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Monty Alexander: Uplift 2: Higher

Read "Uplift 2: Higher" reviewed by Dr. Judith Schlesinger

This blazing CD is the official follow-up to the splendid Uplift, which in 2011 was one of the first releases from John Lee's fledgling label, Jazz Legacy Productions. Blending Alexander's past and present compadres--referred to here as “two timeless trios"--Higher features seven tracks with the peerless John Clayton on bass and Jeff Hamilton on drums, and four with the excellent Hassan Shakur and Frits Landesbergen in those respective roles.As with every other Alexander CD--about 70 to date--this one ...

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Roy Assaf: Respect, Vol.1

Read "Respect, Vol.1" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Innovation and as-yet-unheard-of ideals tend to sell headlines in jazz, but they mean nothing without respect for those who paved the road to the present. Many young emerging talents seem content to walk into jazz without doing their due diligence in discovery and digestion, but that often puts them in a peculiar position of being a mouthpiece for a music that they don't fully embrace. Jazz is certainly the here-and-now, but it's also the there-and-then, and that's a concept that ...

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Yotam: Brasil

Read "Brasil" reviewed by Larry Taylor

Two reviews of Israeli-born guitarist Yotam's Brasil appeared recently in All About Jazz, and the reviewers had major differences. Lawrence Peryer had a negative view, summed up by: “Yotam take his place on the list between Yanni and Zamfir, offering a denatured version of a musical form that has already proven itself accessible enough in more sophisticated hands," while Dan Bilawsky had a more positive view: “While guitarist Yotam Silberstein was born more than six thousand miles ...

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Yotam: Brasil

Read "Brasil" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

A single letter separates the English and Portuguese spellings of the world's fifth largest country, but that letter distinguishes between an outsider's view and the way that an insider takes it all in. Brazil is for tourists, but Brasil is for those initiated in the musical ways of this South American land of wonder. While Israeli guitarist Yotam Silberstein was born more than six thousand miles from Ipanema Beach, he displays the understanding, insight and sensitivity of a man who ...

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Yotam: Brasil

Read "Brasil" reviewed by Lawrence Peryer

Brazilian music is tricky. It must be approached carefully as its mellow understatement can be vulnerable to sterility in production and blandness in execution. Brasil, by Israeli guitarist Yotam Silberstein (now known solely as “Yotam") is plagued by both attributes. It is quite difficult to appreciate the competency of the players with whom Yotam has surrounded himself for this outing, as both the playing and engineering carry a certain lack of character and color. Too smooth throughout, ...

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Tim Mayer: Resilience

Read "Resilience" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Resplendent arrangements and artful soloists are in abundance on Tim Mayer's Resilience. For this, the Boston-based tenor saxophonist's debut recording under his own name, Mayer manages to bridge the gap between the often opposing forces of stability and variety, as he builds each tune around the same core quartet while using an ever-changing list of guests as front line partners and featured soloists. While the quartet functions as a stand-alone entity on a delicious ballad that seems ...

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Benny Green Trio: Source

Read "Source" reviewed by Larry Taylor

Benny Green, now 48, is entering his middle years. Early on he was hailed as a budding master; today he has fully blossomed into one of the jazz world's finest pianists. Equally comfortable with a fast-paced piece and or a sensitive ballad, he is a go-to guy for sessions as back-up or leader. His last recordings were as a co-leader, in duo with guitarist Russell Malone, hailed for the exquisite interplay of Jazz at The Bistro (2003) and Bluebird (2004), ...

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Michael Dease: Grace

Read "Grace" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Michael Dease is to the trombone what Harry Allen is to the tenor saxophone. Lyrical, traditional, well-studied and broad based, both artists can equally get their freak on when necessary. Dease's trombone style contains many influences, but like many conservatory-trained musicians, Dease has had the time and practice to develop is own potent voice. Emerging among a class of young musicians that include Sharel Cassity and Carol Morgan, Dease presents as a neo-traditionalist with pristine chops and ...

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Benny Green: Source

Read "Source" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Pianist Benny Green has not been in the studio leading a recording date since his collaboration with Russell Malone, Bluebird (Telarc, 2004). Far from stagnating, Green has most recently been found providing support on recordings like Hilary Kole's You Are There (Justin Time, 2010), Kenny Burrell's Be Yourself (HighNote , 2010) and Anat Cohen's Clarinetworks: Live at the Village Vanguard All this adds up to his attractiveness to Jazz Legacy Productions, a label that specializes in recording ...

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Monty Alexander: Uplift

Read "Uplift" reviewed by Dr. Judith Schlesinger

Virtually everyone who plays with pianist Monty Alexander loves the challenge of keeping up with his mischievous music-making and sudden changes in direction. Then there are those quotes--splashes of everything from bugle calls and nursery rhymes to Duke Ellington and “Meet the Flintstones"--that challenge the listeners' repertoire, as well as adding delight and surprise to each track. Who else, for instance, would begin “Sweet Georgia Brown" with a tongue-in-cheek reference to the opera “Carmen"--and make it work? Uplift ...

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Cyrus Chestnut Trio: Journeys

Read "Journeys" reviewed by Larry Taylor

During a career spanning 20 years, Cyrus Chestnut has risen to be one of the most esteemed and productive of jazz pianists. Journeys makes 16 recordings under his name. He regularly performs with his trio and is the go-to guy on numerous recording dates and gigs. Having apprenticed with the incomparable vocalist Betty Carter, Chestnut's playing displays a style and technical virtuosity that has him compared to jazz legends from Jelly Roll Morton and Oscar Peterson to ...

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Michael Dease: Grace

Read "Grace" reviewed by Larry Taylor

This could be the break-out album for trombonist Michael Dease, his music and style putting him in the company of trombone legends including Jack Teagarden, J.J. Johnson,. Kai Winding and Curtis Fuller. On Grace, Dease is anchored by a very able rhythm crew, including pianist Cyrus Chestnut, bassist Rufus Reid, and drummer Gene Jackson. On all but one track, Dease is joined by a variety of stellar musicians, including trumpeters Roy Hargrove and Claudio Roditi, saxophonist Eric ...


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