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ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

The Empire Jazz Orchestra: Out of the Mist

Read "Out of the Mist" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Out of the Mist is the sixth album (and first in a studio) recorded by the Empire Jazz Orchestra, a professional repertory ensemble founded in 1992 and in residence since then at Schenectady County (NY) Community College. While there is no comprehensive theme underlining its latest enterprise, the EJO's stated purpose is to perform music from ...

ARTICLE: YEAR IN REVIEW

R.J. DeLuke's Best Releases of 2012

Read "R.J. DeLuke's Best Releases of 2012" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke

A ton of fine music came out in 2012, like most years, making these year-end lists very difficult. A lot we don't get to hear, so that limits some. For example, I've not yet heard the 2012 disks of drummer Jack DeJohnette, trumpeter Christian Scott or guitarist John McLaughlin and the Fourth Dimension. Having seen each ...

ARTICLE: BIG BAND CARAVAN

R3: Special Big Band / Gull Lake Jazz Orchestra / Empire Jazz Orchestra

Read "R3: Special Big Band / Gull Lake Jazz Orchestra / Empire Jazz Orchestra" reviewed by Jack Bowers

R3: Special Big Band

R3

Summit Records

2012

The “R3" in this Brazilian-based band's name refers to brothers Rafael, Renato and Roger Rocha who together comprise its heart and soul. The “Special" pertains to just about everything else on this impressive debut album. Indeed, there could be even more “R's" in ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Keith Pray: Confluence

Read "Confluence" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

When most people discuss the jazz scene in New York, they're referring to the music that's made in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs, but the Empire State stretches far beyond the city that never sleeps and jazz is made in many a locale within. The Capital region, for example, has its own burgeoning jazz scene that's ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Keith Pray: Confluence

Read "Confluence" reviewed by Edward Blanco

When not leading the 17-piece Big Soul Ensemble, the Soul Jazz Revival group or the New Orleans-style Mohawk Brass Band, bandleader, educator and alto saxophonist Keith Pray fronts a hard-swinging quartet performing at venues in Albany and throughout the Capital District of upstate New York. Confluence is his fifth recording as leader, a project he designed ...

Rick Holland–Evan Dobbins Little Big Band / Empire Jazz Orchestra / Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra

Read "Rick Holland–Evan Dobbins Little Big Band / Empire Jazz Orchestra / Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The Rick Holland--Evan Dobbins Little Big Band

Trilby

RPO Productions

2010

Five years after a sensational opening act (In Time's Shadow, 2006), trumpeter Rick Holland and trombonist Evan Dobbins have returned for an encore, Trilby, marshaling as before their irrepressible Little Big Band. As was noted of that earlier recording, ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Portland Jazz Orchestra: Nor'easter

Read "Nor'easter" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

Although the era of the gig-to-gig road-traveling big band is defunct, save for a few ghost bands, fine regional big bands continue to thrive around the United States. From Los Angeles, killer bands such as Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band and Tom Kubis's and Gary Urwin's respective ensembles, to the East Coast where groups such as ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Keith Pray's Big Soul Ensemble: Live at the Lark Tavern

Read "Live at the Lark Tavern" reviewed by Alexander M. Stern

Live recording can be a mixed blessing. On a live album, an artist has an opportunity to capture the raw energy created in performance before an audience. When the band is cooking and the audience is whooping it up, it is clear that while music is made in rehearsal halls and recording studios, it lives onstage. ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Keith Pray's Big Soul Ensemble: Live at the Lark Tavern

Read "Live at the Lark Tavern" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

There's something marvelously intimate and involving about hearing a swinging big band live in a smaller venue. It can be let-inhibitions-go dark, bump-elbow tight and, with food and drink circling about, noisy. Perhaps the big concert (big bucks?) format of the Radio Cities, Symphony Halls or Lincoln Centers--the stuff seen on PBS (American Public Television)--slightly diminishes ...

ARTICLE: MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Upstate New York Jazz: Brian Patneaude, Lee Shaw, Steve Lambert

Read "Upstate New York Jazz: Brian Patneaude, Lee Shaw, Steve Lambert" reviewed by J Hunter

A famous New Yorker cover shows Manhattan in detail up to the Hudson River, and then the rest of the nation is one small, faceless block. Jazz in the Empire State is seen the same way--everything in Manhattan, nothing in the hinterlands. But a few hours up the New York Thruway is Albany, birthplace of vibes ...