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Ezra Weiss Big Band: We Limit Not The Truth of God

Read "We Limit Not The Truth of God" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Composer / arranger Ezra Weiss's debut big-band recording, We Limit Not the Truth of God, is actually a suite written for his two young children to help them understand and embrace the often confusing and chaotic world in which we live. It is thus entirely appropriate that the album was recorded (with an audience) in a church, Portland (OR)'s historic Alberta Abbey. What is not quite clear is the referent “we" in the album's presumptuous title. Is that “we" as ...

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Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble: From Maxville to Vanport

Read "From Maxville to Vanport" reviewed by Jack Bowers

From Maxville to Vanport is music with a purpose, saluting the courage and resilience of black Americans who helped build those cities in the '20s and '40s in the face of unrelenting prejudice and hostility and in so doing helped make the state of Oregon what it is today. The music is by Ezra Weiss, the lyrics by poet S. Renee Mitchell, the performance by the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble featuring vocalist Marilyn Keller. As a part of the score ...

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Ezra Weiss Sextet: Before You Know It [Live In Portland]

Read "Before You Know It [Live In Portland]" reviewed by Dave Wayne

On Before You Know It, pianist / composer Ezra Weiss provides convincing evidence for the continued health and well-being of good old, straight ahead, gimmick-free modern acoustic jazz. The archetype for Weiss' beefy band and punchy charts would include Art Blakey's expanded Jazz Messenger lineups, some of McCoy Tyner's larger groups from the early-to-late 1970s, or perhaps some of Slide Hampton's septets and octets. Yet, Weiss' sound is utterly contemporary, exploring a wide variety of modern jazz styles in a ...

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Ezra Weiss Sextet: Before You Know It [Live In Portland]

Read "Before You Know It [Live In Portland]" reviewed by Edward Blanco

Portland State University professor Ezra Weiss is a prominent pianist and composer in his own right who has several recordings to his credit and is a three-time winner of the prestigious ASCAP Young Composer Award. A traditionalist who prefers the straight ahead and modern jazz styles, Weiss delivers another gem on Before You Know It [Live In Portland], his seventh album as leader with one important distinction: the session was recorded at the Ivories Jazz Lounge in Portland, Oregon, for ...

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Ezra Weiss Sextet: Before You Know It [Live In Portland]

Read "Before You Know It [Live In Portland]" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

Recorded over two nights in Portland's Ivories Jazz Lounge during late-2013, Before You Know It [Live In Portland] is pianist and composer Ezra Weiss' seventh album and his first live recording. Weiss' previous releases have featured big bands (Our Path To This Moment [Roark Records, 2012]) and trios (The Shirley Horn Suite [Roark Records, 2011]). However, it's the sextet format that has featured most strongly on Weiss' recordings and it's this line-up that returns for Before You Know ...

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Ezra Weiss and The Rob Scheps Big Band: Our Path To This Moment

Read "Our Path To This Moment" reviewed by Edward Blanco

A veteran jazz artist and educator, Oregon-based Ezra Weiss is much more than a fine pianist; he is a talented composer and arranger nominated for Best Arranger under the Rising Star category of Downbeat Magazine's 60th Annual Critics Poll of 2012. Since graduating from the country's oldest music school (Ohio's Oberlin Conservatory of Music), Weiss has produced five recordings as well as penning countless compositions for various high school and college music departments. Weiss has always yearned to produce a ...

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Ezra Weiss: The Shirley Horn Suite

Read "The Shirley Horn Suite" reviewed by Wilbert Sostre

Portland based pianist/composer Ezra Weiss' fifth release is a tribute to Shirley Horn, who died in 2005 at age 71. Horn was an excellent pianist and sensitive vocalist, and a Grammy Award-winner in 1991, for Best Jazz Vocal Performance. Weiss is certainly an extraordinaire composer, the winner of three ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Awards. Five of the nine compositions on The Shirley Horn Suite are Weiss originals, including “Shirley Horn's Sound Of Love," “May The Most You Wish ...

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Ezra Weiss: The Shirley Horn Suite

Read "The Shirley Horn Suite" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

Pianist Ezra Weiss' love of Shirley Horn's music began in his youth, coming to fruition on lovingly crafted The Shirley Horn Suite, his tribute to the singer and pianist who died in 2005. A mix of originals and standards, his fifth album as leader is a sophisticated work, with some fresh compositions and terrific performances. Weiss' previous albums have featured groups of six or more musicians. This is a traditional piano trio outing, performed with subtlety. Steve ...

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Ezra Weiss: Get Happy

Read "Get Happy" reviewed by Ken Dryden

Pianist Ezra Weiss' third CD as a leader takes a bit of different path than his earlier outings. On hand once more are alto saxophonist Antonio Hart, tenorist Kelly Roberge and either Billy Hart or Jason Brown on drums, while new faces include bassist Corcoran Holt, trumpeter Kevin Louis and trombonists Andy Hunter or Andrae Murchison, as well as vocals on a few tracks. He also expands his repertoire with standards. The punchy post-bop setting of “It's ...

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Ezra Weiss: Get Happy

Read "Get Happy" reviewed by Eyal Hareuveni

The third release by New York-based pianist/composer Ezra Weiss is a sophisticated and optimistic conceptual statement about the search for happiness through original composition, clever references, intimate and nuanced playing, and updating the Great American Songbook with fresh arrangements. Weiss is joined by fellow alumni from the Oberlin Conservatory and Queens College--bassist Corcoran Holt and drummer Jason Brown--as well as esteemed teachers, including master drummer Billy Hart (who taught Weiss at Oberlin) and alto saxophonistAntonio Hart (who taught Weiss at ...

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Ezra Weiss: Get Happy

Read "Get Happy" reviewed by Michael P. Gladstone

Enthusiasts of the Great American Songbook will thoroughly enjoy Ezra Weiss' Get Happy, his third release. Even though six of the ten tracks on this album are standards, two Weiss originals fit within the same boundaries. It is only on the last two tracks, also Weiss originals, where the album veers into other musical territory.

Beginning with Weiss' “For Heather," the pianist displays a strong and attractive melody line with a decidedly romantic attitude. The Strouse/Adams show tune ...

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Ezra Weiss: Persephone

Read "Persephone" reviewed by Robert R. Calder

These young men who understand the point of playing hard bop do so here in a strongly compositional, mini-orchestral context. After a piano intro to “Lord, Give me Wings," Kelly Roberge's tenor saxophone is first up, a soft-toned asset to deeply crafted ensembles, congenial too in solo. The trumpet crackles, with telling, not showy piano support. Starting slow and in stillness, Antonio Hart's deep-voiced alto soon kicks in, this spirited invocation of the muses stronger yet for Billy Hart's workout ...


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