Articles by Victor L. Schermer

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Swana: Bright Moments

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Simply put, this album is so listenable and stood out so noticeably among the many CDs I've been spinning for myself recently, that I thought All About Jazz readers ought to know about it. I first heard then trumpeter John Swana a decade or more ago when he jammed at pianist Tom Lawton's memorable long-term gig with the late great bassist Al Stauffer at the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia. I was awestruck by Swana's clarity, sustained non-vibrato tone, and ...

OPINION

New York Times Downsizes Jazz Coverage: A Response

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The February 23rd report from the Salon website that the The New York Times has downsized its coverage of live and recorded jazz is quite a shock, and, in my opinion, a poor decision on their part which I hope they will seriously reconsider. Their iconic and highly competent reviewers, Ben Ratliff and Nate Chinen, have left the newspaper, although their reasons for departure aren't clear. Salon cites the reason for the downsizing to be a decline in the number ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Jim Ridl Quartet Featuring Zach Brock at Collingswood Community Center

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Jim Ridl Quartet Featuring Zach Brock Collingswood Community Center Jazz Bridge Neighborhood Concert Collingswood, PA March 2, 2017 The Jazz Bridge is a meritorious organization that not only sponsors outstanding concerts in and around Philadelphia, but also offers support to musicians in distress. Their recently published Philadelphia Real Book contains sheet music for tunes composed by Philadelphia jazz legends as well as lesser known greats such as the memorable Father John D'Amico. Jazz Bridge ...

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 ...


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