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Jazzy Holiday Music

Read "Jazzy Holiday Music" reviewed by Dave Hughes

It never ceases to amaze me how many different recordings of the songs in the repertoire of popular holiday music exist, and the broad spectrum of styles in which they have been recorded. But I suppose their overall musical utility is one reason why so many of them have endured through the years and not yet ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEWS

Mark Winkler Sings Bobby Troup

Read "Mark Winkler Sings Bobby Troup" reviewed by Dave Hughes

All About Jazz: You've recently released Mark Winkler Sings Bobby Troup. What motivated you to devote an entire CD to Bobby's works?

Mark Winkler: I really wasn't planning to do a whole CD of Bobby Troup tunes, I was looking for some outside material to fill out a CD of my originals. His work was always ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Neil Pyzer: From the Bush to the Pridelands

Read "From the Bush to the Pridelands" reviewed by Dave Hughes

Multi-instrumentalist Neil Pyzer’s From the Bush to the Pridelands is an eclectic, multi-faceted outing which truly charts its own course. The program of all original compositions draws influences from Indian music (most prominently), contemporary jazz, new age, and numerous “world music” genres. Each piece has its own set of sonic textures, but common threads that run ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Rich Lamanna & The Last Word: Introspective

Read "Introspective" reviewed by Dave Hughes

Saxophonist Rich Lamanna, schooled at Berklee, now practices dentistry in upstate New York, but obviously the music has never left him. This is definitively evidenced by this very impressive debut CD Introspective. It’s sort of a sad reflection on the current state of music business economics that a musician with this much to offer isn’t being ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Nancy Wilson: A Nancy Wilson Christmas

Read "A Nancy Wilson Christmas" reviewed by Dave Hughes

Veteran singer Nancy Wilson has put together an impressive cast for her 2001 holiday CD on Telarc. This CD is the latest installment in the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild (MCG) Jazz series, and all proceeds go to benefit the MCG’s arts and learning center in Pittsburgh. The arrangements and players are superb! The Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Otis Read: Deck the Halls

Read "Deck the Halls" reviewed by Dave Hughes

Acoustic guitarist Otis Read offers up an enjoyable acoustic straight-ahead jazz program of holiday favorites. The program swings along in a laid-back, cool, comfortable groove from start to finish. I wouldn’t call this “groundbreaking,” but it’s good. On some tunes, the band plays it fairly close to the melody, while others feature more adventurous improvization. Interestingly, ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Various Artists: Groovin' Jazz Christmas

Read "Groovin' Jazz Christmas" reviewed by Dave Hughes

It’s a smooth jazz Christmas. Most of this program is exactly what you’d expect: sax lead, programmed backgrounds and drum loops, lightweight improvisations (although Doc Powell’s guitar on “Let It Snow” is appealing). The first eight songs stay close to the formula, and it’s pretty predictable, mechanical, and at times downright sterile. But whoever sequenced the ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Rosemary Clooney: Let It Snow: Christmas with Rosemary Clooney

Read "Let It Snow: Christmas with Rosemary Clooney" reviewed by Dave Hughes

Here’s a baker’s dozen of previously released Christmas material by Rosemary Clooney, issued on the North Star label. The fine print indicates that this “compilation” is copyright Concord Records. However, this program seems to be 13 of the 21 songs on Clooney’s Concord CD, “White Christmas.” So, naturally, I would recommend choosing the Concord CD in ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Circo: North/South Convergence

Read "North/South Convergence" reviewed by Dave Hughes

While the band Circo is based in the U.S. (around University of North Texas in Denton, to be specific), they have embarked upon the mission of performing and promoting the music of Uruguay, and to an extent, Brazil. The inspiration for this music began with founder Lee Tomboulian’s purchase of Airto’s 70s albumFingers(a college favorite of ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

The Jim Josselyn Group: Brazilian Sunflower

Read "Brazilian Sunflower" reviewed by Dave Hughes

The Jim Josselyn Group’s Brazilian Sunflower isn’t so much about Brazilian music as it’s title suggests; perhaps it’s the sunflower itself that’s Brazilian. True, the title tune and the closer do have that gentle lilting samba feel, but I would describe this more as jazz with a Brazilian influence rather than the other way around. But ...