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Ron Thomas / Paul Klinefelter: Duo

Read "Duo" reviewed by Budd Kopman

One of the wonderful things about jazz is that it can be appreciated from more than one angle, oftentimes simultaneously: pure entertainment, art as entertainment, art as beauty and art as intellect among others. Some of this, of course, relates to music in general, but jazz as a genre has moved beyond any stylistic boundaries to the point where no one can claim any particular sub-genre to represent “jazz." This push-pull aspect of jazz allows a player to ...

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David Bennett Thomas: Deeper Journey

Read "Deeper Journey" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Pianist David Bennett Thomas takes inspiration from God's word. Not unlike Finish pianist/harpist Iro Haarla, on her beautiful duet set Kirkastus (TUM Records, 2015), with saxophonist Juhani Aaltonen, where Biblical Psalms informed the music, Thomas' Deeper Journey goes to the Bible for inspiration on half the tunes on this meticulously crafted, subtle--yet modern and adventurous--set of songs. On his previous recording, Headspace (Vectordisc, 2013), Thomas assembled a stellar ensemble, with drummer Erik Johnson and bassist Micah Jones, along ...

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Ron Thomas/Paul Klinefelter: Duo

Read "Duo" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Pianist Ron Thomas' talents range widely, from his Karlheinz Stockhausen-influenced electric outings like Elysium (Vectordisc, 2009), through his fluid free association piano trio sets, Music In Three Parts (Art Of Life Records, 2006) and Doloroso (Art of Life Records, 2006), to his mainstream outings that draw their inspiration from the late pianist Bill Evans--Two Lonely People (Vectordisc, 2011) and Blues For Zaranthustra (Art Of Life Records, 2008), a pairing a duo set with bassist Paul Klinefelter. Duo is ...

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Ron Thomas: Duo

Read "Duo" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

The poet John Keats famously wrote: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever." That's the kind of album this is. It's one stretch of beautiful playing from beginning to end. It's not a “statement," it's not a “thing," it's not a “groove." It's just music that, taken as a whole becomes an “objet d'art," something special to have in your collection and listen to over and over again because its perfection draws you towards it. Pianist Ron ...

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Ron Thomas Trio: Impatience

Read "Impatience" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

A brief glance at pianist Ron Thomas' website is enlightening, to say the least. He chronicles his life there, providing a detailed biography, a rundown of commercially available compositions, a list of his colleagues, mp3 files, a discography, essays, videos, photos, teaching information, and a list of influences, with names both familiar (Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock) and relatively unknown (Ron Dewar, Dennis Sandole) to many jazz fans and musicians. But to really get to know Thomas, you need only spend ...

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Ron Thomas: Impatience

Read "Impatience" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

There is something elemental about the jazz piano trio. It is classically called the “Rhythm Section," that practical subset of a larger ensemble that produces the pulse that propels the band and compositions the band plays. It is also the most enduring of jazz performance formats that has included the giants of jazz. Whether it is the cathedral of Oscar Peterson, the interior world of Bill Evans or the durable consistency of Red Garland and Gene Harris, the jazz piano ...

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Victory Jazz Quartet: Origin

Read "Origin" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Most of the jazz fusion groups of the 1970s threw more instruments into the mix than flugelhornist Al Moretti does on Origin. His Victory Jazz Quartet finds Moretti with his horn, fronting a simple rhythm section--keyboard, bass and drums. Fusion evolved from trumpeter Miles Davis' In a Silent Way (Columbia Records, 1969), sparkling music woven with a tight tapestry of instrumentation, featuring three keyboardists. Moretti's pared-down approach allows the music more breathing room. The title tune ...

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David Bennett Thomas: Headspace

Read "Headspace" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Pianist David Bennett Thomas is a bit of a Renaissance guy when it comes to music. A gifted composer of classical and choral, chamber and orchestral music, he also veers on occasion into the jazz world. He brings to jazz a cerebral approach that is also engaging on a purely kick-back-and-listen level. It is with repeated listens that the music reveals its depth. Bennett's 2012 jazz offering, Jazz Portrait (Vectordisc Records) took for its inspiration the writing ...

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David Bennett Thomas: Jazz Portrait

Read "Jazz Portrait" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

One of America's top literary voices in crime fiction, T. Jefferson Parker says that after he finishes reading a good book he feels nourished. A sense of nourishment can also come from listening to a good piece of music, regardless of genre. Pianist David Bennett Thomas, who may be better known for his classical compositions--his Piano Works 2001-2009) (Self Produced, 2010) a superb example of that side--presents his tangent into jazz with Jazz Portrait, drawing inspiration from the world of ...

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Nick Ruffini: Pressin' On

Read "Pressin' On" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

The Hammond B-3 organ blew into jazz in a big way in the 1950s and 1960s. Employed mostly in small group settings--trios and quartets--the soulful, urban, deep groove music became hugely popular at that time, thanks to organists Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff, as well as guitarists Wes Montgomery and Grant Green, among many others. The B-3 organ remains a popular form of jazz vehicle to this day, through the recordings of groups like Chicago's tradition-steeped Deep Blue Organ Trio ...

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The Joe Mullen Quartet: Lost World Tango

Read "Lost World Tango" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Drummer Joe Mullen's Lost World Tango presents a highly collaborative trumpet-and-rhythm section quartet. Jazz foursomes are more commonly led by a saxophonists, with notable exceptions being trumpeter Miles Davis' Musing of Miles (Prestige, 1955); pianist Herbie Hancock's classic Empyrean Isles (Blue Note, 1964); Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko's marvelous ECM series with his supporting trio of young Polish musicians, including the 2006 masterpiece, Lontano; and pianist Ron Thomas' overlooked House of Counted Days (Vectordisc, 2003).Any comparison with these other ...

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Ron Thomas: Two Lonely People

Read "Two Lonely People" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

A spin through pianist Ron Thomas's discography as a leader doesn't always directly point toward the music found on Two Lonely People. His two masterful trio outings, Music in Three Parts (Art of Life Records, 2006) and Doloroso (Art of Life Records, 2006) are both full of abstract and elastic originals; the highly electric and compellingly otherworldly Elysium (Vectordisc, 2009) stretches the boundaries way, way “out there"; and his 17 Solo Piano Improvisations (Vectordisc, 2006) leans heavily on the pianist's ...


Ocean Blues

"Ocean Blues" performed by the Dave Wilson Quartet at Chris’ Jazz Café (Philadelphia) on March 29, 2018. From the album One Night At Chris’ (2019) featuring Dave Wilson (saxophone), Dan Monaghan (drums), Tony Marino (bass) and Kirk Reese (piano).

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