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ARTICLE: BEST OF / YEAR END

Dan McClenaghan's Best Releases Of 2018

Read "Dan McClenaghan's Best Releases Of 2018" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

The music keeps moving forward, evolving to higher levels. My search for the best jazz recordings of 2018 led me to these marvelous CDs.

Satoko Fujii
Satoko Fujii Solo
Libra Records

A person's sixtieth birthday serves as a milestone, more so in Japan--where it is referred to as “Kanreki"--than elsewhere. ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Don Byron/Aruan Ortiz: Random Dances And (A)Tonalities

Read "Random Dances And (A)Tonalities" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Jazz albums have a history of featuring cool cover art, from drummer Chico Hamilton's Ellington Suite (World Pacific, 1959) and bassist Charles Mingus' Ah Um (Columbia, 1959) to almost all of the ECM Records catalog. Maybe grabbing the music-shopper's eye helps in the pulling of the wallet out the pocket or the purse. On the terrific ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alan Pasqua: Soliloquy

Read "Soliloquy" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Webster's Dictionary defines the word “soliloquy" as “the act of talking to oneself." In terms of solo piano recordings, it is an apt title. Pianist Alan Pasqua's Soliloquy is a sophisticated and reflective, alone-with-the piano work, a deliberative and lovely take on a batch well-chosen standards and one Bob Dylan tune.

A versatile and ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Hersch Trio '97: Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard

Read "Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Pianist Fred Hersch paid some dues at the Village Vanguard, sitting in as a sideman there from 1979 on, playing with the bands of saxophonist Joe Henderson, trumpeter Art Farmer, alto sax man Lee Konitz, and bassist Ron Carter. But he waited until 1997 to make his debut as a leader. That debut was captured on ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eric Dolphy: Musical Prophet:The Expanded 1963 New York Sessions

Read "Musical Prophet:The Expanded 1963 New York Sessions" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Multiple woodwind-ist Eric Dolphy (1928-1964) is one of the most prominent “What If" guys in jazz. What if he'd lived beyond his 36 years--he died unexpectedly of undiagnosed diabetic complications. What if he'd been able to nurture his distinctive musical vision to a full flowering? What if--like his sometimes co-conspirator, saxophonist John Coltrane in his move ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bram Weijters/Chad McCullough: Pendulum

Read "Pendulum" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Chicago-based trumpeter Chad McCullough and Belgian pianist Bram Weijters present Pendulum, the pair's fifth recording together. Their discography includes three excellent quartet outings on Origin Records, including Urban Nightingale (2012), and a duo date, Feather (eyes&ears, 2017). Pendulum follows in Feathers' footsteps to the extent of instrumentation, with Weijters wielding an array of keyboards (Wurlitzer, Rhodes, ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pamela Hines Trio: The Music of Richard Whiting

Read "The Music of Richard Whiting" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

The first thirty seconds of a listening experience sets the tone. The disc spins, and music emerges. It's Richard Whiting's “Sleepy Time Gal." And it just might be the loveliest thing pianist Pamela Hines has ever recorded, languid and syrupy, with the trio that includes bassist John Lockwood and drummer Miki Matsuki. Her trio mates are ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Way North: Fearless And Kind

Read "Fearless And Kind" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

This roots jazz band is called Way North, presumably for their home base in Toronto. But a spin of their second recording, Fearless and Kind, says they could have tagged the quartet Way South, especially considering the opening tune, “Boll Weevil," and the two-part “Jelly Roll Morton Medley." Their music has a sort of Ornette Coleman ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Thomas Marriott: Romance Language

Read "Romance Language" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Trumpeter Thomas Marriott moved back to Seattle after the requisite New York stint, where he worked with Maynard Ferguson's Big Bop Nouveau band, the Chico O'Farrill Orchestra, and vibraphonist Joe Locke. Back on west coast home ground, he connected with the Seattle-based Origin Records, where he released ten top-notch albums as a leader, including Individuation (2005), ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kenny Werner: The Space

Read "The Space" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Let's ruminate on the state of jazz piano in the year 2018. It is a rich time, when perhaps a dozen hugely talented artists have reached the peaks of their artistry. Keith Jarrett, Marc Copland, Brad Mehldau, Bobo Stenson, Denny Zeitlin, Fred Hersch and a handful more are creating some of the richest and most beautiful ...