus is a ...


John McNeil: East Coast Cool

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The best jazz is always at least a bit subversive--it does the unexpected, perhaps even setting the listener up for something, only to slap him about it later. Jazz can be the epitome of unpredictability and subversion when musicians play around the melody or forego it altogether, when they fracture the harmony and stretch it to its limits, or when they purposefully thwart a rhythmic pattern. This is the jazz you remember, the albums that get played over and over, ...


John McNeil: East Coast Cool

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Trumpeter/composer John McNeil is after a “third stream of sorts with East Coast Cool. His avowed purpose is to meld the cool jazz feel of the Gerry Mulligan/Chet Baker quartet (which featured baritone sax and trumpet, but no piano) with the more decentralized approach and edge of modern free jazz. While it's impossible to know how the masters of yesterday might have approached this challenge, McNeil (who played with Mulligan and arranged for his tribute band) submits a pretty convincing ...


John McNeil: East Coast Cool

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John McNeil may have stumbled onto something worthwhile here. Of late, the trumpeter/leader/composer has been recording for OmniTone, a Brooklyn-based label which specializes in the edgy music that one might encounter in many of New York's downtown jazz clubs. McNeil goes back some time and has been part of the jazz scene there since the 1970s, also having worked with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra and Horace Silver's quintet. I especially liked his dates as a leader on the Steeplechase ...