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Articles by Paul Naser

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lucinda Belle: Think Big: Like Me

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As a reported tour featuring Amy Winehouse's hologram nears in winter 2018 and news also comes of a final album by The O'Jays, it seems there is still room in the world for music rooted in soul and with “jazzy" inflections. Enter vocalist/harpist/songwriter Lucinda Belle. Less Dorothy Ashby and more Peggy Lee (if Lee played the harp), Belle's harp playing is more textural than virtuosic, and it suits her. On her latest single, “I'll Be Loving You," the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mah-Ze-Tar: Liquid Lotus

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As technology makes it easy to share information and art between cultures that were once far removed from each other, “World" and multi-genre music that draws from many different traditions becomes more and more common. It is with this spirit of fusing many different sounds and styles that multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/composer Maz Karandish began his project, Mah-Ze-Tar, which is finally releasing its debut, Liquid Lotus. There is much in the way of traditional eastern music on the record, but from ...

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Gideon King: Street Jazz

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New York based guitarist/composer/ songwriter Gideon King is no stranger to the city. Growing up there, he is well positioned to tell a story or two about the place. This is just what he sets out to do with his forthcoming release with his band City Blog, entitled Upscale Madhouse. Far from a condemnation, the title is his King's way of hinting at the subject matter of the record, which deals with real stories as well as the general energy ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gideon King: Upscale Madhouse

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The single “Fake It On Facebook" from Gideon King's forthcoming release, Upscale Madhouse is the ideal ambassador for the rest of the album. It encapsulates all the evolutions his writing has gone through since his last release, City Blog, while it showcases his unique musical and lyrical style. In addition to King's preferred style of organic, live performed guitar and keyboards, “Fake It On Facebook" features in studio production techniques which create added depth to the track. This ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Williams: Tipping My Hat To Leonard

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When thinking of powerful, challenging lyrics, “gypsy" jazz rarely comes to mind. David Williams is out to change that one song at at time. The Emmy award winning songwriter's CV is impressive to say the least; he has worked for PBS (how he won his Emmy), written multiple books on topics ranging from poetry to neuroscience and taught as a university professor, all while continuing to play gypsy jazz. However, after a divorce, Williams moved to Nashville for a new ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Disaster Relief: Disaster Relief

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While there are many bands, such as Vulfpeck and Snarky Puppy, playing modern funk with astonishing precision and technicality, it is less common to find one playing the loose, greasy style pioneered and perfected by groups such as The Meters. Disaster Relief is just such an outfit and, on their debut record, they showcase their love for open yet poignant funk jams alongside their Afro-beat and classic funk and rock influences. The instrumental group, hailing from ...

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Jason Vitelli: Head Above Tide

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jny: New York-based artist Jason Vitelli should be highly commended for his efforts at blending songwriting with interesting musical forms and arrangements (think Steely Dan), a sound that is too often avoided. Rooted in his experience as a composer for film, Vitelli's music often has a theatrical sound. His baritone voice set against the sparse production recalls a musical theater production on more than one occasion. His third full-length release, Head Above Tide, explores many styles. From reggae ...

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Jan Sturiale: Roadmaps

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Italian born, New York-based guitarist Jan Sturiale wastes no time on his latest record, Roadmaps; from the first notes of the opener it's evident that everyone on the record, which was cut in just one day, came ready to push the compositions to their limits. Sturiale writes tunes that are complex, but they develop organically and leave plenty of room for players to add their voices. Throughout the record Sturiale's tone evokes Pat Metheny and Kurt Rosenwinkel. Undoubtedly ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Patrick Grant: A Sequence of Waves (Twelve Stories and a Dream)

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Multi-instrumentalist and composer Patrick Grant's music can be difficult to classify. This is probably, at least to a degree, intentional. The NYU film school professor and multiple-time ASCAP Plus Award winner was a long time member of the legendary Robert Fripp's Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists and has scored multiple theater and dance companies' projects. Those with even a passing familiarity with Fripp's work, which became iconic during his time with the relentlessly experimental, impossible to categorize King Crimson, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Shrek Is Love: Vol. 1 - This Is My Swamp

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It's hard to know where to begin with Shrek Is Love. Their sense of humor and dedication to the Shrek theme could be a completely separate topic of discussion, leaving aside the music. Though this review intends to focus on the compositions and playing, their unique backstory warrants at least a mention. According to the band, they decided to book a show after "playing the Remix to 'Ignition' by R. Kelly at the Thelonious Monk Institute Room at UCLA" ...