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Article: Album Review

Michael Dease: Best Next Thing

Read "Best Next Thing" reviewed by Kyle Simpler

Like many other talented musicians, Michael Dease always looks for ways to take his music to the next level. He is continually exploring and looking ahead rather than simply resting on his laurels. Because of this passion and determination, he has earned a reputation as a top session player and as a band leader in his ...


Article: Album Review

Chris Mondak: Glass Spheres

Read "Glass Spheres" reviewed by Kyle Simpler

Until now, bassist Chris Mondak has been impressing only live audiences. With his album debut, Glass Spheres, he hopes to connect with a wider audience. Mondak's life has been far from ordinary. He was born in Venezuela and raised in Illinois. While in high school, he was awarded Illinois All-State Musician three times and received numerous ...


Article: Album Review

Aaron Stroessner Quartet: Gifts

Read "Gifts" reviewed by Kyle Simpler

Almost everyone has some sort of natural gift, but what we do with these gifts is what makes the difference. Guitarist and composer Aaron Stroessner is well aware of this concept, and it is the central focus of his album Gifts. This is an excellent jazz album and a fitting tribute to his parents, in recognition ...


Article: Album Review

Larry Bluth Trio: Never More Here

Read "Never More Here" reviewed by Kyle Simpler

Many musicians work diligently to build a career for themselves. Although dedicated to music, these players also try to build a fanbase, book concerts, and score record deals. However, there are an equal number of performers who are driven more by creating music than making it in the music business. Unfortunately, many artists who fall into ...


Article: Album Review

Caili O'Doherty: Quarantine Dream

Read "Quarantine Dream" reviewed by Kyle Simpler

The pandemic affected people in many different ways. For some, it raised new levels of awareness about health and prevention, but for others it also became a means of artistic discovery. This latter point is certainly the case for pianist Caili O'Doherty. In spite of being careful and taking precautions, she ultimately contracted COVID. While dealing ...


Article: Album Review

Vidya: The Papillon

Read "The Papillon" reviewed by Kyle Simpler

Songwriting often provides a sense of exploration and self-discovery which is not as present in other art forms. We can easily express our thoughts with words but something extraordinary happens when we add music to the mix as well, and that is certainly the case with Swedish pianist and composer Vidya Liselotte-Sundberg. Her album The Papillon ...


Article: Album Review

Dimitris Angelakis: Long Way Home

Read "Long Way Home" reviewed by Kyle Simpler

Homer's Odyssey is one of the most famous epics in literature, and a major theme associated with this poem is nostos. Nostos in literature is the idea of the hero returning home after a long voyage. Throughout the years, Homer's work has both directly and indirectly influenced countless works of art. Vibraphonist Dimitris Angelakis' Long Way ...


Article: Album Review

Justin Chart: The Scarlet Jazz Room

Read "The Scarlet Jazz Room" reviewed by Kyle Simpler

Improvisation is one of the key elements of jazz, and it isomething listeners expect to hear in most performances. However, it is often a part of the overall composition, which is based around a central melody. But saxophonist Justin Chart takes improvisation a step further with The Scarlet Jazz Room. This album relies almost entirely on ...


Article: Album Review

Vivian Buczek: Roots

Read "Roots" reviewed by Kyle Simpler

Since 2003, Vivian Buczek has established herself as a powerful force in the contemporary jazz scene. Her voice is soulful and powerful. She can be sensitive and emotional on a ballad, but then turn around and sing blues songs as if she's been doing it all her life, which she actually has been. With Roots, she ...


Article: Journey into Jazz

Record Store Day April 2022 Jazz Releases

Read "Record Store Day April 2022 Jazz Releases" reviewed by Kyle Simpler

April 23, 2022 marks the fifteenth anniversary of Record Store Day. Over the years, RSD has grown from a small once-a-year experience to multiple events depending on the year. Each RSD drop features limited-edition vinyl releases, which are popular among collectors. More importantly, though, RSD draws attention to independent record stores, many of whom have flourished ...


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