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WHAT IS JAZZ?

Jazz and the Meaning of Life

Read "Jazz and the Meaning of Life" reviewed by Douglas Groothuis

I find jazz meaningful and delightful for a happy riot of reasons: its grand tradition and respect for standards, its uniquely American (but also global) identity, its breaking of color barriers, its persistence through changing musical fashions (jazz will never die), its courageous freedom within beautiful forms, and more. Therefore, I was fascinated to find that the prolific literary critic and philosopher Terry Eagleton likens the meaning of life to a jazz performance. That sounds promising! In his ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

We Jazz for your pleasure!

Read "We Jazz for your pleasure!" reviewed by Friedrich Kunzmann

Finland-based label We Jazz records is fast building a reputation for being one of Europe's top quality outlet for contemporary jazz. Only a rather small selection of records is released a year, though each one to great critical acclaim. The only thing tying the music on the different albums together are the meticulous production values; sound and physical appearance of the product are treated with as much care as the music itself— making each record a special work of art. ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Dave Stryker: Eight Track Christmas

Read "Eight Track Christmas" reviewed by Jack Bowers

No, you needn't scour the woods searching for an eight-track tape player (good luck with that). Guitarist Dave Stryker's Eight Track Christmas refers not to outmoded recording / playback equipment but to his Eight Track Band (actually a quartet) and its album of songs for the 2019 holiday season. As those who've heard the group perform on other occasions will readily agree, Stryker's seasonal sentiments are directed toward those who groove on Christmas fare laden with generous helpings of funk ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Pol Belardi's Force: Organic Machines

Read "Organic Machines" reviewed by Don Phipps

On Organic Machines, Pol Belardi's Force quartet offers intoxicating, warmly accessible melodies over rock beats. Composing all 14 numbers on the album, Belardi's lyricism is buoyed by a relatively light touch on bass and the three musicians who accompany him on this outing, pianist Jerome Klein, saxophonist David Fettmann and drummer Niels Engel. All of the numbers on the album are high-spirited. Like an eagle that does not land but rather soars up and into the bright sunny ...

RADIO

Never Forget to Say Thank You

Read "Never Forget to Say Thank You" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin

This week we feature Grammy nominees and finalists from the Hot House/Jazzmobile NYC Readers Jazz Awards, a new release from Alice Ricciardi and Pietro Lussu, plus birthday shout outs to June Christy, Hoagy Carmichael, Johnny Mandel, Etta Jones, pianist Geoffrey Keezer and Michelle Ann May of Musique Noire, among others. Playlist Musique Noire “Pretty Ugly" from Reflections We Breathe (Self released) 00:00 Catherine Russell “Early In the Morning" from Alone Together (Dot Time) 06:28 Carmen Lundy “Ola De ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Avishai Cohen and Yonathan Avishai: Playing The Room

Read "Playing The Room" reviewed by Michael McKinney

Playing the Room, a record pairing New York-based trumpet player Avishai Cohen and Burgundy-based pianist Yonathan Avishai, is a restrained and joyous affair. Their playing glows with a quiet delight, as though the musicians were glad for the simple act of playing together. That rarely comes out in overt and loud celebration, however—this is not a record of fireworks. That much is clear from the start: “The Opening" starts the record off with a stately melody from Avishai; ...

YEAR IN REVIEW

Karl Ackermann’s Top Albums 2019

Read "Karl Ackermann’s Top Albums 2019" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

2019 was the year when one couldn't turn an ear without hearing a release that featured either Kris Davis or Matthew Shipp. Between the two pianist/composer/improvisers, listeners have been treated to more than a dozen recordings, each noteworthy. Then there is Satoko Fujii. On the heels of her 2018, twelve-album birthday celebration, the pianist issued another five in 2019. In 2019 jazz recognized the four-hundred-year anniversary of slavery in the US, documented in multiple albums from their descendants. And it ...


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