Articles

Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

153

Album Review

Darren Johnston's Gone To Chicago: The Big Lift

Read "The Big Lift" reviewed by Glenn Astarita


Canada-reared, but calling San Francisco home since 1997, trumpeter and composer Darren Johnston delves into the Chicago's avant, modern-jazz establishment and kicks off a vibrant set, with prominent constituents of The Windy City's fertile soundscape. With The Big Lift, the trumpeter's ascending status within the outer reaches of jazz attains another hierarchical level. Peppered by an undulating groove-quotient, the ensemble combines a frothy and infectious mode of attack by incorporating the blues, mainstream jazz, and avant-garde musings with ...

346

Album Review

Marcus Shelby Orchestra: Soul Of The Movement: Meditations On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Read "Soul Of The Movement: Meditations On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." reviewed by Edward Blanco


A man with a deep social conscience and a fervent interest in social history, San Francisco bassist and band leader Marcus Shelby has previously used music to illuminate past injustices on Port Chicago (Noir Records, 2006), and then again with Harriet Tubman (Noir Records, 2008). On Soul Of The Movement: Meditations On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Shelby once again tackles another large-scale project of social and spiritual significance expressed through his creative musical interpretations.For Shelby, the inspiration ...

199

Album Review

Marcus Shelby Orchestra: Soul Of The Movement: Meditations On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Read "Soul Of The Movement: Meditations On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." reviewed by Bruce Lindsay


Soul Of The Movement: Meditations On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr is a beautiful album. Bassist, composer and arranger Marcus Shelby was inspired to put the album together by his study of the Civil Rights Movement and, in the combining of his own original compositions with spirituals and tunes associated with the movement, he has created a most affecting and uplifting recording, performed with passion by the superb 15-piece Marcus Shelby Orchestra. Shelby's own compositions take their ...

220

Album Review

Billy White: First Things First

Read "First Things First" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


First Things First is as apt a name for a debut album as anybody could come up with. While this marks pianist Billy White's first leader date, he already has plenty of impressive musical experience under his belt: spending his college years earning a degree in ethnomusicology from UCLA; working with a jazz/hip-hop hybrid group Heezbus, while living in Paris; studying Gnawa trance music in Morocco; and writing some music for films. Eventually, the San Francisco native landed in Brooklyn, ...

181

Album Review

Mercury Falls: Quadrangle

Read "Quadrangle" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


It begins with a stark electric drone, an eerie, throbbing repetition from which the familiar cry of a saxophone emerges. The tune is “Spring Pools," and it sounds like music that swells out of the quiet after the Apocalypse. The group is Mercury Falls, a saxophone/guitar/bass/drums ensemble with some deft electronic embellishments. The music could be called ambient, with its seemingly drifting momentum, but it's too gutsy to hold that tag.Heading up the group are reedman Patrick Cress ...

234

Album Review

Mercury Falls: Quadrangle

Read "Quadrangle" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay


Mercury Falls is an intriguing and somewhat ambivalent band name--and whether it refers to a celestial body, a mythological messenger, plummeting water, dropping temperatures or, indeed, to nothing at all, it's a name that readily reflects the fascinating and at times beautiful music that the band creates on its debut release, Quadrangle. Although Mercury Falls disowns the term, much of the music on Quadrangle has a distinctly ambient feel to it (the band refers to it as ...

228

Album Review

Mitch Marcus: Countdown 2 Meltdown

Read "Countdown 2 Meltdown" reviewed by Terrell Kent Holmes


Although its music is grounded in blues, bop and other time-honored constructs, the Mitch Marcus Quintet is not your usual jazz band. In fact, the MMQ's adventurous tunes, use of unusual meters and delightfully manic arrangements travel far beyond conventional musical borders. The band's Countdown 2 Meltdown is a sonic riot bursting with invention and mischief. This is evident from the first notes of “Coffee and Cones." Marcus' tenor and Sylvain Carton's alto drive this tune, with ...


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