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Musician

Vernel Fournier

Born:

Vernel Fournier made his name as the deftly understated and highly musical drummer in one of the most famous of all modern jazz trios, led by pianist Ahmad Jamal. His subtle, quicksilver touches with his trademark wire brushes provided the flexible underpinning for a trio which thrived on its supple manipulation of dynamics and use of space. He was born Vernel Anthony Fournier in New Orleans, and the distinctive rhythmic feel of the city never disappeared from his music. He began playing parade drum at the age of ten with a marching group, the Young Swingsters, and was taught by the New Orleans drummer Sidney Montague while still in school. He attended Alabama State College in 1945-56, where he played with the student ensemble, and also worked in his home town with musicians from both the traditional and bebop strands of the city’s musical culture

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Article: Album Review

Ahmad Jamal: Ballades

Read "Ballades" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


At 89, Ahmad Jamal remains a master of space, time, openness and poetics. Never one to add too much, yet always one to mine a song for all its rich natural flavors, Jamal is an artist whose work speaks with a direct and engaging sweep. His early trio classics became a model of sorts, inspiring Miles ...

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Article: Album Review

Michael Dease: All These Hands

Read "All These Hands" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


Trombonist Michael Dease is never short on ideas, but this one might be his best yet: With All These Hands, Dease traces the early migratory patterns of jazz through his own well-crafted originals. He starts in NOLA and moves along to many a music mecca, including the Mississippi Delta, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New ...

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Article: Album Review

Jonathan Kreisberg: Wave Upon Wave

Read "Wave Upon Wave" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


Wave upon wave of praise has followed the release of each one of guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg's leader dates--small group affairs that are typically built with equal parts energy and taste; Wave Upon Wave, balancing fire with heart, stealth movement with direct engagement, and power with grace, is likely to garner some more. The ...

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Article: Interview

Justin Faulkner: Serving the Music

Read "Justin Faulkner: Serving the Music" reviewed by Paul Naser


The rare balance of passionate ambition and mature dedication that are the hallmark of young professionals puts them in a category all their own. More often than not they began honing their skills at an early age and it seems as if life conspired to help them succeed. Justin Faulkner, the young drummer for the legendary ...

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Article: Live Review

Gary Smulyan with Dominic Chianese at Jazz At Kitano

Read "Gary Smulyan with Dominic Chianese at Jazz At Kitano" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


Gary Smulyan with Dominic Chianese Jazz At Kitano New York, NY April 5, 2014 Shortly before this show began, on a beautiful Saturday evening that truly marked the start of spring, a small crew of musicians and concert-goers, including this writer, were seated around the bar at Jazz At Kitano. ...

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Article: Album Review

Caswell Sisters featuring Fred Hersch: Alive In The Singing Air

Read "Alive In The Singing Air" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


Sibling acts in jazz are fairly common, but sister acts are not. The Brothers Dorsey, Jones, Montgomery, Heath, Brecker, and Marsalis are familiar to any jazz fan with a passing knowledge of the music's history, but female counterparts are scarce. Thankfully, that trend is changing, proving that jazz is not a man's--or brother's--world. Today, we have ...

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Article: Album Review

Sharp Radway: Hymns And Things (Introspection And Reflection)

Read "Hymns And Things (Introspection And Reflection)" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


All forms of jazz are a means of artistic personalization, but gospel jazz may be the ultimate form of individualized musical expression for those who believe. It serves as an aural representation of the individual communing with a higher power, and giving thanks. A broad yet set repertoire often binds gospel jazz projects and artists together, ...

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Article: Extended Analysis

Ahmad Jamal Trio: The Legendary 1958 Pershing Lounge & Spotlite Club Recordings

Read "Ahmad Jamal Trio: The Legendary 1958 Pershing Lounge & Spotlite Club Recordings" reviewed by Chris May


Ahmad Jamal TrioThe Legendary 1958 Pershing Lounge & Spotlite Club PerformancesSolar Records2011 “Play like Jamal," trumpeter Miles Davis is reputed to have told his pianist Red Garland in the mid 1950s. We can but speculate how Garland reacted to this request, assuming the story is true. It ...

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Article: Extended Analysis

Ahmad Jamal: A Quiet Time

Read "Ahmad Jamal: A Quiet Time" reviewed by Ian Patterson


Ahmad JamalA Quiet TimeDreyfus Records2010 Always reluctant to go into the studio unless he has material he is thoroughly satisfied with, pianist Ahmad Jamal's A Quiet Time could be considered as a follow-up to It's Magic (Dreyfus Records, 2008), given the relatively short period between the two releases. ...


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