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ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Barron: Moods

Read "Moods" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Bassist John Barron, now home-ported in Detroit, Michigan, offers up Moods, a pared-down-to-the-essentials, mostly quartet affair, featuring a tight guitar/bass/keyboards rhythm sound. What strikes the ear from the get-go are the deep grooves, the likeable, engaging melodies and the sharp, uncluttered delivery of the statement.

Opening this set of all-Barron-originals is “Thanks For Nothin,'" ...

Cory Weeds Little Big Band: Explosion

Read "Explosion" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Renaissance Man Cory Weeds has the Midas Touch. Since attaining Vancouver-local escape velocity with his Cellar Jazz Club and then his record label with the same imprint, the musical entrepreneur has parlayed his notice worldwide with excellent recordings of himself and other noted artists. Weeds' Cellar Jazz focus is what would be defined as an “Arbors ...

Bruce Jackson: Just Left of Center

Read "Just Left of Center" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Drummer Bruce Jackson's second recording, Just Left of Center, is mainstream quartet recording pinging from the hard bop/post bop quadrant of the musical radar. The recording is made up of five pieces, the final one being the seemingly unlikely Jack Bruce song “Theme for an Imaginary Western." Written and recorded originally by Bruce for his recording, ...

Darden Purcell: Easy Living

Read "Easy Living" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Working backwards, I discovered DC-area jazz vocalist and educator Darden Purcell with her second recording, Where the Blue Begins (Armored Records, 2016). It was an impressive recital with the nominal theme of twilight winding through its repertoire. While less thematically focused, Easy Living remains a well programmed set of eleven standards, “My Funny Valentine" thankfully not ...

Darden Purcell: Where the Blue Begins

Read "Where the Blue Begins" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Dr. Darden Purcell waited eight years to record Where the Blue Begins as a follow up to her debut recording Easy Living (Armored Records, 2009). The Dr. part? Yes, well Dr. Darden is the Director of Jazz Studies, Jazz Voice at George Mason University, and holds a doctorate of Musical Arts in Jazz. Her bona fides ...

Rolf Sturm: Young

Read "Young" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Guitarist Rolf Sturm has found himself on two recent and exceptional recordings: Roswell Rudd and Heather Masse's August Love Song (Red House, 2016) and Jenna Mammina & Rolf Strum's Spark. He is a guitarist of expansive facility and a sense of humor, to boot. Take his present Young as an example. The release began conceptual life ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eli Bennett: Breakthrough

Read "Breakthrough" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Checking out up-and-coming tenor saxophonists is often akin to checking out strong man competitions: In both cases you often have strapping and stentorian figures going through their routine(s) while trying to impress by bulldozing through anything in their path. These types of musical displays are often awe-inspiring, whether observed live or on record, and a good ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jamie Dubberly & Orquesta Dharma: La Clave Del Gumbo

Read "La Clave Del Gumbo" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Many performances come and go without fanfare for the musician(s), but a rare few are transformative, reshaping the artist's perspective and direction. California-based trombonist Jamie Dubberly had one such experience when his Latin jazz group shared a bill with a New Orleans-style brass band. Dubberly decided to bring both ensembles together to close the show, putting ...

Jim Pearce: You Are An Edgy Visionary Seer

Read "You Are An Edgy Visionary Seer" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Jazz is serious music: so serious that sometimes it becomes a labor of such intensity that the composers and performers fail to have fun making the music. Vocalist/pianist/composer Jim Pearce specifically makes it a point to have fun, before getting serious (as serious as he ever gets). Gratefully in the mold of Bob Dorough, Dave Frishberg ...

The Bill Harris Quintet: Inside-Out

Read "Inside-Out" reviewed by Edward Blanco

Portland, Oregon saxophonist Bill Harris is an educator, sideman and member of organist Steve Hall Quintet when not leading his own band. Growing up listening to jazz masters Sonny Stitt, John Coltrane and Phil Woods among others, he began playing woodwinds while in second grade and has favored the alto and tenor saxophones ever since. Though ...