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Articles by Jerome Wilson

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jim McNeely: Barefoot Dances and Other Visions

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When today's top composer-arrangers of large ensemble jazz are discussed, Jim McNeely's name sometimes gets overlooked. He deserves the recognition. He's been a long- time associate of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra and its descendant, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and he's also done a lot of work with several European big bands. It could be that simply his large ensemble writing seldom gets recorded. That makes Barefoot Dances special. It's a powerful suite McNeely wrote for the Frankfurt Radio ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cathy Segal-Garcia: The Jazz Chamber

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On this album, Cathy Segal-Garcia, a vocalist and educator on the Los Angeles jazz scene, comes up with something special, working with a chamber orchestra and a group of jazz musicians to produce a wide-ranging program that veers from lush romanticism to complex jazz-funk. On much of the disc, Segal-Garcia's thick, classically formal voice, combined with a full string section, presents a lilting hybrid of jazz and light classical music. On first hearing it sounds a bit too ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ran Blake / Christine Correa: Streaming

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Pianist Ran Blake has been known for his duo work with vocalists dating back to his 1962 collaboration with Jeanne Lee, The Newest Sound Around (RCA Victor). In recent years, he has been working with three individualistic singers, Sara Serpa, Dominique Eade and Christine Correa. The year 2017 brought a session of folk songs and soundtrack music with Eade, the excellent Town And Country (Sunnyside Records). This time it's Correa's turn in a program of mostly jazz and pop standards. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Bailey: In Real Time

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John Bailey is a veteran New York-based trumpet player who has worked as a sideman in a variety of genres. Now, at the age of 52, he has released his first CD as a leader and it's as stylish and professional as would be expected. Bailey's playing is full of passion and fire, and he brings that energy to several musical styles. “Blues for Ella" is a hard bop blues, notable for the trumpeter's slashing howls, Stacy Dillard's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rafal Sarnecki: Climbing Trees

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Guitarist Rafal Sarnecki has put together a CD with an interesting combination of influences here. His music mixes together elements of classical chamber music and progressive jazz-rock which is played by a group with a front line of guitar, tenor sax and voice. The presence of a high, wordless female voice sometimes gives this the feel of old British “Canterbury Sound" bands like Hatfield and the North but the emphasis on guitar instead of grandiose keyboards gives this music its ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Claudia Döffinger: Monochrome

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There are a lot of very fine composers working with large jazz ensembles today, but what Claudia Doffinger does is in a class by itself. A native of Germany, here she leads the Austrian Graz Composers Orchestra in a program that mixes the colors and gestures of big band jazz with the language and rhythms of progressive rock and hip hop to create a very unique brew. For example, “Der vierundzwanzigste Sommer" combines angular big band shouts, a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kate Reid: The Heart Already Knows

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There's a special sort of intimacy achieved when a singer performs with the accompaniment of only one instrument. On this CD Kate Reid explores that in a big way, recording duets with two different pianists and three different guitarists. Reid has an appealingly husky alto voice with a casual coziness that adapts nicely to the styles of her various duet partners. Guitarist Paul Meyers makes a sensitive foil for her on Billy Strayhorn's “Something To Live For" and ...

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Devin Gray: Dirigo Rataplan II

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Dirigo Rataplan is a group led by drummer Devin Gray that contains three outstanding musicians with Baltimore ties, saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, trumpeter Dave Ballou and bassist Michael Formanek. They first recorded in 2012, and six years later they have released a followup CD, Dirigo Rataplan II, with a rambunctious inside-outside style that is based on strong melodies and rhythms but still allows plenty of room for fiery improvisation. Several of the tracks are built around heavy rumbling bass ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andrew Rathbun Large Ensemble: Atwood Suites

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Andrew Rathbun is a Canadian saxophonist who has made a major musical statement here with this collection of suites, two of which are based on the poetry of author Margaret Atwood. Rathbun's writing shows the influence of another Canadian, Kenny Wheeler, in its lush sonority, the frequent gorgeous flugelhorn solos by Tim Hagans and the role of Luciana Souza, who both sings Atwood's poetry with gentle forcefulness and moans wordlessly within the orchestral ensembles, the same way Wheeler often utilized ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Shane Dylan: When It All Makes Sense

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Shane Dylan is a young pianist studying at Boston's New England Conservatory who has put out a debut CD that tries to show the breadth of his musical interests. It is split into two halves, the first with more groove-oriented material, the second going in a more mainstream jazz direction. The first half covers a lot of ground under the “groove" umbrella. Two of the tracks cover popular r'n'b songs. An atmospheric version of Erykah Badu's “Orange Moon" ...