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Mathias Eick: Ravensburg

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Choosing to explore the greater stage we all inherit then maneuver to the best of our abilities and intentions, Ravensburg, Norwegian trumpeter Mathias Eick's fourth ECM release, is, like the life force itself, an airy, ambient, triumphant affair, casting light and shadow on the potential victories and pratfalls faced within the circle of family and its place within the larger community of friends and strangers. Coming to life in his grandmother's small home town in southwestern Germany, Eick's ...


Kirke Karja Quartet: Turbulence

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Despite the title of Turbulence, Estonian pianist/composer Kirke Karja and her eponymous quartet carry this vessel of an album through the smoothest of takeoffs and landings. Riding the jet stream of largely original material, it takes full advantage of its wingspan to cross borders. The title track is a compression of the album's entire trajectory. Opening with a trembling arco bass and Karja's near-plaintive arpeggios, it seems to evoke a wintry starting point with the brushstrokes of a ...


Kathrine Windfeld Big Band: Black Swan

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Do opposites really attract? Danish big band leader Kathrine Windfeld's compositions are meticulously worked out in advance, whereas saxophonist Thomas Agergaard, her collaborator on this gig, takes a different, more spontaneous approach. “Thomas writes quite differently than I do," says Windfeld. “He thrives on the energy of the moment. This is beneficial to the music, but it is also a challenge when we are so many together and have to make something work within a limited time ...


Jimi Hendrix: Both Sides Of The Sky

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13 to the universe by studio dreamweaver and sonic soundscaper Jimi Hendrix remains arguably one of the greatest electric guitarists that ever lived, someone whose genius has often been likened to that of Robert Johnson and Miles Davis. Upon his untimely passing in 1970, he left behind an enormous wealth of previously unheard studio recordings which, according to those in the know, had the potential to offer new and compelling insights into one of the 20th Century's ultimate ...


Masaaki Suzuki: Beethoven – Missa Solemnis

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It's almost certain that there is a Baroque Music User's Manual issued to each new period-instrument/performance orchestra and conductor defining what pieces of music must be recorded. De rigueur are all of Johann Sebastian Bach's Orchestral Work and Choral Works, including complete Cantata Cycles like those recently completed by John Eliot Gardner with his English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir and Masaaki Suzuki and the Bach Collegium Japan. Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Christopher Hogwood, Roger Norrington, William Christie, Phillippe Herreweghe--and the list ...


Miles Davis: Miles Davis & John Coltrane - The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6

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As discussed at length in the liners by Ashley Kahn, the general consensus at the time (and a theory Miles' held strongly too) was that his landmark Quintet --Miles Davis, John Coltrane, bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Jimmy Cobb and flight fingered pianist Wynton Kelly--was on its last leg, and you could cut the personal and creative tension with a dull knife. But Kahn also argues that one can look at conflict of any kind as 1) a PR move to ...


Benjamin Boone: The Poetry of Jazz

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Benjamin Boone's The Poetry Of Jazz could easily have been titled The Jazz of Poetry because of the almost interchangeable nature of the terms. The composer/saxophonist's vision to put music to the U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine's prose is a reminder to listeners that jazz was birthed by the common man, and is not to be kept in an ivory tower. Both professors at Cal State Fresno, Levine and Boone had performed together before, and the saxophonist had ...


James Weidman: Spiritual Impressions

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There is a long tradition of using traditional African-American spirituals as a basis for jazz explorations, but that is rarely done in one session with the breadth of approaches James Weidman uses on Spiritual Impressions. From the loping reggae beat on “Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel" to the New Orleans rumba rhythm on “No Hiding Place," he and his excellent band always find a way to bring something new to these old songs. The aforementioned “No Hiding Place" ...


Vito Liturri: From Beyond

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With every note suspended luxuriously in the air so you can savor its resonance, this sonorously produced and beautifully played second recording from the Vito Liturri Trio is, from “Albe's Garden" to “An Empty Room" (all titles English translations) a delicious listen. The trio -Vito Liturri--piano, synth, electronics, Marco Boccia--double bass, and drummer/percussionist Lello Patruno play with a unified, seasoned integrity and an intuitive, emotional melodic desire. Languid creativity abounds and the interplay between the three players is ...


Laurie Dapice: Parting the Veil

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Phrasing is important. The top jazz vocalists are experts at laying down the elastic--or the sharp and concise--turn of phrase. New York-based vocalist Laurie Dapice excels in this regard. Like a deft baker working and molding the dough, she stretches and kneads a syllable here, and slices another off with a sharp cut of a dough knife there. Throw in the clear, clean tone reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald, some superb and unusual arrangements and you've got Dapice's Parting The Veil. ...