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Deanna Witkowski: Wide Open Window

Read "Wide Open Window" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

New York-based pianist Deanna Witkowski opens up Wide Open Window with the first of three Cole Porter tunes, a trio workout of "All Through the Night" with enough harmonic liberties to rend the tune nearly unrecognizable; but it's still a lovely, energetic rendition, an up-tempo romp over a flexible rhythm. It's a trio again for "Just One of Those Things," a bit more reverent this time, with some tight yet inventive improvisation by Witkowski. The third Porter tune, "From This ...

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Deanna Witkowski: Wide Open Window

Read "Wide Open Window" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

This is Deanna Witkowski’s second album. Her debut was Having To Ask, and if anything, it proves she has abundant talent as a pianist and as a writer. Witkowski sets her path with an accent on lyricism. Even when she deconstructs the melody, there is a sense of time and space and beauty. Add her sense of harmony, and she has the music in constant flow.

Here, Witkowski pulls in several standards with the emphasis on Cole ...

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Greg Skaff: Blues for Mr. T

Read "Blues for Mr. T" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

This year has seen an organ renaissance. Organ jazz had its genesis in Fred Longshaw, who performed with a reed organ on the 1925 Bessie Smith recording of "St. Louis Blues." Fats Waller was a pipe organ virtuoso. Count Basie introduced the organ into swing music, giving way to Wild Bill Davis, who predicted Jimmy Smith and soul jazz. And then there was Jimmy Smith and all who came after. Larry Young learned from Miles Davis and developed organ practice ...

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Dave Stryker and Steve Slagle: The Stryker/Slagle Band

Read "The Stryker/Slagle Band" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

The Stryker/Slagle Band documents a working group that finally made it into the studio to preserve its unique sound. Dave Stryker and Steve Slagle have been performing together in several contexts since 1986, including performing on each other's recordings. This is the first time the two musicians co-lead a date. Stryker, Slagle, and drummer Tim Horner provide seven original compositions for this recording. All of the pieces are wedged deep in the contemporary/post bop vein, full of craggy complex heads ...

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The Stryker/Slagle Band: The Stryker/Slagle Band

Read "The Stryker/Slagle Band" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

Familiarity breeds attempt. After 17 years and 14 albums playing in other groups, Dave Stryker and Steve Slagle finally got together to lead their own band. It was about time that they did!The success of an album is often spelt by the empathy between the players. There is no doubt that Slagle and Stryker have that bond. With Moring and Horner also tying into the relationship, the music gets a deep and satisfying groove as it moves through ...

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The Stryker/Slagle Band: The Stryker/Slagle Band

Read "The Stryker/Slagle Band" reviewed by Elliott Simon

The Stryker/Slagle Band reveals the secret behind producing a crisp first effort with telepathic communication among all parties. That secret, in this case, is to play together for over fifteen years before recording as co-leaders. It also doesn't hurt to have the same rhythm section, in the persons of drummer Tim Horner and bassist Bill Moring, for six of those years. Guitarist Dave Stryker and alto/soprano saxophonist Steve Slagle are integral parts of the NYC jazz scene and have appeared ...

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Greg Skaff: Blues For Mr. T

Read "Blues For Mr. T" reviewed by David A. Orthmann

Greg Skaff’s second disc as a leader charts an impressive course between the familiar, agreeable parameters of soul-jazz and a more open ended, blowing-based approach. The guitarist, Hammond B-3 organist Mike LeDonne, and drummer Joe Farnsworth (all of whom frequently play in various bands at Smoke, a club in New York City that serves as a haven for straight-ahead bands and progressive funk ensembles) make up a bracing, rhythmically charged trio. Throughout a program of six appealing originals, plus tunes ...

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Greg Skaff: Blues for Mr. T

Read "Blues for Mr. T" reviewed by Elliott Simon

There seems to be an increased appetite among jazz fans of late for the inherent soulful funkiness of a Hammond B3 organ/guitar trio. With Manhattan's club Smoke holding B3 nights each Tuesday, this genre that peaked during the ‘60s and ‘70s is back in a big way. From the first cut on guitarist Greg Skaff's Blues for Mr. T, it is easy to see why as Skaff, Mike LeDonne (B3), and Joe Farnsworth (drums) bring that live feel right into ...

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Dave Stryker and Steve Slagle: The Stryker/Slagle Band

Read "The Stryker/Slagle Band" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

Dave Stryker (guitar) and Steve Slagle (alto, soprano sax) have a long standing musical relationship, and this “debut” album is far from the first time these veteran sidemen have recorded together in the studio. Nor is the rhythm section of Tim Horner (drums) and Bill Morning (bass) a new addition. All these musicians have not only played together, they’ve joined together in a working group that has stuck together for a remarkable seven years, gigging together even as each member ...

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Deanna Witkowski: Wide Open Window

Read "Wide Open Window" reviewed by AAJ Staff

A quick listen to Wide Open Window doesn't really set off any special alarms. It's not the kind of record that reaches out and grabs you, begs attention, or highlights some dramatic revolution in style. But then that doesn't seem to be what pianist Deanna Witkowski is after, really. At the tender age of 30, she's confident enough to hold back on the fireworks and concentrate on substance.

Witkowski's second jazz record trims things down to the classic quartet: piano, ...

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Carlos Barbosa-Lima: Natalia

Read "Natalia" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Guitarist Carlos Barbosa-Lima’s previous Khaeon release, Mambo No. 5 was touted as one of the best releases of 2001. Mr. Barbosa-Lima opts for a smaller group this time, performing many of the selections solo or in duet with fellow label-mates John Benitez or Gustavo Colina on bass. Natalia picks up where Mambo No.5 left off, pursing a twentieth-century repertoire from Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean. The common uniting element is, of course, the selection’s heavily Latin character. ...

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Christian Howes: Jazz on Sale

Read "Jazz on Sale" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

“Jimi Hendrix of the violin," my ass! It is sad that we are saddled with such tired metaphors. Christian Howes is considerable more talented than such a moniker would suggest. Lee Brown referred to Howes as a “Jazz Paganini." Now that is more like it. Classically trained since the age of five and performing Mendelssohn’s D Minor Violin Concerto at sixteen, Howes more than earned his stripes in the woodshed. As a jazz violinist today, he has no peer. Another ...