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Dálava, Gordon Grdina and Mikkel Ploug: Songs Old, and Sounds New

Read "Dálava, Gordon Grdina and Mikkel Ploug: Songs Old, and Sounds New" reviewed by Mark Werlin

Strangeness--a word that connotes foreignness, otherness, and a sense of unease when confronted by the unfamiliar. The sound of recognizable musical forms may attract us, in the same way we are drawn to familiar faces or voices. The sound of a foreign language may set us on the alert; syllables we do not recognize, meanings we ...


Charles Mingus and Miles Davis: Changing Moods

Read "Charles Mingus and Miles Davis: Changing Moods" reviewed by Mark Werlin

The recordings of Charles Mingus in the mid-1950s document a musical voice so distinctive that they are immediately recognizable today. But Mingus' obsessive commitment to the primacy of the composition was not always shared by his peers, nor understood by his critics.

A public feud between Mingus, who was struggling unsuccessfully to win critical ...


The Westerlies: New Music For Brass In Hi Res

Read "The Westerlies: New Music For Brass In Hi Res" reviewed by Mark Werlin

The Westerlies, a self-titled album performed by an “accidental brass quartet" of two trumpet players and two trombonists, is a stunning accomplishment: a reference-quality recording of trans-genre new instrumental music that managed to beat the odds and reach a wide audience. The album's unexpected success points to the importance of curation in an overcrowded online music ...


John Coltrane: Coltrane And Crescent—Shadows And Light

Read "John Coltrane: Coltrane And Crescent—Shadows And Light" reviewed by Mark Werlin

Visual art is a play of shadow and light, and contrast makes the forms visible. In the best jazz music, there is a kind of inner light that emanates from the musicians, the light of creative impulse, the light of spontaneous artistic expression. Some jazz musicians--too many--cast their own shadows of addiction and self-destructiveness. But often--too ...


Miles Davis: In Time, All Changes

Read "Miles Davis: In Time, All Changes" reviewed by Mark Werlin

Considered the most influential small jazz group of the middle 1960s, the Miles Davis “Second Great Quintet" has often been imitated but never equaled. Critical consensus holds that the revival of jazz in the 1980s was inspired by the six albums the Quintet recorded from 1965-1968. But a set of particular cultural and personal dynamics shaped ...


Songlines: An Independent Voice for New Music

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The independent Vancouver-based record label Songlines Recordings was established in 1992. Inspired by the contemporary jazz music scene in Vancouver, label founder Tony Reif began recording Canadian, American, Dutch, German and French composer-performers. Over the next two decades, the core group of musicians who recorded frequently for Songlines included Benoît Delbecq, Harris Eisenstadt, Gordon Grdina, Wayne ...


Blue Note On Blu-Ray

Read "Blue Note On Blu-Ray" reviewed by Mark Werlin

Jazz music is best appreciated with “big ears" and an open mind. Just as exposure to new music casts older, familiar works in a different light, newer formats can expand a listener's perspective on the strengths and limitations of the original recordings.

SACDs, Blu-Ray discs and hi-res downloads accurately represent the affective details of ...