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ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Warp!: One Note Stories

Read "One Note Stories" reviewed by Matthew Wuethrich

More than most other instruments, the jazz vocal tradition has resisted change. Some vocalists, like Kurt Elling, Cassandra Wilson, Phil Minton, and Irene Abei with Steve Lacy, have expanded the technique and repertory of the voice, but they are a minority. The songbook for vocalists, comprised mostly of popular standards, and vocal technique, like scat solos ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Mark Solborg 4: Smash the Tomatoes

Read "Smash the Tomatoes" reviewed by Matthew Wuethrich

Peruse the links on Mark Solborg's website and you will begin to understand how the Danish guitarist finally mixes his ideas. Björk, Waits, Frith, Mingus, Bowie, György Ligeti--all have gathered into their sound scraps and fragments of different musics. It is to Solborg's credit that his music sounds nothing like any of the above artists. Maybe ...

ARTICLE: NORDIC SOUNDS

Trumpeter Jarkko Hakala

Read "Trumpeter Jarkko Hakala" reviewed by Matthew Wuethrich

Jarkko Hakala speaks like he plays trumpet. Concise, sometimes witty phrases spring forth fully formed from thoughtful silence. The phrases’depth then further impregnates the inevitable pauses with more meaning. These long pauses in conversation show Hakala to be very much from Finland, a country where silence is welcomed, and one does not speak unless one has ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Bob Brookmeyer: Stay Out of the Sun

Read "Stay Out of the Sun" reviewed by Matthew Wuethrich

In valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer's biography, one can trace the map of jazz's history, both musical and personal. Brookmeyer has spent time in many of jazz's major ensembles, including Basie, Thornhill, Ellington and Lewis, and small groups, playing with Mulligan, Getz, Giuffre and Mingus. Along the way he has taken part in and contributed to the ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Moller/Balke/Lund: Trialogue

Read "Trialogue" reviewed by Matthew Wuethrich

Jon Balke has risen to attention with his large ensemble albums for ECM. His Magnetic North Orchestra and Oslo 13 bristle with a provocative mix of percussion, punchy brass sections, electronic textures and placid piano interludes. This trio date, with Danish tenor saxophonist Lars Moller and drummer Morten Lund, distills those large ensembles into a stripped ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Bevort: My Shop

Read "My Shop" reviewed by Matthew Wuethrich

Pernille Bevort’s fifth album as a leader, My Shop, demonstrates the tenor saxophonist’s range of talents. She not only takes all the saxophone solos, but has composed, arranged and written the lyrics. Bevort writes the kind of accessible art songs Kurt Weill did so well, except she updates them for a modern audience with dirty guitars ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Harri Ihanus: Eye Opener

Read "Eye Opener" reviewed by Matthew Wuethrich

Swedish-Finnish guitarist Harri Ihanus took the backward route of discovery that many guitar players have. Sparked by rock and blues, he soon fell under the grandiose spell of McLaughlin, Metheny and Coryell, then naturally turned to Pass, Burrell, and horn players like Parker and Coltrane—the roots. And that's where he has stayed. His Imogena debut, Eye ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Bentzon Brotherhood: Godzilla des Groove

Read "Godzilla des Groove" reviewed by Matthew Wuethrich

The Bentzon Brotherhood hearkens back to the heyday of '70s jazz rock. The group's live recording Godzilla des Groove is soaked in the trappings of the period: ringing Fender Rhodes, ornate yet still funky electric bass lines, mechanically precise drumming, spiraling horn solos and blissed out bridges. Culled from concerts in its native Denmark, the double ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Robert Nordmark: In Motion

Read "In Motion" reviewed by Matthew Wuethrich

At the heart of the jazz listening experience lies a paradox. Jazz is a music built on the live interplay of musicians, material and self, but we experience the music mostly through the record, or as Andre Millard calls it, in his book America on Record, ”the primary experience.” Millard also extends this notion to the ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Martina Almgren Quartet: Unden

Read "Unden" reviewed by Matthew Wuethrich

Swedish drummer Martina Almgren declares that she wants to combine strong rhythms with ”expressive melodies.” On Unden, with a quartet of sensitive musicians, she achieves that goal. She has also been a flutist, and while she plays it here on only one tune, its influence is felt on all twelve of the album’s pieces, most of ...