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Budd Kopman's Best Releases of 2016

Read "Budd Kopman's Best Releases of 2016" reviewed by Budd Kopman

Of the seventy or so albums I was fortunate to review this year (with many still waiting in the wings), the releases below (in chronological order) are those that moved me the most and hence that I remember the clearest, even after a year. The quality of the music is uniformly high, and leaving something off ...

resAUnance: Migration

Read "Migration" reviewed by Budd Kopman

Highly emotional and ravishingly beautiful, Migration is a feast for the ears and heart. Performed by resAUnance, a cooperative quartet, which began as a trio comprised of vibraphonist/percussionist John Bacon, vocalist Esin Gündüz, pianist Michael McNeill with electric cellist Jonathan Golove added later, this combination of unique instrumentation and innovative musicians has created an astonishing multipart ...


Michael McNeill Trio: Flight

Read "Flight" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

On his second release as a leader Flight pianist Michael McNeill elegantly embellishes his own intricate compositions with bold spontaneity. He imbues the melodic elements of the album with subtle angularity and maintains a strong lyrical sense even while flirting with dissonance.

The contemplative “Za," for instance, has a crystalline harmonic structure within which McNeill ...


Michael McNeill Trio: Flight

Read "Flight" reviewed by Budd Kopman

Michael McNeill and his trio (bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Phil Haynes) return after Passageways with the marvelous Flight.

The first notes of “Placid Ruffled" indicate McNeill's classical background and compositional intent. The album is extremely well recorded, allowing, at least with headphones, for every overtone and their interactions to be heard clearly (especially ...

Michael McNeill Trio: Passageways

Read "Passageways" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

The rhythm trio is a well-established and ubiquitous format in jazz. Its fluidity and flexibility allow for a wide range of expression from traditional to advanced with the majority of recordings being solidly in the mainstream. Pianist Michael McNeill's exhilarating and innovative debut recording Passageways pushes the harmonic boundaries of the ensemble into unique and intriguing ...


Michael McNeill Trio: Passageways

Read "Passageways" reviewed by Eyal Hareuveni

Michael McNeill's debut as a leader introduces a fresh perspective to the popular piano trio format. His compositions don't progress in a linear manner, nor do they strive to settle on time-tested harmonic or rhythmic structures; instead, they insistently explore the sonic possibilities within the immediate, fragile and equal interplay that the Buffalo, NY-based pianist-composer has ...


Michael McNeill With Drew Gress & Phil Haynes Tonight In Brooklyn

Michael McNeill With Drew Gress & Phil Haynes Tonight In Brooklyn

Michael McNeill’s trio with the bassist Drew Gress and the drummer Phil Haynes explores the pianist’s original compositions, which range from lyrical ballads, to hard-driving jazz, to avant-garde soundscapes. Gress and Haynes are a seasoned rhythm team — their collaboration goes back nearly three decades, and they appear together on some 18 albums — and with McNeill they push and pull the pianist’s ...


Tonight: "Phantom Of The Opera" & Members Of The New Buffalo Jazz Octet

Tonight: "Phantom Of The Opera" & Members Of The New Buffalo Jazz Octet

A little over a year ago saxophonist Kelly Bucheger and I talked about starting an octet to play some of our original jazz music. The musicians we gathered into the New Buffalo Jazz Octet were: tenor/soprano saxophonist Nelson Rivera, baritone saxophonist Steve Baczkowksi, trumpeter Tim Clarke, trombonist Phil Sims, bassist Dave Arenius, and drummer John Bacon. We also brought on board conductor Brendan Fitzgerald ...


Saxophonist Kelly Bucheger Releases "House Of Relics"

Kelly Bucheger, renowned alto/tenor saxophonist, composer, bandleader and (sometime) jazz journalist has just released a new album of his own compositions, House of Relics. He is joined by some of Buffalo’s finest jazz musicians: trumpet/flugelhorn player Tim Clarke, pianist Michael McNeill, bassist Danny Ziemann, drummer Russ Alegra, and baritone saxophonist Bruce Johnstone. "Bucheger’s compositions continuously astound in their inventiveness, and throughout ...

Take Five With Michael McNeill

Read "Take Five With Michael McNeill" reviewed by Michael McNeill

Meet Michael McNeill:
Michael McNeill has become an integral part of Buffalo, NY's thriving jazz and improvised music scene, performing with bands led by Kelly Bucheger and Ravi Padmanabha, and co-leading a quartet with John Bacon. He's also collaborated with trumpet legend Paul Smoker on projects of standards and of original compositions. McNeill also ...