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ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Michael Kocour: East Of The Sun

Read "East Of The Sun" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Here's another well-planned and immaculately recorded solo album by pianist Michael Kocour, his second such enterprise for OA2 Records (the first, Wherever You Go, There You Are, was released in 2015). As its title suggests, East of the Sun consists almost entirely of gems from the Great American Songbook with one zircon (guitarist Don Gibson's “I ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Michael Kocour: East Of The Sun

Read "East Of The Sun" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Pianist Michael Kocour--a longtime member of the Chicago jazz community, now on the faculty of Arizona State University--presents his third solo piano album. His previous solo album Wherever You Go, There You Are (OA2 Records, 2015) was a mix of originals, jazz and popular standards, even including a few electric piano tracks. This one (which Kocour ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Michael Kocour: East Of The Sun

Read "East Of The Sun" reviewed by David A. Orthmann

Michael Kocour's solo piano recital is comprised of great American songs, most of which were popular in the early-to-mid twentieth century. There's nothing dated or anachronistic about the ways in which he handles the material. Throughout the record's ten tracks, Kocour establishes a state of equilibrium between a fealty to traditional song forms and jazz practices; ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Michael Kocour: East Of The Sun

Read "East Of The Sun" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

The ease of expression with which pianist Michael Kocour unspools standards tends to belie the greatness of his playing. With extreme comfort and control he lays out one beautiful performance after another, all the while presenting a fine balance between technical accomplishment and creative bent.

East Of The Sun--the sixth leader (or co-leader) ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Unhinged Sextet: Don't Blink

Read "Don't Blink" reviewed by David A. Orthmann

Unhinged Sextet is a strong candidate for the best band you'll never hear in a live performance. The members of this cooperative ensemble are spread out across the country, earning their daily bread by training the next generation of musicians, with an emphasis on jazz studies, at various universities. They join forces for brief periods in ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Michael Kocour: Spiffy

Read "Spiffy" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Spiffy is the third album as leader this year (2015) for pianist Michael Kocour who has chosen the occasion to set aside the piano in favor of a Hammond B3 organ. It proves to be an auspicious choice, as does his decision to work as part of a quartet. Kocour's sidemen (saxophonist Eric Schneider, guitarist Bruce ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Michael Kocour: Spiffy

Read "Spiffy" reviewed by David A. Orthmann

Though a soulful swing-to-bop ethos reminiscent of the popular organ combos of the mid-to-late twentieth century is evident throughout, at its core Spiffy speaks to the malleability and open-endedness of the standard elements of jazz performance. Michael Kocour is the leader of the date, but the record's triumph is collective in nature. It's difficult to imagine ...

ARTICLE: YEAR IN REVIEW

Mark Sullivan’s Best Releases of 2015

Read "Mark Sullivan’s Best Releases of 2015" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

This is my first year end list as an AAJ contributor, hopefully the first of many! I reviewed a lot of great music, major label and independent productions alike. Here's the ten that rose to the top of my list of favorites, in no particular order.

Eberhard Weber
Hommage à Eberhard ...

ARTICLE: TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five with Michael Kocour

Read "Take Five with Michael Kocour" reviewed by Michael Kocour

Meet Michael Kocour:
Michael Kocour is a jazz pianist, organist and composer. He also serves as Director of Jazz Studies in the School of Music at Arizona State University. Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “one of the most sophisticated pianists in jazz," Kocour has performed at venues around the world and has been ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Michael Kocour: Spiffy

Read "Spiffy" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Keyboardist Michael Kocour revisits his Hammond B3 organ roots in this collection of hard-swinging tunes presented in the tradition of jazz organ legends such as Jack McDuff, Jimmy Smith, and Don Patterson. McDuff in particular is a stylistic mentor: Kocour met him during his college years while attending the renowned jazz program at the University of ...