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Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

ALBUM REVIEW

Dept of Good and Evil feat. Rachel Z: Dept of Good and Evil

Read "Dept of Good and Evil" reviewed by John Kelman

Pianist Rachel Z revisits her successful deconstruction of (largely) contemporary tunes on Everlasting (Tone Center, 2004) with Dept of Good and Evil. This time, however, the trio's more collaborative nature has compelled Z to release the music under a collective group name, Dept of Good and Evil.

There's a stronger balance struck between contemporary material, original material written by Z (alone or in collaboration with drummer/producer Bobbie Rae) and material from the repertoires of saxophonists Wayne Shorter and Joe Henderson. ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Rachel Z: Grace

Read "Grace" reviewed by Stephen Latessa

This should have been easy to avoid. During the recording or planning sessions for Grace, Rachel Z's first vocal album, someone should have had the courage to tell her that she just doesn't sing very well. She has tried many different things over the years, to varying degrees of success, so perhaps she figured that singing would be a nice change of pace. Unfortunately her vocals are a fatal flaw from which the album cannot recover.

It is ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Rachel Z: Everlasting

Read "Everlasting" reviewed by Javier AQ Ortiz

If one has little sympathy for the jazzification of popular music, low tolerance for jazzified swinging musicality for its own sake, outright disgust for anything other than scorching tempos or abstraction for its own sake, derision for space and breaths of cooled musical air between the polarities of accessible depth and potent fragility, then one should stay clear from Rachel Z. One has to wonder, however, if Z's craft would get more attention than it does among some of the ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Rachel Z: Everlasting

Read "Everlasting" reviewed by John Kelman

Deconstructing popular contemporary songs seems to be the current flavour of the month. From the Bad Plus' rock-heavy interpretations of the Pixies to Brad Mehldau's inventive look at Radiohead, artists are realizing that not only is there a wealth of modern material out there to replace the Great American Songbook, but the approach has resulted in drawing a younger audience. Listeners who are less-than-likely to warm to yet another version of “If I Were a Bell" are happier to hear ...

INTERVIEW

Rachel Z Shocks the Bunny

Read "Rachel Z Shocks the Bunny" reviewed by Mike Brannon

Ok, quick...name all the artists you can think of with a last name starting with Z. Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet...but they're all in the Zappa family, right? Ok, Zamfir, if you've really gotta go there. Well, now there's another worthy of that elusive 26th letter... pianist/keyboardist Rachel Niccolazzo or Rachel Z, for short.

Numbered among her many accomplishments, the Grammy award-winning artist has recorded and toured with Wayne Shorter, Steps Ahead and is now a fixture on Peter Gabriel's “Growing Up ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Rachel Z Trio: Moon at the Window

Read "Moon at the Window" reviewed by Todd S. Jenkins

Rachel Z's tribute to Joni Mitchell has perhaps arrived at just the right time, hot on the heels of Mitchell's decision to never record again. No doubt her die-hard fans will be clamoring for as much original and tribute material as possible, and a good many will find joy in this comfortable instrumental release.

It's impossible not to like the buoyant, loving arrangements that Rachel Z has collected here. However, for as many popular tunes as Joni Mitchell has created ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Rachel Z: On The Milky Way Express

Read "On The Milky Way Express" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Rachel Z is a lot shorter than I expected her to be. The former Ms. Nicolazzo, henceforth the ‘Z,’ should be taller, much taller, a height equal to her ambitious sound. The once classical piano student turned jazz pianist, graduated from the New England Conservatory and set about playing music both inside and outside the jazz tradition. That simply means she has led two careers, one in acoustic post bop-oriented jazz and another in jazz-fusion. Playing with such diverse artists ...


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