Articles

Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

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Album Review

Jihye Lee: Daring Mind

Read "Daring Mind" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Korean-born composer Jihye Lee is a musician who knows her own mind, whether it be relentless, unshakable, revived, dissatisfied or Daring, as on her second recording for Motema Records. In 2018, Lee earned the prestigious BMI Charlie Parker Composition Prize for “Unshakable Mind," one of nine diverse themes presented here. Another, “I Dare You," is loosely based on Wayne Shorter's response when asked, “What is jazz?" It is a question Lee must also address, as her music is not only ...

4

Album Review

Jihye Lee Orchestra: Daring Mind

Read "Daring Mind" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic


Listening to bandleader/composer Jihye Lee and her mic-drop orchestra is like watching your life flash before your eyes. You see it all: All the richness of spirit one can attain. All the sadness one can espouse. All the waltzing mischief to which one can aspire. Testing malleability at every turn, Lee's on to an eclectic something that doesn't pass through the torpor too often: A lucid, active imagination. Thus Daring Mind, Lee's Motema Music debut, co-produced by Darcy ...

9

Album Review

Melissa Aldana: Visions

Read "Visions" reviewed by Friedrich Kunzmann


Compositional and instrumental virtuosity always walks along a razor's edge between self-indulgence and purposeful accomplishment. On Visions, sought after saxophonist Melissa Aldana proves that she doesn't only master balancing this edge but that she can also go beyond the complexities of structure, scales and improvisation and naturally create her very own musical aesthetic. In interplay with an all-star cast of equally dynamic sidemen—Sam Harris on keys, Pablo Menares on bass, as well as drummer Tommy Crane and Joel Ross adding ...

7

Album Review

Ben Wendel: The Seasons

Read "The Seasons" reviewed by Friedrich Kunzmann


For many centuries composers have set to music the different seasons each new year has to offer (lately, some show the tendency of disappearing more and more. Seasons, not composers). Baroque composer Vivaldi's very straightforward division in four on “Le Quattro Stagioni" has to be one of the most prominent examples. Saxophonist and composer Ben Wendel however was inspired by 19th century superstar Pyotr Tchaikovsky's “Les Saisons" when in January of 2015 he decided to document a series of 12 ...

2

Album Review

Ben Wendel: The Seasons

Read "The Seasons" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic


Stepping out as he occasionally does from the genre-mashing ensemble Kneebody, Grammy-nominated saxophonist / bassoonist Ben Wendel takes up the challenge of interpreting the seasons as they exist in this time of climate upheaval and delivers the dynamic, visceral The Seasons. In 2015, inspired by Tchaikovsky's “The Seasons," Wendel set about writing and performing twelve duets and videos featuring musicians he keenly admires, including Shai Maestro, Joshua Redman, Julian Lage, Matt Brewer, Eric Harland, and vocalist Luciana Souza. ...

8

Album Review

Donny McCaslin: Blow

Read "Blow" reviewed by Roger Farbey


At first listen, Blow sounds more like a rock album than a jazz one. The catchy “What About The Body" could arguably be mistaken for one of King Crimson's more vituperative numbers featuring Adrian Belew. Ryan Dahle's emotionally-charged vocals are equally at the forefront of the explosive “Club Kidd." But the selection also includes three instrumental tracks too, such as the grungy, anthemic “Break The Bond," the polyrhythmic “Beast," and “Exactlyfourminutesofimprovisedmusic" (which speaks for itself) all underpinned by Tim Lefebvre's ...

13

Album Review

Stefon Harris & Blackout: Sonic Creed

Read "Sonic Creed" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


In its most basic function, the music that makes up Sonic Creed serves as a mirror to African American life in the here and now. It explores the history, legacy, struggles, and joys of the Black community, speaking to all of it at once through sound and sentiment. Sonic Creed arrives almost a decade after this groove outfit's last showing--Urbanus (Concord, 2009)--but the time away hasn't hurt the band. If anything, Blackout has become a more limber ...


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