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ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Roni Ben-Hur: Keepin' It Open

Read "Keepin' It Open" reviewed by Andrew Rowan

Guitarist Roni Ben-Hur has assembled an impressive cast for Keepin' It Open: trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, pianist Ronnie Mathews, bassist Santi Debriano, drummer Lewis Nash and percussionist Steve Kroon--a who's who of contemporary mainstream jazz exploring a beautifully varied selection of tunes. The proceedings open with Ben-Hur in the time-honored guitar trio setting, offering ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Kevin Hays: Piano Works III: Open Range

Read "Piano Works III: Open Range" reviewed by Andrew Rowan

Pianist Kevin Hays came to prominence in New York in the '80s, eventually working with such luminaries as Sonny Rollins, Benny Golson, Roy Haynes, Joe Henderson, Art Farmer and John Scofield, among others. In the '90s, he recorded a well-received series of sessions for Blue Note, including '94's Seventh Sense (one of the New York Times' ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Freddy Cole: Because of You: Freddy Cole Sings Tony Bennett

Read "Because of You: Freddy Cole Sings Tony Bennett" reviewed by Andrew Rowan

Confession, they say, is good for the soul. So this reviewer must confess to only a recent realization of Freddy Cole's extraordinary talent. Simply put, he knows how to do it; this tribute to another singer who gets it--Tony Bennett--is touching. Cole's relaxed, bluesy approach, enhanced by those cracks in his voice, is ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Sathima Bea Benjamin: SongSpirit

Read "SongSpirit" reviewed by Andrew Rowan

Legions of jazz singers are out there these days with good chops and solid work. What is often missing, however, is that individual spark, those personal qualities that set the singer apart from the rest. Sathima Bea Benjamin possesses that spark, with a unique, aching quality in her voice that meshes well with the spirituality that ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

James Moody: Hey! It's James Moody

Read "Hey! It's James Moody" reviewed by Andrew Rowan

There is nothing earth-shattering on this collection, which was originally issued as two LPs: Flute'n The Blues (1956) and Hey! It's James Moody (1959). What remains remarkable, though, is how fresh James Moody sounds, even when some of the arrangements show their age and some of the ensemble passages lack precise intonation. Indeed, some of these ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Shirley Horn: Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Read "Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz" reviewed by Andrew Rowan

An appearance on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz radio broadcast often sheds light on unexplored aspects of an artist's career as the host conducts her intrepid, conversational interviews. Here, we have both illuminating conversation and Shirley Horn's musical essence: heartfelt ballad singing at crawling tempos, spot-on piano accompaniment, and deep-in-the-keys swing. Unless she knew ...

ARTICLE: MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Spirit Song; Cityscape

Read "Spirit Song; Cityscape" reviewed by Andrew Rowan

Ernie Watts Spirit Song Flying Dolphin 2006 Ernie Watts radiates such warmth and lyricism throughout Spirit Song that even a fast-paced, angular tune like “ASFEW ('A Song for Ernie Watts'), where his keening upper register is on display, ends up singing. While he's an ebullient, energetic player, Watts does not ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Mark Murphy: Once To Every Heart

Read "Once To Every Heart" reviewed by Andrew Rowan

Mark Murphy just gets better and better, to steal a phrase, like an elegant wine. And he is fearless. In his distinguished career, he's covered it all: blues, Latin, contemporary pop, songbooks (most notably Cole Porter, Joe Williams, Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields). And he still remains one of the foremost interpreters of the Great American ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Tony Bennett: The Complete Improv Recordings

Read "The Complete Improv Recordings" reviewed by Andrew Rowan

Once upon a time the line between jazz singing and jazz-tinged popular singing was blurred. Singers like Mabel Mercer, Sylvia Syms and Bobby Short roamed the borders between jazz, pop and cabaret, and the world was better for it. On the jazz side, singers like Billie Holiday, Joe Williams, Carmen McRae and Shirley Horn looked across ...


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