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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Pagan Trio: Three for the Ages

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Pianist Michael Pagan is known as a prolific composer and arranger for small combos to big bands, and is currently Assistant Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. It is, however, his performance as a musician on Three for the Ages that stands out above his already impressive musical credentials. Adept at recording with big bands, and in a duet and solo formats, as well as small ensembles, Pagan's last trio recording was Tacitus Plus ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Pagan Big Band: Pag's Groove

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For his second album on Capri, pianist/composer Michael Pagán leads his big band on eight selections that demonstrate his ability to add texture and harmonization to the arrangements. Other than the Ray Evans/Jay Livingston standard “Never Let Me Go," all of the tunes are originals.

Originally from Ohio and with a degree from Northwestern, Pagán was selected by Downbeat, while still a student, as a “Musician Deserving Wider Recognition." He has taught jazz composition and arranging at the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Pagan Big Band: Pag's Groove

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Big bands dead? Far from it, my friend. In fact, so many spectacular new albums have been released this year that I may have to enlarge my Top Ten list to a Top Twenty. Here's another leading candidate for inclusion on anyone's honor roll, Pag's Groove, composer/arranger/pianist Michael Pagán's highly impressive big band debut on Capri Records, which continues on an upward curve set in motion last year with a trio of superb recordings by the Mark Masters Jazz Ensemble. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Pagan Big Band: Pag's Groove

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The saxophones come prowling out, darkly, on “Essential Trivia," the opening track on Pag's Groove. Then the bass and vibes lighten the feeling, and the Michael Pagán Big Band starts the show off swinging. Gorgeous tones prevail, vivid colors splashing all over the charts. Composer/arranger/bandleader Michael Pagán's arrangements use a palette that includes all the colors, bright hues over grey washes, or twining, tapestry style, in and out of the deeper toned threads. It's hard to nail down his influences. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Pagan Quintet: Is Waiting for You

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Not at all what was foreseen, and so much for one’s preconceived notions. Knowing that Cadence Records has a tendency to veer toward the avant–garde, I suspected that this date by pianist Pagán’s quintet might answer to that description. Not so. I’ve checked and double–checked, and you can rest assured that Pagán delivers the whole package — melody, harmony and rhythm — in abundance. Beyond that, he is an eye–opening and ear–catching pianist, technically sound and conspicuously resourceful, who writes ...