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Rich Halley 3: The Literature

Read "The Literature" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

After spending a few formative musical years in Chicago--where the winds blow the blues around--saxophonist Rich Halley made his way to Portland, Oregon. Halley's recording career made its leap to the top shelf when he joined forces with drummer/record label honcho Dave Storrs at Louie Records. Four excellent recordings under Halley's name saw release on Louie ...

Aaron Shragge & Ben Monder: This World of Dew

Read "This World of Dew" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

This World of Dew is the third recorded go-around by trumpeter Aaron Shragge and guitarist Ben Monder. Shragge expands the expected pallette of the duo sound with his use of the shakuhachi (Japanese flute) and his Dragon Mouth Trumpet, a custom microtonal instrument designed to expand the melodic capacity of the horn.

Monder ...

Cliff Brucker: Full Circle, Vol. 2

Read "Full Circle, Vol. 2" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Drummer Cliff Brucker is based in New York, but it is not the big city. He and his crack quintet--two horns, piano/bass/guitar drums--are settled in upstate, in Albany. They revisit the sound of the Blue Note Records' heyday on this follow up to Full Circle (Self Produced, 2016), with Full Circle, Vol 2.

A ...

William Parker: Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics

Read "Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

William Parker, who plays multiple instruments, is best known for his work as a jazz bassist, leaning to the avant-garde side of the spectrum, with albums including Stan's Hat Flapping in the Wind (Century, 2016) and the marvelous 2016 offering Meditation/Resurrection (AUM Fidelity). Always an adventurous soul--he began early in his career playing with pianist Cecil ...

Denny Zeitlin: Wishing On The Moon

Read "Wishing On The Moon" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Pianist Denny Zeitlin claimed a spot as a top-tier jazz pianist at the very beginning of his recording career with a sideman slot on flutist Jeremy Steig's Flute Fever (Columbia, 1963), followed by his debut as a leader, Cathexis (Columbia, 1964). After three more excellent sets for Columbia, Zeitlin's career shifted into a smaller label mode, ...

The Toronto Jazz Orchestra: 20

Read "20" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

The Toronto Jazz Orchestra, aka TJO, was created to perform music by the major jazz composers, like Miles Davis and his Miles Ahead (Columbia Records, 1958), the trumpeter's collaboration with Gil Evans, for one. With 20, the group celebrates the composition and arranging skills of its artistic director, Josh Grossman.

With a twenty year ...

Steffen Schorn & Zurich Jazz Orchestra: Three Pictures

Read "Three Pictures" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

The 2004 album Triosphere (Jazz & Arts Records), featuring reedist Steffen Schorn, saxophonist Roger Hanschel and guitarist Dirk Mudelien, points in the direction of the large ensemble work, Three Pictures. Schorn took over the reins of the Zurich Jazz Orchestra in 2014, and for the ensemble he has written and arranged the “Three Pictures Suite," “Africa ...

This Is It!: 1538

Read "1538" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Pianist/composer Satoko Fujii's June 2018 edition of her CD-release-a-month celebration of her sixtieth birthday introduces a new trio, called This Is It!. The group's debut recording takes its name from the Celsius melting point of iron. The group is a variation on the Satoko Fujii New Trio, a piano trio that released the excellent Spring Storm ...

Dan Wilensky: Good Music

Read "Good Music" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

“There are only two kinds of music. Good Music and the other kind."

So said Duke Ellington, and probably a whole bunch of other people. Good Music is saxophonist Dan Wilensky's examination of music for music's sake, his unpretentious “serving the music" recording. Seven of the eleven tunes are chordless trio affairs, bringing--as a ...

Hakon Skogstad: Two Hands To Tango

Read "Two Hands To Tango" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Frank Zappa, guitarist/composer/provocateur, once called the tango the dance of unbridled passion. This from the stage in his introduction to a tango music performance. It was one tune in a madcap Mothers of Invention concert. He had something there. In its beginnings--in the late nineteenth century--the dance and the music that accompanied the tango steamed up ...