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Alex Hitchcock: All Good Things

Read "All Good Things" reviewed by Roger Farbey

The Alex Hitchcock Quintet's first record, Live at the London and Cambridge Jazz Festivals, was released in 2018 as an EP on Mondo Tunes. But at around 40 minutes this could easily have passed muster as a pukka LP. It was also a very impressive debut indeed, captured live from gigs performed in 2016 and 2017 at London and Cambridge respectively. Londoner Hitchcock attended the North London Weekend Arts College (WAC) where several British jazz stars began their careers, including ...

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Yaniv Taubenhouse Trio: Perpetuation: Moments In Trio Volume Two

Read "Perpetuation: Moments In Trio Volume Two" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Anyone with an antenna out for an exciting, new(ish) piano trio would do well to give Yaniv Taubenhouse a listen. The Israeli-born and now New York-based pianist offers up his third recording, tagged Perpetuation: Moments In Trio Volume Two, bringing to mind Brad Mehldau's five Art of the Trio recordings on Warner Brothers Records, released between 1997 and 2001. Taubenhouse studied with Mehldau, and the disc's opening title tune has a Mehldau-ian feel, with a persistent but understated ...

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David Ambrosio: Four On The Road

Read "Four On The Road" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Bassist David Ambrosio and his trio indulge in smooth sailing, partly due to alto saxophonist Loren Stillman's feathery tones via these largely, medium-tempo bop works, complete with contrapuntal type exchanges and spry breakouts. Several of these piece seem to intertwine within a similar framework and cadence, although there are a few free-form sorties, sparked by Ambrosio and drummer Russ Meisner's asymetrical patterns and staggered flows. On the flip side, the the rhythm section consistently lays out a pronounced, ...

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Dave Allen: The Sky Above Her

Read "The Sky Above Her" reviewed by Troy Dostert

Guitarist Dave Allen's satiny-smooth tone and precise technique belie an intrepid sensibility that is eager to rise to the surface. So unsuspecting listeners who cue up the title track of The Sky Above Her, Allen's third album as a leader, might at first be tricked into thinking they'll be listening to something easy on the ears, as the track possesses an ingratiating, comfortable feel; Allen's melodicism definitely contributes to that impression. But by the album's second cut, Allen's adventurous side ...

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Marko Churnchetz: RUTHENIA - Retrospective of Russian Composers of the 20th Century

Read "RUTHENIA - Retrospective of Russian Composers of the 20th Century" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Slovenian-born pianist/composer Marko Churnchetz presents an ambitious suite for fifteen musicians: essentially his jazz quartet accompanied by a small orchestra of winds and strings. He pays tribute to the great Russian composers of the 20th Century: Shostakovich, Scriabin, Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Rachmaninoff (the title “Ruthenia" is a Latin name for the Russian border provinces and their inhabitants, a metaphor for connecting with the great Russian musical tradition). Even if a listener did not know about the focus, the ...

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Kind Folk: Why Not

Read "Why Not" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Back in 2014, trumpeter John Raymond, alto saxophonist Alex LoRe, bassist Noam Wiesenberg, and drummer Colin Stranahan gathered in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn to test out their chemistry and let the music flow. Four years later, after some more sporadic get-togethers and a bump or two in the road, we have their debut. Opening with the buoyant and clear-headed Kenny Wheeler tune that serves as the name (and something of a directional beacon) for this collective ...

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David Ambrosio: Four On The Road

Read "Four On The Road" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

On the surface it might not make much sense for a trio album to be dubbed Four On The Road, but there's a story behind that fuzzy math. In 2015, while on the road in Spain touring in support of his previous trio date, Gone (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2014), bassist David Ambrosio encountered the pixelated throwback designs of the famed street artist simply known as Invader. His creations became a constant companion during Ambrosio's group's time in the city ...

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Sam Braysher: Golden Earrings

Read "Golden Earrings" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

Mostly these days aspiring jazz musicians hear the songs of the American Songbook as “jazz standards," their melodies taken as jumping-off points for improvisational flights of fancy that move the tunes far beyond their earlier incarnations as pop tunes or Broadway showstoppers. It's a distinction that the young English altoist Sam Braysher makes in the liner notes to his debut album Golden Earrings, recorded in collaboration with pianist Michael Kanan. The duo also took note of it when preparing to ...

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Ryan Meagher: Lost Days

Read "Lost Days" reviewed by Don Phipps

On Lost Days, guitarist Ryan Meagher offers up ten expressive and entertaining compositions that run the gamut from blues to funk and from swing to rock. His compositions are hot and spontaneous--they break apart and fuse back together in kaleidoscopic fashion. The Portland, Oregon-based Meagher is backed by a talented group. Tenor saxophonist Bill McHenry played with both the late, great Paul Motian and Andrew Cyrille. Keyboard player George Colligan is a professor at Portland State University. Bassist ...

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Johannes Wallmann: Love Wins

Read "Love Wins" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

The depths to which some factions of “civil" society will sink in order to deny others their equal rights, respect, and acknowledgement is downright depressing. But the height to which love can rise and overcome is heartening, to say the least. Pianist Johannes Wallmann is better acquainted with both of those aforementioned truths than your average citizen. When he moved to Wisconsin in 2012, he had been in a legally-recognized same-sex marriage for five years. Neither Canada ...

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Jonathan Saraga: Journey to a New World

Read "Journey to a New World" reviewed by Troy Dostert

It's been five years since Jonathan Saraga's debut release, First Vision, but the trumpeter's sophomore album was worth waiting for. Saraga's precise and passionate technique, combined with thoughtful, well- constructed compositions (and a couple nicely-arranged cover tunes) make for a stimulating listen that rewards on a number of levels. The record's title captures the feel of the music well, as each track pursues its own distinctive path, often developing in unexpected ways that are melodically rich and rhythmically sophisticated.

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Lena Bloch: Heart Knows

Read "Heart Knows" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Tenor saxophonist Lena Bloch has a cool, cerebral style and a definite and captivating lyricism. Her second release Heart Knows demonstrates this quite well. In addition, Bloch showcases her inventive compositional skills as she contributes four intriguing originals to the album. One of Bloch's mentors, multi-reed player Yusef Lateef inspired the poetic and multilayered “Lateef Suite" that opens with a contemplative duet with pianist Russ Lossing. Bloch's intelligent and introspective saxophone “monologue" flows languidly over the darkly percolating ...


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