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Zoe Schwarz: The Blues and I Should have a Party

Read "The Blues and I Should have a Party" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

That most durable and indivisible of popular music genres: the blues. Traditionally of an eight-or twelve-bar architecture, if not something more primordial from the pre-Great Depression shellac of Mamie Smith, Tommy Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Charlie Patton. After years of sepia-toned, nostalgic reportage regarding the Ur-nature of this folk art, most of the cobwebs of ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tom Ridout: No Excuses

Read "No Excuses" reviewed by Thomas Earl

The name Tom Ridout may be familiar following his appearance in the Final of the BBC's Young Jazz Musician Competition in 2016. His sister, Alexandra, went on to win the Award. Any hard feelings have been set aside, however, with both siblings featuring on Tom's debut album, No Excuses.

Opting for diversity over continuity, ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Julian Costello: Transitions

Read "Transitions" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

Saxophonist Julian Costello has been around the UK jazz scene for a while, but for some years he decided to give up the world of the gigging musician and take up a teaching career. In recent years he's been gigging again and he now leads his quartet on Transitions, a collection of his original compositions recorded ...

Matt Chandler: Astrometrics

Read "Astrometrics" reviewed by Roger Farbey

The concept of the organ trio in jazz is well-established and often provides a dynamism that even some big bands struggle to manifest. Happily this is one such trio album. Dispensing with the pedantic formalities first, the quirky title of this album is actually an anagram derived from the first names of each of the band ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Taeko Kunishima: Iridescent Clouds

Read "Iridescent Clouds" reviewed by James Nadal

There is an atmospheric element which Japanese musicians inherently weave throughout their compositions, giving their music a singular dimension which is readily identifiable. Acknowledged for her trademark lyricism, pianist Taeko Kunishima reflects upon the wonders of nature on Iridescent Clouds, offering elegant improvised passages encased in a meditative concept.

Accompanied again by Clive Bell, ...

Maro Marconi Trio: Nordik

Read "Nordik" reviewed by Sammy Stein

From the opening of Nordik and the first track “Too High Don't Fry" the prodigious talent of Marco Marconi is clear. The theme is quickly established and then worked on by not only the rapacious delight of the piano but the rhythmic bass line and percussion which underpins the melody. Enzo Zirilli delivers a drum solo ...

Vasilis Xenopoulos: The Wind Machine

Read "The Wind Machine" reviewed by Roger Farbey

It would be easy, too easy, to write-off Greek-born (now U.K. resident) Vasilis Xenopoulos as yet another mainstream jazz musician. This would be a grave mistake because, as witnessed here in this, his second album, Xenopoulos breathes brave new life into old standards. Not only that, but these numbers are executed with superb skill. The Woody ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Johanna Graham: Don’t Let Me Be Lonely

Read "Don’t Let Me Be Lonely" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

Years back, there was a fascinating self-help book entitled The Road Less Traveled (Simon and Schuster, 1978) by psychiatrist, M. Scott Peck. The premise of that long-time #1 best-selling effort was simple: in Life sometimes making a riskier choice--where the unknown awaits--can be the most rewarding. Perhaps taking Peck's suggested advice, Don't Let Me Be Lonely ...

Maciek Pysz Trio: Insight

Read "Insight" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

Insight, the debut recording from guitarist Maciek Pysz and his trio, is a jazz album from Britain. Well, it's released on a British label, funded with the support of Arts Council England and Jazz Services, and performed by British-based musicians. However, Pysz is from Poland, bassist Yuri Goloubev is Russian, and drummer Asaf Sirkis (who plays ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Zoe Schwarz: Slow Burn

Read "Slow Burn" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

British singer Zoe Schwarz is a blues singer in the same way that the late Gene Harris was a blues pianist. Harris often referred to himself as a “blues player with jazz chops." Even his jazziest performances are steeped in the vernacular. For an example, see his famous performance from Ray Brown's Bam Bam Bam (Concord, ...