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Articles by Chris M. Slawecki

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alan Hall: Heroes, Saints and Clowns

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Ratatet, the sextet led by drummer Alan Hall, doesn't seem to quite fit into a musical box of any style or shape. One of the San Francisco Bay area's most respected musical performers and educators, Hall assembled this uniquely constructed ensemble from fragments of previous engagements: He previously played in a trio called Electreo with Paul Hanson (here on tenor sax and bassoon, acoustic and with electronic treatments) and Jeff Denson (on fretless electric and double acoustic bass). Hall and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Spanglish Fly: Ay Que Boogaloo!

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Jonathan Goldman sure seems like one interesting dude. An Associate Professor at New York Institute of Technology, Goldman edited the seminal study Joyce and the Law (University of Florida Press, 2017) and leads one of the most famous reading groups for one of Joyce's most infamous works, Ulysses. And as lead trumpet and bandleader for New York's own Spanglish Fly, he's one of the world's leading proponents of the irresistibly liberating rhythms, sounds and beats of Latin soul and boogaloo. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nicola Conte: Let Your Light Shine On

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One of the best parts of Let Your Light Shine On is how it plucks out musical threads from throughout the galaxy (more on that later) and knits them together into truly groovy, soulful cloth. But music is only one of many real good things this set has going on. Light is the first album by internationally-renown Italian DJ, composer, guitarist, bandleader and producer Nicola Conte for Germany's esteemed jazz label MPS Records. “For me, when it comes ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Emilio Santiago: Emilio Santiago

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In 1975, vocalist Emilio Santiago was riding high as “The Nat King Cole of Brazil" and recording this eponymous full-length debut with some of that verdant musical nation's leading jazz composers and instrumentalists, including João Donato (keyboards), Danilo Caymmi (flute), Wilson das Neves (drums) and Victor Assis Brasil (saxophone). The four decades which have since passed have not tarnished this debut's warm and mellow glow. In the opening “Bananeira" (jointly composed by Donato and Gilberto Gil), the sheer ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lonnie McFadden: Live at Green Lady Lounge

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In his own words, tap dancer, composer, trumpeter, vocalist, and bandleader Lonnie McFadden is, “an unapologetic Kansas City jazz guy." He may be a classic “song and dance man" type of entertainer, but Live at Green Lady Lounge demonstrates that he is also more than that. Lonnie McFadden was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. His father Jimmy was one of The Three Chocolate Drops, one of that swingin' city's most famous traveling tap dancing troupes. As ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dialeto: Dialeto Live with David Cross

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It's a question that inevitably finds every serious music listener: What do you listen to when you don't know what you want to listen to, other than you want to listen to “something different?" Howzabout Dialeto: Live with David Cross the next time this mood finds you? Is a set that simultaneously honors one of Eastern Europe's legendary musicologists and classical composers AND one of Western Europe's legendary progressive rock fusion ensembles, powerfully rendered by a hard-hitting power ...

FROM THE INSIDE OUT

Heartbeats Full of Soul

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Nicola Conte & Spiritual Galaxy Let Your Light Shine On MPS 2018 One of the best parts of Let Your Light Shine On is how it plucks out musical threads from throughout the galaxy (more on that later) and knits them together into truly groovy, soulful cloth. But music is only one of many real good things this set has going on. Light is the first album by internationally-renown Italian ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marbin: Israeli Jazz

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Marbin's name and music come from the combined visions of saxophonist Danny Markovitch and guitarist Dani Rabin. Dani was born in California but grew up in Israel, where he met Markovitch and first formed Marbin as a duo in 2007. “Both Danny and I grew up in Israel listening to Israeli music, but we also grew up listening to jazz, rock, folk and blues," Rabin explains. “We felt it's appropriate to name the album Israeli Jazz because it ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Malo: Latin Bugaloo: The Warner Bros. Singles

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"Malo was pretty much a jam," reflects Malo bandleader Jorge Santana (younger brother to Carlos Santana) in the notes to Latin Bugaloo. “Just a lot of natural energy. But it had to be structured into an arrangement." Latin Bugaloo compiles the A-and B-sides of six Malo singles released during the band's 1970s golden age, plus two sides ("Pana" and “Just Say Goodbye") released as a single only in Turkey for reasons not even Santana remembers. Because the original ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nils Landgren: Unbreakable

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The very first album released by German progressive label ACT Records (in 1994) was by the Funk Unit led by trombone master Nils Landgren, recorded Live in Stockholm that summer with Maceo Parker as special guest. Other Funk Unit releases for ACT Records include Paint It Blue (1996), the trombonist's tribute to composer/saxophonist Cannonball Adderley with Randy Brecker, Michael Brecker, drummer Bernard Purdie and other guests; and Funky Abba (2004), Landgren's Funk Unit tribute to the legendary Swedish popsters, graced ...