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Geno Thackara's Best Releases of 2018

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Despite (or in defiant response to) the difficulties of the streaming age, 2018 has seen another musical bumper crop--especially for those of us who particularly love the sound of the piano. There were enough top-notch offerings to make a list at least twice as long, but these have been the most frequent and satisfying staples in ...

ARTICLE: MULTIPLE REVIEWS

3x3: Piano Trios, vol. III

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More evidence that three is truly a magic number, as explorations in this format remain as expansive and inventive as ever...

Fred Hersch Trio
'97 @ the Village Vanguard
Palmetto Records
2018

Fine artists can aspire to appear in the Louvre someday. Comics might hope for a Las Vegas ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vasil Hadzimanov Band: Lines in Sand

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Among work with half a dozen musical ensembles and a line in TV/film scoring, one has to wonder when Vasil Hadzimanov has time to sleep, let alone lead his own group. Nonetheless he's managed seven albums with this wildly ambitious electric fusion outfit as well. If the title and cover of Lines in Sand suggest something ...

Aaron Goldberg Trio at @exuberance

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Aaron Goldberg Trio
@exuberance
jny: Philadelphia, PA
November 23, 2018

It was a rollicking evening set full of jaunty rhythms and good humor. Aaron Goldberg clearly relished the rich sound of the Steinway and the feel of the room. A packed crowd had come out to unwind at ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Daniel Rotem: Serenading the Future

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However scary the world seems, Daniel Rotem remains determined to look on the bright side. The jny: New York City saxophonist considers his music not just an art form but a reflection of life with a Zen-like perspective on time. Following suit, Serenading the Future is all about unity. Its framework is a simple one that ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Torben Westergaard: Heart Tunes

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Though Denmark may serve as a home base, Torben Westergaard's musical home can be anywhere new songs and ideas take him. The bassist was figuratively reaching halfway around the world as far back as Brazilian Heart (Self Produced, 1996). Argentina became an unexpectedly prominent touchstone, as the exploratory Tangofied (Point of Departure, 2013) grew into a ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Niculin Janett Quartet: Complexes

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Despite the connotations of its title, the sound of Complexes doesn't suggest anything excessively technical (or mental issues either, for that matter). The Niculin Janett Quartet's second recording is a largely sedate affair that stays semi-formless and yet always easy to follow--a resolutely modern mix of familiar swing and challenging abstraction. Even while the drift mostly ...

ARTICLE: MULTIPLE REVIEWS

3x3: Piano Trios, vol. II

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Tubis Trio
Flashback
AudioCave
2018

Sophisticated chops? Check. Solid chemistry? Definitely. Knowledge of jazz tradition combined with determination to avoid sitting still? Of course. Maciej Tubis and his cohorts in the Tubis Trio certainly check all the proper boxes expected of a professional combo. Beyond that, though, they distinguish themselves with ...

ARTICLE: MULTIPLE REVIEWS

All Over the Map with Losen Records

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Here's a quick trivia tidbit for the day: Losen is the Norwegian word for 'pilot.' See, you never know what you're going to learn clicking around the web. This jny: Oslo-based label is so named for its forward-thinking dedication to exploration, and the stream of offerings only seems to get more wide-ranging and inventive every year. ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jake Hertzog & Yishai Fisher: Stringscapes: A Portrait of the World in Nylon & Steel

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It can't be easy to keep thinking of different places to go when one's career is already as eclectic as Jake Hertzog's, but he doesn't seem in any danger of running out of ideas. The guitarist has run an impressive gamut already, from the electric Pat Metheny-inspired fusion session Evolution (Buckyball, 2011) to the more straightforward ...