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Articles by Dan McClenaghan

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pamela Hines Trio: The Music of Richard Whiting

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The first thirty seconds of a listening experience sets the tone. The disc spins, and music emerges. It's Richard Whiting's “Sleepy Time Gal." And it just might be the loveliest thing pianist Pamela Hines has ever recorded, languid and syrupy, with the trio that includes bassist John Lockwood and drummer Miki Matsuki. Her trio mates are as locked into the tune's concept--and Hines' concept--as they can be. The Music of Richard Whiting is Hines' album-long tribute to the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Way North: Fearless And Kind

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This roots jazz band is called Way North, presumably for their home base in Toronto. But a spin of their second recording, Fearless and Kind, says they could have tagged the quartet Way South, especially considering the opening tune, “Boll Weevil," and the two-part “Jelly Roll Morton Medley." Their music has a sort of Ornette Coleman vibe, if that free jazz pioneer/alto saxophonist had come out of New Orleans instead of Fort Worth, Texas. Part of that comes from the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Thomas Marriott: Romance Language

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Trumpeter Thomas Marriott moved back to Seattle after the requisite New York stint, where he worked with Maynard Ferguson's Big Bop Nouveau band, the Chico O'Farrill Orchestra, and vibraphonist Joe Locke. Back on west coast home ground, he connected with the Seattle-based Origin Records, where he released ten top-notch albums as a leader, including Individuation (2005), Crazy: The Music Of Willie Nelson (2008)Constraints and Liberations (2010), and East West Trumpet Summit (2010), a teaming with fellow trumpeter Ray Vega.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kenny Werner: The Space

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Let's ruminate on the state of jazz piano in the year 2018. It is a rich time, when perhaps a dozen hugely talented artists have reached the peaks of their artistry. Keith Jarrett, Marc Copland, Brad Mehldau, Bobo Stenson, Denny Zeitlin, Fred Hersch and a handful more are creating some of the richest and most beautiful and original sounds imaginable with eighty-eight keys. Geniuses all. With a perhaps lower profile among this exclusive group is Kenny Werner, who ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Champian Fulton: The Stylings Of Champian

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Pianist/vocalist Champian Fulton may be the most charming person in the world. Even a short sip of her extensive internet presence (especially YouTube, with performances and interviews) reveals an artist who radiates the joy of creation with a luminescent personality. Her music reflects that personality, and--like the sounds of of Bud Powell and Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong--it lifts the spirit high. And swing? Like the best of them. The Stylings of Champian is Fulton's tenth ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nikita Rafaelov: Spirit of Gaia

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Russia-born pianist Nikita Rafaelov adopted Finland as his homeland, and music as his passion. He began with the classics at an early age before the inspirations of Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and John Coltrane came his way. His jazz recording debut on Copenhagen, Denmark's Gotta Let it Out Records, Spirit of Gaia, is described as: ..."a different kind of solo piano album." Rafaelov, not yet thirty years old at this writing, creates his art with an original voice, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Harvey Sorgen / Joe Fonda / Marilyn Crispell: Dreamstruck

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Drummer/composer/educator Harvey Sorgen boasts an impressive worked with/recorded with resume. His highest profile booster might be a handful of recordings with the Jefferson Airplane offshoot Hot Tuna, followed by a number of releases with bassist Joe Fonda and the Fonda/Stevens Group. With Fonda involved, you know you'll hear some left-of-center sounds. Dreamstruck teams Fonda with Sorgen, and brings pianist Marilyn Crispell in for a piano trio affair featuring several scrambled three-way, in-the- moment improvisations and four “written" turns, two by ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Colin Edwin & Lorenzo Feliciati: Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach To The Dancefloor

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The cover art of Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach To The Dancefloor features what looks like a cyborg, illuminated by hot electricity on the upper portion of its visage, a face otherwise surrounded by lifeless black. The image is fitting. The album's music--from bassists Colin Edwin and Lorenzo Feliciati--celebrates the dancefloor music of the '80s. A sound that, by its detractors, was often tagged sterile and mechanistic. And perhaps it was, but then that was said ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark Masters Ensemble: Our Metier

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Mark Masters, an extraordinarily talented and perhaps undersung arranger of large ensembles jazz, has spent a good deal of artistic energy on crafting recordings that explore other people's compositions. His Capri Records output includes The Clifford Brown Project (2003), celebrating the sounds of the too-soon-gone trumpet legend; Porgy and Bess (2005), from the George Gershwin songbook; One Day With Lee (2004), a celebration of alto saxophonist Lee Konitz; Farewell Walter Dewey Redman (2008), a nod to another great sax man; ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ernesto Cervini's Turboprop: Abundance

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Delve into Toronto-based drummer Ernesto Cervini's discography and you find an artist who seems to be trying to be a force for good in the world. His CD releases feature his Ernesto Cervini Quartet, MEM3, Myraid3, and Turboprop (and others, for he is prolific). His is a sound that brims with buoyancy, whether it's a trio outing or a sextet. Abundance is the Turboprop sextet's third outing. The group could be considered Cervini's nod to the Art Blakey ...