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A Selection of Jazz on Sonorama

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A good record is not just an album, it is a story, and few people understand this better than Ekkehart Fleischhammer, who runs Sonorama. The label specializes in reissues and discoveries of lost jazz classics, library music, funk and soul. Every release is a labor of love and the albums in the following batch all include photography and liner notes. A full portrait of the label and its past achievements can be found elsewhere on this site, but the following ...


Samo Salamon & Howard Levy: Peaks of Light

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American harmonica player Howard Levy is not only a master of the diatonic harmonica; he is also an eclectic musician who elevates every playing situation he participates in. Slovenian guitarist/composer Samo Salamon is a jazz specialist, but he is also a fearless improviser, as demonstrated in his recent duet project WindS (Klopotec, 2016) with pianist Stefano Battaglia and Planets of Kei (NotTwo Records, 2017), a free improvisation session on which he played only acoustic guitar. This album presents ...


Winter 2018

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Blues Deluxe is a regular column comprised of pithy takes on recent blues and roots-music releases of note. It spotlights titles in those genres that might otherwise go unnoticed under the cultural radar. Logan Magness Memphis On My Mind Wolf River Records 2018 The core four musicians on Logan Magness' album move right in stride with each other as they sing and play, thereby elevating the natural flow of the original ...


Martin Lutz: In Denmark I Was Born

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Two hands, one black and one white, hold aloft a heart-shaped map of the world. It might not be subtle, but the artwork adorning this album speaks volumes for it. Martin Lutz is an eclectic Danish composer with a global outlook and a compassionate ethic. He believes in love, empathy and the power of collective action. Try stating an argument against all that. For this group outing, Lutz the pianist takes something of a backseat. Instead his backing ...


Dixie Dregs at Lincoln Theatre

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The Dixie Dregs Lincoln Theatre Washington, DC March 7, 2018Back in the 1970s, many aspiring young guitarists yearned to play like Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page or Jimi Hendrix, but truly inspired musicians wanted to be as good as John McLaughlin or Steve Morse of the Dixie Dregs (later just The Dregs). While the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return To Forever defined guitar driven jazz rock fusion with an emphasis on jazz, the Dregs leaned more on the rock side, ...


Mattias Nilsson: Dreams of Belonging

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In the 1970s and '80s, Windham Hill and Narada made scores of solo piano records that ranged from near sublime to the maudlin, all under the name of “New Age." I listened to hours of it and had my favorite artists. That said, I cannot say that I ever experienced the soul of that music. It was a satisfying, if empty-calorie ear confection that was pleasant enough, but did fall into my thoughts on criticizing contemporary pop art, which I ...


Hank Jones: In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983

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Hank Jones' pianistic style was born out of a fusing of Harlem stride piano with the virtuoso approach of Art Tatum and the harmonic daring of bebop. Jones played with just about everyone in a long and illustrious career but remained modest concerning his musical achievements. When French journalist Francis Marmande, interviewing him in 2010, suggested that he was a giant of jazz, Jones begged to differ, describing himself rather as “a dwarf in the service of the music." Marmande ...


Mike Mizwinski: A Year Ago Today

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There's a photo of Mike Mizwinski on his website populated with background images of artists ranging from Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood, the Who, the Avett Brothers and the String Cheese Incident. Speaking volumes about this man's eclectic approach to music, this pictorial evidence also suggests much about the freewheeling attitude Mizwinski displays on A Year Ago Today, an album of songs replete with self-awareness and rendered with a distinct camaraderie between the author and his accompanists. The ...


The Dixie Dregs at Scottish Rite Auditorium

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The Dixie Dregs Scottish Rite Auditorium Collingswood, NJ March 9, 2018 They've always remained one of the most under-the-radar of fusion bands. The Dixie Dregs' every-damn-thing-at-once musical stew could have hardly been better designed to elude widespread exposure--too much jazzy complexity for a group of rockers, too much country and folk for a jazz combo, a tinge more classical than either, all without any singing to grab the ears of radio (bar a couple exceptions ...


Mathias Eick: Ravensburg

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Choosing to explore the greater stage we all inherit then maneuver to the best of our abilities and intentions, Ravensburg, Norwegian trumpeter Mathias Eick's fourth ECM release, is, like the life force itself, an airy, ambient, triumphant affair, casting light and shadow on the potential victories and pratfalls faced within the circle of family and its place within the larger community of friends and strangers. Coming to life in his grandmother's small home town in southwestern Germany, Eick's ...