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ALBUM REVIEWS

Peter Madsen: Curiouser and Curiouser

Read "Curiouser and Curiouser" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

There are times when star ratings don't tell or can't tell the whole story. Five stars, four, three, two, billions upon billions of stars. Veteran pianist Peter Madsen's Curiouser and Curiouser is just one of those times. It's a great listen but is it an essential one? Without being too harsh, no. Is it a disc with plenty of repeat listenings in it? For many yes, for others, probably not. Sorry, but the star system isn't going to work for ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Peter Madsen's Storytellers: Curiouser and Curiouser

Read "Curiouser and Curiouser" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

In 2018 Peter Madsen released Never Bet the Devil Your Head (Playscape), a fine CD by his jazz-classical hybrid group, the Seven Seas Ensemble, that was dedicated to the writing of Edgar Allan Poe. Now he brings the jazz half of the Ensemble together for another set of music based on classic literature, this time, Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Given the subject, this music has an understandably brighter mood than the Poe project. The “Alice" theme itself ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Peter Madsen's Storytellers: Curiouser and Curiouser

Read "Curiouser and Curiouser" reviewed by Troy Dostert

After devoting a number of his recordings on the Playscape label to the songbooks of Thelonious Monk (Sphere Essence: Another Side of Monk, 2003), Billy Strayhorn (Satin Doll, 2017) and even Elvis Presley (Elvis Never Left the Building, 2014), pianist Peter Madsen has since sought out literary texts for inspiration. 2018 was a particularly fruitful year, as Never Bet the Devil Your Head investigated the macabre works of Edgar Allan Poe, while I Ching went in a more philosophical direction ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Peter Madsen & Alfred Vogel: I Ching

Read "I Ching" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

Even if it all turns out to be hogwash in the end, the mysteries of the I Ching--its divination powers, its myth and madness--have held the world's consciousness in awe and fear for at least three thousand years. These legends and provocations are explored with resounding depth and clarity on I Ching, with pianist Peter Madsen and drummer Alfred Vogel tackling a series of sixteen captivating improvisations, each predicated on a throw of the I Ching's coins and the variables ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Peter Madsen: Never Bet The Devil Your Head

Read "Never Bet The Devil Your Head" reviewed by Troy Dostert

It isn't essential to be a fan of Edgar Allen Poe's uncanny writings to enjoy pianist Peter Madsen's musical tribute to the author, Never Bet the Devil Your Head. But readers familiar with Poe's disturbing fiction will absolutely appreciate the thoughtful touches found in abundance on Madsen's album. With the help of the Seven Sins Ensemble, an Austria-based octet Madsen first utilized on 2012's Gravity of Love (also on Playscape) that includes a string quartet in addition to standard jazz ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Peter Madsen: Never Bet The Devil Your Head

Read "Never Bet The Devil Your Head" reviewed by Chris Mosey

Close study of the only existing daguerréotype of American author Edgar Allan Poe (1809--1849) reveals that he bore an extraordinary resemblance to British comedian John Cleese on a bad hair day. Could this be why, despite his many accomplishments, the modern world has trouble taking Poe seriously? Jazz pianist/composer Peter Madsen has no such problems. With this album he revisits a lifelong fascination with Poe and his gothic horror stories. Madsen explains, “Before composing ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Peter Madsen: Never Bet The Devil Your Head

Read "Never Bet The Devil Your Head" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

Based on pianist/composer/bandleader Peter Madsen's extensive CV: Stan Getz, Stanley Turrentine, Dewey Redman, Benny Golson, Don Cherry, Kenny Garrett, Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman, Ravi Coltrane, Maceo Parker, Bill Frisell, John Abercombie and the Mingus Big Band, it's not surprising and often brilliant that on his eighth release for Playscape, Madsen exhibits a nearly prog-rock, anything goes flair on Never Bet the Devil Your Head. Inspired by reading a different Edgar Allan Poe story before sitting down and composing, ...


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