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Article: Interview

Essential Michael Brecker

Read "Essential Michael Brecker" reviewed by Jason West

This article was originally published at All About Jazz in November 1999. Michael Brecker's contributions to music are generous and, like the pregnant ideas that flow from his tenor horn, they continue to grow. At 50, the saxophonist has found acceptance in a wide variety of musical settings, having performed with pop stars like ...


Article: Just For Fun

Hot Rod Jazz God, Part 2: An Open Letter to Rod Stewart

Read "Hot Rod Jazz God, Part 2: An Open Letter to Rod Stewart" reviewed by Jason West

Um, Mr. Stewart, if you're reading this, first I want to apologize. In the past I wrote some things that you may have found slightly offensive.Like those bits about harmless Uncle Rod who shows up on holidays with a bottle-shaped microphone and comparing your interpretation of standard jazz melodies to a bull in downtown ...


Article: Jazz Primer

What is Jazz? Good Question...

Read "What is Jazz? Good Question..." reviewed by Jason West

What is jazz? According to Wynton Marsalis jazz is music that swings. According to Pat Metheny jazz is not the music of Kenny G. According to Webster's jazz is characterized by propulsive syncopated rhythms, polyphonic ensemble playing, varying degrees of improvisation, and often deliberate distortions of pitch and timbre. Personally, I prefer the definition found in ...


Article: Live Review

Restore Your Soul: George Duke in Concert, Boston

Read "Restore Your Soul: George Duke in Concert, Boston" reviewed by Jason West

George Duke Berklee Performance Center Boston, Massachusetts January 31, 2008 When George Duke walked out on stage this evening, he was greeted with a show of love befitting one of soul music's favorite sons. Showered with supportive shouts from Berklee students with whom he had spent a week-long residency, ...


Article: Interview

Lucian Ban: Transylvania's Rhapsody in Blue

Read "Lucian Ban:  Transylvania's Rhapsody in Blue" reviewed by Jason West

One of the most creative new musicians on the New York City scene, Lucian Ban is a Transylvanian pianist and composer whose collaborations with fellow NYC jazzers continue to produce a burgeoning collection of original music. Recordings with Bob Stewart, Alex Harding, and Jorge Sylvester highlight Lucian's prodigious recent output, a body of work that includes ...


Article: Live Review

Maria Schneider Flies into Boston: "Look, Up in the Sky! It's an Orchestra!"

Read "Maria Schneider Flies into Boston: "Look, Up in the Sky! It's an Orchestra!"" reviewed by Jason West

Maria Schneider Orchestra Berklee Performance HallBoston, Massachusetts November 17, 2007 The power of Maria Schneider's musical imagery calls to mind a variation on a superhero movie tagline: “You will believe a band can fly." And fly they did on what was their Boston debut, with the orchestra's diminutive blonde bandleader, ...


Article: Just For Fun

Motel 5: As For You

Read "Motel 5: As For You" reviewed by Jason West

The phone in my office rang twice. I let the machine get it. The voice on the other end sounded desperate. “Hey, West, I need a band to play Bill Gates' house. Rough life, I mused, planning private parties for billionaires. Imagine all the stress involved in picking out the ...


Article: Extended Analysis

Tad Britton: Black Hills

Read "Tad Britton: Black Hills" reviewed by Jason West

Tad Britton Black Hills Origin Records 2007 It's unanimous. Of the 8 cuts on Black Hills - the debut release from a Seattle jazz trio featuring pianist Marc Seales, acoustic bassist Jeff Johnson, and drummer/bandleader Tad Britton - the overwhelming favorite is “Fire and Rain. This according to ...


Article: Extended Analysis

Hal Galper: Furious Rubato

Read "Hal Galper: Furious Rubato" reviewed by Jason West

Hal Galper Furious Rubato Origin Records 2007 The new recording from pianist Hal Galper, with double-bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop, initially conjures to mind the free improvisations of Cecil Taylor, Don Pullen with Charles Mingus, McCoy Tyner with John Coltrane, and Miles Davis, whose “Milestones and ...


Article: Interview

Paul de Barros: Critically Speaking

Read "Paul de Barros:  Critically Speaking" reviewed by Jason West

Admittedly, Paul de Barros could use a good ass-kicking. As the only on-staff jazz critic in a city with four major newspapers and a local scene overflowing with clubs and exceptional musicians, de Barros is in need of some healthy competition. Make that any competition. Criticism is the big missing ingredient in our juicy jazz scene, ...


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