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ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Michael Waldrop: Origin Suite

Read "Origin Suite" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Drummer / vibraphonist Michael Waldrop's intriguing Origin Suite (deftly arranged by Jack Cooper) sweeps away musical boundaries to make its points, one of which is that big-band jazz needn't be ensnared in a time warp but is capable of changing with the times to engender songs that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are thematically stylish. ...

ARTICLE: YEAR IN REVIEW

John Kelman's Best Releases of 2017

Read "John Kelman's Best Releases of 2017" reviewed by John Kelman

For those who may have noticed, there have been no best of lists coming from yours truly since 2014; sadly, the chronic health problem that has reduced my previous writing pace to a crawl continues without much respite. My best of the year lists have always been predicated upon having reviewed the releases chosen, and with ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

The Phil Norman Tentet: Then and Now

Read "Then and Now" reviewed by Jack Bowers

There comes a time, usually during the fifth or sixth rendition of a “franchise" movie (think “Rocky" or “Star Trek"), when the phrase “enough is enough" inevitably springs to mind. While Then and Now, the seventh album by saxophonist Phil Norman's L.A.-based all-star Tentet, lands somewhere this side of overkill, its premise--to update and reintroduce classic ...

Alex Cline's Flower Garland Orchestra: Oceans of Vows

Read "Alex Cline's Flower Garland Orchestra: Oceans of Vows" reviewed by John Kelman

Despite being a key participant in the “Left Coast" scene of more avant-leaning music from the American west coast--in particular, part of the Cryptogramophone imprint that, while less active than in its “glory days" during the first years of the new millennium--Alex Cline releases so infrequently as a leader that any new music from the percussionist/composer ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Frank Macchia: Grease Mechanix

Read "Grease Mechanix" reviewed by Jack Bowers

One thing that must be said about Frank Macchia (well, two things, actually)--he's a wild and crazy composer / bandleader whose satchel is always overflowing with splendid musical surprises. On his new album, Grease Mechanix, Macchia goes funky in a New Orleans brass band manner, employing a seventeen-piece ensemble comprised of some of the best sidemen ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Mark Masters: Everything You Did

Read "Everything You Did" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Rock band Steely Dan released Pretzel Logic (ABC) in 1974. The album was big, one its most successful. But with younger audiences unfamiliar with jazz, the disc surely must have caused some confusion, along the lines of: “What in the world is this 'East St. Louis Toodle-oo?' And what are they talking about with 'Parker's Band?'" ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Mark Masters: Everything You Did

Read "Everything You Did" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

Bandleader/arranger Mark Masters has recorded a set of Steely Dan tunes with a big band, which can be set on the shelf next to his celebrated albums dedicated to the music of George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Dewey Redman. A Dan jazz album makes sense. It's clear from the rock band's '70s albums that Donald Fagen ...

ARTICLE: BIG BAND REPORT

Swingin' on a Riff . . . Hangin' by a Thread?

Read "Swingin' on a Riff . . . Hangin' by a Thread?" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Betty and I returned to Albuquerque on Memorial Day after attending Swingin' on a Riff, the latest in a series of marvelous semi-annual events presented by Ken Poston and the Los Angeles Jazz Institute for more than twenty years at venues in and around L.A. This one was held May 23-26 at the Los Angeles Marriott ...

Polarity Taskmasters

Label: Warner Bros. Records
Released: 2011


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