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Fred Hersch & the WDR Big Band: Begin Again

Read "Begin Again" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Pianist Fred Hersch, who needs no introduction to most well-informed jazz enthusiasts, is by and large known as a leader of trios and other small groups. Begin Again displays another side of Hersch's appreciable talents: nine of his handsome compositions, astutely recast by six-time Grammy Award winner Vince Mendoza and impressively performed by Germany's superb WDR ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Marshall Gilkes / WDR Big Band: Always Forward

Read "Always Forward" reviewed by Jack Bowers

This is the second album on which Maryland-born trombonist Marshall Gilkes (pronounced “Jilks") has collaborated with Germany's superlative WDR Big Band, a world-class ensemble with whom he has also served as a member of the trombone section. This time around, Gilkes not only gets to solo but to conduct, compose (eight numbers including the three-part “Denali ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEWS

WDR 3 Jazzfest 2018

Read "WDR 3 Jazzfest 2018" reviewed by Henning Bolte

Theater Gütersloh / Bunker Ulmenwall Bielefeld
Gütersloh / Bielefeld
February 1-3, 2018

WDR stands for Westdeutscher Rundfunk, which is the public radio organization of the German federal state of North Rhine Westphalia based in Cologne, the jazz capital of the federal state. WDR 3 refers to the third program-line nowadays also indicated as ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Vince Mendoza: Homecoming

Read "Homecoming" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi

Questo disco di Vince Mendoza (il quinto con la WDR Big Band in 25 anni di sodalizio) forse non sarà acclamato come le collaborazioni con Arif Mardin (Jazzpaña, ACT 1992) o Joe Zawinul (Brown Street, Intuition 2006), nominati o vincitori di Grammys, ma resta un pregevole lavoro orchestrale anche senza ospiti di grido.

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ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Billy Hart & The WDR Big Band: The Broader Picture

Read "The Broader Picture" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

A great teacher's influence can be unusually powerful and completely unbound, fixed to specific moments and lessons in a student's mind while also reverberating through time and space. You simply never know where it may lead, what doors it may unlock, or what wonders and worlds it may help to create. That's the subtext in the ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Karolina Strassmayer and Drori Mondlak: Of Mystery and Beauty

Read "Of Mystery and Beauty" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Over the past decade and a half Austrian saxophonist Karolina Strassmayer has established herself as a superbly consummate musician. Her multifaceted compositions are always subtly, engagingly inventive and brim with brilliant wit and lyricism. As an improviser she plays with a reserved intensity and a captivating and suave spontaneity. Her seventh release Of Mystery and Beauty ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Marshall Gilkes / WDR Big Band: Koln

Read "Koln" reviewed by Jack Bowers

For four years, American-born trombonist Marshall Gilkes (pronounced “Jilks") was a member of one of Germany's premier jazz ensembles, the WDR Big Band, in Cologne (Koln). One month after leaving the band in 2013, Gilkes was invited back to preside over a farewell performance at the WDR Funkhaus Studio 4, the result of which is this ...

ARTICLE: MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Big Band tedesche in gran spolvero

Read "Big Band tedesche in gran spolvero" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi

Da almeno trent'anni in Germania operano alcune delle migliori orchestre mainstream d'Europa, ormai famose per le collaborazioni coi massimi jazzisti contemporanei. Tra i vari collettivi, la NDR Big Band di Amburgo e la WDR Big Band di Colonia si collocano oggi ai vertici internazionali, sapendo coniugare alta professionalità tecnica a doti di flessibilità, fantasia e apertura ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Marshall Gilkes & The WDR Big Band: Köln

Read "Köln" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

In jazz journalism, it's de rigueur for writers to trace the evolution of an artist when covering their work. But encountering the likes of Marshall Gilkes makes that difficult: The Juilliard-trained trombonist seemed to arrive on the New York scene as a fully-formed entity, projecting a warm and full-bodied tone quality and possessing astounding lip flexibility. ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Karolina Strassmayer and Drori Mondlak: Small Moments

Read "Small Moments" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Altoist Karolina Strassmayer and drummer Drori Mondlak's second release as co-leaders Small Moments is a collection of lean and gripping original compositions that the superlative quartet embellishes with their sophisticated and inventive spontaneity.

One of the unifying themes of this engaging album is a melodic and contemplative narrative sense. The intimately nocturnesque “Seven Minutes in ...