Articles by Victor L. Schermer

DVD/FILM REVIEWS

I Am Not Your Negro: History Revisited through a Personal Lens

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I Am Not Your Negro Narrator: Samuel L. Jackson Director: Raoul Peck Distributor: Velvet Films This electrifying docu-drama invoking the eloquent words and profound personal experience of the great writer James Baldwin brings to life the stormy and transformational period of the Civil Rights movement in a way that is far more vivid than the images many saw on their small TV screens in the 1960s. The images, sound track, Baldwin's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Deborah Brown: Kansas City Here I Come

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Jazz vocalists occupy a wide swath of styles from those who mercilessly belt out a tune to those who use the ever evolving vocabulary of the jazz idiom with care and precision. Deborah Brown is one of the most sophisticated of the latter genre. She is a true artist. She never wastes a note, inflection, or dynamic. She meticulously treats the nuances of every song with the care of a concert and opera singer. Such precision only makes her more ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Norman David: The Eleventet - Please Call

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Clarinetist and soprano saxophonist Norman David founded and has been leading Philadelphia's Eleventet for over three decades. After thirty years playing in in and around the city, the band found their recording groove with their first CD, At This Time (Norman David/Coolcraft, 2011). Now, in this new release, they deliver swinging and ear-popping sounds while at the same time offering nuances, subtleties, and creative ideas that generate interest for the more serious listener. David plays a mean soprano sax, while ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Listening to Jazz Knowingly and Authentically: The Epistemology and Ontology of Jazz

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"What a peculiar privilege has this little agitation of the brain which we call 'thought.'" --David Hume I deliberately used the words “epistemological" and “ontological" in the title in order to attract your attention. If you don't know what they mean, you're going feel put off or curious. If you do know, you're going to wonder what they have to do with jazz. Either way you're going to think consciously about what you just read, and if you ...

LIVE REVIEWS

William Parker: 65th Birthday Celebration Concert at the Painted Bride

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William Parker and Friends Painted Bride Arts Center William Parker 65th Birthday Celebration Philadelphia, PA January 21, 2017 To celebrate the 65th birthday of legendary bassist William Parker, the Painted Bride Arts Center, Ars Nova Workshop, and Bobby Zankel's Warriors of the Wonderful Sound joined forces to sponsor a top of the line sextet including Parker in the catbird seat and Zankel at the helm. For those who don't know about Parker, he ...

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 ...


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