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Articles by Victor L. Schermer

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sara Bielanski: From the Heart

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This is vocalist Sara Bielanski's debut album, and for it she brought together a group of fine musicians with connections to the Berklee School of Music and The New England Conservatory, institutions where for well over more than a half-century many of our most outstanding players have gotten their jump start. Bielanski herself is a fine crossover singer and vocal teacher based in Cambridge, so the album has a touch of the sophisticated New England Back Bay feeling of those ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Mary Ellen Desmond: Comfort and Joy Concert 2016

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Mary Ellend Desmond Church of St. Luke and the Epiphany Comfort and Joy Philadelphia, PA December 11. 2016 Mary Ellen Desmond is one of the most highly regarded Philadelphia-based vocalists, and for the last thirteen years she has provided the inspiration and fronted a top of the line quartet for the annual Comfort and Joy holiday concert at the Church of St. Luke and the Epiphany. This reviewer, no particular fan of holiday ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Pat Martino Quintet at Chris’ Jazz Café

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Pat Martino Quintet Chris' Jazz Cafe Philadelphia, PA November 25, 2016 Guitar legend Pat Martino periodically supplements his working trio--consisting of himself, organist Pat Bianchi, and drummer Carmen Intorre--with a horn section of Alex Norris on trumpet and Adam Niewood on tenor saxophone. This post-Thanksgiving set at Chris' Jazz Café demonstrated that this quintet has evolved into a tight, coordinated unit where Martino shines but the ensemble effect is “undeniable," which also happens to be ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Bobby Zankel's Warriors of the Wonderful Sound with Rene McLean at the Painted Bride

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Warriors of the Wonderful Sound Special Guest Artist Rene McLean Painted Bride Art Center Philadelphia, PA November 10, 2016 Philadelphia's own Bobby Zankel and the Warriors of the Wonderful Sound keep reeling off exciting concerts in their ongoing series at the Painted Bride. This one featured saxophonist Rene McLean as the guest artist. He is the son of legendary saxophonist Jackie Mclean, so the stage backdrop displayed a slide show that included nostalgic ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Jim Ridl: Door in a Field V2, Songs of the Green River

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This is pianist Jim Ridl's seventh album as a leader, and all revolve around specific motifs involving people, places, things, images, and words. For example, his debut CD, Five Minutes to Madness and Joy (Synergy Music, 1999), is based on a poem by Walt Whitman which Ridl then elaborated upon in a variety of musical expressions. On the one hand, Ridl is a solid, mainstream jazz pianist who has worked with a panoply of cohorts like Dave Liebman, Joe Locke, ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Lizz Wright and Danilo Perez Jazz 100 at the Merriam Theater

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Lizz Wright, Vocalist; Danilo Perez, Pianist and Music Director Jazz 100: The Music of Dizzy, Ella, Mongo & Monk Merriam Theater Kimmel Center Presents Philadelphia, PA September 30, 2016 This well conceived theme-based jazz show anticipated the 100th birthdays and celebrated the music of four jazz icons all coincidentally born in 1917: Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Mongo Santamaria and Thelonious Monk. Philadelphia welcomed back pianist Danilo Perez, who for several years curated ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Tender Heart: Songs Of Tom Giacabetti And Melissa Gilstrap

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The late Tom Giacabetti was a master guitarist based in Philadelphia and Atlantic City. Towards the end of his life, cut short at age 64 by a prolonged illness, he compiled several of his own compositions for some of which lyrics were set by Melissa Gilstrap, a Philly lawyer and lover of music, poetry, literature, and the arts, who is currently making a name for herself as a jazz lyricist. (Her words are featured in a self- produced 2013 recording ...

INTERVIEWS

Lewis Porter on John Coltrane

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The following interview with Lewis Porter, author of John Coltrane: His life and Music, was conducted by telephone on April 15, 2000. I am indebted to Dr. Porter for taking the time from his exceptionally busy schedule as musician, writer, teacher, and father to share his views with us. All About Jazz: It's indeed an honor to interview you, Dr. Porter. Just to get us started, could you tell us your favorite albums and books about jazz, ...

DVD/FILM REVIEWS

Jimmy Scott: I Go Back Home

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Jimmy Scott: I Go Back Home Kemper Music, Sine Qua Non Music 2016 “Little" Jimmy Scott (1925-2014) was for a long time the world's greatest jazz singer nobody ever heard of. Enormously talented, with an intuitive grasp of the jazz idiom and the blues, he began his ascendance as a singer with Lionel Hampton's band in the 1950s, and then almost vanished from the scene for three decades. In 1991, Velvet Underground guitarist Lou Reed and ...


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