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Jim Rotondi - 1000 Rainbows (Positone)

Jim Rotondi - 1000 Rainbows (Positone)

Contextual questions of excessive repertory fealty are largely moot in the music of Jim Rotondi. A trumpeter who's canny style blends Hubbard-like velocity and clarity with a persuasive lyricism, his fixation on a stripes of hard bop steeped in 60s Blue Note decorum is hardly worth getting bent about, though there are those who would likely ...

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Schlippenbach Trio - Bauhaus Dessau (Intakt)

The Schlippenbach Trio's latest release is an album couched in celebratory anniversaries: the ensembles 40th coupled to their chosen venue's 90th. Recorded at the vaunted German playhouse in the fall of last year it recalls their last Intakt outing in that saxophonist Evan Parker leaves his straight horn capped and cased. The resulting focus on tenor ...

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Stephen Gauci/ Kris Davis/ Michael Bisio - SKM (Clean Feed)

Operating under the ostensible leadership of saxophonist Stephen Gauci, but still very much an ensemble affair, versatility factors prominently on this straightforward trio set. Gauci and bassist Michael Bisio are well-established colleagues, their associations formed in the last decade on a number of projects for CIMP. Canadian pianist Kris Davis moves in similar circles having worked ...

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Greg Lewis - Organ Monk (Self-Released)

Greg Lewis - Organ Monk (Self-Released)

Don't let the barefaced cover art on this one act as a disqualifier before disc meets laser. Organist Greg Lewis might be a bit lead-handed with his monastic imagery, but his work on the B-3 is brimming with shades and subtlety. It certainly helps that the side-persons he's chosen for the date include the redoubtable Cindy ...

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Dick Oatts - Two Hearts (Steeplechase)

Dick Oatts - Two Hearts (Steeplechase)

Ballad projects can be dangerous prospects for the sentiment-sensitive saxophonist. Dip too deep into the romance bag and the results run a strong risk of coming across as treacly or trite. Constrict the emotive spigot and the outcome can be construable as bland or aloof. Midwestern mainstay Dick Oatts is well-acquainted with negotiating such obstacles of ...

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Prince Lasha - Insight (Dusty Groove/CBS UK)

Prince Lasha - Insight (Dusty Groove/CBS UK)

Flirtations with major labels are an infrequent occurrence for most free jazz musicians. For Prince Lasha the call came during a European sojourn in the mid-60s. Lasha assembled a crew of ten musicians in a UK studio, mixing and matching them on a standards-weighted program of six tunes. Fielding plastic alto like his old pal Ornette ...

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Mike Mainieri - Crescent (NYC)

Mike Mainieri - Crescent (NYC)

Trane tributes remain a reliable if sometimes rote jazz tributary. Vibraphonist Mike Mainieri seems to recognize their resilient ubiquity on this outing, tweaking the formula in a number of intriguing ways and coming up with a program both familiar and singular in the execution. The success is due in no small part to his sidemen, both ...

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Roswell Rudd - Blown Bone (Emanem)

Roswell Rudd - Blown Bone (Emanem)

Martin Davidson, proprietor of Emanem, has long made it a custom to include helpful “File under:" tags on his releases to aid harried record shop clerks in correctly identifying contents. Blown Bone, a reissue of a 1979 Japanese-only Philips platter, carries the colorful signifier “Jazz (Free/Blues/Latin)," a definite first in the commonly free improv-focused catalog and ...

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Kalaparusha McIntyre Quartet - Extremes (Cimp)

A fine line separates eccentricity and error in improvised music. Saxophonist Kalaparush McIntyre, surreptitiously having dropped Maurice, is a personification of the subjective tightrope between the two. McIntyre rightly holds elder statesman status as an aged member of the AACM, though his four decade plus career is comparatively slight in the discographical department. His last ensemble, ...

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John McNeil - East Coast Cool (Omnitone)

John McNeil - East Coast Cool (Omnitone)

Temperature tags have long since fallen out of fashion as codifiers for coastal jazz differences. But damn if trumpeter John McNeil hasn't struck pay dirt, intended incongruities aside, with East Coast Cool, his third outing for Omnitone. The primary source of inspiration for the project lies in the corpus of the classic pianoless Gerry Mulligan and ...