Articles by Jack Bowers

Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

ALBUM REVIEW

Tom Guarna: Spirit Science

Read "Spirit Science" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Guitarist-composer Tom Guarna uses geometric concepts and patterns as a starting point on Spirit Science, his eighth album as leader, pairing its mathematical precision with spiritual awareness to more faithfully represent his musical point of view. Be that as it may, Guarna's handiwork must, of course, be appraised for its perception and effect on the listener, not for any tenets on which it is based. In other words, when all the premises have been explored, what remains ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Douglas Olsen: 2 Cents

Read "2 Cents" reviewed by Jack Bowers

What seems at first blush to be a nonet on this splendid new album is actually trumpeter Douglas Olsen's core quartet, amplified on various selections by talented guests who raise the number anywhere from a quintet to an octet. Even though Olsen has been a super-busy free-lancer on the New England jazz scene for more than two decades, 2 Cents is apparently his first recording date as leader of his own group; with that in mind, perhaps Olsen reasoned it ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Uptown Jazz Tentet: What's Next

Read "What's Next" reviewed by Jack Bowers

A tentet is a rather strange bird; too large to be labeled a small group, yet too small to be counted as a big band, it resides somewhere near the edges, mapping out its own musical profile. Some may rate that an asset, while others may deem it a mere hybrid, unworthy of their consideration. Wiser auditors, however, most often reserve judgment, preferring to take an impartial stance and allow the music to speak for itself. And that is where ...

ALBUM REVIEW

The Steve Spiegl Big Band: The L.A. Sessions at Capitol Studios

Read "The L.A. Sessions at Capitol Studios" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Almost every Monday morning for the past fifty years, composer-arranger Steve Spiegl convened his Los Angeles-based big band for a rehearsal session, assembling, for most of that time, at the Musicians Union in Hollywood and, more recently, at its new home in Burbank. When Spiegl decided in 2019 to pull up stakes and move northward to Oregon, which meant bidding a melancholy goodbye to the band and its weekly rehearsals, it marked the end of an era—but not without one ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Ben Rosenblum Nebula Project: Kites and Strings

Read "Kites and Strings" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Expectations are necessarily guarded when preparing to appraise a recording by the Nebula Project whose leader plays accordion. Be that as it may, any such uneasiness is quickly erased by Ben Rosenblum and his doughty ensemble whose music is decidedly colorful, melodic and accessible—which is not meant to undervalue diversity, another of its discernible points. Rosenblum, who wrote seven of the album's ten numbers, draws on influences as varied as klezmer jazz, Bulgarian folk music and even Johannes Brahms to ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Stan Kenton and His Orchestra: Concert Kenton

Read "Concert Kenton" reviewed by Jack Bowers

There's no question that Stan Kenton led one of the more successful and popular orchestras of the storied Big Band Era, winning various yearly polls while drawing large crowds to his jazz concerts and dance performances from coast to coast. But Kenton always wanted something more: to enlighten as well as entertain. Music, he felt, should be cerebral as well as visceral. And so he formed the Neophonic Orchestra to play the sort of forward-looking jazz he felt many listeners ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Frantisek Uhlir: Story of my life

Read "Story of my life" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Story of My Life is a seven-part suite (plus prologue) written by the outstanding and well-traveled Czech-born bassist Frantisek Uhlir to appraise his life as a musician and evoke in musical terms memories of his boyhood home, his love as a teenager of music and sports, his studies at the Brno Conservatory, his life as a working musician, raising children of his own, the vicissitudes of life, and his gratitude for the good fortune that has come his way. Uhlir ...


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