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CD/LP/Track Review

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Hedrich: New Hope

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In a blindfold test, one would be hard-pressed to name the leader on the album New Hope. According to the jacket, young German-born trombonist Peter Hedrich leads the way but while he does solo on eight of eleven numbers he's basically one of the group, laying claim to no more blowing space than his colleagues, especially saxophonist Tim Sammel and pianist Felix Hauptmann. The album is a tribute to the American-born trombonist Jiggs Whigham who has spent many years in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nobuki Takamen: The Nobuki Takamen Trio

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Guitarist/composer Nobuki Takamen is active on the New York scene, but has returned to his native Japan for an annual tour for many years. His previous album Live In Japan (Self Produced, 2016) documented live performances of his trio with bassist Toshiyuki Tanahashi and drummer Naoki Aikawa, long-time musical collaborators for more than a decade. The process was reversed for this album: first the trio went on tour, playing almost every night for over a month, then they ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kaveh Rastegar: Light Of Love

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Kaveh Rastegar's name might not register with many people, but a significant number of music fans from different camps have likely heard his low-end thrumming on bass and experienced the power of his work. The anchoring element for artists as dissimilar as John Legend and Beck, the creative weight ballasting the music of the pioneering post-fusion collective Kneebody, and a songwriter with serious credibility and a résumé that includes collaborations with everybody from Bruno Mars to Meshell Ndegeocello to Cee ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

New York Standards Quartet: Heaven Steps To Seven

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The three constant principals in this remarkable quartet are joined for this album by NY-resident Ugonna Okegwo on double bass. The quartet has been in existence for over a decade now and their first album was recorded in 2007 and released in 2008. The punningly titled Heaven Steps To Seven is the quartet's seventh album to date and the follow-up to Sleight Of Hand (Whirlwind, 2017). Half way through Charlie Parker's “Cheryl" the piece is transformed, almost magically, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paul Simon: In The Blue Light

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To this very day, as he readies the last shows of his Homeward Bound tour, Paul Simon's new is as new as his old once was. When your most maligned works, 1980's One Trick Pony (Warner Brothers), 84's dark epic Heart and Bones (Warner Brothers), and 97's errant Songs From The Capeman (Warner Brothers, 1997) yields such lasting beauty as “Late in The Evening," “Hearts and Bones," “The Late, Great Johnny Ace," “The Vampires," and “Adious Hermanos," a severe re-assessment ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Josh Rager: Dreams And Other Stories

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Montreal's Juno Award-nominated pianist, Josh Rager, has assembled an all star quintet for his fourth album as a leader, Dreams And Other Stories. Sandwiching five of his own superb compositions between the disc's opener, the Rodgers and Hart jewel “Spring is Here," and the wrap-up, Olivier Messiaen's “O Sacrum Convivium," he creates a cohesive and vivacious jazz statement, in the mode of those Herbie Hancock albums from the mid to late 1960s. The Rodgers and Hart opener explores ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vince Tampio: The Nook

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There's always something reassuring about the pleasingly familiar, whether it's a favorite shirt, a nice helping of comfort food or the coziness of a frequent neighborhood hangout. jny: Philadelphia's Tattooed Mom Bar fits the bill for Vince Tampio and a few good friends. Besides evoking that welcoming atmosphere with its title and cover, The Nook's classic-sounding bop and swing should make Blue Note or Prestige Records aficionados feel right at home from the first downbeat. For a trumpeter ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kukuruz Quartet: Julius Eastman - Piano Interpretations

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During the last several years, the work of minimalist composer Julius Eastman has been rediscovered and celebrated by both scholars and musicians. Numerous tributes and performances have reclaimed a musical visionary whose death at age 49 in 1990 was barely acknowledged, so far had he fallen into obscurity, homelessness and drug addiction. As George Lewis stresses in his illuminating liner notes to the Kukuruz Quartet's Julius Eastman -Piano Interpretations, Eastman's music is amply deserving of this retrieval, as his unique ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gabriel Naïm Amor: Moments Before

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The idea of storytelling in music has been used and abused to describe almost any kind of playing with a melodic arc and logical progression, but true musical storytelling is not just about lines forming a pattern, but rather entails creating emotional spaces where it is just as important to leave things out as it is to fill in the blanks. Too often it is assumed that playing a lot means saying a lot, but in fact the strongest statements ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rolling Stones: From The Vault: No Security, San Jose '99 (2CD + SD Blu Ray)

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It's hard to believe that 56 years after the band formed, and 55 years after it released its first single, a cover of Chuck Berry's “Come On" that reached an admirable first-time position of #21 in the UK charts, the Rolling Stones continue their strangle hold on the moniker “The World's Greatest Rock 'n Roll Band." The group may release new studio albums increasingly less frequently, with a full eleven-year gap between 2005's A Bigger Bang (Virgin) and a return ...