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ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

The Grasso-Ravita Jazz Ensemble: Jagged Spaces

Read "Jagged Spaces" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The Baltimore-based Grasso-Ravita Jazz Ensemble is a congenial quintet co-led by guitarist Skip Grasso and bassist Phil Ravita. Its other members are saxophonist Benny Russell, pianist Greg Small and drummer Nuc Vega. Jagged Spaces, the group's debut recording, encompasses nine original compositions: four by Grasso, two each by Ravita and Russell, and one by Small.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

The Len Pierro Jazz Orchestra: The Third Quarter

Read "The Third Quarter" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Any big-band album that opens with a rollicking Four Brothers-style saxophone soli is all but guaranteed to capture one's ear and interest. As it turns out, the buoyant “Fill in the Gap," on which the sax section sparkles, is but the first of many sonic delights on The Third Quarter, a marvelous new CD by Philadelphia-based ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Larry Newcomb Quartet: Love, Dad

Read "Love, Dad" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Guitarist Larry Newcomb has dedicated Love, Dad, his third recording as leader, to his three sons, one of whom—Jake Newcomb—is the bassist in his dad's quartet. Even though Larry must be elated to have a son who is walking, as it were, in his musical footsteps, it's clear that Jake isn't on board simply because his ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

David Friesen with orchestra and quartet: Testimony

Read "Testimony" reviewed by Jack Bowers

A visit to Ukraine by bassist, pianist, composer, arranger and genial jack-of-all-trades David Friesen, to flesh out his family heritage, led to this picturesque anthology by Friesen's quartet with reinforcement on eleven of its seventeen tracks from the National Academic Symphonic Band of Ukraine. The orchestral numbers were recorded in December 2018 at the National Philharmonic ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

The Nimmons Tribute: Volume 1 - To The Nth

Read "Volume 1 - To The Nth" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The big news in Canadian jazz circles in 2019 was that musician and educator Phil Nimmons had retired—at age ninety-six. His decision marked the end of several eras that began more than seventy years ago and included forty-six years as a music teacher at the University of Toronto, ten acclaimed recordings as leader of his own ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Scott Whitfield & Friends: A Bi-Coastal Christmas

Read "A Bi-Coastal Christmas" reviewed by Jack Bowers

If trombonist Scott Whitfield's A Bi-Coastal Christmas cannot quicken your inner holiday spirit, that will not be for lack of trying. Whitfield uses every ribbon in the packet and every tool in the shed to help make the season bright, from big band to quintet, from duo to solo (Whitfield's trombone all by itself). Two of ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Markus Gottschlich: Found Sounds

Read "Found Sounds" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Found Sounds? As it turns out, there is a special story behind that. For four years leading up to this recording, Austrian-born pianist Markus Gottschlich preserved “sounds" he heard around the world using a binaural mic and hand-held recording device. He writes that one thing he found was that “sounds, more than any other sensory stimulus" ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Vanessa Perica: Love is a Temporary Madness

Read "Love is a Temporary Madness" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Even as the year 2020 has slid ignobly into the dustbin of history, music-lovers have been buoyed by a number of encouraging signs that the future of big-band jazz is in capable hands. While splendid recordings by old hands Mike Barone, Steve Spiegl, Mark Masters and Maria Schneider have helped keep the flame burning brightly, their ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Florian Ross: Reason & Temptation

Read "Reason & Temptation" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Midsummer 2019 was quite a busy time for Florian Ross. Apparently, the German-born pianist recorded the quartet date Reason & Temptation from June 29-July 2, then returned the following day to the same studio in Koln and added a wind ensemble to record Architexture for another label (Naxos). Reason & Temptation was self-produced on Ross's own ...


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