Download Reviews


The Monterey Jazz Festival 2008 Music Sampler

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Frequently, even free music downloads can be overpriced. Of course, there are always exceptions to any rule and the Monterey Jazz Festival 2008 Music Sampler from iTunes is one fine example of how free can be worth so much more than nothing.Upon entering the Monterey Fairgrounds on a festival day, there's an assortment of people selling programs, providing security and generally just wandering around. Add to it the sounds of music emanating from the various stages and the ...


Oscar Peterson Tribute: Simply The Best

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Hearing Oscar Peterson late in life, his left hand rendered useless by a stroke and arthritis, could be a terribly sad thing, sometimes no more than a whisper of the giant that had me scouring CD bins after first listening to him.But his magnetism was never just about music, as his fellow Canadians and several jazz legends made clear during a tribute in Toronto shortly after his death.The two-hour “Oscar Peterson Tribute - Simply The Best" ...


Christmas Craziness: 60 Free Great, Cheesy and/or Freakish Holiday Albums on the Internet

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Those spending $600 and dodging gunfire to get a glitch-filled PlayStation 3 probably need all the free holiday cheer they can get.

The repeating loop of music on the store's overhead speakers is more likely to make them postal than passive. But the Web offers enough free albums that are exceptional, unique and utterly bizarre (like a rare “Star Wars" holiday album supposedly selling for $130 on eBay) to occupy the ears for many Decembers to come.


John Ellis Quartet: Live At Yoshi's - July 18, 2005

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Saxophonist John Ellis' new album By A Thread is “an early runner for one of the best albums of 2006,"according to one AAJ review. Thanks to his free, two-set live performance available free at his Web site, he's got his hat in the download category as well.

This 2.5 hour session is first-rate in personnel, performance and audio quality, easily deserving of album status if Ellis choose to go that route. The unprotected MP3s are easily obtained--no registrations, ...


Bill Frisell: Further East/Further West

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Bill Frisell Further East/Further West Nonesuch Records 2005

Bill Frisell is an exceptional musician because he has the ability to mine the usual guitaristic textures without getting caught up in clichés, to unearth original ore in the same old vein. Further East/Further West (available only in download form) is a companion album to 2005's East/West, culling material from the same two gigs: four-night stands at the Village Vanguard (December, 2003) and Oakland's Yoshi's (May, ...


Free "Professor of Sax" Collection Merits a Gold Star

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As trash-talking goes, getting schooled by the “Professor Of Saxophone" is of questionable caliber. But Miles Osland is in no danger of losing face if words fail him--he wields a horn capable of bludgeoning even the most forward-thinking rebel punk in the classroom.

Some professors put students to sleep lecturing from the book, while others bring classes to their living rooms for political discussions accompanied by authentic homemade food from the region in question. Osland, in a collection ...


Guitarist Tim Conley's funky standards and improvisations make for stand-out shows

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Funky classics. Innovative improvisations. Gritty guitars. No cover charge.

This is why I keep wading through so much muck on the Internet.

Guitarist Tim Conley joins the tiny percentage of jazz artists with a significant amount of quality work available free of charge online with several live performances between July and October of 2005 posted at the Internet Archive.A July 29 performance features eight songs (and three tuning tracks that can be ignored) in ...


A Finnish Feast: Hundreds of Free Songs from Earth's Least Corrupt Country

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Considering its 80th birthday is next year, Finnish jazz is awfully young at heart.

Finnish-American musicians aboard the M/S Andania brought jazz to the country in 1926, according to urban myth, but a strong presence and identity didn't emerge until the 1960s. Since then versatile musicians, strong government support and high-quality education has produced a breed of original and intelligent music in traditional and modern forms.

“Internationally renowned individualists aside, Finland has also produced a wide ...


Dutch Jazz and Performers at the 2005 North Sea Jazz Festival

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“There is a long jazz tradition in the Netherlands, from post-bop styles to a thriving avant-garde scene that developed in the 1960s. American jazz musicians have sometimes criticized Dutch jazz, arguing that it doesn't swing, or that it isn't sufficiently rooted in the blues. But with its philosophical roots in absurdism and slapstick, it's one of the few places where one can find humor in an otherwise serious art form." - WNYC's “Soundcheck," from Nov. 18, 2003


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