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ARTICLE: YEAR IN REVIEW

Jeff Dayton-Johnson's 2015 Mixtape

Read "Jeff Dayton-Johnson's 2015 Mixtape" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

The narrator of Jean-Jacques Schuhl's 2002 novel Ingrid Caven muses, “I like the connection, the splice, not the things themselves; what's between them, their rapport. Two ideas, images, the bridge between two harmonies for the jazz musician..." It's an interesting esthetic statement regarding jazz: that part of the music's appeal lies not in its components, but ...

ARTICLE: YEAR IN REVIEW

Jeff Dayton-Johnson's Best Releases of 2013

Read "Jeff Dayton-Johnson's Best Releases of 2013" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

Every year the list gets longer and more heterogeneous. There are blockbusters and obscure little gems, loud jazz and quiet jazz, hip hop and kora music, some of it downright unclassifiable. Which is fine. “Junku," a 1984 track anthologized on Herbie Hancock's spectacular box set below, is in fact both hip hop and kora music! In ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

John Hollenbeck's September Songs

Read "John Hollenbeck's September Songs" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

John Hollenbeck's productivity would be astonishing in its own right, but the uniformly high quality of this high output places the drummer among the top tier of jazz (and not only jazz) musicians. Hollenbeck's recordings, compositions and performances defy certain expectations. He can be as seriously intellectual as a stereotypically stuffy classical musician, but his music ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Wayne Wallace: Latin Jazz Jazz Latin

Read "Latin Jazz Jazz Latin" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

Trombonist Wayne Wallace and his Latin Jazz Ensemble have a well-oiled record-making machine that seems incapable of turning out a subpar album.Therein lies the mystery. The ingredients that Wallace and his bandmates pour into the machine are eminently predictable--a studiously well-sampled array of Latin rhythms, didactically specified in the liner notes; a mixture of ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Gustavo Cortiñas: Snapshot

Read "Snapshot" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

With Snapshot, drummer Gustavo Cortiñas emerges from that challenging rite of passage: the début album. Following years of training (with saxophonist Victor Goines, among others, who is on the record) and sideman duty (on a record with saxophonist Roy McGrath, who also shows up for this date), a young artist seeks to craft a meaningful and ...

Kanye West: Yeezus

Read "Kanye West: Yeezus" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

Ben Jonson said of his dead child, my sin was too much hope of thee, loved boy. We too easily take what the poets write as figures of speech, as pretty images, as strings of bons mots. Sometimes perhaps they speak the truth. --Margaret Drabble, The Millstone (1965).Every time I write these ...

Chris Kelsey & What I Say: The Electric Miles Project

Read "Chris Kelsey & What I Say: The Electric Miles Project" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

Trumpeter Miles Davis' post-Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970), pre-hiatus (1975-1981) electric music--dense, loud, dark, funky, vast--has posed problems for musicians. The Yo Miles! collective, led by trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and guitarist Henry Kaiser, gamely approached it as a repertoire: these are songs, they seemed to say; let's just play them (and so they did, on albums ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Mike Wofford: It's Personal

Read "It's Personal" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

Pianist Mike Wofford can boast decades of high-caliber sideman gigs: notably with vocalists Ella Fitzgerald (for whom he served as music director), Mel Tormé and Sarah Vaughan, as well as drummer Shelly Manne, saxophonist Phil Woods, guitarist Joe Pass and others. His studio work is amply represented on records by a dizzying variety of artists. And ...

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: ALBUM REVIEW

The Caravan: The Caravan

Read "The Caravan" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

The Caravan, the self-titled second album from a Halifax, Nova Scotia-based hybrid hip hop trio, has attracted attention for the track “What Up Steve?." It's a new kind of political protest record for Canada, a reaction to the new kind of conservative politics practiced by the Stephen Harper administration. But “What Up Steve?," whatever its effectiveness, ...


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