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ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEWS

North Sea Jazz 2018

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North Sea Jazz
Rotterdam, Netherlands
July 13-15, 2018

Amidst the cornucopia of summertime festivals, there sits a juggernaut. That's North Sea Jazz, where a dozen performance spaces named after rivers around the world offer a sound garden of global delights. The full-tilt feast flows gloriously during the second full weekend of July ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEWS

Jamie Cullum and Joss Stone at Stuttgart Jazz Open 2018

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Jamie Cullum and Joss Stone
Schlossplatz
Stuttgart Jazz Open
Stuttgart, Germany
July 19, 2018

The Stuttgart Jazz Open was seeking special things to commemorate the festival's 25th anniversary edition. With a double bill featuring Jamie Cullum and Joss Stone, that goal was accomplished to the delight of a dancing, sellout ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEWS

James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum

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James Blood Ulmer and The Thing
Bochum Art Museum
Bochum, Germany
April 8, 2018

Improvisational master guitarist Ulmer has played a number of varying, high quality shows around Germany in recent years, solidifying his reputation as a wide-ranging entertainer. Tonight's set was one of his best.

A considerable contribution ...

The John L. Nelson Project: Don't Play With Love

Read "Don't Play With Love" reviewed by Phillip Woolever

Playing a key role in creating a musician can mean just as much as creating music. In that regard, this is indeed an ironic title since strong emotional ties formed the beginning of both the song's origins and offspring.

During years around the 1950s, John L. Nelson performed traditional jazz songs he wrote under ...

ARTICLE: CATCHING UP WITH

Sean Noonan: Not Simply Beating a Dead Horse Drum

Read "Sean Noonan: Not Simply Beating a Dead Horse Drum" reviewed by Phillip Woolever

Composer and drummer Sean Noonan is an explorer, charting many edges of the compositional frontier. The term unique does not quite cover the range of his thoughtful, abstract approach to musical narrative.

Edgy is often the operative theme in Noonan's repertoire, gleamed from studious sojourns to distant cultures and locales. Noonan's results take form in ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hristo Vitchev: Of Light and Shadows

Read "Of Light and Shadows" reviewed by Phillip Woolever

Vitchev's latest effort is another jewel in his growing catalogue of widespread genres. Given Vitchev's warmly ambitious range of projects, he may soon be able to center his own multi-themed festival.

This presents his current, contemporary style quartet in an impressive showcase. The SF bay area group's core has played together in various ensembles ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEWS

Pat Metheny at Cologne Philharmonic

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Pat Metheny
Philharmonic Hall
Cologne, Germany
October 28, 2017

Pat Metheny remains a highly popular, award winning force in the music business after more than four decades. The still-amazing guitarist and his current ensemble demonstrated exactly why, many times over, during their dynamic set in Cologne's beautiful symphony hall. This extensive ...

ARTICLE: CATCHING UP WITH

Jan Zehrfeld: Heavy Jazz

Read "Jan Zehrfeld: Heavy Jazz" reviewed by Phillip Woolever

The German group Panzerballett may have a metal edge on much of their music, but there's no mistaking that by any rational judgment this is also a definitive jazz band. Fans can always count on unpredictably adventuresome twists to the standard form on classics like “Birdland" or “Take Five" amidst inspired originals.

Much of ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEWS

Moers Festival 2017

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Moers Festival
Moers, Germany
June 5, 2017

Most questions and concerns regarding the present or future state of the Moers Festival could probably be answered just a few steps inside the staging grounds by looking at the smiling swarms.

At the same time last year, such a scenario was much ...

Throttle Elevator Music: Retrorespective

Read "Retrorespective" reviewed by Phillip Woolever

Besides being a well-played selection of powerful music, this is an exciting, top-tier timepiece offering insight on the development of star saxophonist and composer Kamasi Washington a few years before he exploded onto the musical landscape.

This release is not actually the most recently recorded work by the project's initial group, who played together ...