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Articles by Chris Mosey

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Carla Campopiano Trio: Chicago/Buenos Aires Connections

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Just as jazz was born in the brothels of New Orleans, tango was first played in disreputable dives along the banks of the River Plate (Rio de Plata), which forms the natural border between Argentina and Uruguay. It was a heady mix of the German waltz, the Czech polka, the Polish mazurka, the Bohemian schottische, the Spanish-Cuban habanera, the African candombe and the Argentinian milonga. Like jazz, as it developed, its direction of travel was northwards. Finally, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Gil Evans Orchestra: Hidden Treasures Vol. 1, Monday Nights

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Gil Evans, the most innovative arranger in the history of jazz, died in 1988. He is remembered for his work with Miles Davis in the 1950s, starting with the ground-breaking album The Birth Of The Cool with a pianoless nonet, and peaking with Miles Ahead, in which he turned a collection of seemingly diverse songs into a concept album by expertly writing small linking passages to them. Hidden Treasures has been produced by his sons, Miles and ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Classic vinyl remasterings from Storyville

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In time for the festive season, the Copenhagen label Storyville is reissuing three classic albums from its archives remastered on 180-gram vinyl: Charlie Parker In Sweden, 1950; Ben Webster Plays Ballads; and Sahib Shihab's “lost" minor masterpiece Sentiments. The Charlie Parker album was recorded on November 24, 1950 at a concert in the southern city of Helsingborg and a jam session afterwards. It was last made available in 1983 and comes with original sleeve art and liner ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ben Zahler's Songgoing: Quietly Cold

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Swiss flautist Ben Zahler names his principal influences as Herbie Mann and Eric Dolphy. Having said that, he immediately backtracks. Mann was too commercial, Dolphy too experimental. Zahler positions himself somewhere between the two. He strives to avoid the “streamlined sluggishness" of Mann and similarly has no truck with way-out, overblowing excess a la Dolphy. In very Swiss fashion, he takes a neutral standpoint though--as the sleeve note to the album by Swiss journalist Steff Rohrbach, of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jack Mouse Group: Intimate Adversary

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The great Spanish cellist Pablo Casals would sometimes refer to his instrument as his “intimate adversary." Illinois drummer/composer Jack Mouse has borrowed the term as title for a laid-back, carefully orchestrated piece, which he plans as the first movement of a two-part suite. It's the most ambitious number on this, the album of the same name, and some of the ensemble parts have an appropriately Spanish tinge to them. Mouse draws on a wide variety of sources ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chris Pasin: Ornettiquette

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It's amazing how quickly what was billed as the future of jazz became its past. In 1959 when saxophonist Ornette Coleman released his third album, he wanted to call it Focus On Sanity. Instead, at the insistence of Atlantic producer Nesuhi Ertegun, it was portentously titled The Shape Of Jazz To Come. Other musicians took heed and the free jazz movement was born. Commercially this was a disaster for jazz, with record buyers deserting the music en ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Christopher Hollyday: Telepathy

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Born into a musical family in 1970, with a father who was crazy about bebop, there was little doubt where Christopher Hollyday would be going in life. He began playing alto saxophone when he was nine. His older brother Richard played trumpet and they played together in the Boston area for two years, causing the New York Times, to write: “At times they sounded as though Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie had been reunited." Aged just 18, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Thomas Fonnesbæk: Sharing

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The title is apt and perhaps a trifle ironic. Danish bassist Thomas Fonnesbaek and the blind young American pianist Justin Kauflin share a condition known as synaesthesia, in which their senses overlap and they experience music as color. For this, their second album together and recorded in Gothenburg, Sweden, they are joined on by Kauflin's childhood friend, drummer Billy Williams, who has worked with a number of first-class jazz musicians including Benny Golson, Ellis Marsalis and Christian ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chucho Valdes: Jazz Bata 2

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With Jazz Bata 2, composer pianist and bandleader Chucho Valdés finally follows up on an experimental album he cut in Cuba in 1972. The subject matter of both records is the folklore and religious beliefs of the Yoruba slaves shipped to the Caribbean between 1770 and 1840. On Jazz Bata 2 Valdés' piano is backed by Dreiser Darruthy Bombale, playing various batá, double-headed drums shaped like hourglasses with one end larger than the other, used in Yoruba ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ranky Tanky: Ranky Tanky

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Ranky Tanky are based in Charleston, South Carolina. They specialize in jazz-and blues-influenced arrangements of the traditional music of the Gullah people, who came from West Africa as slaves in the 19th century. They were brought to South Carolina's Low Country and Sea Islands to work on plantations where their knowledge of rice cultivation could be put to good use and where high humidity and mosquitoes made life unbearable for whites and blacks from elsewhere in Africa. Best-known descendant of ...