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Articles by Jerome Wilson

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee: The Newest Sound You Never Heard

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Pianist Ran Blake has developed a reputation over the years for recording duets with vocalists, including in recent times, Sara Serpa, Dominique Eade and Christine Correa. That began back in 1961 when he released The Newest Sound Around (RCA), a remarkable set of duets with singer Jeanne Lee. The duo toured together occasionally in subsequent years but never released another recording until You Stepped Out Of A Dream (Owl) in 1989. Now here comes a new and very welcome discovery, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Brad Whiteley: Presence

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Pianist Brad Whiteley has had a lot of varied experiences in his career. He has played with rock artists like Regina Spektor and David Byrne and improvisers like Dave Liebman and Cameron Mizell. He's also worked on film soundtracks and played in the pit band of a Broadway show. That eclecticism is reflected in Presence--his second album as a leader--through his original compositions mixing varying combinations of jazz-rock, mainstream jazz, progressive rock, and jazz-funk. “Dusk" begins the program ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Kirk Knuffke: Witness

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Kirk Knuffke has brought his cornet skills to a lot of different music in his career. As a leader, he has recorded albums dedicated to the work of Erik Satie and Don Cherry and he's even covered an Ernest Tubb song. This album gives a greater picture of how wide his interests stretch as he delves into a program of spirituals, operatic arias, poetry and pop and jazz standards, leading a quartet of clarinetist Ben Goldberg, pianist Russ Lossing and, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Maaike den Dunnen: Inner Space

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Maaike den Dunnen is a Dutch singer-songwriter with an exuberant and confident voice. On this CD, backed by a tight trio, she shows how powerfully she can come across both on joyous jazz-funk tunes and dreamy art songs. This contrast is demonstrated in the first two tracks. On “Nature's Call" Dunnen's voice dances over Thomas Kugi's funky tenor sax while on “The Deep" her clear resonant sound mixes with Dena DeRose's insistent piano like Norma Winstone and John ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Mark Masters: Our Metier

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There are a lot of fine composers writing for large jazz ensembles today, so many that some names can get lost in the shuffle. Mark Masters is a case in point. You don'r hear about him often, possibly because many of his recordings feature his ensembles playing the music of other composers like trombonist Grachan Moncur III, baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan and tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman. However the music on Our Metier all comes from Masters' own pen and it ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Myriad3: Vera

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The number of contemporary jazz piano trios that take their inspiration from non-jazz sources seems to grow all the time. To a list that includes The Bad Plus, Phronesis, and E.S.T. add the Canadian group Myriad3 which draws from concepts in classical music and progressive rock. They often begin their pieces with one repeated figure and spin hypnotic webs of variations and countermelodies from there. Their style can produce works of singular beauty. On “Diamond," a quiet piano ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Don Byron / Aruan Ortiz: Random Dances And (A)tonalities

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Aruan Ortiz is a Cuban-born pianist who has worked with a number of progressive jazz luminaries including William Parker, Oliver Lake and Nicole Mitchell. Here he performs a program with clarinetist Don Byron which touches on a wide spectrum of music from J. S. Bach's formal beauty to Duke Ellington's crafty blues. The two men show the ability to knit their styles together from the first track, Ortiz's own “Tete's Blues," with Byron's clarinet snaking its way through ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Eric Dolphy: Musical Prophet:The Expanded 1963 New York Sessions

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Eric Dolphy's lone Blue Note album, 1964's Out To Lunch! is rightly regarded as a classic but the two records he made for the short-lived Douglas label just before that, Conversations (1963) and Iron Man (1963), have been largely forgotten, due in part to being out-of-print for many years. Now the Resonance label has done something about that, putting out the entire contents of the 1963 studio sessions that birthed those albums in a deluxe 3 CD or 2 LP ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

The Gil Evans Orchestra: Hidden Treasures Vol. 1, Monday Nights

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In the '70s composer and arranger Gil Evans, after years of outstanding studio arranging for Miles Davis and others, put together a performing orchestra which took influences from the jazz-rock and fusion concepts of the time. That orchestra released several fine albums such as Svengali (Atlantic, 1973) and There Comes A Time (RCA, 1975) and, on Monday nights from 1983 to 1994, had a long-standing engagement at the New York club Sweet Basil. Evans' sons, Miles and Noah, have now ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Drummers As Leaders

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Drummers are not necessarily the first musicians you think of as bandleaders but there is a long tradition of drummer-leaders in jazz from Chick Webb and Gene Krupa to Art Blakey and Paul Motian. Here are two current, lesser-known drummers who keep that lineage going in different formats. Enrique Haneine The Mind's Mural Elegant Walk 2018 Enrique Haneine leads a two saxophone quartet with some Ornette Coleman in its DNA. Haneine and bassist ...

YEAR IN REVIEW

Jerome Wilson's Best Releases Of 2018

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It may be unwieldy to keep a large jazz ensemble together for economic reasons but this year was still full of outstanding big band recordings, whether done through commissions, arrangers working with established orchestras or even actual working ensembles. Several of the releases on my list are examples of that. Also this year had the usual strong statements from younger, up-and-coming musicians as well as greybeards like Charles Lloyd and Wayne Shorter who proved that creative genius does not fade ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Billie Davies Trio: Perspectives II

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The spiritual jazz tradition, as exemplified by John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, has been having a resurgence over the past few years in places like Los Angeles and Great Britain. Now here is evidence that some musicians in New Orleans are going down that path as well. Billie Davies is a drummer from Belgium who now lives and works in the Big Easy and this recording, available only in download form, captures a live performance of her trio, ...