Articles by Jack Bowers

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

ALBUM REVIEW

Ira B. Liss Big Band Jazz Machine: Mazel Tov Kocktail!

Read "Mazel Tov Kocktail!" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Any big band that has been alive and kicking for forty-two years surely deserves a Mazel Tov or two. Ira B. Liss formed his San Diego-based Big Band Jazz Machine in 1979, and it has been standing tall on the local scene ever since. Although the band puts its best foot forward at the outset on this spicy Kocktail!, producing a lively kick on guest Andrew Neu's irrepressible “Gimme That," the remainder of the session is more a mixed drink, ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Professor Cunningham and His Old School: The Lockdown Blues

Read "The Lockdown Blues" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Given the uncommon position in which the world found itself owing to the global coronavirus pandemic, it was only a matter of time before “socially distanced" albums such as this one, recorded by Australian-born “Professor" Adrian Cunningham's septet “in bedrooms around the world," in April 2020, were bound to emerge. More specifically, in bedrooms in NY state, Vitoria and Girona, Spain, which loosely qualifies as “around the world." The idea came to Cunningham during a socially-distanced stroll through New York's ...

ALBUM REVIEW

The 8-Bit Big Band: Backwards Compatible

Read "Backwards Compatible" reviewed by Jack Bowers

It's about time a big band turned its gaze to and focused its attention on the many memorable songs and melodies spawned by—video games? While it's true these make-believe themes may brook no comparison to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, the Gershwin brothers, Cole Porter or even Neil Diamond, they are at least Backwards Compatible. And from a musical point of view, most of them are surprisingly admirable, at least in the capable hands of Charlie Rosen and the 8-Bit ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Professor Aucoin & the Jazz Scientists: Mystified

Read "Mystified" reviewed by Jack Bowers

There is a heap of soul, blues, rock, funk and heart on Professor Tim Aucoin's album, Mystified. On the other hand, the jazz content is in rather short supply. The Jazz Scientists are good at what they do, but what they do is more akin to a nightclub act than a jazz performance, at times reminiscent of Sam Butera and the Witnesses but without the luminous personas of Louis Prima and Keely Smith to raise them above the norm. Aucoin ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Cowboys & Frenchmen: Our Highway

Read "Our Highway" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Okay, the name may be rather out of the ordinary (Cowboys & Frenchmen?), but once past that, what remains is a burnished New York City-based quintet whose music might best be described as decidedly liberated and contemporary. This isn't “free" jazz wherein each member of the group goes his own separate way; there is, however, a large share of free-lancing within the established boundaries of melody, harmony and rhythm that moderate all save the most ungoverned forms of the music. ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Richard Howell: Moon Over Tiburon

Read "Moon Over Tiburon" reviewed by Jack Bowers

After easing past the words of praise for San Francisco Bay-area based saxophonist / educator Richard Howell's “spiritual connection" and the description of his work as “bridge music," uniting and merging the experiences of listeners, it sounds much like probative contemporary small-group jazz. Besides playing saxophone (and singing, on the soulful anthem “We Are All Connected"), Howell composed (and presumably arranged) every number on Moon Over Tiburon, a cerebral exercise that is heavy on group interplay and strong, close-knit rhythm, ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Greg Yasinitsky YAZZ Band: New Normal

Read "New Normal" reviewed by Jack Bowers

As one good album clearly deserves another, Greg Yasinitsky, who wears many hats—composer, arranger, woodwind specialist and educator among them—has released New Normal, the second impressive outing by his admirable Washington state-based ensemble, the YAZZ Band, which varies in size from septet to tentet. Unlike Yasinitsky's earlier album, YAZZ Band, which was recorded basically in one session with fixed personnel, the coronavirus pandemic upended any such plan this time, forcing an end to in-person studio sessions after five tracks had ...


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