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Oscar Peterson: Oscar Peterson Plays

Read "Oscar Peterson Plays" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Canadian pianist Oscar Peterson (1925-2007) was just starting what turned out to be terrific career in 1951 when jazz impresario extraordinaire Norman Granz took him into the studio to record Plays Cole Porter (Clef Records, 1952). Granz had a grand plan: To have this then-promising jazz pianist record a number of albums under the Oscar Peterson ...

Kira Kira: Bright Force

Read "Bright Force" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

The label “music" may be too confining for these sounds. Let us call it an ear-opening sonic experience. That's what pianist Satoko Fujii, with her new group, Kira Kira, has created with a compelling recording called Bright Force.

In the year 2018, every review of Fujii's output will include a prelude describing her decision ...

Hans Teuber & Jeff Johnson: Deuce

Read "Deuce" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Bassist Jeff Johnson's first recording for Seattle's Origin Records was 1999's Free. Saxophonist Hans Teuber was there, and he was there on Johnson's subsequent Origin outings: The Art Of Falling (2001), Near Earth (2004), and Suitcase (2011). It's a relationship that has made beautiful music--mysterious and oddly sacred sounds that exude a smooth-flowing timelessness. All of ...

Danny Green Trio Plus Strings: One Day It Will

Read "One Day It Will" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Charlie Parker, alto saxophonist/bebop pioneer, got the ball rolling on the adding of strings to jazz. This went down in the late 1947 through 1950, on a pair of releases on Mercury Records introducing the sound of the Yardbird backed by a symphony orchestra. These sets were later compiled by Verve Records and issued in 1995 ...

Oddgeir Berg: Before Dawn

Read "Before Dawn" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

The evolution of the piano trio has taken us from Art Tatum to Erroll Garner to Oscar Peterson to Bud Powell to Bill Evans--with Thelonious Monk in there veering off from Ellington and the stride tradition on his own separate branch. The newest piano trio offshoot is that of groups who add electronic embellishments to their ...

Peripheral Vision: More Songs About Error And Shame

Read "More Songs About Error And Shame" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

The Juno Award-nominated jazz quartet, Peripheral Vision, delivers a spontaneous set of modernistic music on More Songs About Error And Shame. The sound has a live-in-the-studio freshness, with studio tweakings to embellish their forward-leaning approach. The group's appraoch is a brash and metallic, a mesh of the teaming of Trevor Hogg's sharp toned tenor sax with ...

George Kahn: Straight Ahead

Read "Straight Ahead" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Los Angeles-based pianist George Kahn likes to think of the standard piano trio format as a gateway drug into jazz. He may be right. Think of the classic trios, those of Red Garland, Nat King Cole, Bud Powell. Their sounds are addictive--and distinctively different--but they share the pared-down purity of purpose and relative simplicity of dynamic ...

Chamber 3: Transatlantic

Read "Transatlantic" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Seattle-based drummer Matt Jorgensen tattoos every recording he releases with a mark of bold, clean modernity--whether working with his group Matt Jorgensen + 451 on Hope (Origin Records, 2004) and Another Morning (Origin Records, 2008), or Tattooed By Passion (Origin Records, 2010). Add in scores of sideman slots. His is a distinctive sound, compositionally and instrumentally, ...

Peter Madsen's Seven Sins Ensemble: Never Bet The Devil Your Head

Read "Never Bet The Devil Your Head" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Pianist Peter Madsen has come up with a novel idea for a jazz record: A Tribute to Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849), America's founding father of macabre/horror fiction. Bringing together a jazz quartet--piano/bass/drums/trumpet--and a string quartet, Madsen and his Seven Sins Ensemble capture the moods and atmospheres of some of the author's better-known tales on Never Bet ...

Laurie Dapice: Parting the Veil

Read "Parting the Veil" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Phrasing is important. The top jazz vocalists are experts at laying down the elastic--or the sharp and concise--turn of phrase. New York-based vocalist Laurie Dapice excels in this regard. Like a deft baker working and molding the dough, she stretches and kneads a syllable here, and slices another off with a sharp cut of a dough ...