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THE JAZZ LIFE

The Little Metal Buddha

Read "The Little Metal Buddha" reviewed by Spike Wilner

A short piece this time. But sometimes saying what you want, like playing what you want, in as few words--or notes as possible, is really the way to go. The Jazz Life is an interesting project I'm engaged in, writing and searching for things to say that focus on what we do in order to live and perform as jazz musicians. I'm interested in hearing from anyone via All About Jazz who has a story to tell about ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Spike Wilner: Koan

Read "Koan" reviewed by Mark Corroto

I have an idea that pianist Spike Wilner has read Kenny Werner's book Effortless Mastery: Liberating The Master Musician Within (1996), because Koan emulates Werner's lessons in surrendering one's self to music. Werner's teachings on enlightenment flow through this trio recording, Wilner's sixth as a leader. As a disciple of Harlem stride and ragtime, Wilner, like so many modern pianists from Thelonious Monk to McCoy Tyner, has the ability to open his own book at any page in ...

RECORD LABEL PROFILES

Big Jazz on SmallsLIVE

Read "Big Jazz on SmallsLIVE" reviewed by Bob Kenselaar

Since its launch in 2010, the SmallsLIVE record label has been offering a substantial sampling of the outstanding jazz talent consistently featured at Smalls Jazz Club in New York City's Greenwich Village. Musicians who appear on the label range from the great veterans Harold Mabern and Jimmy Cobb to contemporary players at the top of their careers like Larry Goldings and Roy Hargrove, not to mention a mainstay of the Smalls scene: up-and-coming young musicians quickly making names for themselves, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Spike Wilner: La Tendresse

Read "La Tendresse" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

There are few greater champions of the old and new in jazz than pianist/club owner/musical antiquarian Spike Wilner. His role in resuscitating and running one of the most important night spots for jazz in New York--Smalls Jazz Club--has made him a hero to those who frequent that bastion of musical integrity, but he's also revered as an ivory tickling keeper-of-the-flame for musical styles of yesteryear. Stride piano and ragtime are at the root of his playing, but he also mixes ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Spike Wilner: La Tendresse

Read "La Tendresse" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Joy.But having been told that one word reviews aren't sufficient, how about this: Pianist Spike Wilner's disc La Tendresse is pure joy.Wilner can probably best be described as an old soul occupying a modernist corpus. His foundations in ragtime and stride piano inform the music heard here, but like Thelonious Monk, he uses the tradition as the architecture for the anatomy of a modern player. Even his take on “Crepuscule With Nellie," the classic Monk expression ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Spike Wilner: 3 To Go

Read "3 To Go" reviewed by George Kanzler

At a small jazz festival a few years ago the advertised theme was a celebration of Duke Ellington's music. But some featured acts, including one highly regarded younger pianist, obviously hadn't taken the theme very seriously, his only begrudging nod to it being a rendition of the jam session standby, “C-Jam Blues," hardly a tune representative of Ellington's artistry. Pianist Spike Wilner demonstrates a better, more thoughtful and creative approach in the two pieces of Ellingtonia included on this urbane ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Spike Wilner: Late Night: Live At Smalls

Read "Late Night: Live At Smalls" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Michael “Spike" Wilner was a fixture at the late, lamented New York City club Smalls, which was a very hip little place that featured great music by young, rising musicians at reasonable prices. This CD, consisting of live performances by Wilner's quintet and trio, functions as a fitting memorial to that place. The resulting sounds are spirited and always swinging.

Wilner's music is rooted in bebop; the musicians adroitly negotiate the intricate rhythms of bop phrasing. And they ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Spike Wilner Ensemble: A Blues of Many Colors

Read "A Blues of Many Colors" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Pianist/composer Spike Wilner got the group together for a month of gigs at Smalls, the jazz club in in New York's Greenwich village, to polish up their chops for the recording session that resulted in A Blues of Many Colors. Time well spent: they put a nice shine on nine of Wilner's compositions.The ensemble is a quintet, piano/bass/drums rhythm behind the rather unusual combination of a guitar/alto sax front line. And an initial impression of the set is ...


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