Articles | Popular | Future

ALBUM REVIEWS

Jenny Scheinman: Crossing the Field

Read "Crossing the Field" reviewed by Sean Patrick Fitzell

Celebrating the release of 12 Songs (Cryptogramophone, 2005), violinist Jenny Scheinman assembled a string orchestra to augment her septet in performance at New York's Tonic. The addition enlivened the buoyant melodies and spurred the soloists with lush accompaniment. The thrilling results prompted Scheinman to write more for this instrumentation on Crossing the Field, her fifth and most ambitious CD to date. She uses the string section as an integrated voice that interacts with, rather than playing alongside, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Jenny Scheinman: Crossing the Field

Read "Crossing the Field" reviewed by John Kelman

With the release of the singer/songwriter-driven Jenny Scheinman (Koch, 2008), violinist Jenny Scheinman entered new territory as a vocalist. Crossing the Field, released the same day in digital download-only form (a hard CD version will be released September 9, 2008, also by Koch), expands on the forward motion of 12 Songs (Cryptogramophone, 2005) with an even larger ensemble and a unified concept. A sweeping, 13-piece suite--with the inclusion of a string orchestra--it's her most ambitious project to date, and demonstrates ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

The Brubeck Brothers Quartet: Classified

Read "Classified" reviewed by Dr. Judith Schlesinger

This is the follow-up to the well-received Brubeck Brothers Quartet's Intuition (Koch, 2006), which spent three months in the jazz top 20. There are some obvious similarities: Classified is also unusually bountiful, weighing in at over 78 generous minutes; the band (aka the BBQ) features three of the same stellar players, now with regular touring partner Chuck Lamb rather than wunderkind Taylor Eigsti at the piano; and the music is uniformly excellent in its composition, execution, and recording quality. Now ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Cyrus Chestnut: Cyrus Plays Elvis

Read "Cyrus Plays Elvis" reviewed by J Hunter

"Elvis isn't dead until we say he's dead! That was the defiant proclamation on a billboard advertising a Bay Area Oldies station. An immediate reaction would be: “Which Elvis are we talking about? Fat Elvis? Thin Elvis? Hollywood Elvis? Vegas Elvis? With Cyrus Plays Elvis, pianist Cyrus Chestnut has added a new category to that list: Jazz Elvis.

The concept isn't all that far-fetched: Presley's early recordings came from the same country-blues space Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash called ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Cyrus Chestnut: Cyrus plays Elvis

Read "Cyrus plays Elvis" reviewed by Francis Lo Kee

Certainly a concept designed to push peoples' buttons, the fact is that if you don't know Elvis Presley's music, this CD doesn't sound radically different from a lot of soul jazz recordings from Blue Note in the 1960s. One of the big differences between rock and jazz is harmony: while jazz, partially built on the standards of the Great American Songbook, loves shifting, chromatic voice-leading, rock tends to be harmonically more static, either using other qualities to build and release ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

The Brubeck Brothers Quartet: Intuition

Read "Intuition" reviewed by Dr. Judith Schlesinger

The prospect of reviewing an all-original release can strike apprehension--if not actual fear--in a critic's heart. With the growing ease of self-production, it's increasingly likely that such recordings will be monuments to tuneless self-indulgence.

This is one reason why Intuition is such a treat: the compositions are not only fresh, melodic and memorable, but they're rendered with sublime expertise and considerable joy. From guitarist Mike DeMicco's swinging “West of One" through the tipsy second-line groove of “Parade du Funk" and ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Jon Faddis: Teranga

Read "Teranga" reviewed by Marcia Hillman

"Teranga" is the word for hospitality in the Wolof language of Senegal, and on his release of the same name, Jon Faddis invites you into his musical world. Faddis (trumpet and flugelhorn) is joined by pianist David Hazeltine, bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and drummer Dion Parson, as well as several guests: Alioune Faye (sabor), Abdou Mboup (djembe and talking drum), Russell Malone (guitar), Gary Smulyan (baritone saxophone), Frank Wess (alto flute) and Clark Terry (flugelhorn and vocals). All but one of ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Roberta Gambarini: Easy To Love

Read "Easy To Love" reviewed by Suzanne Lorge

If Roberta Gambarini had chosen to pursue opera we might be seeing her at the Met instead of in the world's top jazz clubs, so exquisite is the natural lyricism of her voice and her technical mastery of its use. Absent from her performance are the blatant shifts in registration, dicey intonation, and questionable diction that are often stereotypically associated -- rightly or wrongly -- with jazz singing. But a jazz singer Gambarini is, and a fantastic one at that.

ALBUM REVIEWS

Roberta Gambarini: Easy to Love

Read "Easy to Love" reviewed by Roger Crane

With all due caution about overstatement, let me say that I don't know of a better pure jazz vocalist than Roberta Gambarini. She shows us all that the art of jazz singing is alive and well. During the past few years she has become almost a cult figure, thrilling live international audiences, becoming the subject of enthusiastic discussions on various internet jazz chat forums, and being hailed by numerous insiders as perhaps today's finest young jazz singer. Gambarini is now ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Don Ellis: Live At Montreux

Read "Live At Montreux" reviewed by Jim Santella

Recorded 27 years ago, this album from the Don Ellis library contains all the rhythmic and polyphonic excitement that you’d expect from such a pioneer in modern big band jazz. With this CD release, the original LP has been augmented by the addition of three previously unreleased tracks that came from the same Montreux performance.

With his trumpet in hand, and an instrumentation that exceeds the norm, Ellis gave the world a remarkable sound. His compositions and ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bob James Trio: Take It From the Top

Read "Take It From the Top" reviewed by Michael P. Gladstone

Bob James, one of the most popular jazz artists of all time, has over the course of the past 35 years elected to treat his older fans with an album of all acoustic songs from the Great American Songbook, tunes that are associated with jazz pianists who influenced him over the years. It seems that this happens about once every decade, or whenever Halley's Comet is expected.

The last occurence was in 1995 on Straight Up, with ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

DJ CAM: Soulshine

Read "Soulshine" reviewed by Emmett G. Price III

Taking a slightly different turn than past releases, former Parisian graffiti artist and current DJ/ producer Cam presents Soulshine, a work of ambient energy, soulful seduction--and in the truest sense, a work of fusion.

As a tribute to numerous forms and styles of African American music, DJ Cam teases the line between the various forms and styles of this music, revealing that line to be extremely thin and gray. His exploration of these thin, gray boundaries is ...