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Bill Warfield: For Lew

Read "For Lew" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The “Lew" referred to on Renaissance man Bill Warfield's latest big-band album, For Lew, is the late trumpeter Lew Soloff, whom Warfield remembers in the liner notes as “my mentor, colleague, friend and inspiration." The inspiration arrived when the teen-age Warfield, who had switched from trumpet to piano after losing his front teeth in an auto ...

Mica Bethea: Suite Theory

Read "Suite Theory" reviewed by Jack Bowers

If nothing else is known about Mica Bethea, it should be clearly understood that he has never been one to brush aside or turn away from a challenge. When Bethea was twenty-one years old and a student / musician at the University of North Florida, a horrendous auto accident left him a quadriplegic. For most people, ...

Jim McNeely / Frankfurt Radio Big Band: Barefoot Dances and Other Visions

Read "Barefoot Dances and Other Visions" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Barefoot Dances and Other Visions is a contemporary seven-part suite written by composer/arranger Jim McNeely in 2014 for the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, with whom he has worked since 2008. “I tailored my musical visions," he writes, “to fit each player in the ensemble, and placed each soloist in a framework both familiar and challenging." Challenging ...

Dafnis Prieto Big Band: Back to the Sunset

Read "Back to the Sunset" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The alliance of Latin music and American jazz ripened on these shores more than seventy years ago, nourished by pioneers such as Mario Bauza, Chano Pozo, Dizzy Gillespie, Machito, Tito Puente and others. It has been carried forward and enhanced since then by a succession of remarkable innovators including in recent years the Cuban-born drummer Dafnis ...

Eric Siereveld: Walk The Walk

Read "Walk The Walk" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The “organic" in trumpeter Eric Siereveld's Organic Quintet doesn't mean the group has no artificial ingredients or synthetic preservatives; rather, it denotes the fact that the quintet's modus operandi rests in some measure on the well-defined tone colors produced by Steve Snyder's indispensable Hammon B3 organ. The word “indispensable" is used because it is Siereveld's purpose ...

Alan Ferber Big Band: Jigsaw

Read "Jigsaw" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The Jigsaw mapped out by trombonist Alan Ferber's splendid New York City-based ensemble comprises a number of dissimilar pieces, drawn from a broad range of musical patterns, which makes its assemblage arduous yet ultimately rewarding. Ferber's sophisticated arrangements manifest a pensive, and at times ethereal, temper that is far removed from the realm of flag-wavers and ...

Electric Squeezebox Orchestra: The Falling Dream

Read "The Falling Dream" reviewed by Jack Bowers

No, the San Francisco-based Electric Squeezebox Orchestra does not come with accordions attached. It does, however, come with a well-developed eye for harmony and rhythm, an inflexible group dynamic and a number of perceptive soloists, all of which serve to make the ensemble's second album, The Falling Dream, a pleasure to hear.

The ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andrew Neu: The Big Band Side of Andrew Neu

Read "The Big Band Side of Andrew Neu" reviewed by Jack Bowers

No matter where The Big Band Side of Andrew Neu has been hiding, it's a real kick and genuine pleasure to have it in plain sight and within earshot, especially as Neu has at his side a number of the Los Angeles area's most accomplished sidemen and no less than seven superlative guest artists who lend ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Introducing Phil Stewart: Melodious Drum

Read "Melodious Drum" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Cellar Live Records continues its run of admirable mainstream albums with Melodious Drum, Canadian-born and New York City-based Phil Stewart's debut as leader of his own groups, which range from trio to sextet. It's an interesting title, as Stewart's drums may be congenial but aren't melodious in the manner of, say, Jeff Hamilton, Ed Thigpen, Shelly ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dutch Concert Big Band: Plays Dutch Originals

Read "Plays Dutch Originals" reviewed by Jack Bowers

If you think locating a needle in a haystack is strenuous, try finding something less than complimentary to say about Plays Dutch Originals, an absolutely marvelous recording by the superlative Dutch Concert Big Band. As far as can be determined, this is the only album set down (to date) by the band, which was formed in ...