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ALBUM REVIEW

Tony Barba: Blood Moon

Read "Blood Moon" reviewed by Friedrich Kunzmann

Madison-based saxophonist Tony Barba is a sonic chameleon, able to wrap catchy melodic themes around a variety of different genres. His ear for melodies is on full display on his newest outing for the Midwestern label Shifting Paradigm Records. In interplay with Chicagoan guitarist Matt Gold and the Madison-based rhythm section of John Christensen on bass and Devin Drobka on drums, Blood Moon sees Barba drawing from reggae as much as from pop and country, together interpreted with jazzy sensibilities ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Jamie Breiwick: Awake: The Music of Don Cherry

Read "Awake: The Music of Don Cherry" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist Don Cherry is best known for his long association with composer/saxophonist Ornette Coleman. But he also had a diverse career as a bandleader and composer in his own right, and was especially prominent in the fusion of jazz and world music. Wisconsin-based trumpeter Jamie Breiwick mostly draws from Cherry's solo repertoire for this set--with the addition of one Coleman composition--also using the pocket trumpet (which Cherry often played) on some tracks. Capturing Cherry's spirit requires ...

ALBUM REVIEW

JC Sanford Quartet: Keratoconus

Read "Keratoconus" reviewed by Friedrich Kunzmann

A bubbling ostinato on trombone to the right. Treble register double-bass lines join in the middle. Muffled electric-guitar riffs imitate the same to the left--the guitar's dry tone seemingly hailing straight from a rustic 1960s Telecaster. Drums start banging ahead relentlessly; not in a constant motion though--they stop and go and stop and go, unsure whether what they're doing is allowed or not. They all decide it's fine, let's go ahead with it. This is rock and roll. It's rudimentary ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Yao/Smith/Hughes Sextet: The Gates

Read "The Gates" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

More water from the seemingly inexhaustible Detroit hard bop well. Saxophonist James Hughes and trumpeter Jimmy Smith are known for their own Hughes Smith Quintet, as heard on Motion (Self Produced, 2018) and Ever Up & Onward (Self Produced, 2016)--two red-hot recordings in that tradition. Here they are joined by co-leader John Yao on trombone, and a different rhythm section—pianist Corey Kendrick, bassist Jeff Pedraz and drummer Nick Collins. The program is all original compositions by the three co-leaders.

ALBUM REVIEW

Chris Lomheim - Michael O'Brien - Jay Epstein: Triage

Read "Triage" reviewed by Friedrich Kunzmann

Triage refers to the process of weeding-out, deciding about what gets eliminated, on the one hand, and what stays, on the other. In the context of this album, its title can be interpreted as the process these three musicians have gone through during the course of over twenty years of collaborating, captured on the eleven original compositions on display here. The debut effort by Minnesota-based pianist Chris Lomheim, drummer Jay Epstein and New York-based Michael O'Brien on bass didn't come ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Michael Rossetto: Intermodal Blues

Read "Intermodal Blues" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Michael Rossetto is a self-taught banjoist and guitarist, whose musical travels have taken him into global music. The focus of Intermodal Blues is the five string banjo, an instrument steeped in traditional American folk and bluegrass music. But Rosetto finds his inspirations elsewhere: in the West African kora and other instruments that were ancestors to the modern banjo; in neo-classical music; and in Italian/Sicilian/Tunisian music. The title track opens the album with the connection to West Africa. Driven ...

ALBUM REVIEW

JC Sanford's Triocracy: Pyramid Scheme

Read "Pyramid Scheme" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Trombonist / composer JC Sanford leads an unconventional chamber trio with Andy Laster and Chris Bacas on saxophones and clarinets. As the group name implies, it is a remarkably flexible and democratic small ensemble. Sanford is the main composer, but there are also collective improvisations, guided improvisations, and a few surprising covers. “Rip Tide" opens the set with a series of urgent, ripping passages, which also partake of the danger and aggressiveness of an actual rip tide. “Everything ...


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