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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hyeseon Hong: EE-YA-GI (Stories)

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With her rich, engaging debut release, EE-YA-GI (Stories), composer Hyeseon Hong brings her own unique approach to contemporary jazz. Using a first-rate large ensemble to showcase her compositions, she takes traditional folk forms, particularly from her native Korea, and develops them with modern big-band jazz voicings. The result is an eminently listenable and enjoyable recording, one that reveals new nuances and subtle pleasures with each encounter. The album's opener, “Harvest Dance," captures Hong's modus operandi perfectly. With a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge: Whispers on the Wind

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Chuck Owen's Florida-based and Grammy-nominated Jazz Surge is back in the saddle with another series of impressive musical portraits, Whispers on the Wind, whose genesis harkens back to Owen's childhood in windy Omaha, NE, and whose inspiration derives in part from the works of three contemporary authors: Larry McMurtry, Cormac McCarthy and Stephen King (the last, as Owen writes, from King's Dark Tower series). To help cast the spell, Owen uses a number of instruments not generally associated with big-band ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Phil Norman Tentet: Then and Now

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There comes a time, usually during the fifth or sixth rendition of a “franchise" movie (think “Rocky" or “Star Trek"), when the phrase “enough is enough" inevitably springs to mind. While Then and Now, the seventh album by saxophonist Phil Norman's L.A.-based all-star Tentet, lands somewhere this side of overkill, its premise--to update and reintroduce classic themes from the jazz scene's illustrious past--is a tad shopworn, and serves for the most part to remind inveterate listeners that the original versions, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hyeseon Hong Jazz Orchestra: EE-YA-GI (Stories)

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What a delightful surprise. Korean-born composer / arranger HyeSeon Hong, a graduate of NYU who now lives in New Jersey, enfolds the best of two worlds --east and west --on her superlative debut album, EE-YA-GI (Stories), introducing Hong's eighteen-piece Jazz Orchestra and some heavy-hitting soloists including trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and tenor saxophonist Rich Perry. While Hong salutes her heritage at various points along the way, she proves on every number her conclusive grasp of traditional western jazz, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dick Oatts / Mats Holmquist New York Jazz Orchestra: A Tribute to Herbie +1

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A Tribute to Herbie +1 is Swedish-born composer / arranger Mats Holmquist's third “tribute" album, following well-received salutes to Chick Corea (2003) and Wayne Shorter (2012). For his encomium to pianist / composer Herbie Hancock, Holmquist called upon two of New York City's most respected sidemen, alto saxophonist Dick Oatts and trombonist John Mosca, known and admired, among other things, for their long association with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, to assemble an ad hoc orchestra comprised of some of the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Socrates Garcia Latin Jazz Orchestra: Back Home

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Back Home, the debut recording by composer / arranger / musicologist Socrates Garcia's Latin Jazz Orchestra, combines the best of two worlds: ardent Latin jazz that never forswears its roots, and emphatic American-designed big-band swing that provides a solid framework for Garcia's picturesque Latin / American excursions. Garcia, who was born in the Dominican Republic, is director of Music Technology at the University of Northern Colorado, and Back Home, it seems, represents more a state of mind than any physical ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Fedchock New York Big Band: Like It Is

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Trombonist, composer and arranger John Fedchock's New York Big Band has been in existence for more than twenty years, and the scintillating Like It Is is this group's fifth album. Fedchock, his band and this album have also garnered quite a few of this year's Grammys including “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album," “Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Capella" ("You And The Night And The Music"), “Best Composing" ("Ten Thirty 30"), and two “Best Improvised Jazz Solo" nominations, one for Fedchock ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Fedchock New York Big Band: Like It Is

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Worth waiting for--an expression that can be used to describe any number of life's pleasurable experiences: a memorable vacation, a sumptuous meal, a thrilling chance encounter --or even the fifth recording (and first in roughly eight years) by trombonist John Fedchock's superlative New York Big Band. Pleasurable it is from start to finish, with inspired blowing by the ensemble enhancing ten of Fedchock's exemplary charts. Whatever the premise or circumstance, Fedchock tells it Like It Is, and the band responds ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Fedchock New York Big Band: Like It Is

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Veteran trombonist and big band leader John Fedchock, has had a history of showcasing some of the finest contemporary ensemble music ever presented, and on the audacious Like It Is, keeps that tradition alive on the fifth album from his 16-piece New York Big Band. A group by the way, that has been around and swinging for over two decades boasting a personnel listing of all-stars and jazz luminaries which, have garnished the eventual Grammy nods with the four previous ...


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