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ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Darren Johnston's Gone To Chicago: The Big Lift

Read "The Big Lift" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Canada-reared, but calling San Francisco home since 1997, trumpeter and composer Darren Johnston delves into the Chicago's avant, modern-jazz establishment and kicks off a vibrant set, with prominent constituents of The Windy City's fertile soundscape. With The Big Lift, the trumpeter's ascending status within the outer reaches of jazz attains another hierarchical level.

Peppered ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Marcus Shelby Orchestra: Soul Of The Movement: Meditations On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Read "Soul Of The Movement: Meditations On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." reviewed by Edward Blanco

A man with a deep social conscience and a fervent interest in social history, San Francisco bassist and band leader Marcus Shelby has previously used music to illuminate past injustices on Port Chicago (Noir Records, 2006), and then again with Harriet Tubman (Noir Records, 2008). On Soul Of The Movement: Meditations On Dr. Martin Luther King, ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Marcus Shelby Orchestra: Soul Of The Movement: Meditations On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Read "Soul Of The Movement: Meditations On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

Soul Of The Movement: Meditations On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr is a beautiful album. Bassist, composer and arranger Marcus Shelby was inspired to put the album together by his study of the Civil Rights Movement and, in the combining of his own original compositions with spirituals and tunes associated with the movement, he has created ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Billy White: First Things First

Read "First Things First" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

First Things First is as apt a name for a debut album as anybody could come up with. While this marks pianist Billy White's first leader date, he already has plenty of impressive musical experience under his belt: spending his college years earning a degree in ethnomusicology from UCLA; working with a jazz/hip-hop hybrid group Heezbus, ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Mercury Falls: Quadrangle

Read "Quadrangle" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

It begins with a stark electric drone, an eerie, throbbing repetition from which the familiar cry of a saxophone emerges. The tune is “Spring Pools," and it sounds like music that swells out of the quiet after the Apocalypse. The group is Mercury Falls, a saxophone/guitar/bass/drums ensemble with some deft electronic embellishments. The music could be ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Mercury Falls: Quadrangle

Read "Quadrangle" reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

Mercury Falls is an intriguing and somewhat ambivalent band name--and whether it refers to a celestial body, a mythological messenger, plummeting water, dropping temperatures or, indeed, to nothing at all, it's a name that readily reflects the fascinating and at times beautiful music that the band creates on its debut release, Quadrangle.

Although ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Mitch Marcus: Countdown 2 Meltdown

Read "Countdown 2 Meltdown" reviewed by Terrell Kent Holmes

Although its music is grounded in blues, bop and other time-honored constructs, the Mitch Marcus Quintet is not your usual jazz band. In fact, the MMQ's adventurous tunes, use of unusual meters and delightfully manic arrangements travel far beyond conventional musical borders.

The band's Countdown 2 Meltdown is a sonic riot bursting with invention ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Mitch Marcus Quintet: Countdown 2 Meltdown

Read "Countdown 2 Meltdown" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Caution: The music on Countdown 2 Meltdown is not for wimps or the squeamish. With his third quintet release, saxophonist Mitch Marcus and his exciting quintet continue to dish out bold and serious-minded progressive jazz amid a mark of distinction compared to many others of this ilk. After consummating a highly-praised ten-year residency in San Francisco, ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

The Nice Guy Trio: Here Comes the Nice Guy Trio

Read "Here Comes the Nice Guy Trio" reviewed by Dr. Judith Schlesinger

It's obvious just from this trio's composition--trumpet, accordion, and bass--that something new is going on. It's also clear that to fully appreciate this boundary-busting CD, you must let go of your usual musical signposts. Even a taste for the wildest of free jazz won't prepare you for this music, since it's far too thoughtfully conceived and ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

The Nice Guy Trio: Here Comes The Nice Guy Trio

Read "Here Comes The Nice Guy Trio" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Give three imaginative artists a yearlong residency in a performance space, located in a breeding ground for creative music and the results hopefully will turn out to be something like Here Comes The Nice Guy Trio.

Canadian trumpeter Darren Johnston, now living in the Bay area of San Francisco, spent a year making music ...