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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Duende Libre: Drift

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Duende Libre is an energetic trio of Seattle musicians utilizing the American jazz tradition as a jumping off point for exploration of global musical forms. The creative vision for the band is perhaps that of pianist/composer Alex Chadsey, yet it is his two mates, drummer/percussionist Jeff Busch, and uber bassist Farko Dosumov that bring his musical vision to life. Chadsey sets the bar high for this band by including the term “duende" as part of its moniker. While ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kristina Koller: Perception

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Kristina Koller is a 23-year-old vocalist who shows a knack for mixing things up on her debut album. Her song list contains venerable standards along with original material and songs by fairly recent rock acts like Blink-182 and Bon Iver, while her arrangements of the material encompasses everything from mainstream acoustic jazz to hip-hop and funk. As a result you get versions of “I'll Remember April" and “Blame It On My Youth" that sport elegant acoustic piano underlined ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cliff Brucker: Full Circle, Vol. 2

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Drummer Cliff Brucker is based in New York, but it is not the big city. He and his crack quintet--two horns, piano/bass/guitar drums--are settled in upstate, in Albany. They revisit the sound of the Blue Note Records' heyday on this follow up to Full Circle (Self Produced, 2016), with Full Circle, Vol 2. A revisitation/celebration of a classic jazz era--the late fifties through the late sixties--Full Circle, Vol. 2 embraces the mainstream sound and the attitude that evolved ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gideon King: Upscale Madhouse

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The single “Fake It On Facebook" from Gideon King's forthcoming release, Upscale Madhouse is the ideal ambassador for the rest of the album. It encapsulates all the evolutions his writing has gone through since his last release, City Blog, while it showcases his unique musical and lyrical style. In addition to King's preferred style of organic, live performed guitar and keyboards, “Fake It On Facebook" features in studio production techniques which create added depth to the track. This ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kait Dunton: TRIOKAIT2

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The form and function of a sequel carries certain opportunities, offering its creator the chance to return to a specific realm, broaden a theme, and further the story set forth in the original. As a result, these types of works are often judged against their launching pad productions and tethered to them by comparison. Call that a setup if you'd like, but it's also a statement of fact. The title of this date from pianist Kait Dunton ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alpha Rhythm Kings: California Boogie

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Alpha Rhythm Kings is a group with a fondness for charming retro vibes and timeless melodies, inspired by the golden age of jazz and swing. Their music is groove-driven, direct, and approachable, making for a diverse yet refreshingly familiar sound. Their most recent release is a studio EP titled California Boogie, which exemplifies the group's tone and style. The record features four tracks, including opening number “Oh Marie," a catchy and sophisticated song with playful jazz melodies and fantastic lead ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

New England Jazz Ensemble: Peter and the Wolf

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As the Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev composed the children's tale Peter and the Wolf to introduce classical music to a wider audience, so the world-class New England Jazz Ensemble has reimagined Prokofiev's beloved fantasy in jazz terms as a pathway to a greater awareness of its singular style of music. The redesigned suite, which encompasses almost thirty-four minutes on the NEJE's sixth CD, was arranged by pianist / music director Walt Gwardyak with narration by the well-known jazz singer Giacomo ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

George Winstone: Outer Spaces

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Alto saxophonist and composer George Winstone's debut recording stands out from the crowd. Technically it's an EP but at 33 minutes it's not very different in duration from some LPs; it's actually the same length as Coltrane's A Love Supreme and four minutes longer than (Albert Ayler's Spiritual Unity . Winstone, who was born in 1994, studied for a BMus (Hons) in jazz saxophone at London's Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance under the direction of altoist ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Linley Weir: Just One More Time

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Easy on the ear does not necessarily mean easy on the consciousness. Many a sweet melody has served as a gateway drug to harder, horizon-expanding sounds. But Just One More Time, from UK-based vocalist Linley Weir, does not open any “doors of perception." Her brand of Latin-infused jazz-pop is safe as a bank vault. And, despite its lyrical themes of “love, loss, family relationships, and self-confidence," the music comes across as far too stately and refined to be at all ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lou Lanza: Scenes from an Italian: The Billy Joel Project

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Lou Lanza is a charismatic jazz artist with a unique approach to his creativity. His 2018 album Scenes from an Italian: The Billy Joel Project is not about original songs, but it is actually about offering an original spin on the tunes of one of the most beloved songwriters of all time: Billy Joel.Through his tasteful jazz arrangements, laced with subtle melodies and sophisticated grooves, Lanza set out to uncover the true core of Joel's infectious hooks, revealing ...