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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jon Mayer: Nightscape

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Jon Mayer was working professionally as a jazz pianist as a teen back in the '50s, while attending the Manhattan School of Music. As well as working as a sideman with Tony Scott, Kenny Dorham, Chet Baker, the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Sarah Vaughan and others, along with taking part in record dates with John Coltrane and Jackie McLean, Mayer contributed original pop songs to a number of vocalist record dates, though he did not make his recording debut as ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Helio Alves: It's Clear

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Helio Alves is one of the most sought-after pianists around with a solid technical foundation (starting his classical training at an early age) and a highly developed respect for his fellow musicians. He knows how to listen, how much and when to play and how to build his solos with imagination and interest. Joined by fellow Brazilian Romero Lubambo on guitar, Scott Colley on bass and Ernesto Simpson on drums, Alves features an eclectic mixture of material--originals ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jon Mayer: Nightscape

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New York-born, Los Angeles-based pianist Jon Mayer began his musical career in the New York jazz scene of the 1950s and 1960s. He has a long and distinguished pedigree, including work with Jackie McLean and John Coltrane, but his first recording as leader came as late as 1996, with Round Up The Usual Suspects (Pullen Music). Nightscape is Mayer's eighth album as leader and it's an engaging, beautifully performed, collection of tunes. As with Mayer's previous albums ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gary Smulyan: High Noon: The Jazz Soul of Frankie Laine

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This tribute album by baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan features his bebop-based nonet pulling inspiration from a 1956 album by pop singer Frankie Laine (1913-2007) and trumpeter Buck Clayton. As Laine's foray into jazz's '50s mainstream, Jazz Spectacular (Columbia) represented a piece of the singer's repertoire not as well-known as his pop music. It allowed him to interact with instrumentalists of the era who represented jazz authority and had little to do with themes such as “High Noon," “Mule Train," “Cool ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Magnarelli: Persistence

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Trumpeter Joe Magnarelli is a purist who applies natural qualities to his music and eschews gimmicks; his musical conversations can be understood anywhere. Magnarelli studied with James Moody and Tommy Turrentine, began his professional career with Lionel Hampton and Brother Jack McDuff and was a semifinalist in the Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition in 1990. His band--pianist David Hazeltine, bassist Peter Washington, drummer Kenny Washington and baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan--have similar backgrounds and all enjoy a love ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Joe Magnarelli: Persistence

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Joe Magnarelli Persistence Reservoir Music 2008

The stark black and white cover photo of trumpeter Joe Magnarelli peering out at you from the cover of Persistence emits a brooding and a blandness that is light years away from the robust, enjoyable musical experience offered by the music on the disc itself.

Magnarelli, a first-call trumpeter among first-callers, leads an exciting group of other New York musicians (stars ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pete Malinverni: Invisible Cities

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Pete Malinverni's Invisible Cities:, inspired by the imaginative flights of Italo Calvino's novel of the same name, exists on its own terms and doesn't readily fit into any established jazz style or sensibility. The pianist effectively juxtaposes six of his compositions and four well-known, urban-themed songs. His ballad-oriented tunes, “New Orleans--Cities & Desire," “Salem--Hester Prynne," and “A City Called Heaven," are clothed in lovely, expressive melodies, the kind that beg for equally inspired lyrics. Beautifully interpreted by Tim Hagans's trumpet, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pete Malinverni: Invisible Cities

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A concept record of sorts, pianist Pete Malinverni was initially inspired to put his Invisible Cities project together after reading the Italian novelist Italo Calvino's book of the same name. Though the CD is full of good jazz improvisation (with a truly wonderful rhythm team of bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Tom Melito), it also seems to be in conflict: whether to be as ambitious in concept as the book might suggest or simply to play some good, honest swinging ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gary Smulyan: More Treasures

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Perhaps if you asked jazz fans to name a progenitorial baritone saxophonist, they might name Harry Carney or Gerry Mulligan. Yet Gary Smulyan's lineage comes more from musicians like Cecil Payne, Leo Parker, Pepper Adams, Serge Chaloff and Nick Brignola--the few baritonists that dared to master the tricky, chromatic music known as bebop. Indeed, More Treasures is oozing bebop and Smulyan is fluent in the language. Some tracks are performed with sax, bass and drums only and though this is ...


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