Articles by Declan O'Driscoll

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Louis Hayes: Still Moving Straight Ahead

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Louis Hayes will turn 80 on May 31 (2017), but the party is still goin' hearty. He started celebrating this milestone back in February with an 18-day tour that began in Barcelona and concluded in jny: Amsterdam. It was mostly one-nighters with three nights in jny: Athens, two in jny: Paris and jny: London appearances at the usual places, like Fasching in jny: Stockholm, the Sunset Club and Ronnie Scott's. I caught the jny: Detroit native during his final concert ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Dominguez: Groove Dreams

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Groove Dreams resonates on a number of levels. In the most obvious sense, it's a testament to the skill, imagination, and resourcefulness of bassist Peter Dominguez, an artist who operates with a profound depth of understanding in both formal and creative realms. But it's also a link to the relationship that Dominguez formed with bass icon Milt Hinton, a showcase for the latter's finely crafted eighteenth-century Italian instrument, and a piece of documentary evidence indicative of the high value that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Itaru Oki - Nobuyoshi Ino - Choi Sun Bae: Kami Fusen

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Prominent Japanese trumpeter Itaru Oki and bassist Nobuyoshi Ino recorded this album in 1996 at a Café in Yamaguchi, Japan, and Korean trumpeter Choi Sun Bae flew into town just for this gig. Consequently, no drums or chordal instruments enable the trio to work from an open forum with few if any restrictions, especially when considering the free jazz aspects. Yet, they do convey a cozy group-centric deportment on these works consisting of variable ebbs and flows amid bright and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

PHO: Two

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PHO, the Minneapolis funk band, is one of the hottest rising stars on the modern funk music scene. Even Prince thought so. The Purple One got hip to PHO, and then invited the group to open for Larry Graham at Paisley Park. Since then, PHO has played with The Motet, Dopapod, Dam-Funk, Dumpstaphunk and many more. It was early 2016 when Prince found the band via Youtube and posted about them on his social media. This ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hampshire And Foat: Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand

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Greg Foat has been making waves on the British jazz scene for several years now with albums such as Dancers At The End Of Time prime examples of his creative originality. He's a big fan of the “golden age" of British jazz spanning the 1960s and 70s but his compositions are never derivative. Foat has teamed-up here with his mate from the Isle of Wight, Warren Hampshire whose day job is as a member of British indie band The Bees.

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Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space

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There are guitarists, and then there are sound sculptors who use the guitar as one tool among many (and of course there's no small overlap between the two). Tim Motzer happily resides in both camps but tends to lean toward the latter description most--when running a single axe through a continually changing array of jerry-rigged technology, it's not unusual for him to spend as much time twiddling knobs as he does fingering frets. With such a range of sonics to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Quercus: Nightfall

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It may have taken seven years for the innovative British trio featuring singer June Tabor, saxophonist Iain Ballamy and pianist Huw Warren to find a label and release their first album together, but they sure landed on their feet. Not only was the trio's 2013 debut, Quercus, released on the renowned ECM imprint; it was also enthusiastically received by critics and fans alike, winning that year's prestigious German record critics' Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Jahrespreis (Album of the Year). And ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Verneri Pohjola: Pekka

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The highly-anticipated follow-up to Verneri Pohjola's widely acclaimed 2015 album Bullhorn consolidates his position as Finland's foremost jazz musician. His prodigious talent is hardly surprising given that his late father was the internationally acclaimed jazz-influenced prog-rock bassist and composer Pekka Pohjola, who died in 2008 aged just 56. This album is a reworking of some of Pohjola senior's tunes, but integrated into his son's vibrant compositions. It necessarily takes a different turn from Pohjola's previous album, harnessing elements of jazz ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Calabria Foti: In the Still of the Night

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With In the Still of the Night, vocalist Calabria Foti joins the ranks of Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Oscar Peterson, and many others -vocalists and instrumentalists -who have dived deeply into the Cole Porter canon. It takes a very special talent to deftly probe the poetic and pithy romantic lingo that the Classic material offers. So, while that ocean is Trench deep, how is one to pluck new musical perspectives and give old ones a novel patina? Foti, along with ...


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