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Jazzing Up Childhood Memories

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Jazz musicians today sometimes draw on all sorts of popular culture for inspiration, including the television shows they grew up with. Here are two fine examples. The Flying Horse Big Band The Bat Swings! Flying Horse Records 2018 The University of Central Florida's Flying Horse Big Band presents a set of big band jazz based on soundtrack cues from the 1966 Batman TV show. That is no stretch at all since that music ...

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The Art of the Quintet: Voro Garcia and Magnus Thuelund

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A good form is hard to find, but the quintet offers plenty of variety in terms of musical texture and yet has the intimacy that a larger band often misses. Here are two artists who both take full advantage of the format of the quintet. Both are leaders who write their own tunes, and both are less known than the guest stars they have invited to participate on their records. Voro Garcia Live at Jamboree

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The Eclectic Sounds of ears&eyes

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Whereas some record labels try to limit their aesthetic to a certain sound, others take pride in challenging the conventions of genre. Matthew Golombisky, the founder of ears&eyes Records, belongs to the latter category. His philosophy is very clear, as he points out in the label profile that can be read on this site: “My motto has always been that I release great music. Period. It has to be fresh, interesting, intriguing and sincere. My goal is to continue to ...

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Iain Matthews: Redefining Eclectic

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Few if any contemporary pop or rock artists have maintained a career as long and varied as Iain (nee Ian), Matthews, so his eclectic discography deserves the robust informational and graphical archiving of Omnivore Recording. Moving from his early days as a member of Fairport Convention, the man formed Southern Comfort and moved into more conventional country-folk territory of the times, thereby gaining some renown with a soothing version of Joni Mitchell's “Woodstock." After configuring his next band, the similarly-styled ...

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Minimalist Guitar: Clouds and Dreams

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Jakob Bro Returnings ECM Records 2018 Jakob Bro sounds quiet (even by his standards) on his third date for ECM, following up the aptly-titled Streams (ECM, 2016) with a recording even more spare and contemplative. His telepathy with favorite collaborator Thomas Morgan stays close as ever, while Palle Mikkelborg provides a fellow lead voice just as patient and understated as the leader's. His minimalist trumpet converses and trades lines with Bro's guitar almost in ...

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A Selection of Jazz on Sonorama

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A good record is not just an album, it is a story, and few people understand this better than Ekkehart Fleischhammer, who runs Sonorama. The label specializes in reissues and discoveries of lost jazz classics, library music, funk and soul. Every release is a labor of love and the albums in the following batch all include photography and liner notes. A full portrait of the label and its past achievements can be found elsewhere on this site, but the following ...

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The Art of the Duo: Keys and Reeds

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Two duos, both alike in dignity, though taking the approach to very different ends: Anat Cohen and Fred Hersch Live in Healdsburg Anzic Records 2018 What's taken these two so long? Okay, of course they've both juggled collaborations and cross-pollinations in many different contexts, and considering the nature of the job, it's probably not too surprising that Anat Cohen and Fred Hersch need time to fit new endeavors into their busy schedules. ...

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The Legacy of Big Star: Alex Chilton, Chris Bell and Luther Russell

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Big Star, the late lamented forefathers of power-pop as we know it, was a star-crossed group in virtually every sense William Shakespeare might've intended. The group suffered as much external as internal strife, ranging from unforeseen business slip-ups that muffled the impact of their record releases to the equally startling departure of linchpin Chris Bell in the wake of those adverse circumstances. Effectively undermining the thought and care that went into the writing and recording of the group's first two ...

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Jon Catler: Sacred and Profane

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On a certain fundamental level, music really comes down to math. The notes we consider normal are based on certain frequencies of sound vibration, after all, the pitches that make sense to our ears and that we find pleasing when they react in the right ways relative to each other. Jon Catler, however, is one fellow who can't resist the urge to painstakingly fine-tune the numbers. It's all in a day's exploring for a longtime LaMonte Young collaborator rooted in ...

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Two Sides of Marc Copland: Quartet and Solo

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Anyone interested in discovering the fascinating story of pianist Marc Copland should start out by reading John Kelman's excellent article: “Marc Copland: Growth Through Collaboration" (2005). It follows the trajectory of an artist that has evolved immensely throughout his career, with the most radical change being the shift in instrument from saxophone to piano. This shift happened because Copland needed to express himself fully and discovered that the sounds that he heard were sounds for the piano rather than the ...