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Album Review

Sarah Gillespie: Stalking Juliet

Read "Stalking Juliet" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

Stalking Juliet is the first album from Sarah Gillespie, a UK-based singer and songwriter. Musically and lyrically this record constantly surprises, challenges and rewards in equal measure.

Gillespie has written all of the album's 11 tracks--two of them in collaboration with producer and arranger Gilad Atzmon. The songs have strong melodies and in some cases seductive hooks, but this is not a light and frivolous take on the world. Gillespie gives no indication of self-pity or bitterness but many of ...


Album Review

Gabriele Mirabassi: Canto di Ebano

Read "Canto di Ebano" reviewed by Chris May

Is Italian clarinetist Gabriele Mirabassi's Canto Di Ebano jazz? Traditionalists would probably say no, for the album owes little to the American jazz tradition, and even less to the African-American strand within it. But will jazz fans enjoy it? Yes, certainly, many of them, for the music is rich in rhythmic vitality, spontaneity, lyricism and improvisation, all essential ingredients in most people's definition of jazz.

Mirabassi undoubtedly considers himself a jazz musician, at least in part, and formed ...


Album Review

Enrico Pieranunzi: Untold Story

Read "Untold Story" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

By my count, pianist Enrico Pieranunzi has, in the last couple of years, released no fewer than six records to critical acclaim ranging from ebullient to ecstatic: FelliniJazz (CamJazz, 2004), Les Amants (Egea, 2004), Special Encounter (CamJazz, 2005), Play Morricone (CamJazz, 2005), Live in Paris (Challenge, 2006), and Ballads (CamJazz, 2006). He even found the time to write a lovely book about his hero Bill Evans. Maybe some listeners find even this prodigious productivity to be insufficient. For their benefit, ...


Album Review

Stefano Cantini with Rita Marcotulli: L'Amico del Vento

Read "L'Amico del Vento" reviewed by John Kelman

The Italian jazz scene is currently experiencing a golden age, supported by the many fine records recently released by labels like Cam Jazz and EGEA. EGEA has perhaps been the most vociferous about defining a distinctive Italian identity on albums like saxophonist Pietro Tonolo's recent Italian Songs (2005) and pianist Enrico Pieranunzi's Les Amants (2004). L'Amico del Vento continues the label's commitment to music with a Mediterranean flair--and an ongoing interest in a chamber jazz aesthetic that combines improvisation with ...


Album Review

Pietro Tonolo: Italian Songs

Read "Italian Songs" reviewed by John Kelman

In order to thrive as an independent jazz label, you've got to have a philosophy. It may be as broad as an overall aesthetic or as refined as a specific genre. Certain artists will draw fans to whatever label they're on--Keith Jarrett, for example, brings a lot of listeners to ECM. But to transcend individual musicians on a roster and engender a true brand loyalty that entices people to check out releases through trust in what the label is about--that ...


Album Review

Taylor/Swallow/Mirabassi: New Old Age

Read "New Old Age" reviewed by John Kelman

Jazz seems to be on the upswing in Italy these days. Artists including pianist Enrico Pieranunzi and clarinetist Gabriele Mirabassi are becoming almost ubiquitous, even to jazz fans in North America. And, while labels like CAM Jazz and EGEA are working hard to promote music from their own country, they're also providing a place for artists including Canadian ex-pat trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and British pianist John Taylor. CAM Jazz, in fact, released last year's wonderful Wheeler/Taylor duet record, Where Do ...


Extended Analysis

Maria Pia De Vito: Phone

Read "Maria Pia De Vito: Phone" reviewed by Dennis Hollingsworth

Maria Pia De Vito Phone EGEA Records 1998

Maria Pia De Vito is bit of an enigma here in the US. She is well known in Italy and has performed throughout Europe. Vito possesses a rare combination of vocal prowess and adventuresome spirit. Her music is often experimental, yet grounded in traditional forms of harmony and melodic patterns. Like Norma Winstone and Theo Bleckman, she often forgoes lyrics altogether, using her voice as an ...


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