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Articles by Jim Worsley

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Erik Palmberg: First Lines

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Straight-ahead jazz, with minimal modernism, is at the forefront of this dense and measurably paced recording. First Lines is the first record from veteran Swedish trumpeter Erik Palmberg as a leader. Joining him for the session are pianist Anton Dromberg, drummer Gustav Nahlin, and bassist Peder Waern. This eleven-song creation features eight original tunes from Palmberg. These rich compositions are notably tempered and melodic. The arrangements enable four skillful and accomplished musicians to fuse together as an ensemble, ...

SOCAL JAZZ

Marcus Miller: America's AmBASSadoor

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Marcus Miller is most often described as a jazz, funk, soul, fusion, and R&B bassist. As much as that is accurate, it is a description that falls well short of the mark. Miller is a high-end musical sponge who manages to incorporate today's cultures and rhythms into his compositions, layered within the framework of sound he has polished over the past four decades. He is perhaps best known as a musician in connection with Miles Davis, David Sanborn, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Leni Stern: 3

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For her critically acclaimed Dakar Suite (Leni Stern Recordings, 2016), Leni Stern presented her African enhanced sounds with lavish 10-piece orchestrations and arrangements complete with horns and violins. For this 2018 release, Stern's compositions were written specifically for a 3 piece, as opposed to adapting a 10 piece composition. Hence the title. The “Khavare" (party) gets started with the sabar (a Sengalese drum) cadence of percussionist Alioune Faye. This lively tune is broadened by bassist Mamadou Ba and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Monika Herzig: Sheroes

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Composer and pianist Monika Herzig embarks on carefully scored passages against a bevy of broad sonic palettes on her 2018 release Sheroes. Herzig has long championed female empowerment in jazz, as well as other forms of music. For Sheroes she assembled an international cast featuring many of the finest musicians in the world. A total of nine musicians, including Herzig, brought their wealth of talent and band leading skills into the studio. The results are rewarding and sophisticated ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Massimo Colombo: Powell To The People

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Powell To The People could certainly be heard as a tribute to jazz pianist Bud Powell. It could just as easily be heard as an introduction to the legend's iconic music. It fulfills both categories with the emotion and virtuosity Powell exuded in his playing. Powell pioneered a new era of post swing bebop during the 1940's. His revolutionary style was the forerunner to Red Garland, Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Wynton Kelly, and the many other ...

SOCAL JAZZ

Michael Landau: The Guitarist's Guitarist

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"He is the best guitarist in the world," states guitarist and Grammy winner Steve Lukather. Indeed, Michael Landau is an important figure in the modern era and one of the most widely respected guitar players on the planet. Landau made his mark as an A list session player in the '80s and '90s. He has, perhaps, recorded on more records than any other guitarist in history. I did say perhaps. I don't believe that category is in the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bekken and Gjems: Spell

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Dr. Bekken's last record, Live At Bar Moskus (Blue Mood, 2017), was nominated for a Norwegian Grammy (the Spellemannprisen). That was a hard-driving solo, boogie-woogie upright piano performance. For Spell, the good doctor writes a new prescription for traditional Norwegian folk infused with New Orleans style jazz. Harmonicist Richard Gjems is co-featured. Bekken and Gjems have been collaborating for over ten years now. Gjems has also been nominated for a Spellemannprisen in the past. On this outing he ...

SOCAL JAZZ

Incendio: The Fire Within

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If sophisticated, richly dense, multi-layered instrumental music is your thing, then you may already be a fan of the critically acclaimed band Incendio. Co-founded in 2000 by guitarist Jim Stubblefield, bassist Liza Carbe, and guitarist JP Durand, Incendio boldly blends a plethora of genres. Jazz, flamenco, rock, Latin, Spanish, world, classical, pop, Middle-Eastern, and Celtic, are amongst the lively mix. The Los Angeles-area based band boasts an energy and passion that suits their vivid genre exploration. It could ...

SOCAL JAZZ

Herbie Hancock: Quintessential Quintet Live

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It was a thunderous, sprawling, and intoxicatingly brilliant performance. And that was just the first fifteen minutes of Herbie Hancock's extraordinary concert Wednesday night, March 7, at the Balboa Theater in downtown San Diego, presented by the La Jolla Music Society. Before introducing his exceptionally talented bandmates, Hancock jokingly told the crowd that he, “didn't want to show up empty handed." There was no danger of that, given Hancock's band consisted of bassist James Genus, guitarist Lionel Loueke, ...

SOCAL JAZZ

John Mayall: In The Pocket at 84

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For the past five and a half decades, John Mayall has written scores of both relevant and joyous music. It should come as no surprise that at the tender age of 84 he continues to do so. It soothingly, and ingeniously, seems to flow out of him like a calm, yet telling, river. Many years ago, he was dubbed the Father of the British Blues. Rightfully so, as in the early 1960's he created, or revolutionized (depending on ...