Articles by Chris Mosey

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Herlin Riley: Perpetual Optimism

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Herlin Riley, a drummer from New Orleans, is a member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, led by Wynton Marsalis. Indeed, he played a large part in developing the drum parts for the Pulitzer Prize-winning album by Marsalis, Blood on the Fields (Columbia, 1997). On his own album, Riley leads a mainstream quintet playing five of his own numbers, Gene de Paul's lovely ballad “You Don't What Love Is," Victor Young's “Stella By Starlight," Ellis Marsalis' “Twelve's ...

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Gene Ess: Apotheosis

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The inspiration for Apotheosis, Japanese-American guitarist Gene Ess's fourth album, is taken from mythologist James Campbell's book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces," first published in 1949. In this Campbell describes apotheosis as “the expansion of consciousness a hero experiences when defeating his foe." His theories concerning fictional heroes have been used as a template by many modern writers and artists, including George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars films. Now Ess is applying them to jazz. ...

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Christian Li & Mike Bono: Visitors

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The New York-based duo of guitarist Mike Bono and pianist Christian Li celebrate a decade of collaboration with Visitors, which they see as “a souvenir of the past and a blueprint for the future." It's a varied album of nine originals, with engineer Pran Bandi trying as much as possible to recreate a live atmosphere in the studio, facilitating communication and connection. The opening number, “Puddles," is pleasantly meditative with an interesting solo from Dayna Stephens on ...

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Mathias Algotsson: Home At Work Again

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Mathias Algotsson's music resembles the provincial Swedish society that he calls home: well thought-out and carefully executed with few surprises. He sees music as his work and, because he produces it at home, called his first album Home At Work. It is no surprise that the follow-up should be titled Home At Work Again. Algotsson has assembled a highly competent band of local musicians to play with him. Like him, some have backed Swedish vocalist Carin Lundin, ...

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Brent Birckhead: Birckhead

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Having positioned himself at the outer limits of expression, wailing and bleeping on his alto saxophone as he hurls his long, dreadlocked hair around like a dervish, Brent Birckhead obviously feels he can now occasionally relax, cease heeding the call of his neuroses and play what is sometimes quite beautiful music. This realization has been a long time coming, but well worth waiting for. His publicist sees Birckhead's playing as a project: “Rooted in activism, introspection and ...

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Ellen Rowe: Momentum: Portraits of Women in Motion

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An all-women jazz band playing songs about women--this is a CD whose time has surely come. Pianist Ellen Rowe has duly put together a collection of original songs lauding her gender. She says: “Each piece on this album is a tribute to women heroes of mine in disciplines ranging from music to social justice, environmental advocacy, sports and politics... the many amazing women who have had a profound influence on me. This album is a celebration of ...

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Jake Leckie: The Abode

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Bassist Jake Leckie, born in Boston but currently living in Los Angeles, describes the eight songs on this, his first album, as “a meditation on migration, understanding and empathy." He says they pay tribute to the people and places that have contributed to his identity and are intended to evoke a sense of place and home--his very own abode. He took the title from Alice Coltrane's concept of heaven, the Supreme Abode, as described in her memoir, ...

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Ben Webster: Ben Webster's First Concert in Denmark

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This is a small piece of jazz history. In January 1965, Ben Webster, newly arrived in Europe from America, was working out where to settle down. This concert shows why he decided on Copenhagen. The album starts with Webster making a point about the playing of his former boss Duke Ellington's “In A Mellotone." Webster argues his case on piano, an instrument he played well, while brusquely growling instructions to producer Børge Roger Henrichsen. There is a ...

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Julian Lage: Love Hurts

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Julian Lage is a tremendously talented acoustic guitarist and by all accounts a polite, mild mannered kind of guy. Though this might not be the whole story. The cover picture of his album is of twenty used matches, which is thought to refer to his worries of becoming burnt-out after being hailed as a child prodigy then burdened with the lofty expectations of his admirers. Lage was an accomplished blues guitarist when featured in the Oscar-nominated film ...

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Joey DeFrancesco: In The Key Of The Universe

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This is an important, even historic album. It marks--unannounced--the return of a great figure of the free jazz era, Pharoah Sanders. Saxophonist Albert Ayler once famously declared, “Trane was the Father, Pharoah was the Son, I am the Holy Ghost." Hammond organist Joey DeFrancesco has orchestrated Sanders' return from oblivion. Without it, the album would be just one more round of Hammond organ tunes that adhere to DeFrancesco's dictum “I just like to swing." ...

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Alfredo Rodriguez: Duologue

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Alfredo Rodriguez is the classically trained son of Cuban singer/composer “Alfredito" Rodriguez. In 2009, he accompanied his father on a concert tour of Mexico, decided not to return to his homeland, and asked for political asylum in the U.S. Once there, he began a music career aided by veteran producer Quincy Jones. In 2015, he won a Grammy nomination for his arrangement of the classic Latin American folk song “Guantanamera" at the 57th GRAMMY Awards.Pedrito Martinez is a ...

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Cyrille Aimee: Move On - A Sondheim Adventure

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Cyrille Aimée's latest album may come as a shock to fans of the French vocalist. Gone is the light, bubbly approach that has been her hallmark. Aimée is now a “musical interpreter," no less, and is devoting a whole album to the late works of American composer Stephen Sondheim. Except for Adrien Moignard's acoustic guitar on “So Many People," she has discarded her marvelous manouche backing band, depriving her of the interplay that made her recent stint ...


Oshun by Omar Sosa & Yilian Canizares

This music video features the track "Oshun," from the CD Aguas by Omar Sosa and Yilian Canizares. Its animated graphics were created using After Effects, Moho Pro, and Photoshop by Madrid-based Cuban artist Leonardo Perez Garcia and depicts the transforming and healing powers of the Yoruba water deity. The music video invites all of us to connect with the profound and life-sustaining properties of water in our own lives.

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