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Peter Hedrich: New Hope

Read "New Hope" reviewed by Jack Bowers

In a blindfold test, one would be hard-pressed to name the leader on the album New Hope. According to the jacket, young German-born trombonist Peter Hedrich leads the way but while he does solo on eight of eleven numbers he's basically one of the group, laying claim to no more blowing space than his colleagues, especially saxophonist Tim Sammel and pianist Felix Hauptmann. The album is a tribute to the American-born trombonist Jiggs Whigham who has spent many years in ...

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Paul Heller: Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller

Read "Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Granted, Paul Heller meeting Roman Schwaller isn't such a big deal here in the States. It is, however, quite a big deal in Germany and western Europe as a whole where Heller and Schwaller are among the reigning monarchs of the tenor saxophone, akin to such American twosomes as Ammons / Gordon, Sims / Cohn or, more recently, Harry Allen / Scott Hamilton, among others. Setting aside the country of origin, this is powerful and perceptive post-bop blowing at its ...

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Steffen Schorn & Zurich Jazz Orchestra: Three Pictures

Read "Three Pictures" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

The 2004 album Triosphere (Jazz & Arts Records), featuring reedist Steffen Schorn, saxophonist Roger Hanschel and guitarist Dirk Mudelien, points in the direction of the large ensemble work, Three Pictures. Schorn took over the reins of the Zurich Jazz Orchestra in 2014, and for the ensemble he has written and arranged the “Three Pictures Suite," “Africa Suite," and four other high-quality compositions--all highly layered and deftly nuanced works that point back to Triosphere, with a much expanded palette. If Triosphere ...

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Marc Doffey Quintet: Taking Direction

Read "Taking Direction" reviewed by Marithe Van der Aa

Over the course of 17 tracks, the Berlin based Marc Doffey Quintet sets out to create a suite filled with lyrical and dynamic soundscapes... and succeeds. Their debut album, Taking Direction, consists of compositions written by each individual band member and brief, improvised interludes. By including compositions of each member, the Marc Doffey Quintet places a refreshing emphasis on the diversity and various personalities that determine the group's sound. In the jazz scene--a place where it is dangerously ...

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Swiss Jazz Orchestra: Pools: Live at Jazzfestival Bern

Read "Pools: Live at Jazzfestival Bern" reviewed by Jack Bowers

As if a new CD by the superlative Swiss Jazz Orchestra weren't enough to start New Year 2016 on a high note, Pools presses home the considerable talents of the orchestra's special guests, vibraphonist Mike Mainieri and drummer Peter Erskine, in a dynamic performance taped live at the Hotel Innere Enge on April 10-11, 2015, as part of Jazzfestival Bern. Besides playing with his usual aplomb, Mainieri wrote five of the session's eight numbers and solos on every one save ...

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Daniel Cacija: Lifeline

Read "Lifeline" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

Vocalist Daniel Čačija is a snappy, if somewhat retro, dresser--the cover images on Lifeline show him sporting, variously, a dinner suit and a cravat. A quick glance at the track list reveals jazz standards such as “Detour Ahead," “Lush Life" and “Exactly Like You." The band is the classic piano trio, with added trumpet. It looks pretty much like a routine, if stylish, vocal jazz album... But appearances can deceive. On Lifeline, in the company of some excellent musicians, Čačija ...

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Lars Seniuk / New German Art Orchestra: Pendulum

Read "Pendulum" reviewed by Jack Bowers

German-born composer / arranger / trumpeter Lars Seniuk, who formed his first big band at age sixteen and has played with and written for many others since then, was barely twenty-six when Pendulum was recorded in Hamburg with the splendid New German Art Orchestra, an up-to-date version of the late Bob Brookmeyer's New Art Orchestra, established in Lubeck nearly three decades ago. As such, it is more a continuation and verification of Brookmeyer's legacy than an effort to traverse new ...


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