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ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Steve Lacy & Brion Gysin: Songs

Read "Songs" reviewed by R. Emmet Sweeney

At the end of 1980, the late Steve Lacy expanded his group to a sextet with the addition of pianist Bobby Few. His first recording with this new configuration was Songs, a 1981 collaboration with poet/painter Brion Gysin, best known for his work with William Burroughs. Lacy and Gysin had worked together as far back as ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Diana Ross: Blue

Read "Blue" reviewed by R. Emmet Sweeney

In late 1971, after Diana Ross completed filming the Billie Holiday bio-pic Lady Sings the Blues, Motown put her in the studio to record an album of jazz standards to coincide with the movie's release. The material was shelved after the producers decided to keep Ross on the pop-star track, which soon produced the #1 hit ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Dafnis Prieto: Absolute Quintet

Read "Absolute Quintet" reviewed by R. Emmet Sweeney

Dafnis Prieto's latest release on the upstart Zoho label is The Absolute Quintet, a startlingly eclectic and occasionally maddening album. He creates strange shapes and shifting moods, which are handled adroitly by his bandmates in a unique bass-less setup. Violin and cello scrape against sax and organ, with Prieto's all-over drumming attempting to forge some unity. ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Ben Allison: Cowboy Justice

Read "Cowboy Justice" reviewed by R. Emmet Sweeney

Cowboy Justice sticks to the basics. Each tune opens with a repeated riff that is then accented by the other instruments, heavy on layered harmonies. Ben Allison is one of the founding members of the non-profit Jazz Composers Collective, a hub for young, forward-thinking talent, and Cowboy Justice has the feel of a workshop the Collective ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Anita O'Day: Indestructible!

Read "Indestructible!" reviewed by R. Emmet Sweeney

Nostalgia can be a dangerous thing. Take, for example, Anita O'Day's new album. The 86 year-old, who made her name as the lead vocalist for the Gene Krupa Orchestra, hasn't released an album for thirteen years, and the results on Indestructible! are a clear indication why. Her voice has been ravaged by decades of ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

SF Jazz Collective: SF Jazz Collective 2

Read "SF Jazz Collective 2" reviewed by R. Emmet Sweeney

The SF Jazz Collective is a younger, more stylistically adventurous version of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, a repertory-minded super-group with a defined home base that tours at upscale theaters instead of clubs, aiming at middle-class pocketbooks. Both intend to educate as much as entertain, but SF Jazz, with Joshua Redman at the helm, manages to ...

Chris Potter: Underground

Read "Chris Potter: Underground" reviewed by R. Emmet Sweeney

Chris PotterUndergroundSunnyside Records2006 Consensus is always the sought-after ideal in criticism. When writers can line up behind an artist and declare his or her greatness, the health of an art form is reinforced. We need to ordain geniuses to be reassured that this love of ours is ...

Fred Hersch: In Amsterdam: Live At The Bimhuis

Read "Fred Hersch: In Amsterdam: Live At The Bimhuis" reviewed by R. Emmet Sweeney

Fred Hersch In Amsterdam: Live At The Bimhuis Palmetto Records 2006 This live release by Fred Hersch is a rare creature: a solo piano recital that is never at a loss for lyrical and melodic ideas. The solo format exposes all of the musician's habits, pet themes and favored tones ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Manu Katche: Neighbourhood

Read "Neighbourhood" reviewed by R. Emmet Sweeney

It's a quiet day in the Neighbourhood. Manu Katché's ECM debut understates everything with a calm reserve, threatening to fade into the background without a fight (or a sax squawk). Check out the titles: “Lullaby," “No Rush," and “Lovely Walk," all urging your fragile attention to wander from the lilting tune. But then Tomasz Stanko steps ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

The Mary Lou Williams Collective: Zodiac Suite: Revisited

Read "Zodiac Suite: Revisited" reviewed by R. Emmet Sweeney

She was “the little girl who swings the band, an arranger for Andy Kirk, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and practically any other sublime big band name you could deign to think of. Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell hung out at her NYC apartment to soak up her knowledge during the bop era. Mary Lou ...


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