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ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Weird Beard: Orientation

Read "Orientation" reviewed by Troy Dostert

On a recording that exemplifies the “less is more" approach to music-making, Orientation finds Florian Egli's Weird Beard quartet crafting dreamy soundscapes that derive their appeal from the interstices between the notes. With disarmingly simple tunes that seem at times to float on a delicate ether, alto saxophonist/clarinetist Egli, guitarist Dave Gisler, bassist Martina Berther and ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Other Animal: Other Animal

Read "Other Animal" reviewed by Troy Dostert

Peter and Bernhard Meyer, two-thirds of the German combo Melt Trio, decided to join forces with a couple new colleagues for a fresh take on their trademark blend of rock and jazz grooves, or what they call “alternative prog-jazz." Guitarist Peter and bassist Bernhard usually partner with drummer Moritz Baumgärtner, but Other Animal features Jim Black ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kokotob: Flying Heart

Read "Flying Heart" reviewed by Troy Dostert

Back in 2006, vibraphonist Taiko Saito teamed up with pianist Niko Meinhold for a duet album entitled Koko (Pirouet), on which they forged a synthesis of classical and improvised jazz music. Here they've added another member, clarinetist Tobias Schirmer, and the trio (now dubbed Kokotob) has produced a deeply pensive, compelling album that relies as heavily ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jonathan Saraga: Journey to a New World

Read "Journey to a New World" reviewed by Troy Dostert

It's been five years since Jonathan Saraga's debut release, First Vision, but the trumpeter's sophomore album was worth waiting for. Saraga's precise and passionate technique, combined with thoughtful, well- constructed compositions (and a couple nicely-arranged cover tunes) make for a stimulating listen that rewards on a number of levels. The record's title captures the feel of ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sylvie Courvoisier Trio: D'Agala

Read "D'Agala" reviewed by Troy Dostert

Swiss-born pianist Sylvie Courvoisier has spent close to twenty years in the states honing her distinctive approach to classically-inflected jazz improvisation. Along the way she's worked with a who's-who of leading-edge musicians, including veterans like John Zorn, Evan Parker and Ellery Eskelin, but also the younger generation of avant-gardists such as Mary Halvorson and Nate Wooley. ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Miguel Angelo: I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert

Read "I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert" reviewed by Troy Dostert

In addition to his numerous sideman appearances, Portuguese bassist Miguel Ângelo has released a couple quartet albums under his own name: Branco (2013) and A Vida de X (2016), both of which possess a strong tuneful vitality. Although the format is very different, Ângelo's decision to release a solo-bass recording this time around does make sense, ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Max Zenger: Chapter 2

Read "Chapter 2" reviewed by Troy Dostert

Finnish saxophonist/bass clarinetist Max Zenger's quartet, the Maxxxtet, shows on its sophomore release that there's a lot of room in modern jazz for an approach that puts harmony, intricate concepts and subtle rhythmic nuances ahead of passionate intensity and technical brilliance. This is not to say that the group lacks chops or ambition--but that these traits ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEWS

Terence Blanchard at Christ Church Cranbrook

Read "Terence Blanchard at Christ Church Cranbrook" reviewed by Troy Dostert

Terence Blanchard Quintet
Christ Church Cranbrook
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
December 23, 2017

The idea of inviting a jazz combo to help ring in the Christmas season isn't new to the folks at Christ Church Cranbrook. The Episcopal congregation in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan has sponsored a Christmas Eve jazz mass ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Søren Nissen: Departures

Read "Departures" reviewed by Troy Dostert

Although Canadian bassist Søren Nissen is a youthful presence, just a few years out of college and currently showcasing his debut release as a leader, don't let his age fool you: there's a lot of wisdom, musical and otherwise, on display here. Bookending Departures, Nissen's auspicious seven-track album are brief recorded excerpts from speeches by Jiddu ...

ARTICLE: BEST OF / YEAR END

Troy Dostert's Best Releases of 2017

Read "Troy Dostert's Best Releases of 2017" reviewed by Troy Dostert

Looking over the vast quantity of fine music released in 2017, it is reassuring to know that even in these troubled times, the spirit of creativity and endurance that jazz has always embodied continues to hold strong, especially as the music continually finds new forms of expression that move beyond stylistic boundaries. It was a particularly ...