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Jazz Articles | Blog

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Thad Jones: The Magnificent Thad Jones

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It's all about the swing. Featured in the Count Basie Orchestra, one of the hardest swinging bands ever, Thad Jones had more swing in his little toe then most musicians will ever dream of. Even when he slowed the tempo he still swung, and his second date as a leader for Blue Note Records, The Magnificent Thad Jones, swings more at mid-tempo than almost any record I know. The rhythm on this record is a relentless pendulum: It swings left; ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Duke Ellington & His Orchestra: Rotterdam 1969

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Here's a succulent and long-hidden treat for Duke Ellington aficionados: a wide-ranging and reasonably well-recorded concert performance by the Ellington orchestra from 1969 at the Do Doelen Concert Hall in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Many of Ellington's tried-and-true favorites are here, along with a number of lesser-known themes such as tenor Paul Gonsalves' feature, “Up Jump"; “Come Off the Veldt (and Into the Bush)," a showpiece for drummer Rufus Jones; alto Johnny Hodges' star turn, “Black Butterfly"; and trumpeter Cat Anderson's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tim Davies Big Band: The Expensive Train Set

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Tim Davies, who led a big band in his native Australia before relocating to Los Angeles in 2000, reprises that experience on parts of The Expensive Train Set, returning home to supervise his Melbourne ensemble on four selections, presiding over his Los Angeles-based band on four others, and somehow managing to blend the two groups together as one on the ambitious title song, which Davies calls “the centerpiece of the album," as well it should be. Whereas ...

ANATOMY OF A STANDARD

Prelude to a Kiss by Duke Ellington

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Last month's initial installment of this column opened with an introduction to the concept of analyzing jazz standards for the purpose of adding to our understanding about the structure and elements of great songs having enduring qualities. I did not feel it required mentioning that a song's final structure and the process of songwriting were completely different viewpoints. One purview implies looking back at a final product of art and the other requires looking ahead at a blank page of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kurt Jarnberg Quintet: Down Memory Lane 2 / Down Memory Lane Vol. 3, The Power Package

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In the late 1960s, trombonist and sometime trumpeter Kurt Jarnberg led a popular jazz quintet in his native Sweden, one that lasted for only a couple of years before disbanding. Jarnberg came back with another small group in the mid-'70s, adding vocalist Ruth Asenlund (Jarnberg) to the mix, disbanded again, then returned to action with yet another group from 1986-89. The first of these bands is represented on the 2-CD set Down Memory Lane 2, the others on Volume 3, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Rodger Fox Big Band: Plays New Zealand

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Although trombonist Rodger Fox has somehow managed to keep New Zealand's finest big band alive and swinging for more than four decades, the band has never devoted an entire album to music written and arranged by New Zealanders--until now. That's not to say that Fox and the band have ignored music from their home country. Over the years, more than ninety compositions by New Zealand-based musicians have been commissioned for the ensemble, sixty-eight of which have made it onto various ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ryan Quigley: What Doesn’t Kill You

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Born in 1977, Ryan Quigley began playing trumpet at age 11 and later became an in-demand musician touring with the likes of Curtis Stigers and Tim Garland, and working as a member of award-winning Glaswegian band Brass Jaw. He's now the jazz trumpet tutor and one of the directors of the Big Band at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. What Doesn't Kill You is the follow-up to his 2008 album Laphroaig-ian Slip. Bookended by two ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra: Storming Through the South

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First, three hearty cheers and a laurel wreath for trumpeter Mike Vax who has kept the splendid Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra together (with some inescapable changes in personnel, not to mention name) for twenty-five years, supervised no less than eighteen annual road tours and produced half a dozen in-concert albums, the most recent of which, Storming Through the South, was recorded during the orchestra's spring excursion in 2015 --sixteen cities in seventeen days covering Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma. ...


All About Vince Guaraldi!

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