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Articles by David A. Orthmann

ALBUM REVIEWS

Michael Kocour: East Of The Sun

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Michael Kocour's solo piano recital is comprised of great American songs, most of which were popular in the early-to-mid twentieth century. There's nothing dated or anachronistic about the ways in which he handles the material. Throughout the record's ten tracks, Kocour establishes a state of equilibrium between a fealty to traditional song forms and jazz practices; a resourceful, imaginative streak; and a great deal of facility on the instrument. While he often incorporates elements of early jazz piano styles, such ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Kihong Jang: They Brought A New Kind of Music To Me

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Kihong Jang's debut record as a leader is the antithesis of the hectic, anxious character of many contemporary jazz releases. The guitarist's unassuming approach contains an impressive degree of depth and certainty for a young musician. The disc's six tracks offer affably swinging sounds that aren't particularly knotty, convoluted or strained. Original compositions, choice of tempos and solo statements evince the virtues of temperance and economy. Jang and pianist Jinjoo Yoo (both presently based in the New York City area), ...

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Rob Garcia: Drum Solos For Dancers Only

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There's more than enough artistry, craftsmanship and ingenuity in Rob Garcia's Drum Solos For Dancers Only to please the sedentary jazz aficionado. Although the thirteen tracks are intended to spur bodies in motion, his drumming merits scrutiny on purely musical terms. For the most part Garcia executes swinging rhythms much like the ones that drove the popular big bands of the 1930s and 40s and wraps them in themes that include symmetrical, easily recognizable song forms. Some of his compositions ...

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Dmitry Baevsky / Jeb Patton: We Two

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Alto saxophonist Dmitry Baevsky and pianist Jeb Patton constitute a crackerjack, precision jazz instrument, stretching and bending the fundamentals of bebop into full-blown statements that render the absence of a bassist and drummer superfluous. The individual heroics that one expects of bop are in evidence, but it's the ways in which the duo maneuvers as a unit that really matters. Baevsky and Patton are middle-aged jazzmen with a wealth of experience working in bands, together and separately, all over the ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Michael Dease: Bonafide

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Listening critically to recently produced mainstream-jazz recordings often feels like prospecting for gold amidst the dross of familiar templates, all-too-common stylistic references, and unremarkable performances. However, occasionally, even when a record doesn't hang together particularly well and is likely to disappear under the weight of scores of similar sounding releases, diligence is rewarded by a track that stands out and demands to be taken seriously. “Pearls" is the piece de resistance of trombonist/composer Michael Dease's Bonafide, an ...

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Doron Tirosh: Simply Because It's Winter

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Drummer/composer Doron Tirosh's Simply Because It's Winter brings to mind the adage “good things come in small packages." The six tracks comprise a coherent piece of work in twenty-five minutes of running time. Along with pianist Michael Kanan and bassist Neal Miner, Tirosh achieves a kind of courtly, non-doctrinaire bebop essence. It's jazz that doesn't need to insist or tie itself into knots to make a point. Regardless of the tempo or the mood of the material, the trio has ...

BOOK REVIEWS

The Other Night at Quinn's

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The Other Night at Quinn's: New Adventures In The Sonic Underground Mike Faloon 269 Pages ISBN: #978-1-941576-24-3 Razorcake / Gorsky Press 2018 In addition to absorbing the sounds on recordings and live performances, the traditional route to an appreciation of jazz and improvised music usually entails seeking out the perspectives and opinions of experts. When diving into the music's deep end as novice listeners we're guided by an abundance of books, magazines, liner ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Brian Charette Trio with Ed Cherry at The Turning Point Cafe

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Brian Charette Trio with Ed Cherry The Turning Point Cafe Piermont, NY July 15, 2018 Eight selections into an eighty-minute set Brian Charette looked over at Ed Cherry and asked what kind of ballad he wanted to play. In an instant Cherry answered with his guitar, kicking off Duke Ellington's “In A Sentimental Mood." Without a moment's hesitation, Charette's organ and the drums of Jordan Young fell right into place. Whether genuinely spontaneous or a ...

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Tom Tallitsch: Wheelhouse

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Tom Tallitsch's Wheelhouse is a recording in which something honest and genuine springs from the soil of a long established, familiar jazz style. Although pinning a hard bop label on the music is fairly accurate, ultimately it amounts to a quick, glib, descriptive fix that may distort or diminish the character of the record. The same applies to reflexively reaching for influences in the compositions, ensemble work and the soloists. In short, there's too much substance here to brood over ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Ted Chubb Band at Trumpets Jazz Club

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Ted Chubb Band Trumpets Jazz Club Montclair, NJ June 21, 2018 The other night I went to Trumpets Jazz Club to check out the Ted Chubb Band without any preconceptions as to what I was about to hear. I was nonetheless interested in answers to some basic questions. Knowing nothing about the trumpeter's efforts as the sole leader of a band I arrived at the club with a mental checklist. What's the set list comprised ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer

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Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer Bill Bruford 282 Pages ISBN: #9780472053780 University of Michigan Press 2018 Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer isn't the place to look for colorful, gossipy stories about Bill Bruford's celebrated years as a prog rock architect and drummer with Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, and U.K.; or, his tenure as a leader of highly regarded, if less commercially viable, electric and acoustic jazz units. The book is reminiscent ...

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David Ake: Humanities

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The group that pianist/composer David Ake assembles for Humanities thrives on change and doesn't care all that much for boundaries, familiar stylistic references, or decorum. Distinctions between written material and improvisation, soloists and accompaniment, are subject to transformation, collapse, consolidation and mutation. Nothing stays on exactly the same course for very long. Featuring Ake, Ralph Alessi's trumpet, Ben Monder's guitar, Drew Gress' bass, and the drums and cymbals of Mark Ferber, the band offers a steady diet of shifts in ...