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Six on Cellar Live

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Cory Weeds' record label Cellar Live has become a welcome home to straight-ahead mainstream jazz in the same way that Arbors Records has been the beacon for traditional jazz and swing. Think Norman Granz's Pablo label tele-transported deep into the 21st Century. Six recent releases illuminate Cellar Live's importance to jazz as a whole and to the mainstream, specifically. Emmet Cohen Masters Legacy Series Volume 2: Emmet Cohen featuring Ron Carter and Evan Sherman Cellar Live ...


Anat Cohen/Fred Hersch: Live In Healdsburg

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When you think of these two lauded artists, duo encounters aren't the first thing likely to come to mind. Pianist Fred Hersch spends most of his time toggling between solo and trio work, and it's almost impossible to keep up with the size and/or scope of clarinetist Anat Cohen's varied pursuits. But that's not to say that the art of the pas de deux doesn't figure into their respective paths. Cohen paired up with guitarist Marcello Gonçalves for Outra Coisa ...


Paolo Fresu: Carpe Diem

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If you were somehow able to interject Miles Davis in his cool period into today's contemporary European jazz scene, you'd have to think he'd sound a lot like Paolo Fresu. But while Miles concerned himself with the sound of “urban" cool, Fresu offers a romance-infused cool. Think balcony on Mediterranean bluffs at sunset, a glass of Chianti in hand, staring deeply into the eyes of your partner, enjoying the salt air breeze wafting across your skin. This is the magic ...


My Life in the Key of E

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My Life in the Key of E: A Memoir Pete Escovedo with Sarah Spinner Escovedo 284 Pages ISBN: 978-0-692-87885-9 2017 It's not news that the music business is tough. There are some phenomenally talented people who scuffle for years trying to pay the rent. And, yes, there is the other phenomenon too,a commercially successful mediocrity elevated by the vagaries of popular taste. If for no other reason, Pete ...


Sun Ra: Exotica

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Spring 2018 is delivering a welcome batch of Sun Ra reissues, some of them remastered editions of existing albums, others newly put-together compilations. Among the compilations, two stand out: the previously reviewed Sun Ra Plays Gershwin (Enterplanetary Records, 2017) and now Exotica. Both are mellifluous beauties which showcase Ra's unapologetic love of a good tune. Listeners who prefer bracingly atonal Ra will need to look elsewhere. In the jazz community, the guiltiest of guilty pleasures might well be exotica, the ...


Pilgrims: Oriental Orbit

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This International trio's second album contains an East meets West nomenclature, but a case can be made that their unique bridging of various modalities defies strict categorizations. Enhanced by audiophile qualities, the recording radiates a mystical communion of diverse instrumentation that toggles between conventional world jazz norms and a horde of tasty abstracts or pieces where Marco Jencarelli's electric guitar lines signal glimpses of jazz fusion. Vocalist, percussionist Tony Majdalani's Middle Eastern-based chants on various pieces float above John Wolf ...


João Paulo Esteves da Silva / Mário Franco / Samuel Rohrer: Brightbird

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There is music that gradually unfolds, music that lingers in stasis, music with sparse tonal movement, and, sometimes, music that simply happens, like the symphonies of sound in nature. This trio's music is quite close to this last mode. Just a few tones open up a broad living-space and let sound happen and get enriched by an inner (im)pulse. These three musicians seem to have a firm common understanding of the emanating forces of sound as well as its suggestive ...


Interview with James Brandon Lewis & Further Notable New Releases

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Great new albums keep coming and we are previewing them for you. In this episode we interview saxophone titan James Brandon Lewis, and sample music from his upcoming duo album Radiant Imprints with Chad Taylor. Playlist Ben Allison “Mondo Jazz Theme (feat. Ted Nash and Pyeng Threadgill)" 0:00 Caroline Davis “Dionisyan" from Heart Tonic (Sunnyside) 00:16 Host talk 7:44 Dafnis Prieto Big Band “Song for Chico (feat. Steve Coleman)" from Back to the Sunset (Dafnison) ...


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 ...


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 ...