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William Hooker: Heart of the Sun

Read "Heart  of the Sun" reviewed by John Sharpe

Suddenly Heart Of The Sun from veteran drummer William Hooker's The Gift looks a whole lot more poignant. With the passing of trumpeter Roy Campbell in January 2014, Hooker has been deprived of one of his longest collaborators. Campbell first appeared alongside the drummer on Colour Circle (CJR, 1989) as part of the self styled three member William Hooker Orchestra, and then later as one third of The Gift on Live at Sangha (Bmadish Records, 2005). As ever here Campbell ...

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The String Trio of New York: The River of Orion: 30 Years Running

Read "The River of Orion: 30 Years Running" reviewed by Francis Lo Kee

The String Trio of New York (STNY) started in 1977 with John Lindberg (bass), James Emery (guitar) and Billy Bang (violin). Lindberg and Emery have been constant while there have been a number of violinists since Bang left in 1986: Charles Burnham, Regina Carter and Diane Monroe. Now with violinist Rob Thomas, they may have their most unified musical vision. Though he contributes no compositions here, his playing is strong on every level and, because of the register of his ...

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String Trio of New York: The River of Orion: 30 Years Running

Read "The River of Orion: 30 Years Running" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Established in 1979 with the Black Saint album First String, featuring Billy Bang manning the violin chair, the revered band String Trio of New York celebrates its 30-year anniversary with the impressionable effort, The River of Orion: 30 Years Running. Over the years, the trio has invited guest artists, such as saxophonist Oliver Lake and pianist Anthony Davis, to partake in performances and recordings. However, bassist John Lindberg and guitarist James Emery loom as the core components of the trio's ...

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Carla Marciano: Change Of Mood

Read "Change Of Mood" reviewed by Mark F. Turner

The force: the essence of the great John Coltrane that so many musicians and fans have drawn inspiration from--its roots in the blues, swing, spirituality and exploration. Italian saxophonist Carla Marciano has been heavily influenced by it and channels that energy into her own music where she's well known for her awe-inspiring chops as witnessed on the Black Saint releases--Trane's Groove (2002), A Strange Day (2005), and here on A Change of Mood. As Star Wars' Yoda might ...

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Duology: Golden Atoms

Read "Golden Atoms" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

Michael Marcus (Bb clarinet) and Ted Daniel (trumpet) have long been distinctive improvisers. Both have made a mark not only on the free jazz scene, but also with mainstream bands. Whatever the setting, they have found the space to add their own impulses to enrich the music. And so, of the many duos that have popped up in the world of jazz, this one makes a marked impression. Marcus and Daniel create intuitive nuggets as they play a dozen tunes ...

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Greg Burk Quartet: Berlin Bright

Read "Berlin Bright" reviewed by Terrell Kent Holmes

Pianist Greg Burk embraces deconstruction and counterpoint as a player and composer, so a playful method to the madness runs through his excellent new album Berlin Bright. The opener, “Fancy Pants," exemplifies how Burk solos and writes with mild chaos in mind. After the theme the tune fractures schizophrenically, with Ignaz Dinne soaring melodically up front on alto while Burk plays a roiling counterpoint behind him. This startling, clever effect sounds like two open music sites on the Internet playing ...

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Carla Marciano: Change Of Mood

Read "Change Of Mood" reviewed by John Barron

On Change of Mood, her third release for the Black Saint label, Italian saxophonist Carla Marciano displays her aggressive alto and sopranino playing on an all original set of straight-ahead blowing, featuring the swinging rhythm section of pianist Alessandro La Corte, bassist Aldo Vigorito and drummer Gaetano Fasano. The native of Salerno, Italy bares her musical soul with the same level of heartfelt passion displayed on her previous release, A Strange Day (Black Saint, 2006).

With a tone that is ...

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Rova: Totally Spinning

Read "Totally Spinning" reviewed by Jeff Stockton

Depending on your preference among saxophone quartets, Rova (comprised of Larry Ochs, Jon Raskin, Bruce Ackley and Steve Adams) and the World Saxophone Quartet would have to rank numbers 1 and 1A. Rova has always been perceived as the more avant-garde of the two, more prone to explorations of abstract sound, closer in spirit (and practice) to Coltrane's Ascension than Ellington. Ten years ago, however, when Totally Spinning was recorded, Rova was at its most lyrical. Sure, ...

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Tiziano Tononi: Peace Warriors

Read "Peace Warriors" reviewed by Jeff Stockton

It's unfathomable that when Ornette Coleman came on the scene, his music was flat-out incomprehensible to a significant number of jazz fans. And what's worse, the man himself was thought to be a heretic. But with Coleman's headlining of the JVC Jazz Festival in 2006, there is no doubt that he is one of the few giants still standing. Whether due to market dynamics, popular opinion, corporate myopia or the artist's own stubbornness, there has been a ...

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Carla Marciano 4tet: A Strange Day

Read "A Strange Day" reviewed by Mark F. Turner

Listening to the opening “Dance of Mind on A Strange Day, you'll hear why Carla Marciano is probably as fierce and relentless as anyone who plays the saxophone. Her passion, articulation and tone also show that she has been greatly influenced by the great John Coltrane. From Salerno, Italy, Marciano has performed in many bands and events, forging a name as a musician with unbridled abilities. Like her first recording, Trane's Groove (BlackSaint, 2003), she continues to show that she ...

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Cosmosamatics: Magnitudes

Read "Magnitudes" reviewed by Jeff Stockton

What started as a song title on a trio session for CIMP nearly ten years ago (Transcendence, 1996) has blossomed into one of the most consistent and fruitful partnerships in jazz. The Cosmosamatics (primarily alto elder statesman Sonny Simmons and multireedist Michael Marcus) dabble in bop, post bop, and free jazz, with tightly written and arranged heads and abrupt tempo shifts and twists in between.The band has had various members since its inception, but Jay Rosen has been ...

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Roberto Magris Europlane: Check-in

Read "Check-in" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

Roberto Magris leads more than one band, each of which defines a particular mood and approach. One of them is Europlane, the quintet which checks in with this recording on the Black Saint label (currently celebrating its 30th anniversary). This should bring the band wider recognition, considering the fact that the label has an international presence. Magris deserves the exposure; his music is deeply etched with grooves that sing of bop and the blues and the magic of African rhythm, ...