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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Fedchock New York Big Band: Like It Is

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Trombonist John Fedchock may be a seasoned veteran, but he's not set in his ways as a player, arranger, or composer. While some big band leaders of his ilk either try to recreate the past or completely abandon it, attempting to reboot themselves by genuflecting at the altar of modernism, he isn't one of them. Fedchock appreciates the history of the music yet he understands that time marches on. With that in mind, he delivers Like It Is, an album ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge: River Runs

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On this powerful and ambitious “concerto for jazz guitar, saxophone and orchestra," composer Chuck Owen's Jazz Surge is bolstered by a thirty-four member reed, brass and string section that helps guide the listener on a picturesque journey along a number of rivers of various shapes, sizes and currents whose aim is to rekindle through musical portraiture the indwelling love of water in each of us as it heightens our awareness of and appreciation for one of nature's awe-inspiring and essential ...


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