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ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Najee: Poetry in Motion

Read "Poetry in Motion" reviewed by Liz Goodwin

On Najee's 15th studio release, and fourth project for the Shanachie label, the Jamaica Queens, N.Y. native delivers an inviting, feel-good album on which he is joined by such diverse talents as pianist/keyboardist Bobby Lyle, multi-instrumentalist/producer/composer/arranger Barry Eastmond, multi-instrumentalist/composer/producer Jean-Paul “Bluey" Maunick, vocalists Will Downing, Maysa and Eric Roberson, and guitarist Blake Aaron.

The ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Spirit Fingers: Spirit Fingers

Read "Spirit Fingers" reviewed by Roger Farbey

This is the debut album and brainchild of leader, pianist and composer Greg Spero, an undeniably gifted pianist and composer who has been mentored by fellow keyboardists and Miles Davis alumni Robert Irving III and Herbie Hancock. The musicians Spero assembled for his project amount to a veritable supergroup in terms of their prodigious talent. The ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

David Benoit and Marc Antoine: So Nice!

Read "So Nice!" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

There's nothing particularly noteworthy in two established musicians collaborating. It's a tradition in jazz as old as the genre itself, so a pairing of pianist David Benoit and guitarist Marc Antoine is not a seismic event to knock the world off its axis.

What we have here is a marvelous meeting of like-minded musicians ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Pieces of a Dream: Just Funkin' Around

Read "Just Funkin' Around" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

It would be the easiest thing to say about the new Pieces of A Dream record, “If you already like Pieces of A Dream, you'll probably like this. If you don't, you won't." That would be real easy. It would also be real accurate.

I road-tested Just Funkin' Around with a bunch of 20-somethings ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Rick Braun: Around The Horn

Read "Around The Horn" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

There's only so many ways you can go in jazz with the trumpet. Straight ahead and then a sharp left turn into more experimental improvisation paging (Miles Davis), a technically proficient if somewhat rigid traditionalist (Wynton Marsalis) or become a tasty, if unmemorable ingredient in the smooth jazz gumbo (Chuck Mangione).

These are the ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Jeff Lorber Fusion: Prototype

Read "Prototype" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

Fusion. Is there a dirtier word to the refined ears of the jazz connoisseur? For them the sound of their sacred music mashed up with low-brow rock or common R n' B rhythms must be as harsh and annoying as sharpened nails dragging across a blackboard.

Well, suck it up, buttercups, because Prototype is ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Lindsey Webster: Back To Your Heart

Read "Back To Your Heart" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

Jazz requires a certain degree of commitment. It's not a genre that gets featured during any of the award shows. Jazz artists don't get to have microphone or wardrobe malfunctions during New Year's Eve progams on live television. Jazz songs don't show up on video games and has largely vanished from film. Even movies which purport ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Brian Simpson: Persuasion

Read "Persuasion" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

There's jazz that is edgy, startling, daring, confrontational and demands attention be paid. It grabs you by the ears and pulls you close and won't let go. Then there's a kinda/sorta jazz where all the edges have been sanded off, there's no chances taken, no unexpected or startling moments, and nothing is ever at risk. If ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Keiko Matsui: Journey To The Heart

Read "Journey To The Heart" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

Out of pain comes growth and in 2007, Keiko Matsui, emerged from a divorce, record label troubles, and embraced her new singularity by striking out in a bold new direction as she traveled to South Africa, paired up with trumpeter Hugh Masakela and the results gave birth to the adventurous Moyo, one of the brightest and ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Kim Waters: Rhythm and Romance

Read "Rhythm and Romance" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

If you're open to accepting a musician who's converted his comfort zone to a comfort home, you're ready Kim Waters' Rhythm and Romance, which isn't half bad as long as your expectations are modest.

Having racked up 26 years as neither the best nor the worst of mellow and soulful smooth jazz sax slingers ...