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Article: Album Review

Brad Mehldau: Marion McPartland's Piano Jazz: Brad Mehldau

Read "Marion McPartland's Piano Jazz: Brad Mehldau" reviewed by Robert R. Calder

Part of the Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz Series, this piano and conversation set, recorded in 1996, is strong on ballads, with a fresh sound from a younger Brad Mehldau. On their first date in 1958, Mehldau's father took a young lady to the Hickory House jazz club in New York and heard McPartland. ...


Article: Album Review

Bennie Wallace: Disorder at the Border: The Music of Coleman Hawkins

Read "Disorder at the Border: The Music of Coleman Hawkins" reviewed by Robert R. Calder

This is a stomping band, as Coleman Hawkins said of the Fletcher Henderson orchestra he -- and the hitherto mostly awkward tenor saxophone -- grew up together with. Louis Armstrong and his hero the great cellist Pablo Casals inspired Hawkins' phrasing and timing, Art Tatum and J.S. Bach his harmonic command. His nickname “Bean" referred to ...


Article: Album Review

Various Artists: Rough Guide to the Blues

Read "Rough Guide to the Blues" reviewed by Robert R. Calder

It's not clear whether this CD has been compiled with the idea of it being listened to or as some kind of token or souvenir. You can have your own copy of Mamie Smith's “Crazy Blues," the first ever Blues recording? It would have been better, in representing the so-called Classic Blues, to have included Ida ...


Article: Album Review

G.B. Walmarketeer: Used to be Texas Blues

Read "Used to be Texas  Blues" reviewed by Robert R. Calder

If you want real blues from today, hardly any man involved in any blues revival can give you the real thing like this guy. Catch his slide-work. In the past, lots of people have doubted his capacity to deliver the real thing, taking him for just another performer with a ridiculous number of fans. Yet the ...


Article: Extended Analysis

Sidney Bechet: Mosaic Select 23

Read "Sidney Bechet: Mosaic Select 23" reviewed by Robert R. Calder

Sidney Bechet Mosaic Select 23: Sidney Bechet Mosaic Records 2006 In August 2004, in a back street in the German town of Konstanz, I heard his music played by an itinerant Italian clarinetist. Days later in Spain, in front of Barcelona cathedral, I heard a different clarinetist and ...


Article: Album Review

Liberation Prophecy: Last Exit Angel

Read "Last Exit Angel" reviewed by Robert R. Calder

Jacob Duncan composed the music of this very diverse set of jazz interfacing with other musics. He also penned the words for the five songs with vocals. A startlingly able altoist, the musicianship of this Louisville, Kentucky ensemble matches him at Premier League standard. Todd Hildreth's pianistic virtuosity on the initially Kurt Weill-ish ...


Article: Album Review

John Mayall (selected by): Picking the Blues: Pioneers of Boogie Woogie

Read "Picking the Blues: Pioneers of Boogie Woogie" reviewed by Robert R. Calder

Veteran English blues performer John Mayall's “reminiscences" here aren't “of great blues figures" but of encounters, often via recordings, of the very best barrelhouse, blues and boogie woogie piano music. Barrelhouse piano combined various different proportions of blues, ragtime and dance rhythms in the hands of technically unorthodox players. Jelly Roll Morton spoke ...


Article: Album Review

Grant Simpson: Stride and True

Read "Stride and True" reviewed by Robert R. Calder

Grant Simpson hits the piano cleanly, and he sounds like he hits it hard. He mentions the “ever-present dry wit" of Dick Wellstood when introducing a performance of Wellstood's “Dollar Dance," whose composer called it “a distant relative" of Jelly Roll Morton's “Perfect Rag." Though it's necessary to mention Wellstood's likely influence on Simpson's slowish tempo ...


Article: Album Review

Michael O'Neill: Ontophony

Read "Ontophony" reviewed by Robert R. Calder

Ontophony means something like “the voice of being." Like several developments from traditional Scottish beginnings, this music was born in Canada: funding came from the Canada Music Fund, the Canada Council for the Arts, et aliis Canadiensibus. Bagpipes don't have so ancient a history in Scotland, contrary to common misapprehensions. The bagpipe arrived ...


Article: Album Review

Milcho Leviev: Multiple Personalities: Milcho Leviev Plays the Music of Don Ellis

Read "Multiple Personalities: Milcho Leviev Plays the Music of Don Ellis" reviewed by Robert R. Calder

Milcho Leviev! The exclamation mark doesn't mean I'm a special fan. I've just heard Leviev, and to hear of him again was itself exciting. Long ago he came through the Iron Curtain from a jazz and big band career in Bulgaria, worked in Germany with the supertrombonist Albert Mangelsdorff, played on a brilliant Art Pepper album, ...


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