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Article: Album Review

Affinity Trio: Hindsight

Read "Hindsight" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

Experimentation in the instrumental makeup of jazz ensembles has been with us for decades. Groups such as Gerry Mulligan's piano-less ensemble and drummer-less groups such as those of Django Reinhardt, Roy Hargrove, and Marvin Stamm's fine “Inventions Trio" come to mind. The format of this terrific album is such that the drummer gets a much-needed respite. ...


Article: Album Review

The New Wonders: The New Wonders

Read "The New Wonders" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

In the vast array of jazz styles, if there is one segment which rises phoenix-like over time, it is the music of the first third of the Twentieth Century, the era which saw Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Duke Ellington, and other individuals and bands ignite popularity. With “the New Wonders," NY-based cornetist, vocalist, arranger and ardent ...


Article: Album Review

Jack Jones Featuring Joey DeFrancesco: ArtWork

Read "ArtWork" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

"Those who know, know" happens to be a soon-to-be-overused phrase to describe the hip, the “In," and “the very elite of aware." Now in his Mid-80s, Jack Jones has maintained a stellar, cross-media career, all on a foundation of a once-in-a-lifetime voice. Mel Torme, one not easily prone to hyperbole, called Jones, “the best pure singer ...


Article: Album Review

Debbie Spring: Tocamos

Read "Tocamos" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

The violin has a long, distinguished history in jazz. From Joe Venuti, Stephane Grappelli, Ray Nance and Stuff Smith to Jean-Luc-Ponty et al, all have made the instrument at home in jazz. However, the violin's partner, the viola, is not. Miami-based violist, Debbie Spring has definitively secured her seat with Tocamos, which translates as “We Play." ...


Article: Album Review

The Bix Centennial All-Stars: Celebrating Bix!

Read "Celebrating Bix!" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

Cornetist Leon Bismark “Bix" Beiderbecke, while certainly heavily influenced by Louis Armstrong, developed his own highly stylized way of playing and improvising jazz. One wonders what musical highlights might have been accomplished had he lived beyond his 28 years. Celebrating Bix!, originally released in 2003 as a single CD album, adds selections which, due ...


Article: Album Review

Glenn Zottola, Romero Lubambo, Pamela Driggs: Summer Samba

Read "Summer Samba" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

2023 news reports and events acknowledged and celebrated 50 Years Of Hip-Hop. While noteworthy, it is doubtful that hip hop classics such as “Get Ur Freak On," “Sucker M.C.'s and “Nuthin' But a G Thang" will ever find themselves in the Great American Songbook. The genre simply cannot compare with the vast extent of musical influence ...


Article: Album Review

Rich Willey: Puttin' On the Ritz

Read "Puttin' On the Ritz" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

When Irving Berlin wrote “Puttin' On the Ritz" in 1927 on a unique “transposing piano" tuned to his preferred key of F#, little could he ever know that one day, among the myriad numbers of covers of the tune, that it would title an album that features, among other attractions, Electronic Voice Instrument “wah-wah" solos. Putting ...


Article: Album Review

Heat and Horn Engine: (Put Your) Trust in Love

Read "(Put Your) Trust in Love" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

"(Put Your) Trust in Love" from Heat (a multi-artist recording source created in 1979 and led by Tom Saviano) and trumpeter Bill Dowling's “Horn Engine" is a throwback to the recordings of great male vocalists such as Al Jarreau, Luther Vandross, and George Benson. It is a stellar effort. Rhythmically, the track falls ...


Article: Album Review

The John La Barbera Big Band: Grooveyard

Read "Grooveyard" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

The geometry, if you will, of a terrific big band recording is such that the three major elements--the players, the arrangements, and the performance--balance in every regard. Grooveyard from the John La Barbera Big Band is such an offering. The album features ten masterfully selected, arranged, and performed selections, each containing outstanding section, solo, and ensemble ...


Article: Album Review

Dan Bonsanti and the 14 Jazz Orchestra: Islands

Read "Islands" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

"Islands" from Dan Bonsanti is a tour de force consisting of eleven unique selections, colorful textured arrangements, and outstanding ensemble and solo playing. The fare includes straight-ahead bop, to calypso, film and fusion, all presented by a highly-energized ensemble of Miami-affiliated greats and guest greats. The opener, McCoy Tyner's “Man from Tanganyika" is ...


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