Jazz Articles

Solving the Audience Equation, The Fix is On, and It's a Setup!

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Dear Mr. P.C.: This whole “jazz musicians play thousands of chords to three people" vs. “rock musicians play three chords for thousands" thing: What is the correct chord/audience ratio? Perhaps zero chords for an infinite audience is the ideal; or all chords for no audience. I certainly have landed closer to the latter. Is art about this kind of calculus? --Randy H., Atlanta Dear Randy: Let's break it ...

DVD/FILM REVIEWS

I Called Him Morgan by Kasper Collin

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Lee MorganI Called Him Morgan A film by Kasper Collin 2016 Forty five years ago on a precariously snowy night, prolifically talented jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan was fatally wounded at Slug's Saloon in the East Village of jny: New York City, shot down by his common-law wife, Helen, in front of horrified friends and fans at the bar of the venue. Kasper Collin's haunting documentary I Called Him Morgan is a revealing portrait of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

MEM3: Circles

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The modernistic piano trio, MEM3, draws influences from the innovative e.s.t. (Esbjorn Svensson Trio) and the Bad Plus, as well as the legendary drummer Peter Erskine's trio recordings. Circles, MEM3's second outing, puts them in the league with those higher profile groups as they craft an understated and unfailingly lovely trio sound enhanced with subtle electronic effects and fluid interplay. Circles is a remarkably cohesive statement. Pianist Michael Cabe, bassist Mark Lau and drummer Ernesto Cervini craft a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Monika Ryan: Windmills

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Jazz vocalist Monika Ryan has recorded a series of albums as leader since 2000 with the sensuous and audacious Windmills, a tribute to the lyrics of composers Alan and Marilyn Bergman, one of her latest projects. Voicing a repertoire of beautiful love songs and ballads, Ryan caresses the lyrics of each song with a measure of emotion and taste making for a vocal jazz album that's a pleasure to hear often. Supporting her crisp vocal instrument are a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Billy Mintz: Ugly Beautiful

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Consisting of seventeen tracks spanning over two hours of playing time, Ugly Beautiful is a large, sprawling, wise, unflinchingly honest, powerful work of art. Billy Mintz's third recording as a leader--all of which were made in the most recent decade of a fifty-year plus career--stubbornly refuses to conform to stylistic boundaries and gleefully defies expectations of any kind. The record demands to be taken on its own terms. Trying to pin labels or anticipate the course of almost any track ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miles Okazaki: Trickster

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Guitarist Miles Okazaki (Steve Coleman, Dan Weiss) is a meticulous artist and visionary partly due to his thorny and geometrically inclined theme-building practices. With ECM recording artist Craig Taborn sharing the frontline, the guitarist often makes complex storylines sound effortless by design, paralleled by the quartet's symmetrical pulses and deterministic gait. The band also gels to odd-metered bump and grind motifs and linear progressions amid succinctly stated unison lines. According to Okazaki, “The Calendar" ..." is a song ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kurt Rosenwinkel: Caipi

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Guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel has been at the forefront of shaping what we call jazz today with the help of dynamic peers such as: Brad Mehldau, Brian Blade, Mark Turner, Joshua Redman and Chris Potter. Rosenwinkel's indelible mark in music is the consummation of being steeped in the rich and deep traditions of jazz, springing off the shoulders of the rich jazz vocabulary and canon as a foundation to stamp out his own musical language. A language that is influenced by ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Festival International de Jazz de Port-au-Prince, 2017 - Part 2

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Part 1 | Part 2 Festival International de Jazz de Port-au-Prince Port-au-Prince, Haiti March 4-11, 2017 In celebration of International Women's Day, Wednesday's concert featured all bands led by women, a first for the festival. Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana kicked off the show. Although not literally--she explained that she was not feeling well, and would be seated while performing. She certainly sounded fine to me, with a warm tenor sound reminiscent ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Alex Cline's Flower Garland Orchestra: Oceans of Vows

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Despite being a key participant in the “Left Coast" scene of more avant-leaning music from the American west coast--in particular, part of the Cryptogramophone imprint that, while less active than in its “glory days" during the first years of the new millennium--Alex Cline releases so infrequently as a leader that any new music from the percussionist/composer is worthy of attention. That he has flown so far under the radar, in recent years, that his last Cryptogramophone release, 2013's For People ...


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