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Articles | Featured | Future

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

OSU Jazz Orchestra: Solid Gold

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Having overseen one impressive Jazz Studies program, at Northeast (OK) State University in Tahlequah, Tommy Poole has moved on to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater where he seems well on the way to repeating that success. The subtitle of Solid Gold, the first recording under Poole's direction by the OSU Jazz Orchestra, reads “featuring Michael Dease." And “featuring" is no understatement here. Not only does the Grammy award-winning and DownBeat magazine Rising Star trombonist solo (superbly) on every number, Dease ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dennis Gonzalez: Ts'iibil Chaaltun

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Dennis Gonzalez's trio, Ataraxia is comprised of trumpet (Gonzalez), bass (Drew Phelps), and percussion (Jagath Lakpriya), a mix of instruments that on the surface would alone suggest interesting music. And their double album, Ts'iibil Chaaltun, does not disappoint. There's a lot of desert in this music... large rocks that jut from the sand, dunes that stretch to the sunset, and a sense of vista. There's also the dance. Listen to “Yarn" and how it spins a web of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Syrinx Effect: A Sky You Could Strike a Match On

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Syrinx Effect is comprised of just two musicians: Naomi Siegel (trombone) and Kate Olson (soprano saxophone); they expand their sound with effect pedals and overdubbing. Eric Eagle, the producer on their new album, A Sky You Could Strike a Match On, plays percussion on several of the tracks. Syrinx Effect labels itself “interstellar folk punk jazz" but while Siegel and Olson may follow the DIY ethos of punk, they are obviously trained musicians with mastery of their instruments. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gregory Lewis: Organ Monk Blue

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Organist Gregory Lewis gained the nickname “Organ Monk" due to his specialization in the music of Thelonious Monk. Known for his exaggerated, florid playing, this is the third CD he's done of Monk's music and this time he has teamed up with a musician who can match him flourish for flourish, chameleon guitarist Marc Ribot. Lewis' grandiose organ style, with its long sustains and dramatic sweeps, is a force in its own right but Ribot makes things even ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jami Lynn: Sparse

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Recorded live at the Community Reformed Church, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Sparse offers up new ground for folk singer Jami Lynn. The album is a collaborative effort with bassist Andrew Reinartz and members of the JAS quintet. Sparse presents a modest reading of such jazz standards like “Autumn Leaves" and the Billie Holiday/Arthur Herzog Jr. blues ballad, “Don't Explain." Lynn infuses the latter song with romance, but the mood is hampered by the repeating floor tom beat of the drum. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pacific Mambo Orchestra: Live from Stern Grove Festival

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Putting together your follow-up can't be easy when your self-produced, self-titled debut wins the notoriously competitive Best Tropical Latin Album GRAMMY® Award. Where could trumpeter Steffen Kuehn (from Germany) and pianist Christian Tumulan (from Mexico) lead the Pacific Mambo Orchestra (PMO) from there? Tumulan and Kuehn smartly construct PMO's second release to do what they do best: They go big, with some songs ringing out with up to twenty instrumental and human voices. They go long, bookending seven ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pearring Sound: True Story

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Colorado native Jeff Pearring began studying the alto saxophone at the age of ten but pursued a career in economics before turning back to music. With a broad range of experiences that encompassed symphonic bands, ska and reggae, it was Pearring's affinity for jazz that guided him upon arriving in New York. Pearring studied with Connie Crothers, one of the great, but under-recognized jazz pianists of the past generation. Crothers passed in 2016 but not before inspiring Pearring to pursue ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Afro-Cuban All Stars: Absolutely Live II

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You can find many groups who call themselves “Afro-Cuban All Stars." But few have the pedigree of this ensemble led by vocalist Juan de Marcos, co-architect of the legendary Cuban roots Buena Vista Social Club sessions (1997, Nonesuch/Elektra) and dubbed by Downbeat as “the Quincy Jones of Cuban music." Marcos' first new music in six years comprises highlights from the All-Stars' engagement at an international music festival in Guanajuato (Mexico); this CD provides the audio companion to the DVD of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Justin Gray: New Horizons

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What's an artist to do if he can't find an established instrument to suit his musical needs. If you are bassist Justin Gray, you design and co-create one. It's called the Bass Veena, a a hybrid that combines the characteristics of the fretless bass and numerous Indian string instruments. New Horizons by Justin Gray and Synthesis introduces the Bass Veena, traveling a Raga route with an ensemble that includes an array of Western strings--violins and cellos, guitar, electric ...