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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Flow: Flow

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FLOW is a New Age-super group consisting of pianist Fiona Hawkins (the f), guitarist Lawrence Blatt (the l), trumpeter Jeff Oster (the o) and guitarist and founder of the legendary label, Windham Hill, William Ackerman (the W). Their self-titled debut creates a beautiful flow in the music that lives up to their name. As in the records on ECM, the pause plays a significant role. The music is allowed to breathe and silence becomes a companion to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Phil DeGreg: Queen City Blues

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Jaunty recordings like pianist Phil DeGreg's latest Queen City Blue are what we all need from time to time to just kick back and catch our breath for a few minutes or drive from here to there without all the pressing needs, traffic roadblocks, and political wrong-headedness closing in. No grand statements, no big names. Just three trusted, Ohio-based jazz journeymen, exponents, advocates, and devoted educators--DeGreg, along with studied bassist Aaron Jacobs and solid time keeping from drummer John Taylor--playing ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brent Laidler: No Matter Where Noir

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Some jazz albums are notable solely for the well-known personnel featured. These recordings excite interest based on name recognition alone. Even if albums like this lack a coherent vision, fans are willing to pick them up just to hear their favorite players at work.In contrast, composer/guitarist Brent Laidler's No Matter Where Noir , while featuring top-shelf playing and soloing, focuses on creating a cohesive and entertaining vibe throughout. It's a “sum greater than the parts" album, and it ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ruba Shamshoum: Shamat

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Though a graduate of Dublin's Newpark Music Centre in jazz performance, Ruba Shamshoum's delightful debut CD doesn't fall neatly into any particular category. What does these days? The Palestinian-born, Dublin-based singer infuses elements of jazz with her Middle Eastern roots on these nine originals, ably backed by some of the country's finest musicians, who straddle the fields of contemporary jazz, folk and improvised music. A little of all these strands percolate through the compositions. Shamshoum delivers most of the songs ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michelle Lordi: Dream a Little Dream

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Michelle Lordi graces the Philadelphia area with her singing, and her album releases and club dates in New York and elsewhere are gaining her wider recognition as she continues her regular local gigs. She sings clearly, straight ahead, and with panache. In this album, she brings together a septet of outstanding instrumentalists for a nostalgic set of standards from the American Songbook with “small big band" arrangements by saxophonist Larry McKenna reminiscent of those which Bill Holman did during his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brian Charette: Kurrent

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The density of new releases and their voluminous level of innovation and experimentation in the current New York jazz scene is somewhat remarkable. The usage of Synthesizers, programming and bending up to completely dissolving compositional structure, as ever so often exemplified by Mary Halvorson, are experiments more and more frequently encountered every day. Leading jazz organ voice Brian Charette finds his rightful place among these evolutionary artists and proves this once more with his newest Circuit Bent Organ ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ilya Netkach: I Am

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No stranger to traveling, Ilya Netkach has absorbed a range of ideas between growing up in the Ukraine and (at the time of this release) teaching violin in the United Arab Emirates. A statement of identity such as I Am can't help showing all such personal sides, at least to the extent a five-track EP allows. The original intent was for a full-length recording--and that may still be possible somewhere down the road--but for this release he's chosen to focus ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ilios Steryannis: Bethany Project

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Toronto-based drummer Ilios Steryannis calls the sounds on his Bethany Project “World Music From the Heart."  Thes sound is a musical stew stirred up from Afro-Cuban rhythms, the Mediterranean sounds, John Coltrane, and ebullient West African percussions (and more), spiced with danceable funk and bebop, and drawing influences from, by turns, Gabriel Garcia Marquez' One Hundred Years of Solitude, Macedonian sounds, and--on “The Ornado"--the whirlwind motions of the leader's four year old son. That's a big world to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joao Roque: Roque

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Joao Roque is a young Portuguese guitarist and this--cue in a fanfare--is his first album. It's a trifle hit and miss, Roque struggling to express himself. He writes his own material, so if he doesn't quite get there with one song, he starts over again with the next. Enough originality emerges to make the album worthwhile. Enthusiasm counts for a good deal. As does sincerity. Of his musical tribute to Lou Reed--the seventh track--Roque ...


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