All About Jazz

Home » Articles | Reviews Only

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

Articles by Hrayr Attarian

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Balazs Balogh: Borderline Inspirations

Read "Borderline Inspirations" reviewed by

Hungarian drummer Balázs Balogh leads a multinational group on his intelligent and charming debut Borderline Inspirations. For it he has also penned seven elegant, poetic and sometimes provocative originals. Balogh has been leading an award-winning quintet since 2014 that includes several of those who appear on this captivating album which also showcases Balogh's noteworthy compositional skills. One of the highlights of this uniformly engaging release is the multilayered “Metamorphosis." Opening with a dark, expectant mood, Balogh's compatriot, pianist ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Porter: Charlie Porter

Read "Charlie Porter" reviewed by

Trumpeter and composer Charlie Porter exhibits his innovative spirit and his brilliant musicianship on his self-titled debut as a leader. Working with a rotating cast of Portland (Oregon) area musicians, Porter performs ten of his originals and one cover with a refreshingly unique style and captivating spontaneity. Similar in concept to tenor saxophonist Benny Golson's Take a Number from 1 to 10 (Argo, 1961), Porter's release starts off with the unaccompanied trumpet piece “Prologue" that quotes motifs from ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Adison Evans: Meridian

Read "Meridian" reviewed by

On her second release as a leader, the buoyant Meridian, saxophonist Adison Evans demonstrates remarkable maturity as both a composer and a performer. Evans drew inspiration from the idyllic Tuscan village where she retreated to pen the music that comprises this intriguing album. The opening title-track sets the mood with the right balance of contemplative melancholy and vibrant poetry. Evans' serpentine duet with pianist Silvano Monasterios gracefully flows into the band's brighter, resonant group play. The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Graz Composers Orchestra meets Claudia Döffinger: Monochrome

Read "Monochrome" reviewed by

The title of composer and pianist Claudia Döffinger's collaboration with Graz Composers Orchestra, Monochrome, is a bit of a misnomer. The seven pieces, five by Döffinger, are definitely not in shades of a single color. They are multitextured, vibrantly-hued and captivating, and often coalesce around one or two instruments like Kaleidoscopic patterns around light beams. For instance, the funky “Mumpitz" has a loose, swaggering cadence and energetic sparring between the band's three sections. At the core of the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Maria Grand: Magdalena

Read "Magdalena" reviewed by

The intimate and personal Magdalena is tenor saxophonist Maria Grand's second release as a leader. On it she fleshes out the ideas explored on her dynamic debut EP, Tetrawind (Biophilia, 2017). Sandwiched between two spoken-word tracks, the recording showcases Grand's skills as a vocalist, instrumentalist and composer. Singer Jasmine Wilson recites Grand's verse with emotive eloquence on the opening “La Immortal." Grand plays her sax with contemplation while drummer Jeremy Dutton's rustling percussion enhances the dramatic mood.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tia Fuller: Diamond Cut

Read "Diamond Cut" reviewed by

The engaging and enjoyable Diamond Cut is saxophonist Tia Fuller's fifth release as a leader and the first without a pianist. Fuller deftly fronts a different rhythm section on each half of the album. The only constant is guitarist Adam Rogers, whose restless, explorative style is the perfect foil for Fuller's ardent, poetic wit. On the opening “In the Trenches" Fuller embellishes the breezy, mellifluous theme with gusto and passion. Rogers follows with a cool, muscular swagger that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

William Parker: Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics

Read "Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics" reviewed by

Bassist and composer William Parker is a tireless innovator whose entire oeuvre is filled with singular moments of brilliance and artistic exploration. However, Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics is his boldest and most unique work to date. A variation on Richard Waters' waterphone, the aquasonic consists of tone rods and contains a small amount of water. When the rods are percussed or bowed, it produces an eerie, haunting sound. Drummer Jackson Krall custom-built Parker's own version of ...

INTERVIEWS

Monika Herzig: A Portrait of a Hero

Read "Monika Herzig: A Portrait of a Hero" reviewed by

German-born and US-based pianist, author and composer Monika Herzig released her most accomplished work to date the sublime Sheroes in March of 2018. This cohesive album is a celebration of women in music and particularly jazz, on it Herzig's group of women instrumentalists stimulatingly interpret several originals and two covers. Herzig has a doctorate in music education and is a Senior Lecturer at Indiana University in Bloomington. She also has authored two books and has several recordings both as a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Monika Herzig: Sheroes

Read "Sheroes" reviewed by

Pianist and composer Monika Herzig pays tribute to women in jazz, on her captivating Sheroes. The artistically superlative, all-female band explores various cadences, harmonies and moods on this exquisite album, all the while deftly maintaining thematic unity. Eight of the tracks are originals by ensemble members, and two are Herzig-arranged covers. These are the traditional “House of the Rising Sun" and singer-songwriter Valerie Simpson's (of Ashford/Simpson fame) classic “Ain't No Mountain High Enough." The latter opens ...

Access for People with Disabilities at Jazz Venues: What is really missing

Read "Access for People with Disabilities at Jazz Venues:  What is really missing" reviewed by

A few months ago I asked an acquaintance who is also a jazz fan if he was going to attend a much anticipated concert at a local club. He told me that, alas, he was not because his life partner, who uses a wheelchair, could not navigate the venue. I was surprised as I thought the lack of stairs to the performance area would have been sufficient enough accommodation. He informed me that there also needs to be several other ...