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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Josh Nelson: The Sky Remains

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Josh Nelson has seen quite a bit in recent times, diving deep into the human psyche with singer Sara Gazarek, moving through inner spaces with vibraphonist Tyler Blanton, exploring retrofuturistic realms inspired by the writings of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, and touching down on Mars for a thorough musical exploration of the Red Planet. So where could he possibly want to go after traveling so far and wide with his pen and piano? Right back home, of course. With ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Triocity: I Believe In You

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Here's a formula we've all seen before: take three musicians and let them loose on a program of standards and Great American Songbook chestnuts. It sounds all too simple and pedestrian, right? Guess again. When you're talking about the combined creative forces of multi-reedist Charles Pillow, bassist Jeff Campbell, and drummer Rich Thompson, the potential of said endeavor changes drastically. The whole is most certainly greater than the sum of its parts when those musicians come together as Triocity, and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hal Galper And the Youngbloods: Live At The Cota Jazz Festival

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The trio recordings released by pianist Hal Galper between 2006 and 2014--six discs, all but one on Origin Records--plowed fresh ground. Each disc dug deeply into the “Rubato" form. Taken as a whole--from 2006's Agents Of Change (Fabola Records) through 2014's O's Time (Origin Records)--the full series represents a monumental, sharply focused project that, for those who listened, redefined the piano trio.   Live At The Cota Jazz Festival features Galper still riding the wave of a fifty ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Zem Audu: Spirits

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Saxophonist Zem Audu was born in Nigeria and raised in England before pursuing his musical career in New York City. Along the way, Audu has developed a musical sound that blends his cultural influences to express a musical style that is an amalgamation of: Contemporary jazz, Nigerian Afrobeat, Caribbean rhythms and funk grooves. Audu's album Spirits, released June 16, 2017 on Origin Records, is a musical statement that is fresh and diverse throughout the album's eleven tracks. Audu's in joined ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Scenes: Destinations

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There are wondrous stories to be found in everything the eye can see, the ear can hear, and the imagination can dream up. Scenes--the trio of guitarist John Stowell, bassist Jeff Johnson, and drummer John Bishop--has been readily and steadily making that point for more than fifteen years, harnessing natural beauty and concocting chimerical designs that extol the virtues of elasticity, mutability, and high-level communication. The Pacific Northwest knows no greater champion of its beyond-words beauty than this outfit.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tom Rizzo: Day and Night

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The names in guitarist Tom Rizzo's starting lineup on Day and Night indicate that this is a West Coast-based group, an observation that is borne out in Rizzo's bio, which says he is “active [on] the Los Angeles music scene" and served as guitarist for the Tonight Show band when Jay Leno was at the helm, reinforced by the song “Heart of L.A.," one of Rizzo's four original compositions. Rizzo's tentet, featuring some of the Los Angeles ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John McLean / Clark Sommers Band: Parts Unknown

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It's amazing what can happen when you take a tight-knit, deep-dish duo reflective of Chicago's jazz riches, add one of the world's most dexterous and expressive vibraphonists, and sweeten the deal with a grooving up-and-comer. Charts are mapped over uncharted territories, musical assuredness carries the day in uncertain realms, and surprises await around every well-constructed corner. This is not-so-simply a beautiful case of known parts moving toward parts unknown. Guitarist John McLean and bassist Clark Sommers have ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sarah Partridge: Bright Lights & Promises: Redefining Janis Ian

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How did nobody think to go here before? With a glut of fine Joni Mitchell tributes on the market and a couple of engrossing Laura Nyro nods out there, how is it that no creative spirits in the jazz or cabaret camps thought to make the full-on jump to Janis Ian before now? Hearing Sarah Partridge dig into Ian's body of work makes this concept seem like a no-brainer--an incredibly natural fit, in fact--but that may very well have more ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Matt Otto with Ensemble Iberica: Iberica

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Saxophonist Matt Otto presents the ambitious Iberica, a trip into the sounds of music from the Iberian Peninsula--Spain and Portugal. Ensemble Iberica joins him, a guitar trio that adds--in addition to their guitars--the cavaquinto, the oud, and the Cuban tres, crafting a delicate yet expansive soundscape in this tranquil, flowing, chamber jazz outing. This is Otto's first Origin Records outing since 2005's Red, a superb quartet recording, featuring the tenor saxophonist with a guitar/bass/drums rhythm section. Iberica has ...


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