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Articles by Dan Bilawsky

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marty Elkins: Fat Daddy

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The jazz world is full of singers who deserve a higher profile than they have, and Marty Elkins is most certainly one of them. This trad-jazz true believer and pliantly phrasing charmer has a way with words and an appreciation for the finer things in sound and song. Some might call her an aural antiquarian, but there's nary a speck of dust on the material she chooses to sing. Accompanied by a crack band equally at home with chestnuts of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Myriad3: Vera

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Vera, the fourth album from the Toronto-based trio collective Myriad3, is a fascinating example of how fastidious design principles and shrewdly executed extemporization can truly complement and even counterpoise one another. There's serious attention to detail in each of these ten pieces, but the music benefits greatly from its embrace of uncertainties and creative expression(s). Opening with pianist Chris Donnelly's “Pluie Lyonnaise," Myriad3 immediately taps into a minimalist stream with a maximalist mindset. Characterized by hypnotic tides ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Ambrosio: Four On The Road

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On the surface it might not make much sense for a trio album to be dubbed Four On The Road, but there's a story behind that fuzzy math. In 2015, while on the road in Spain touring in support of his previous trio date, Gone (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2014), bassist David Ambrosio encountered the pixelated throwback designs of the famed street artist simply known as Invader. His creations became a constant companion during Ambrosio's group's time in the city ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Itai Kriss and Telavana: Itai Kriss and Telavana

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A good seven thousand miles separate the Middle East and the Caribbean, but are they truly that far apart? With flutist Itai Kriss and his band, Telavana, spanning the two, that distance seems to vanish. Kriss, a native Israeli, has spent the past fifteen years immersed in the scene in his adopted home of New York. There, he's involved himself in straight ahead sounds, Latin jazz circles, the salsa scene, Afro-Cuban projects, and a good number of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stefon Harris & Blackout: Sonic Creed

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In its most basic function, the music that makes up Sonic Creed serves as a mirror to African American life in the here and now. It explores the history, legacy, struggles, and joys of the Black community, speaking to all of it at once through sound and sentiment. Sonic Creed arrives almost a decade after this groove outfit's last showing--Urbanus (Concord, 2009)--but the time away hasn't hurt the band. If anything, Blackout has become a more limber ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Pittman: Kinship

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The ineluctable charms of John Pittman's music may very well be connected to the sense of fellow feeling he projects on this, his debut album. For in these eight songs, the Canadian trumpeter promotes a sense of togetherness and unity that cuts not only to the title at hand, but also to the very core of his belief system. “Kinship" isn't just some umbrella term to stand beneath; it's Pittman's purpose, plain and simple. Opening with “Ties ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mikkel Ploug & Mark Turner: Faroe

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While tenor saxophone heavy Mark Turner has toured with guitarist Mikkel Ploug's quartet for approximately a decade, the unique musical alliance developed between this pair has never before received such a high degree of attention. With Faroe, Ploug presents thirteen original compositions written or rearranged specifically to telescope their bond(s), explore the very essence of the melodic-harmonic communion, and artfully merge the precomposed and the improvised. Opening with the title track, a number that finds Turner's matte-finish melodies ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Carol Liebowitz/Bill Payne: Spiderwebmandala

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Spiderwebmandala is an album that miraculously manages to simultaneously capitalize on the concepts of connectivity and detachment, toying with a form of polarity tied to the very notion of togetherness and using it as the ultimate artistic tool. Having worked together since 2010, pianist Carol Liebowitz and clarinetist Bill Payne are more than comfortable with each other. That comfort, however, never gets in the way of their art. As demonstrated throughout this collection of freely improvised works ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Danny Green Trio Plus Strings at Heckscher Park

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Danny Green Trio Plus Strings Chapin Rainbow Stage, Heckscher Park Huntington Summer Arts Festival Huntington, NY August 3, 2018 While Long Island's Huntington Summer Arts Festival doesn't hold status as a jazz feast per se, the music most certainly plays a significant role on its calendar. The not-so-distant past has seen everybody from drummer Roy Haynes to pianist Vijay Iyer to vocalist Jane Monheit grace the Chapin Rainbow Stage, and the lineup for ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hendrik Meurkens/Bill Cunliffe: Cabin In The Sky

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Hendrik Meurkens is a natural-born collaborator. That statement might smack of the obvious, as jazz musicians on the whole tend to thrive on a synergistic model, but it need be said with regard to this German-born, New York-based harmonica hero (and vibraphonist of note). Whether engaging in a pas de deux with pianist Misha Tsiganov, sharing top billing with bassist Gabriel Espinosa, fronting a swinging outfit with the legendary Jimmy Cobb stoking the flames behind him, or taking to Brazilian ...