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Articles by Friedrich Kunzmann

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nobuki Takamen: The Nobuki Takamen Trio

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On his seventh release as a leader, New York-based fret-wizard Nobuki Takamen relies on his fellow trio mates, bassist Toshiyuki Tanahashi and drummer Naoki Akiwa, to present a set of exclusively original material. On The Nobuki Takamen Trio, he not only substantiates his reputation as a natural-born bop guitarist, but also proves he is a gifted composer with a highly versatile repertoire. Opening the album at its most sober, “The Circle Game" finds the trio swirling around its ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Aaron Parks: Little Big

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After an absence from activity as a leader, pianist and composer, Aaron Parks reemerged in 2017 with a new trio formation, releasing the highly acclaimed Find The Way (ECM), which carried on the unique harmonic language found four years prior, on the solo Arborescence (ECM, 2013). Today's Little Big, however, comes much more in the vein of his major label debut, Invisible Cinema (Blue Note 2008). The modern approach of an electric band, slower harmonic progressions and more immediate melodic ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lionel Loueke: The Journey

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The Journey finds Benin's guitar prodigy Lionel Loueke in a stripped-back setting, often painting gentle sound-sketches using only his voice and a guitar. In place of his long-standing trio, comprised of drummer Ferenc Nemeth and double bassist Massimo Biolcati, Loueke has assembled a divers array of guest musicians for subtle accompaniment when needed. The fifteen songs compiled on this album exhibit some of the most versatile music the guitarist has created to date, and represent a sort of summary of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Morten Haxholm: Vestigium

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The world of bass players in modern and post-bop jazz can be divided into two currents. On the one hand, you'll find the dominant character who leads the compositions with a decisive hand and frequent moments of striking ostinatos. On the other, one finds a personality who seems to walk through the composition and, like camouflage, conceal moments of pure bliss within the harmonic context and overall texture. While the former at times seems to have the song serving his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gilad Hekselman: Ask For Chaos

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After a run of intriguingly fresh sounding records, starting with 2006 set Splitlife (Smalls Records), up to the most recently released Homes (Jazz Village 2015), New York-based guitarist Gilad Hekselman seems to have widened his musical soundscape even further by pursuing a multitude of different new projects, ultimately proving himself one of the most innovative voices in jazz guitar today on his newest outing Ask for Chaos. As of recently, his two main touring units have been his more regular ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Edward Simon: Sorrows & Triumphs

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Following in the footsteps of the critically acclaimed eponymous debut record (Red Records) and subsequent sophomore outing Océanos (Criss Cross Records), in 2007, Edward Simon has now once more gathered together the power quartet Afinada, featuring Brian Blade on drums, David Binney on sax and bassist Scott Colley. With the addition of the Imani Winds chamber quintet and the striking presence of guests Gretchen Parlato on vocals and guitarist Adam Rogers Sorrows & Triumphs proves one of the most intricate ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andrew Rathbun: Atwood Suites

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In a way, the Atwood Suites have been in the works for almost two decades. When Kenny Wheeler approached Toronto native Andrew Rathbun in search for a band in 2001, the former furthermore inquired if the latter would like a composition of his own penning to be performed beside Wheeler's “Suite Time Suite." Consequently, the “Power Politics Suite," which makes for the second half of the first CD, was born, with Wheeler's and vocalist Luciana Souza's sound specifically in mind. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Christensen: Dear Friend

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Madison-based double bassist John Christensen is certainly no rookie to jazz, even though Dear Friend would appear to be his debut album. After attending the University of North Texas, Christensen chose to follow a more personalized education and set up camp in San Francisco. It is in the bay area that he committed to extensive gigging with numerous projects before moving to Madison in 1999. Today, nearly two decades later, the bassist demonstrates the vast qualities he picked up on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eric Sierveld: Walk The Walk

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Eric Sierveld's debut outing with the newly formed Organic Quintet is, true to its name, an organ driven affair which shares many similarities with some of the most traditional organ-based endeavors of the past five decades. Even the smoky production values of soaring brass and organ walls clashing with cymbal crashes are present in this production and therewith fulfill the second meaning of the ambiguous group title, which is the creation of a truly organic sound-collage. From the first few ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fabio Marziali: Windows and lights

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It all started out in a small Italian village near Fermo, roughly two decades ago. It was there, at the age of 18, when Fabio Marziali experienced his first live jazz concert and was immediately hooked for good. Then and there the idea was born, to one day record with great jazz contemporaries in a studio in New York. Alas, twenty years later in the summer of 2017, Marziali finally gathers together some of the most talented musicians of his ...