Articles by Jerome Wilson

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Ezra Weiss Big Band: We Limit Not The Truth of God

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In 2015 Ezra Weiss began to compose a suite that he intended would be a cautiously optimistic message to his young children about the world they were living in and the challenges and promise they would face as they grew up. By the time this music was completed and recorded in December 2018, its mood and message had changed dramatically. This suite is now an impassioned cry by Weiss on how he and his children might cope with the dark, ...

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Dor Herskovits: Flying Elephants

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Drummer Dor Herskovits has been recording since 2017 as a member of the forward-thinking jazz group Earprint. His own quintet has a similar modern style but does more incorporation of older jazz traditions into its work. This group's music can be either raucous or dreamy and sometimes brings up refracted echoes of other players. On “Palette" pianist Issac Wilson and the leader sway together through a wispy melody like Paul Bley and Paul Motian accompanied by Hery Paz's ...

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Mike Holober and the Gotham Jazz Orchestra: Hiding Out

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Mike Holober is a celebrated composer and arranger who has worked for ensembles like the Westchester Jazz Orchestra in New York and the WDR and HR Big Bands in Germany. He is also the leader and founder of the Gotham Jazz Orchestra which here makes its first appearance on record in ten years. Holober makes this return a fruitful one, coming up with a 2CD set featuring two long suites, both with themes involving American landscapes. The first ...

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Fresh Voices: Gretje Angell, Deb Bowman, Emma Frank, and Kelley Suttenfield

Read "Fresh Voices: Gretje Angell, Deb  Bowman, Emma Frank, and Kelley Suttenfield" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

The first musical instrument was the human voice and there always seems to be emerging jazz singers presenting their spin on the practice. Here are four of the more recent. Gretje Angell In Any Key Grevlinto 2019 Akron, Ohio's Gretje Angell is a third generation jazz musician and she dedicates this, her first album, to her late father, drummer Tommy “The Hat" Voorhees. Her voice shows a relaxed lilt reminiscent of Peggy ...

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Jessica Ackerley: A New Kind Of Water

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Guitarist Jessica Ackerley operates in roughly the same semi-abstract realm as Joe Morris and Mary Halvorson but her playing covers more ground, bouncing between folk lyricism, spacey abstraction and fierce prog-rock riffing. The other members of her group, alto saxophonist Sarah Manning, bassist Mat Muntz and drummer Stephen Boegehold, are adept at blending with her varied styles and making sinewy, challenging music. On several tracks Ackerley's thick, percussive picking creates a simmering jumble of sound along with Muntz's ...

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Earprint: Easy Listening

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Earprint's second album follows the template laid down by its first: relatively short tracks that concentrate a bevy of ideas into energetic four to six minute bursts. Trumpeter Tree Palmedo and saxophonist Kevin Sun bounce off each other's lines with precision and style while bassist Simon Willson and drummer Dor Herskovits provide a sizzling underbed of rhythm. With this instrumentation, comparisons to the original Ornette Coleman quartet are inevitable but this group feels more relaxed and friendly. Sixty years on, ...

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Yimba Rudo: Yimba Rudo

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The phrase “Yimba Rudo" means “Sing Love" in Zimbabwe's Shona language. It is also the name of this trio which brings together musicians from three different worlds. Vibraphonist Kevin Norton is a respected figure in the avant jazz sphere who has worked with the likes of Anthony Braxton and Paul Dunmall. Bassist Steve LaSpina is a veteran presence on the mainstream New York jazz scene who has played with everyone from Benny Carter to Carmen McRae. Drummer Jim Pugliese has ...

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Michael Eaton: Dialogical

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Saxophonist Michael Eaton covers a lot of ground on this CD, using several different configurations of musicians in a program that encompasses angular, funk-laced fusion, airy sax and flute duets, a multi-saxophone workout and minimalism in the Philip Glass style. A key sideman here is guitarist Lionel Loueke whose unique style of playing and singing appears on four tracks. His clipped Morse-code vocals and guitar thread through the angular rhythms of “Juno" and “Aphoristic," complementing the swirling, choppy ...

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Lafayette Gilchrist: Dark Matter

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It would seem almost impossible by this point for a jazz pianist to avoid common modern influences like Bud Powell, Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner or even Cecil Taylor, but somehow Lafayette Gilchrist falls outside all of those parameters. On this solo concert recorded at the University of Baltimore in 2016, he shows a keyboard style built on materials like stride, gospel and go-go, the infectious party music from the Baltimore-Washington DC area, all turned into its own unique sound.

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Philipp Gropper's Philm: Consequences

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According to the press release for this CD, saxophonist and bandleader Philipp Gropper's concerns in this music are the place of the individual in society and the responsibilities Western societies bear in their dealings with the rest of the world. It's not easy to discern all that from listening to the disc but what you can easily hear is a grinding amalgam of free jazz, electronics and hip hop that touches on the worlds of Sun Ra, Peter Brotzmann, Flying ...

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Rich Halley: Terra Incognita

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On paper this is a very promising match-up: uninhibited tenor saxophonist Rich Halley backed by the relentless force of pianist Matthew Shipp and his current trio. For the most part, the resulting session delivers on its promise although at times Halley's playing is shoved so far to the front of the mix it drowns out everything else. This is especially true on the first track, “The Opening." Halley's long, steely lines are so overpowering that only the surface agitation of ...

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Sara Gazarek: Thirsty Ghost

Read "Thirsty Ghost" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

Sara Gazarek has been working as a professional jazz singer since 2004. You can find plenty of vintage YouTube clips of her singing Great American Songbook material in a breezy, polished manner. A few years ago, things began to happen in her life. There was near-death tragedy in her family, her marriage fell apart and she began to wonder about her professional future. On this, her sixth album, her reactions to all this have resulted in a broadening and deepening ...


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