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Articles by Kevin Press

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Stefon Harris: The Tradition of Jazz

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Twenty-two years into his career, Albany, New York's Stefon Harris has fronted seven Blue Note LPs, served as co-lead on two others and recorded with a host of greats including Joshua Redman, Ry Cooder, Courtney Pine and Christian Scott. Because that's not enough for the 45-year-old, he's also a successful educator, public speaker, entrepreneur and an eloquent interview. He and I spoke last week about his upcoming Blackout album, Sonic Creed. All About Jazz: “Dat Dere," ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Emilio Santiago: Emilio Santiago

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In retrospect, it's not surprising that Emílio Santiago chose a track list steeped in Latin music history and a long list of some of the best players in the game. It was clear from early on that Santiago had the potential to make a significant contribution to the genre. What's remarkable about this 1975 debut--reissued by Far Out Recordings--is how in command he sounds at 29. This 10-track LP came just two years after his debut single for ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

ORCASTRATUM: ORCASTRATUM

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Glen Scott is one of those studio gurus without whom the world's biggest pop stars would be well and truly lost. Born to Jamaican parents in England in 1973, Scott has built a solid industry resume with a long list of world-famous references. His most celebrated credit came in 2013, as the producer of Eric Bibb's award-wining 2013 album Jericho Road. But that only just scratches the surface. Scott has worked with Backstreet Boys, Mary J. Blige, James ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike Clark & Delbert Bump: Retro Report

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Go ahead. Judge this album by its cover. That 1970-something Ford grill tells you everything you need to know. It's big, funky and stamped Made In USA. These 11 cuts are Hammond-organ groovy. Which is to say Delbert Bump groovy. And the only thing better than a Bump groove is one paired with former Headhunters drummer Mike Clark. That's Headhunters as in Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, a band Clark was proud to call home in the early ...

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Ellen Doty: Goosebumps All Over

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Calgary's Ellen Doty drops her second LP March 2. Come Fall is a stripped-down collection of gorgeous jazz pop that features Doty on vocals, Davide Di Renzo on drums and Mark Lalama on piano. The absence of bass, horns and all the rest was an inspired choice. Doty, whose crystal-clear voice must be heard to be believed, talked with me about how he album became a trio project, opening for Gregory Porter and working with songwriting partners Justin ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Victor Assis Brasil: Esperanto/Toca Antonio Carlos Jobim

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Victor Assis Brasil's passing in 1981 at the age of 35 was felt by jazz fans inside and outside his home country of Brazil. He was a major talent in the 1970s whose South American-bop mashups earned him a ticket to tour three continents. Far Out Recordings has repackaged two of his finest LPs on a new CD/vinyl/digital download. In addition to the original albums, we get two previously unavailable tracks--alternate versions of “Marilia" and “Ao Amigo Quartin." ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tim Conley: Thelonious Sphere Monk

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Jazz anniversaries are always a bit underwhelming. They come and go, their significance trumpeted in earnest Facebook posts. At the end of the day though, the artists we honor remain underappreciated by casual music listeners. The 100th anniversary of Thelonious Monk's birth date last October is a case in point. His contribution to American culture--and to jazz culture globally--is on par with that of the 20th century's great artists. To describe him as a giant is to state ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Quin Kirchner: The Other Side of Time

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Albums that clock in at anything near 90 minutes are not automatically major works. On the other hand, this new effort from Quin Kirchner and Co. is hard to describe in any other terms. Kirchner's six-piece band has delivered a wide-ranging, powerful disc. Things get rolling with the appropriately titled “Ritual." From the start, tenor saxophonist Nate Lepine will have you reminiscing about John Coltrane's glory days and his multitude of followers. It is a huge, phat track ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Blaque Dynamite: Killing Bugs

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Child prodigies have been with us for hundreds of years. And yet they're still not fully understood. Loosely defined as anyone under age 10 who produces something an adult expert in that field would be proud to call his or her own, these rare kids don't always mature into greatness. For every Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Esperanza Spalding, there are one or two Scott Baios. Mike Mitchell is headed in the right direction. His new album, recorded under ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kodian Trio: II

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Europe's free jazz scene continues to race forward, to the delight of its small but ardent fan base. The self-described “improvising power unit" Kodian Trio is doing its part to keep things hopping. Featuring Dirk Serries on electric guitar, Andrew Lisle on drums and Colin Webster on alto saxophone, the three-piece recorded its second album at the Sunny Side Inc. studio in Brussels, Belgium. It's a trip. For the uninitiated, Webster and Lisle are both active ...