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Yuhan Su: Naked Swimmer

Read "Yuhan Su: Naked Swimmer" reviewed by John Chacona

For Liberated Gesture, her fourth release, Taiwan-born, New York vibraphonist Yuhan Su assembled a band of saxophonist Caroline Davis, pianist Matt Mitchell, bassist Marty Kenney and drummer Dan Weiss, all of whom play at their usual exalted level. That's fast company, but Su holds her own, moving smoothly in and out of taut ensemble passages and ...


Article: Album Review

Ethan Philion: Gnosis

Read "Gnosis" reviewed by John Chacona

When it comes to making memorable entrances, Ethan Philion is on a par with Seinfeld's Kramer. The jny: Chicago bassist burst into the scene with Meditations on Mingus (Sunnyside Records, 2022), an audacious debut recording on which he arranged familiar selections and deep cuts from the towering jazz bassist Charles Mingus. On Gnosis, the forces are ...


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Michelle Lordi: Only Love Can Break Your Heart

Read "Michelle Lordi: Only Love Can Break Your Heart" reviewed by John Chacona

"Only Love Can Break Your Heart," a minor 1970 Neil Young hit, was ostensibly written for Graham Nash after the latter's split from Joni Mitchell (a claim Young later walked back), a breakup song then. It's a lilting waltz with a simple melody more sweet than sad. Cycling eight-bar verse and chorus sections without a bridge ...


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Anthony Fung: Boo Boo's Birthday

Read "Anthony Fung: Boo Boo's Birthday" reviewed by John Chacona

Show business savants know the power of a marquee name in the credits, and the lesson has not been lost on jazz musicians. So it's no surprise that Canadian-born drummer Anthony Fung invited fellow Angeleno Mark Turner to guest on Fo(u)rth (Self Produced, 2023). The risk of being upstaged is always present, even with an artist ...


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Dave Meder: Modern Gothic

Read "Dave Meder: Modern Gothic" reviewed by John Chacona

Hymn tunes are having a bit of a moment with players such as Dave Douglas and James Brandon Lewis calling on these sturdy old melodies for projects that often wander far from their plain, homespun source material. On New American Hymnal (Outside in Music, 2023), pianist Dave Meder goes a step further by making the communal ...


Article: Album Review

Jacques Schwarz-Bart: The Harlem Suite

Read "The Harlem Suite" reviewed by John Chacona

Tenor saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart has lived in jny: Paris, Senegal, and Switzerland as well as his native island of Guadeloupe, but his 18 years in jny: Harlem were crucial to his life and career. It was there that he found himself at an inflection point in the dynamic music scene of the late '90s, playing with ...


Article: Album Review

Dorothy Ashby: With Strings Attached, 1957-1965

Read "With Strings Attached, 1957-1965" reviewed by John Chacona

Imagine if Sidney Bechet, Charlie Christian and Jimmy Smith were barely remembered and recordings of their music were long unavailable and known only on the geekiest corners of Discogs. That is essentially the status of harpist Dorothy Ashby. Like the three figures cited above, Ashby essentially created a language for her chosen instrument, the harp, where ...


Article: Album Review

The Nimmons Tribute: Volume 2 - Generational

Read "Volume 2  - Generational" reviewed by John Chacona

Anyone who listened to Canadian radio after the adoption of the so-called Canadian Content requirement in the '70s probably heard a lot of Phil Nimmons' music. To be sure, the clarinetist, composer and arranger had achieved some recognition south of the 49th parallel through his RCA recordings of the '50s but, by choosing to base his ...


Article: Multiple Reviews

3x3: Jazz Trios Playful and Pensive

Read "3x3:  Jazz Trios Playful and Pensive" reviewed by John Chacona

Can we finally retire the assertion that we are living in a Golden Age of the jazz piano trio? It seems like every month brings trio dates of such imagination and accomplishment as to render superlatives beside the point. These three recordings released in an eight-week period in Spring 2023 are a reminder that one of ...


Article: Album Review

Petros Klampanis: Tora Collective

Read "Tora Collective" reviewed by John Chacona

Some ideas work better on paper than on record. Take the attempts to fuse jazz and Greek popular music. There is, to be sure, a certain logic to the notion. Both traditions share an emphasis on virtuosic improvisation and a foundation in dance rhythms. Rebetika, the mournful songs of heartache, alienation and ...


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