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Articles by Mike Jurkovic

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wolfgang Muthspiel: Where The River Goes

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The inventiveness that Austrian guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel displayed on 2016's Rising Grace (ECM) is on display once more on Where The River Goes--again made with an American quartet, this time comprising pianist Brad Mehldau, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Eric Harland (who replaces Rising Grace's Brian Blade). Where The River Goes is a less introspective disc than its predecessor, with more in the moment improv between the players. “Descendants" begins somberly with its billowing guitar ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Keith Jarrett: La Fenice

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Keith Jarrett stands alone in the history of improvised solo piano masterpieces. He comes close with La Fenice, a pristine, two-disc archival release. Recorded in July of 2006 at the Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice, the phoenix rises with an inspiration and open communication only Jarrett can channel. Emotionally captivating as all his recordings ultimately are, La Fenice is comprised mostly of the eight part suite that dominates the recording. Starting as he often does with a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Enrique Haneine: The Mind's Mural

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Drawing from influences as diverse as his Latin heritage, Middle Eastern rhythms, and the sounds of New York life, Grammy-nominated drummer/percussionist and pianist Enrique Haneine fashions his latest, The Mind's Mural, into a totally accessible free-form session that is both easy and challenging to the ear. A vibrant pianist, Haneine, as he did on the eye-opening Instants of Time (Elegant Walk Records, 2016), holds his drummer's chair and situates the lyrical dual saxophones of Anna Weber (tenor) and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Petrucelli: Presence

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Call it what? Jazz-op? Jazzical? Silly names aside, histories of jazz and classical music are littered with failed attempts. Saxophonist John Petrucelli, an instructor at Carnegie Mellon University and student of jazz history, astronomy and philosophy, takes the lessons in and presents us with Presence. This ambitious and rewarding album successfully melds an up-for-it jazz quintet and expressive, equally ready-for-anything string quartet to produce an arching narrative of human potential and possibilities. Add in the daring fact that it's all ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Shai Maestro: The Dream Thief

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Having built a considerable reputation with fellow Israeli, bassist Avishai Cohen, on his fully realized, fulfilling ECM debut, The Dream Thief, pianist Shai Maestro readily creates a searching lyrical atmosphere, a unique blend of chamber improvisation, emotional eloquence, and communal virtuosity that serves the music and its grand moment of creation. Maestro sets off with a delicate, spontaneous solo reading of the evocatively haunting “My Second Childhood," by popular Israeli composer (and Maestro's teacher) Matti Capsi. Built on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tim Rachbach: Under One Moon

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"Ancient Thread" forcefully opens 23 year-old drummer Tim Rachbach's solid debut, Under The Moon, and it's a fitting title, indeed. Throughout this and six other Rachbach compositions, ("Toy Tune" belongs to none other than saxophonist Wayne Shorter) a group of young adventurous players explore their way through the music's many nuanced turns. Saxophonist Xavier Del Castillo carries the charging lead, arpeggiating freely and high flying until the song literally breaks in half, carried with versatile bop by bassist ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Madsen & Alfred Vogel: I Ching

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Even if it all turns out to be hogwash in the end, the mysteries of the I Ching--its divination powers, its myth and madness--have held the world's consciousness in awe and fear for at least three thousand years. These legends and provocations are explored with resounding depth and clarity on I Ching, with pianist Peter Madsen and drummer Alfred Vogel tackling a series of sixteen captivating improvisations, each predicated on a throw of the I Ching's coins and the variables ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Soft Machine: Hidden Details

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From leading the psychedelic '60s charge with Pink Floyd to a more experimental, free rock/jazz stratagem that incorporated whatever sound caught its collective musical ear, Soft Machine included, over the course of nearly two decades, a colorful cast of eccentrics, like guitarists Allan Holdsworth and Andy Summers, drummer/vocalist Robert Wyatt, bassist Hugh Hopper, and fuzz organist maestro Mike Ratledge. Nearly four decades later, Soft Machine still makes a far ranging, far flung sound like no other. Most aware ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Connie Han Trio at Smoke Jazz Club

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Connie Han Trio Smoke Jazz Club New York, NY October 4, 2018 Combustible is the first word that sprung to mind as pianist Connie Han opened her first set by spring loading her wily rhythm-mates, bassist Edwin Livingston and drummer/musical director Bill Wysaske through a twisty, bop energy homage to Freddie Hubbard, which, as she explained in her opening intros, she had recently composed.After some humorous banter concerning her soon ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Connie Han: Crime Zone

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Twenty-two year old pianist Connie Han comes at you flashy, fast, and furious on her Mack Avenue debut Crime Zone. But it's flashy and fast with more than enough sense of history and creative curiosity to keep your ear pinned to whatever device you're listening on. “Another Kind of Right" jumps from the start with short staccato bursts from Han that implore her born-in-the-groove bassist Edwin Livingston and drummer/producer/mentor Bill Wysaske to leap into the fray with her. ...