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Frank Foster and the Loud Minority Big Band: Well Water

Read "Well Water" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Thirty years ago, saxophonist Frank Foster and drummer Elvin Jones escorted eighteen other musicians (whom Foster dubbed the Loud Minority Big Band) into a recording studio in New York City to tape an album, Well Water. The hope was that a label would be found and the music released for public consumption.

That never happened, and as the months and years went by, it was widely assumed that the master tapes had been irretrievably lost. But Foster's wife, Cecilia, remained ...

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Winard Harper: Make It Happen

Read "Make It Happen" reviewed by Terrell Kent Holmes

Drummer, composer and bandleader Winard Harper brings his relentless exuberance to Make It Happen, where the seemingly disparate Afro-Caribbean and bebop styles stand shoulder to shoulder. The percussion-driven nature of the recording is evident from the top, with an energetic arrangement of Charlie Parker's “Segment where Alione Faye's percussion binding the fabric of the two genres seamlessly, while Stacy Dillard and Josh Evans, on tenor and trumpet, handle the bebop chores. Harper's balafon play and Abdou Mboup's talking drum give ...

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Winard Harper Sextet: Make It Happen

Read "Make It Happen" reviewed by John Kelman

Jazz records made in one day aren't particularly unique. But looking at the large cast of players on Make It Happen, one has to be impressed at the amount of planning that went into the session--an effort that, in the hands of lesser mortals, might suck the life out of such an ambitious outing. But drummer Winard Harper's disc is a lively if not slightly schizophrenic date that mixes up strong African and Afro-Cuban rhythms, mainstream swing, and even a ...

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Winard Harper Sextet: Make It Happen

Read "Make It Happen" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

Veteran drummer Winard Harper (who has played with Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, Betty Carter, Ray Bryant, Abdullah Ibrahim, Pharoah Sanders, Clifford Jordan and others) gives us two albums in one on Make It Happen.

The first is percussion-heavy. The opening tracks, for example, present an approach to ensemble sound that recalls Mosaic-era Jazz Messengers (carefully arranged multiple-horn lines over a busy, insistent rhythm section). The best compositions echo episodes in the Mingus lineage (notably Dave Holland's excellent mid-'80s groups). These ...

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Charnett Moffett: Internet

Read "Internet" reviewed by Ernest Barteldes

Every now and then a bassist emerges as a front man and the instrument takes a whole new personality. Such is the case on Internet, where Charnett Moffett wrote every tune but one, an effects-laden take on “The Star Spangled Banner" obviously inspired by Jimi Hendrix. Moffett uses acoustic, electric, fretless and piccolo basses (often more than one at a time) and explores the limits as he goes along. Listen to the playfulness of “Icon Blues," a ...

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Bud Powell: Eternity

Read "Eternity" reviewed by AAJ Staff

The great Bud Powell casts a very long shadow over all jazz piano players, not to mention most melodic/harmonic improvisers, regardless of instrument. His best recordings are simply indispensable. However, it is also known to jazz fans that Powell's life “unraveled, after what today would be called a hate crime brought on a crescendo of mental illness and physical damage. Those knowledgeable fans also know that there are quite a few records made from the later years of his life ...

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Bud Powell: Eternity

Read "Eternity" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Let me begin by saying that I'm no Bud Powell aficionado. I understand there were undoubtedly times when he played far better than this, and times when he may have played even worse. All I can say with assurance is that had I not seen Powell's name and picture on this album, I never would have guessed it was him.

These unrehearsed sessions were taped in Paris between 1961-64, long after Powell's best days were behind him. This is Powell ...

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Bud Powell: Eternity

Read "Eternity" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

It is common knowledge that Bud Powell recorded several tunes while he lived in the house of Francis Paudras in Paris. Paudras sheltered these recordings, but he left the archives in the care of Celia Powell, Bud's daughter. The tracks were selected in conjunction with Jessica Shih of Piadrum Records.

Paudras had a piano in a room that formed an alcove. Powell would use the nook to play when he wanted to and not when he was asked ...

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Charnett Moffett: For the Love of Peace

Read "For the Love of Peace" reviewed by Terrell Kent Holmes

Bassist extraordinaire Charnett Moffett has mined all his musical and familial influences in his latest release, For the Love of Peace, which enjoyed an official and successful CD release event at Jazz Standard a few months back. Joining him on the disc is the Moffett Family Band featuring brothers Codaryl Cody Moffett (drums/percussion) and Mondre Moffett (trumpet/ fluegelhorn), sister Charisse (vocals) and wife Angela (spoken word). Pianist Scott Brown plays on most tracks sharing the duties with J.S. (presumably executive ...

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Bud Powell: Eternity

Read "Eternity" reviewed by Jim Santella

These solo piano sessions by Bud Powell were recorded between 1961 and 1964 in Paris at the home of his friend, Francis Paudras. The recordings, while made informally and never released, have preserved the sound and the spirit that the pianist espoused as a pioneer of bebop and as an influential force on many aspiring jazz artists. Like most dedicated pianists, Powell played out of a love for the music. Among the song titles, you'll recognize his grandchildren's names, as ...

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Charnett Moffett: For The Love Of Peace

Read "For The Love Of Peace" reviewed by Jim Santella

Charnett Moffett inspires his audience and praises the Lord on this spiritual jazz message. Blending Far Eastern music with the kind of gospel message that we've all grown to know and to love, the bassist and his close-knit band “preach" to the world in a universal language.

Charisse Moffett, his sister, adds uplifting, wordless vocals, as Mondre, his brother, reminds us of what is at the core of jazz. The pianist for “The Shepherd," identified as J.S., gives ...

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Achille Gajo Trio: Blue Sand

Read "Blue Sand" reviewed by Joshua Weiner

As enjoyable as it is to encounter a new recording by a long-established artist, even greater pleasure can be found in the discovery of an outstanding lesser-known talent. Such is the case with Blue Sand, the new release by Italian-born, Paris-based pianist Achille Gajo and his trio. Gajo's compatriots include bassist Jean-Jacques Avenel and drummer John Betsch, who played together previously as Steve Lacy's longtime rhythm section. Gajo's playing and composing are consistently wonderful, and the empathetic interplay with Avenel ...


40 Years Of The Festival International De Jazz De Montréal

The Montreal Jazz Festival celebrates its 40th edition this year with some outstanding presentations scheduled at various venues around the city. Running from June 27 to July 6, this year's festival includes both indoor and outdoor events, free and ticketed events, with a program that includes Melody Gardot, Norah Jones, Brad Mehldau, Kendrick Scott, Richard Galliano, Stacy Kent, Joshua Redman, John Pizzarelli, Keyon Harrold, Gilad Hekselman, Roberto Fonseca, Donny McCaslin and more.

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