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Justin Morell: Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra

Read "Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Justin Morell, himself a world-class guitarist, does not play guitar (or anything else) on this splendid new album, which, even so, could not have taken flight without him. Morell, an assistant professor of music at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania, composed and arranged the inclusive three-movement Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra, performed in his stead by guitar maestro Adam Rogers with the University of Miami's superb Frost Concert Jazz Band directed by 2019 double Grammy Award winner John Daversa. ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Justin Morell: Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra

Read "Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Guitarist/composer Justin Morell has recorded six albums as a leader, and written several ensemble pieces that featured guitar parts. He found that he enjoyed exploring the guitar's capabilities, so the Concerto was created to focus on the guitar as solo instrument accompanied by a large ensemble in the classical concerto tradition. He joined with his lifelong friend John Daversa (director of the Frost Concert Jazz Band at the University of Miami) and recruited veteran jazz guitarist Adam Rogers to play ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Spanish Harlem Orchestra: Anniversary

Read "Anniversary" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

The 13-piece all-star salsa big band Spanish Harlem Orchestra celebrates their 15-year anniversary in grand style with Anniversary, their sixth studio album. Champions of salsa dura ("hard salsa"), this is a band whose technical skill is matched only by their consistent high energy. They have three lead vocalists, so the chorus singing is also very high quality--an essential part of a strong salsa performance. Opener “Esa Nena" is a fine introduction to the group's body-shaking groove, and the program rarely ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Sinne Eeg: Dreams

Read "Dreams" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

Danish vocalist Sinne Eeg has a mature, pliable voice that shows traces of singers like Peggy Lee and Sheila Jordan in its contours and sound. She is a long-established presence in her home country but Dreams is only her second album to be released in America. For the occasion she has put together a solid cast of veteran American musicians in guitarist Larry Koonse, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Joey Baron along with her countryman, pianist Jacob Christoffersen.

ALBUM REVIEWS

Steve Sandberg Quartet: Alaya

Read "Alaya" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

The best word to sum up pianist Steve Sandberg's work is expansive. If his own performance history doesn't make that point clearly enough--he's hobnobbed with Brazilian music royalty like the Gilberto clan, made his mark on the salsa world by working with artists like Ruben Blades and Celia Cruz, touched down time and again in the world of musical theater, and garnered several Emmy nominations for writing and musical direction on children's programs like Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Torben Waldorff: Holiday On Fire

Read "Holiday On Fire" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Two impressions stick in the mind after a couple of spins of guitarist Torben Waldorff's Holiday On Fire: one--he rips like a rock star; and two--the band he has put together  has a sharply distinctive, modern, maybe even futuristic sound. The rock star aspect: not a surprise, for a musician whose introduction to the art began with American blues and rock and roll. As for the assemblage of the band: he's put together great groups on his four previous CDs ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Robin Eubanks Mass Line Big Band: More Than Meets The Ear

Read "More Than Meets The Ear" reviewed by Troy Collins

More Than Meets the Ear is Robin Eubanks' first foray leading a big band in his three decades as a performing musician. The date features compositions spanning Eubanks' entire career, artfully embellished and re-arranged for a formidable 19-piece ensemble. The key difference between this lineup and a conventional unit--other than Mike King's bluesy organ and Boris Kozlov's intermittent use of electric bass--is the leader's occasionally electrified trombone. Eubanks has long augmented his horn with effects pedals, but this is the ...


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