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INTERVIEWS

Ted Rosenthal: Dear Erich, A Jazz Opera

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Ted Rosenthal is one of the most renowned pianists of his generation. He won first prize at the second Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition and has been awarded several NEA grants as a composer. Well known as the pianist in Gerry Mulligan's final quartet, Rosenthal has recorded or performed with many other artists, including Bob Brookmeyer, Phil Woods, Art Farmer, Jim Hall, Jon Faddis, Benny Golson, James Moody, Mel Lewis, Lee Konitz and Ken Peplowski. Rosenthal has recorded fifteen ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ted Rosenthal Trio: Rhapsody In Gershwin

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The glories of George Gershwin have been well-documented in jazz settings. In fact, many would argue that Gershwin's music has been done to death. So does the world really need another tribute to this iconic tunesmith? In theory, it does not. Supply and demand, and the very nature of saturation, would say that a more-than-sufficient dose of Gershwin has been given to the world, so it's time to move on. However, these principles have never applied to this type of ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

2013 Yuletide Offerings

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It's clear that the holidays are coming when the mercury dips and the cheery tidings of the season are balanced out by shopping-fueled malaise. When it comes to music, said shopping is often centered on a series of new holiday-themed releases that seem to arrive like clockwork in the weeks and months prior to Christmas; this year--surprise, surprise--is no different than any other year in that respect. In some ways, it's hard to understand the ever-continuing fascination ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ted Rosenthal Trio: Wonderland

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Lots of “Christmas Albums" come out every year. Many of them are nice for an easy holiday listen, but let's face it, expectations are low in terms of endurance, and they can often be rightfully seen as quickly done, quick buck affairs. Then there are the ones that have endured: the Vince Guaraldi Trio's A Charlie Brown Christmas (Fantasy, 1965); Elvis Presley's A Christmas Album (RCA, 1957); and Frank Sinatra's A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra (Capitol, 1957). And aside ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ted Rosenthal Trio: Out of This World

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2011 has been productive year in the recording realm for pianist Ted Rosenthal. His contribution to The Westchester Jazz Orchestra's superb Maiden Voyage Suite (WJO Records) helped elevate the re-imaging of pianist Herbie Hancock's classic Maiden Voyage (Blue Note, 1965) to the highest level of big band artistry. With Out of this World, Rosenthal slips back to the more minimal piano trio, for his exquisite interpretations of some of The Great American Songbook's most beloved compositions.Covering classic tunes ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ted Rosenthal Trio: Out of This World

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Borrowing from The Great American Songbook is a standard practice for many jazz artists, who include one or more pieces when rounding out a repertoire of primarily new material. Not so for pianist Ted Rosenthal, whose affinity for music from the Songbook is reflected on at least two previous recordings, Rosenthology (Concord Jazz, 1994) and One Night in Vermont (Planet Arts, 2003), focusing on music from Irving Berlin, Jimmy Van Heusen, Tadd Dameron and Matt Dennis. On Out of This ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ted Rosenthal Trio: Out Of This World

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Standards, when presented in their original form, speak of the time and place of their creation, but part of their longevity is due to the fact that they aren't encased in an early twentieth century amber that fossilizes and dates the material. The music of George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Billy Strayhorn, and Richard Rodgers is timeless, but it can all be refashioned, refitted and recast to serve any musician's vision and taste. The songs are bodies and the artists are ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ted Rosenthal Trio: Impromptu

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On Impromptu, pianist Ted Rosenthal modestly credits every track to the original classical composer on which the song is based. It's a nice, self-effacing touch, but probably unnecessary. No one will misconstrue this album as anything but a modern jazz recording--and a good one at that--even if Rosenthal is performing adaptations. For the most part, the classical music themes are relatively easy to pick out against the jazz trio format, but they've been heavily adjusted for tempo and ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ted Rosenthal Trio: Impromptu

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As legend has it, the term “third stream" was invented by Gunther Schuller in 1957, to prevent jazz and classical fans from resenting incursions onto their turf by the other side. This new musical entity would be neither classical nor jazz, and not just a simple merging of the two: it would be more than jazz with strings, or classical pieces played by jazz artists. The challenge was to take compositions that are centuries old and infuse them with a ...

NEW YORK BEAT

Ted Rosenthal and Thelonious Monk

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This is the year for numerous Monk retrospectives. There are many themes. One show celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Town Hall concert when Hall Overton arranged Monk's compositions for a large band. Another show focuses on Monk's pianism at Minton's Playhouse. And on and on. The concert that I found most intriguing was held in a series dubbed Jazz at DaCapo, with Ted Rosenthal as artistic director. Entitled Images of Monk the performance at the delightful uptown concert hall ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ted Rosenthal Trio: My Funny Valentine

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Ted Rosenthal's My Funny Valentine finds the pianist joined by bassist George Mraz and drummer Al Foster in a tribute to singer Helen Merrill. Rosenthal and Mraz have toured extensively with Merrill in Japan and this CD serves up songs from her repertoire. The subtleties of the arrangements combined with intriguing juxtapositions and perfect lyricism make this a stellar session. The tunes are from the Great American Songbook and, Merrill connection aside, this continues Rosenthal's exploration of ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ted Rosenthal Trio: My Funny Valentine

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In a skittish music industry where labels increasingly blur their identities and grab at gimmicks just to stay alive, it's reassuring to know that Venus Records continues to produce high-quality, straight-ahead jazz. Based in Japan but recording mostly in New York, Venus has a longstanding, signature focus on documenting the world's best piano trios, and My Funny Valentine is no exception.

This project was conceived by leader Ted Rosenthal as an instrumental tribute to singer Helen ...