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Jazz Articles

LIVE REVIEWS

Monterey Jazz Festival 2016

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Monterey Jazz Festival Monterey, CA September 16-18, 2016 In its 59th annual edition, the Monterey Jazz Festival once again delivered on its promise to bring a stylistic plethora and pageantry--with nods to more abstract or daring fare--to the Monterey County Fairgrounds. Among the marquee bragging rights: an impressive new commissioned chamber jazz piece, “The Unfolding," by Wayne Shorter; a good clean fun-making big band tribute to Quincy Jones' influential soul and jazz-bridging A&M albums, ...

TALKING 2 MUSICIANS

Guitarist Mike Seal

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Guitarist Mike Seal first caught my attention at the end of 2014 as part of the Jeff Sipe Trio. At that time I described him as an extraordinarily talented young musician, an assessment shared by many, including the legendary dobro virtuoso Jerry Douglas. This summer the three time winner of the Country Music Association's Musician of the Year award invited Mike Seal to join his band. At the beginning of this exciting new chapter in his musical journey, it seemed ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Parker Abbott Trio: Elevation

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It's hard to imagine a musical palette with more sonic possibilities: It's a bunch of 88s: two pianos, combined with an array of electric keyboards: Moogs, MicroKorgs (sounds like small aliens from the planet Korgon), glockenspiels, melodicas, a Hammond B-3 organ, a Nord Electro, a Microbrute (a diminutive schoolyard bully?), a Moog Sub Phatty. And throw in some inspired drums and percussion. That's Toronto's Parker Abbott Trio. Two keyboardists--Teri Parker and Simeon Abbott, along with drummer Mark Segger--who ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kris Davis: Duopoly

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Query: when does improvised music appear more arranged than written compositions? The question is not a zen koan, it is the notion put forth by the sixteen duets performed by pianist Kris Davis and her eight collaborating partners. Davis, who can no longer be labeled a “rising star" of jazz and improvised piano, is a fully formed mature performer. Her dozen or so discs as leader and multiple collaborations with Michael Formanek, Ingrid Laubrock, Tyshawn Sorey, Jon Irabagon, and Eric ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Kuhn Trio: The Other Shore

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Returning to the music after some 35 years off the scene, reedman Peter Kuhn helms a live date which catches him in consort with two like-minded and accomplished free spirits in bassist Kyle Motl and drummer Nathan Hubbard. Interest in Kuhn has spiked following the reissue of his debut Livin' Right, as part of the splendid double disc set No Coming, No Going (NoBusiness Records, 2016). In the intervening years since The Kill (Soulnote, 1982), Kuhn has discarded charts and ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Akinola Sennon: Cousoumeh

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Trinidadian steelpan player and musical director of local steelband Siparia Deltones, Akinola Sennon's Cousoumeh is a mix of effective songwriting and performance and a daring leap into a new way of hearing improvised music from the Caribbean. Ropeadope Records--an increasingly important record label in the U.S.--is home to steelpan jazz artists Leon Foster Thomas and Jonathan Scales Fourchestra--remarks openly that the record, “is an interpretation of jazz where the heritage of the island [Trinidad] and the full sense ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Construction: Centreline Theory

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Centreline Theory is an impressive debut for British drummer, composer Jim Bashford's Construction with his fellow countrymen, bassist Tim Harries (Bill Bruford's Earthworks, Brian Eno), saxophonist Robin Fincker (Vincent Courtois, Whahay) and Icelandic guitar ace Hilmar Jensson (Tim Berne, Jim Black's AlasNoAxis). Bashford is also an educator and busy session artist who seems equally comfortable engaging the free jazz realm, evidenced by his stints with tenor sax titan Paul Dunmall, and jazz fusion among other idioms and spinoffs.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Bennett Thomas: Deeper Journey

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Pianist David Bennett Thomas takes inspiration from God's word. Not unlike Finish pianist/harpist Iro Haarla, on her beautiful duet set Kirkastus (TUM Records, 2015), with saxophonist Juhani Aaltonen, where Biblical Psalms informed the music, Thomas' Deeper Journey goes to the Bible for inspiration on half the tunes on this meticulously crafted, subtle--yet modern and adventurous--set of songs. On his previous recording, Headspace (Vectordisc, 2013), Thomas assembled a stellar ensemble, with drummer Erik Johnson and bassist Micah Jones, along ...


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