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Leonardo Pavkovic: Nothing is Ordinary

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More than any other person, Leonardo Pavkovic has made me write some crazy shit. Pavkovic is the primal force behind the joyously eclectic MoonJune Records, which he established in 2001. “Established" may not be the right word: “I am truly an unusual and rules breaking call-it-record-company with a 'label' identity despite the fact that as a person and as a 'label' I go out of any categorization and labeling of what I do," he confided before our interview. ...


Festival International de Jazz de Port-au-Prince, 2018

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Festival International de Jazz de Port-au-Prince Port-au-Prince, Haiti January 20-27, 2018 For the 12th edition the Festival International de Jazz de Port-au-Prince (PAPJAZZ for short, which will be used to refer to the festival going forward, as well as introducing a new logo) returned to its usual schedule at the end of January. This is supposed to be the dry season, but more on that later. As always the character of the festival was significantly influenced ...


Miles Davis: Miles Davis & John Coltrane - The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6

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As discussed at length in the liners by Ashley Kahn, the general consensus at the time (and a theory Miles' held strongly too) was that his landmark Quintet --Miles Davis, John Coltrane, bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Jimmy Cobb and flight fingered pianist Wynton Kelly--was on its last leg, and you could cut the personal and creative tension with a dull knife. But Kahn also argues that one can look at conflict of any kind as 1) a PR move to ...


Benjamin Boone: The Poetry of Jazz

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Benjamin Boone's The Poetry Of Jazz could easily have been titled The Jazz of Poetry because of the almost interchangeable nature of the terms. The composer/saxophonist's vision to put music to the U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine's prose is a reminder to listeners that jazz was birthed by the common man, and is not to be kept in an ivory tower. Both professors at Cal State Fresno, Levine and Boone had performed together before, and the saxophonist had ...


James Weidman: Spiritual Impressions

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There is a long tradition of using traditional African-American spirituals as a basis for jazz explorations, but that is rarely done in one session with the breadth of approaches James Weidman uses on Spiritual Impressions. From the loping reggae beat on “Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel" to the New Orleans rumba rhythm on “No Hiding Place," he and his excellent band always find a way to bring something new to these old songs. The aforementioned “No Hiding Place" ...


Vito Liturri: From Beyond

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With every note suspended luxuriously in the air so you can savor its resonance, this sonorously produced and beautifully played second recording from the Vito Liturri Trio is, from “Albe's Garden" to “An Empty Room" (all titles English translations) a delicious listen. The trio -Vito Liturri--piano, synth, electronics, Marco Boccia--double bass, and drummer/percussionist Lello Patruno play with a unified, seasoned integrity and an intuitive, emotional melodic desire. Languid creativity abounds and the interplay between the three players is ...


Charles McPherson: The Man and His Muse

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Acclaimed alto saxophone wizard Charles McPherson has a new muse: his 25-year-old daughter Camille, a premier dancer with the San Diego Ballet, where he also serves as composer-in-residence these days. McPherson was a young father in his twenties, with three children from a first marriage. Thirty years up the road, after marrying the lovely Lynn, a classical piano teacher in jny: San Diego, he became the father of a daughter once again. “Thirty years, that's a big difference," he says, ...


Laurie Dapice: Parting the Veil

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Phrasing is important. The top jazz vocalists are experts at laying down the elastic--or the sharp and concise--turn of phrase. New York-based vocalist Laurie Dapice excels in this regard. Like a deft baker working and molding the dough, she stretches and kneads a syllable here, and slices another off with a sharp cut of a dough knife there. Throw in the clear, clean tone reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald, some superb and unusual arrangements and you've got Dapice's Parting The Veil. ...


Herbie Hancock: Quintessential Quintet Live

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It was a thunderous, sprawling, and intoxicatingly brilliant performance. And that was just the first fifteen minutes of Herbie Hancock's extraordinary concert Wednesday night, March 7, at the Balboa Theater in downtown San Diego, presented by the La Jolla Music Society. Before introducing his exceptionally talented bandmates, Hancock jokingly told the crowd that he, “didn't want to show up empty handed." There was no danger of that, given Hancock's band consisted of bassist James Genus, guitarist Lionel Loueke, ...


Holger Czukay: Cinema

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Cinema is an irresistible five cd/dvd box set of music that enables the discovery of the creative mind of Holger Czukay (1938-2017). It may afford a re-discovery for a select few. Probably best known as a member of the famous Krautrock band CAN, which he co-founded in 1968, this collection surveys his post-CAN creations which were the inspiration for much of what was to come with ambient, electronica, and new wave music. Beginning with the organ, and then ...