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Articles by Nicholas F. Mondello

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Giacomo Gates: G8S

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2018 worldwide news reports have detailed all sorts of technologically-assisted archaeological finds. In the US, a previously unreleased John Coltrane album and other musical discoveries have popped up. And--whaddya know?--here is an unreleased and enhanced set of tracks from the Hipster to the Hip, Giacomo Gates. And it is a helluva find, you dig? G8S, originally laid down in 2005, is a short-form release of four tunes performed by Gates and a hip vibes and rhythm quartet. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Blue Jay Patten: Street Scene

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With Street Scene, multitalented musician/composer/producer Blue Jay Patten engages in a highly entertaining tribute to (and stroll through) Nashville, “Music City." Patten--long a fixture in the 'ville--and his various crews deliver an eclectic, upbeat, and all-around fun tour. As is the city it salutes, Street Scene is a veritable gumbo of genres--contemporary, jazz, country, gospel, pop and folk--each approached with integrity, outstanding musicianship and sparkling sass. Appropriately for a Nashville nod, the instrumental opener, “Rocky Top," has Patten's ...

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Gordon Au: Untraditionally Mad About Trad

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Gordon Au draws upon a palette ranging from the traditional jazz of Louis Armstrong to the modern jazz of today. In New York, Gordon leads the Grand St. Stompers, a traditional jazz band called “a pillar of New York's hot jazz scene" by The New York Times, and appears with the Grammy-winning Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, the Louis Armstrong Eternity Band at Birdland, Dandy Wellington, and others. He is in demand around the country as a soloist (International Trumpet ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Barbara Reed: On Stage

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Musicians who are also authors tend to be relatively common -it's those Muse juices, you know. Mary Higgins Clark would title her books with the names of well-known popular songs. Popster parrotter Jimmy Buffett and even Madonna have penned. Barbara Reed, however, does it all: she's an outstanding vocalist/pianist/composer/lyricist--and a celebrated author whose work on all embraces song. The LA-based Reed has been a fixture on the So Cal music scene for years. She's a solid, musically-grounded ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The New England Jazz Ensemble: Peter and the Wolf

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Sergei Prokofiev's classic work, Peter and the Wolf, has been recorded by just about every ensemble on the planet, save Johnny Puleo and the Harmonicats. Furthermore, it has been guest narrated by some of the greatest (Richard Attenborough, Ben Kingsley, Sir John Gielgud) and also oddest voices (Bill Clinton with Sophia Loren and Mikhail Gorbachov, Antonio Banderas also with Loren, and Sharon Stone). However, there's never been as hip, pulled-together version than that recently recorded by the New England Jazz ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chris Kase: Let Go

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Chris Kase is one of those artists that those in the know, know. The trumpeter, who currently resides, teaches and performs primarily in Spain, is a superb player and composer. All those qualities can be seen in Let Go. It is an intelligent, thought-provoking display of his fine musicianship. “Teaser" opens the session with a catchy, “lick-like" up-tempo theme on which Kase displays his playful, yet focused approached to the melody and his improv. “The Wishing Song" ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Arturo Sandoval: Ultimate Duets

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Anyone who has seen a no-hit game in baseball will tell you that it's a rare and highly exciting occurrence. With Ultimate Duets, Arturo Sandoval and his team of music stars deliver even better--a perfect game of a recording. Maestro Sandoval joins with some of the greatest vocal names in music, most recognizable by surname--Wonder, Domingo, Sanz, Jarreau, Groban, Grande, et al. And, as one expects by way of his 10 Grammy®-winning track record, everything about this ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Proulx: Say It

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The first thing one might ask encountering this album is “OK, how do you say Proulx?" It's pronounced “Proo," with a silent l and x. However, there's nothing silent or uncertain about this fine offering from Grammy®-winning pianist/vocalist/composer, John Proulx. Say It is an elegant, first class endeavor. The ten-selection date opens with Proulx leading a catch-your-breath and scatted version of Luis Bonfa's “The Gentle Rain," spiced with a “Hot House" quote in there and a fine ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Li Xiaochuan: Initial

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In China, one of the world's most ancient--and at times sheltered--civilizations, jazz music, which was once called “pornographic," has experienced a very robust re-emergence. For example, a recent multi-city tour in 5-digit capacity venues by Maestro Arturo Sandoval played to overflow SROs each night. And, there's even now a Blue Note in Beijing, a jazz club near the Great Wall, and many other jazz venues. Trumpeter Li Xiaochuan, a leading Chinese jazz/classical trumpeter and educator (he teaches ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alessandro Carabelli Music ensemble: Indaco

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In Italian, a language of such beautiful color, “Indaco" translates as “Indigo." And, if there is anything that this recording is, it is indeed colorful, full of beauty, rhythmic variety and mood. Pianist and composer Alessandro Carabelli and his Ensemble offer 14 selections where texture and color predominate. This is highly intelligent and inviting music--without any appearance of pretentiousness. Each selection draws one's ear in, and, in the best Italian tradition, one's heart. Surprisingly, a cacophonic 30-plus ...