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Maria Grand: Magdalena

Read "Magdalena" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

The intimate and personal Magdalena is tenor saxophonist Maria Grand's second release as a leader. On it she fleshes out the ideas explored on her dynamic debut EP, Tetrawind (Biophilia, 2017). Sandwiched between two spoken-word tracks, the recording showcases Grand's skills as a vocalist, instrumentalist and composer. Singer Jasmine Wilson recites Grand's verse with emotive eloquence on the opening “La Immortal." Grand plays her sax with contemplation while drummer Jeremy Dutton's rustling percussion enhances the dramatic mood.

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Fabian Almazan: Alcanza

Read "Alcanza" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

There is no doubt that pianist and composer Fabian Almazan's Alcanza is a unique and boldly inventive work. On it Almazan deftly fuses the tonality and stylings of a string quartet with those of his piano trio. He also adorns this captivating composition with the scintillating romanticism of guitarist and vocalist Camila Meza's hypnotic singing. The collective sound that results is more than just a sum of coexisting parts, instead it is an elegant and delightful musical amalgam.By ...

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Fabian Almazan: Alcanza

Read "Alcanza" reviewed by Troy Dostert

When his debut record, Personalities, was released in 2011, pianist Fabian Almazan put everyone on notice: this was a musician unafraid to take some big chances with his craft. That album began with a piece by Shostakovich (augmented with a string quartet and electronics, no less), and it effectively established the trajectory Almazan has continued ever since, in which classical, Latin, and post-bop jazz-based musical languages fuse together in ways that are consistently startling and path-breaking. Although he's proven himself ...

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Linda May Han Oh: Walk Against Wind

Read "Walk Against Wind" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

On the exquisite Walk Against Wind bassist Linda May Han Oh showcases her unique compositional style that rivals, artistically, her mastery over her instrument and her improvisational prowess. These 11 originals express various motifs reflecting Oh's diverse influences yet a delightfully dark poetry imbues all of them, giving the album its thematic unity. The intensely cinematic “Speech Impediment," for instance, has a languid melody and shimmering refrains. Oh's Lilting, wordless vocals echo saxophonist Ben Wendel wistful lines. As ...

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Awakening Orchestra: Atticus Live!

Read "Atticus Live!" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Sorry. If this is the direction in which big-band jazz is moving, please apply the brakes as quickly and gently as possible so that this listener may exit the train. When it comes to big bands, some members of an older generation cling to standards that must always be upheld. Not swinging is from time to time a forgivable sin, depending on the circumstances; plodding erratically forward with a minimum of charm and no clear purpose in mind is less ...

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Awakening Orchestra: Interlude: Atticus Live!-The Music of Jesse Lewis

Read "Interlude: Atticus Live!-The Music of Jesse Lewis" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

On the heals of the excellent debut This Is Not the Answer, Vol 1 (Innova Recordings, 2014), composer/conductor Kyle Saulnier leaves the writing credits to featured guitarist/composer Jesse Lewis on Interlude: Atticus Live!-The Music of Jesse Lewis. Not a regular member of Saulnier's Awakening Orchestra, Lewis had recorded each of these tracks on his similarly named Atticus (Self-Produced, 2008). Saulnier was intrigued by the notion of recreating these tunes with his twenty-piece jazz orchestra and set about to capture that ...

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Andréa Wood: Kaleidoscope

Read "Kaleidoscope" reviewed by Geannine Reid

Andréa Wood presents her second album as a leader with, Kaleidoscope. Devotees and newcomers alike should feel equally welcome when listening to Kaleidoscope. Wood has done an excellent job of compiling a twelve song program that is accessible in the deep history of jazz along with her well-crafted originals. The discerning aficionado will find Wood's vocal control and sense of rhythm deeply studied in the tradition, while the neophyte with easily relate to Wood's strong sense of groove and story ...

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Desmond White: Short Stories

Read "Short Stories" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Size and substance are not reflective of one another. Some people mistakenly assume that grand-scale productions automatically deserve grand-scale receptions and small- scale artistry deserves to exist on the fringe. That makes about as much sense as holding a belief that novels, by their very nature, are of greater importance than short stories, but some people foolishly see it that way. They miss the point that it's the quality of the work, be it written, aural, or otherwise, that matters ...

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Fabian Almazan: Personalities

Read "Personalities" reviewed by Mark F. Turner

Fabian Almazan began creating some buzz with his sparkling piano chops in trumpeter Terence Blanchard's group on Choices (Concord Music Group, 2009). Originally from Havana, Cuba, Almazan is not only one of the young rising stars in New York, but is also classically trained and has received a number of awards as a composer in film, chamber and orchestral projects. Many of these disciplines come into play on this auspicious debut, which includes Almazan's equally convincing trio ...