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Articles by Mike Jurkovic

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tord Gustavsen: The Other Side

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Like a dusty, Southern gothic novel, Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen opens his return to the trio format with the moody, enigmatic “The Tunnel." All his compositions on The Other Side bare their secrets slowly and play out their methodically expressionistic hauntings with a gospel-influenced left hand seemingly rooted thousands of miles away in the muddy Louisiana delta. Though Being There (ECM, 2007) was widely hailed yet often criticized as being cool in nature, The Other Side is a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Benito Gonzalez: Passion Reverence Transcendence

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In the grand, giving spirit of the master, pianist Benito Gonzalez, drummer Gerry Gibbs and bassist Essiet Okon Essiet hold absolutely nothing back and pull no punches on their exhilarating tribute to McCoy Tyner, Passion Reverence Transcendence. With each tune taped in a single take, the trio explodes with a bold and proclamatory rush. “Fly with the Wind" (originally written by Tyner for trio and strings in 1976) sets the bar high and never looks back. It's a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Necks: Body

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Australia's greatest cult band, The Necks, has twenty albums to its creative and collective credit, amongst them Aether (Fish of Milk, 2001), Open (Fish of Milk, 2013) and Hanging Garden (Fish of Milk, 1999). Pianist/keyboardist Chris Abrahams, bassist Lloyd Swanton and drummer, percussionist and guitarist Tony Buck create an ever-expanding rhythmic organism that constantly feeds off of itself with Body. The episodic, hypnotic, trance-like, 56 minute-plus title track never lags, its vortex of many-layered dynamisms bursting or blooming ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gordon Grdina: Ejdeha

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Fifteen years into his study of Arabia's mysterious and resonant oud, Vancouver, Canada-based guitarist Gordon Grdina has released Ejdeha, with his equally mysterious and resonant ensemble, The Marrow. Expanding out from his debut, Think Like the Waves (Songlines, 2006), recorded with Gary Peacock and Paul Motian, Grdina takes his jazz improvisations further into the poetic exoticism of the Middle East. “Telesm" pulls the veil back on Ejdeha, as The Marrow--bassist Mark Helias, cellist Hank Roberts, and Hamin Honari, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Troy Roberts: Nu-Jive Perspective

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Though still a pup age-wise, Australian-born saxophonist Troy Roberts has two Grammy nominations under his belt and has shared the stage and studio with luminaries that have defined the musical spectrum, including Aretha Franklin, Van Morrison, Joey DeFrancesco, Christian McBride, Orrin Evans, and Dee Dee Bridgewater. Nu-Jive Perspective, his eighth disc as leader and third with this globally boisterous quintet, is a youthful romp through all the sounds of New York's neighborhoods. Hovering in that cool zone between ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dexter Gordon: Dexter Gordon Quartet Tokyo 1975

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Though in many regards a standard, none-too-frenetic quartet setting, Dexter Gordon Quartet Tokyo 1975 is still as grand a starting point for Elemental Music's inaugural launch of previously unreleased jazz performances as can be. Gordon found himself exuberantly liberated from the antiquated (and sadly all too present) prejudices of America during his fourteen-year expatriation to Europe from 1962 to '76. Working and living primarily in Paris and Copenhagen, Gordon gigged and recorded with visiting friends and fellow expats ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Christensen: Dear Friend

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Madison Wisconsin based bassist/composer John Christensen begins his debut, Dear Friend with the namesake track, a quietly rolling, reflective impression that might at first remind one of a backing track for any number of 70's singer-songwriters. It's a pretty piece, a wonderful starting point for a very melodic, almost nostalgic listen. The next composition, “Something Said in Passing" keeps the nostalgic vibe, as guitarist Dave Miller recreates any number of 60's pop sounding guitar punctuations, giving way to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Amanda Gardier: Empathy

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With a clear sense of composition and where her own fluid voice, and those of her superb surrounding musicians, fall within the whole, Indiana-based alto saxophonist Amanda Gardier opens her debut disc, Empathy, on the multi-layered strengths of the palette-setting “Giants," an expansive piece that allows her plenty of time in the lead before gracefully stepping aside for a guitar-fuelled crescendo. Each of Gardier's ten originals on Empathy exemplifies her guiding principle to “turn the perceived notion of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tin Men and the Telephone: World Domination Vol 1: Furie

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Seriously, if this is what world domination sounds like, sign me up for a lifetime subscription! Sure you can control this trio with a smartphone through the Tinmendo app, but can you really? These guys are so gloriously off the rails, so wondrously their own entity that, yeah, go find your hot spot and hope for reception, but you ain't in control. None of us are (at the moment). But when this Amsterdam-based cauldron of invention and genre-mashing ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Igor Willcox Quartet: Live!

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Live! is an unrelenting coup of a performance, an in-your-face and out-of your-seat statement, and one hell of a very hot disc -non-stop Euro fusion and jazz funk. Brazilian drummer Igor Willcox opens the gate and leads his indefatigable quartet of virtusosi -relentless bassist Glecio Nascimento, Jan Hammer influenced keyboardist Vini Morales, and free-blowing Clayton Sousa on sax -through a high-octane celebration of living and joyful playing. One can immediately see and hear that Willcox doesn't mince words ...