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Ben Zahler's Songgoing: Quietly Cold

Read "Quietly Cold" reviewed by Chris Mosey

Swiss flautist Ben Zahler names his principal influences as Herbie Mann and Eric Dolphy. Having said that, he immediately backtracks. Mann was too commercial, Dolphy too experimental. Zahler positions himself somewhere between the two. He strives to avoid the “streamlined sluggishness" of Mann and similarly has no truck with way-out, overblowing excess a la Dolphy. In very Swiss fashion, he takes a neutral standpoint though--as the sleeve note to the album by Swiss journalist Steff Rohrbach, of ...

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Nat King Cole Trio: Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 43 - Zurich 1950

Read "Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 43 - Zurich 1950" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Nat King Cole means two very different things to two different segments of the music-loving populace today. To those simply plugged into popular culture he's the golden-voiced baritone crooner, debonair and delightful as can be while travelling over the airwaves. But to those steeped in jazz history he's known as a mighty and true pianist, throwing down the gauntlet at Jazz at the Philharmonic shows, pushing a then-progressive agenda with fellow giants Buddy Rich and Lester Young, and walking a ...

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Sonny Rollins: Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959

Read "Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

The quantity and quality of music released in 1959 have led many to call it a watershed year for modern jazz. Even just cursory research calls up such landmark titles as John Coltrane's Giant Steps (Atlantic), Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come (Atlantic), Dave Brubeck's Time Out (Columbia) and Miles Davis's Kind of Blue (Columbia). Recorded live at Radio Station Zurich that March, Sonny Rollins Trio & Horace Silver Quintet: Zurich 1959 hoists another pillar in 1959's monument ...

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Ray Charles Orchestra: Ray Charles Orchestra: Zurich 1961-Swiss Radio Days Jazz Series, Vol. 41

Read "Ray Charles Orchestra: Zurich 1961-Swiss Radio Days Jazz Series, Vol. 41" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

We generally take it for granted now, but Ray Charles' trademark blend of jazz, gospel, R&B and soul in a large ensemble or orchestral setting was a unique sound mastered by few artists when this 1961 set was recorded. Number 41 in the Montreux Jazz Label's Swiss Radio Days Jazz Series, Zurich 1961 is a historical and musical treasure which might have been better recorded but could not have been better performed. Zurich 1961 reaches crackling, up-tempo jazz ...

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Sonny Rollins Trio & Horace Silver Quintet: Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959

Read "Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

To some extent, the concept of glory days equates to fiction based on romanticized truth. When you talk to those who walked the walk at any seemingly important time, you learn that very quickly. Many of them would likely say that there's no time like the present, and the truth is that there's great music and history to be gleaned from any era and area if you know where to look. But then again, you can't argue with the facts ...

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Ray Charles Orchestra: Ray Charles Orchestra: Zurich 1961-Swiss Radio Days Jazz Series, Vol. 41

Read "Ray Charles Orchestra: Zurich 1961-Swiss Radio Days Jazz Series, Vol. 41" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

1961 was a classic jazz vintage for Ray Charles. That was the year he delivered unto us Genius + Soul = Jazz (Impulse!, 1961), and the year he took Europe by storm with a big band in tow. He was in good voice and spirits, he had top quality charts in his book--a good number from the pen of Quincy Jones--and he had a talent-filled band that included trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, trombonist Dicky Wells, alto saxophonist Hank Crawford, and tenor ...

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Peter Scharli Trio featuring Ithamara Koorax: O Grande Amor

Read "O Grande Amor" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

Their pairing may seem like an odd mix: Ithamara Koorax, born in steamy Rio de Janiero and expert voice for all the lusty and romantic musical treasures of Brazil, teaming with trumpeter Peter Schärli from Switzerland, where modern jazz often assumes a more astringent and ascetic (and often quite electronic) tone. Pianist Hans-Peter Pfammatter and bassist Thomas Dürst, who complete the Schärli Trio, are also Swiss. And yet their combination of tropical heat and frosty chill have already created--on The ...

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Peter Scharli Trio featuring Ithamara Koorax: O Grande Amor

Read "O Grande Amor" reviewed by Douglas Payne

In their second recording together, Swiss trumpeter Peter Schärli and Brazilian singer Ithamara Koorax have come up with a beautiful reflection on Brazilian music that goes far above and beyond expectation. Schärli, whose attractive sound and complimentary interjections suggest the influence of Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stańko, and Koorax were first brought together in 2006 by legendary Brazilian percussionist Dom Um Romão (1925-2005), who had previously worked with both musicians on separate occasions, to record Obrigado Dom Um Romão ...

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George Robert Jazztet: Remember the Sound (Homage to Michael Brecker)

Read "Remember the Sound (Homage to Michael Brecker)" reviewed by George Kanzler

Working with a tentet similar to mid-size bands he's led on his own projects, composer/arranger Jim McNeely has fashioned a musical tribute to the late Michael Brecker that manages to conjure up aspects of the late saxophonist's music and musical personality, without resorting to overt mimicry or pastiche. Led by alto saxophonist George Robert, with faculty from the jazz program he heads at Switzerland's Lausanne Conservatory, the Jazztet negotiates the harmonic and counterpoint-rich music with esprit and élan.

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Nicole Herzog: Time Will Tell

Read "Time Will Tell" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Slight and striking, the coquette-voiced German Nicole Herzog has the stones to lead her own septet on Time Will Tell. Rather than opting for a trio or quartet format as her ride, Herzog employs the “little big band" concept developed and perfected by Miles Davis with his famous 1949 nonet and 1958 sextet. The Herzog septet has a sound big enough to fill a room, while still remaining small enough to be intimate. Herzog has an interesting ...

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Peter Scharli Trio featuring Ithamara Koorax: Obrigado Dom Um Romao

Read "Peter Scharli Trio featuring Ithamara Koorax: Obrigado Dom Um Romao" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

Peter Scharli Trio featuring Ithamara Koorax Obrigado Dom Um Romao TCB Music 2009

Obrigado Dom Um Romao is both a happy and sad accident. Percussion master Dom Um Romao was friends and played extensively with both Peter Scharli, one of Europe's most inventive composers and trumpeters, and Brazilian vocal powerhouse Ithamara Koorax. Romao introduced the other two, and the three began planning a performance tour together. Sadly, Romao died while these tour ...

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Louis Armstrong: Live in Zurich, Switzerland 18.10.1949

Read "Live in Zurich, Switzerland 18.10.1949" reviewed by Graham L. Flanagan

In the movie Manhattan (1978), Woody Allen's depressed protagonist dictates a list of the things he believes make life truly worth living. Along with Willie Mays and Cezanne's paintings of apples and pears, Allen includes Louis Armstrong's recording of “Potato Head Blues." Whenever you listen to Louis Armstrong, you are doing right by your soul. And you can keep doing right by it in 2009, thanks to this live date from Switzerland, which comprehensively chronicles a performance ...