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Jazz Articles

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

Fusion

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This article was originally published in 2003. Since the early 1970s, fusion music has served as an appreciable back door for people seeking an entry into the complexities of jazz. The term “fusion" refers to the blending together of jazz, rock, world music, classical, or other influences into a concrete whole. Most often it's applied to a form of music also known as “jazz-rock," which first gained wide popularity with Miles Davis' electric-jazz experiments in the late 60s. ...

INTERVIEWS

Larry Coryell: Less Rock, More Jazz

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This interview was originally published at All About Jazz in June 2001. A true jazz pioneer, guitarist Larry Coryell was one of the earliest musicians to experiment with the fusion of jazz and rock styles. Originally from Galveston, Texas, Coryell moved to New York in 1965, at a time when the city's music scene was infused with a richly creative spirit. Early on he performed with Chico Hamilton, Gary Burton, and the Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra headed by ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Willie McBlind: Bad Thing

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Many elements comprise the spirit of the authentic blues, from the weary, lonesome and forlorn lyrics and voices to the bent, plaintive notes coaxed from weather-beaten, jury-rigged instruments. It's that off-kilter, almost microtonal aspect of true blues tonality that is too often overlooked by cover artists and wanna-bes who reduce the music to three chords and the truth. Guitarist Jon Catler and the other members of Willie McBlind work near-miracles in bringing that raw aspect of the blues sound to ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Jazz Lives: Till We Shall Meet and Never Part

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Jazz Lives: Till We Shall Meet and Never Part Jaap van de Klomp and Scott Yanow Hardcover; 223 pages ISBN: 9789022993538 VIP Books 2008

Now and then a book comes along that defies all expectations. Jazz Lives, a collaboration between Dutch photographer Jaap van de Klomp and American jazz writer Scott Yanow, is just such a volume. Given its structure--short biographies of deceased jazz artists, combined with photos ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Jefry Stevens Quartet: For the Children

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This release in the Cadence Jazz Historical Series (recorded in February 1995) is full of surprises, none greater than the successful intertwining of a former Jazz Messenger with one of the premier free-jazz rhythm teams. Saxophonist David Schnitter isn't the best-known of the Messengers tenormen, having joined the outfit during the comparative down-time of the 1970s. But since then he has built a reputation as a solid, reliable improviser. Dominic Duval and Jay Rosen often function as the “house rhythm ...

INTERVIEWS

Michael Wolff: The Art of Communication

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The idea of music as communication is as old as music itself, and has become just about as clichéd as some of its referents. Igor Stravinsky once opined that music was powerless to communicate anything. And, truth be told, the number of active instrumentalists who can successfully communicate thoughts, feelings, concepts and dogmas without words is significantly smaller than the number of those who believe they can. Even many vocalists and lyricists aren't as adept at getting things across as ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Michael Wolff: Impure Thoughts On Hold

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Pianist Michael Wolff has some of the most expansive vision of anyone working in jazz today. Born in the California High Desert, raised in New Orleans and now making his home in Manhattan, the well-traveled, big-eared Wolff is never short on surprises for his listeners. With his dazzling Impure Thoughts ensemble on hiatus, Wolff's two current albums up the ante beyond that band's extraordinary work.

Michael Wolff Jazz, Jazz, Jazz Wrong Records 2007

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra: Kindred Spirits

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The liner notes tout this band as “a veritable who's who among the Los Angeles area's most accomplished studio and big-band artists." That's quite true, which is precisely why Kindred Spirits falls a bit flat. It shares much of its personnel with most every other white big band project in Southern California, which makes it essentially sound like every other white big band project in Southern California.

LA is afflicted with this studio-band syndrome, wherein just about anyone who styles ...


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