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Article: Play This!

Steps Ahead: Trains

Read "Steps Ahead: Trains" reviewed by Scott Lichtman

"Trains" by Steps Ahead, represents an apex of a certain era of jazz-rock fusion. The band was a supergroup, featuring Michael Brecker on saxophone, Mike Mainieri on vibraphone and rotating top names filling out guitar, drums, bass and keys. By the mid-'80s, the band had evolved from an acoustic sound to one based more on synthesized ...


Article: Play This!

Junius Paul: Asé

Read "Junius Paul: Asé" reviewed by Scott Lichtman

Bass lovers unite! For those who adore the dexterity, the groove, the sheer “plunk" of a crisply-recorded upright bass, check out “Asé" by Junius Paul. The piece opens with an anthemic motif that quickly transforms into a beehive of motion. Paul continues this jaw-dropping flurry of sound until he shifts into a modal groove that welcomes ...


Article: Live Review

Cyrille Aimée And Mathis Picard At The Emelin Theatre

Read "Cyrille Aimée And Mathis Picard At The Emelin Theatre" reviewed by Scott Lichtman

Cyrille Aimée The Emelin Theatre Mamaroneck, NYApril 18, 2024 Renowned vocalist Cyrille Aimée and pianist extraordinaire Mathis Picard performed a magnetic set at the intimate Emelin Theatre. The duo's musical sensitivity, song selection and chemistry engaged the audience from the opening notes. Pianist Mathis may be lesser known but ...


Article: Extended Analysis

Wonderful now

Read "Wonderful now" reviewed by Scott Lichtman

What do you get when you combine the high-velocity beats of electronica with the virtuosic proficiency of fusion, the pristine sound quality of an ECM label record and the “goes down easy" catchiness of smooth jazz? When composed and performed at the highest level, it sounds like Anatole Muster's album, Wonderful now. This album gets better ...


Article: Interview

Cyrille Aimée: Music Flows From Within

Read "Cyrille Aimée: Music Flows From Within" reviewed by Scott Lichtman

Renowned vocalist Cyrille Aimée possesses a wholly unique sound. Certainly, it is based on her voice timbre but also reflects her approach to music. She is equally adept at jazz standards and pop-jazz. She can swing and scat on cue, then shift to high tech sound loops. Songs in English, French and Spanish are delivered with ...


Article: Play This!

Stefano Di Battista: La Vita è Bella

Read "Stefano Di Battista: La Vita è Bella" reviewed by Scott Lichtman

"La vita è bella" ("life is beautiful" in Italian) is one tune whose title truly captures its essence. Alto saxophonist Stefano Di Battista leads his quintet through this peppy, hummable bebop piece, a remake of the movie theme of the same name. As the drummer's brushwork flies by at 160bpm, Di Battista and trumpeter Matteo Cutello ...


Article: Live Review

Tierney Sutton and Tamir Hendelman at the Jazz Forum

Read "Tierney Sutton and Tamir Hendelman at the Jazz Forum" reviewed by Scott Lichtman

Tierney Sutton and Tamir Hendelman Jazz Forum Tarrytown, NY March 15, 2024 Tierney Sutton and Tamir Hendelman brought an expressive evening of voice and piano to the Jazz Forum in Tarrytown NY, March 15th, 2024. The overarching theme of the performance was “songs about Spring." There's a variety of ...


Article: Play This!

Lyle Mays: Ascent

Read "Lyle Mays: Ascent" reviewed by Scott Lichtman

In 1986, master keyboardist Lyle Mays--known for his role in the Pat Metheny Group--issued his first solo album, Lyle Mays. It's full of compositions and improvisations that merit close listening, but the most astonishing piece may be “Ascent." The song's extended guitar solo, from Bill Frisell, redefines the sonic territory that an electric guitar can claim. ...


Article: Play This!

Keith Jarrett's European Quartet: Innocence

Read "Keith Jarrett's European Quartet: Innocence" reviewed by Scott Lichtman

It just so happens that two of the most poignant jazz ballads--in my opinion--were released in the same year. I'm not talking about throw-back masterpieces, such as Thelonious Monk's “Round Midnight" or Horace Silver's “Lonely Woman." Rather, they are Keith Jarrett's “Innocence" and Egberto Gismonti's “Palhaço," both originally issued in 1980. What makes these pieces stand ...


Article: Play This!

John McLaughlin with the One Truth Band: Guardian Angels

Read "John McLaughlin with the One Truth Band: Guardian Angels" reviewed by Scott Lichtman

John McLaughlin's “Guardian Angels" must be on the ultra-short list of “most iconic jazz/fusion songs clocking in under 1 minute." The song takes us back to the time when experimental fusion artists were exploring jazz/rock, classical and world music. “Guardian Angels" is a nugget of shape-shifting guitar arpeggios and time signatures, unified by L. Shankar's entrancing ...


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