Any blues played by Oz Noy would have to be a little twisted. Drawing on influences ranging from the classic jazz guitarists of yesteryear to the trailblazers of more recent vintage, Noy's instantly recognizable voice is also heavily influenced by blues and heavy metal guitarists. Two and a half years have passed since Twisted Blues Volume One (Abstract Logix, 2011), Noy's electrifying, knotty and visceral take on the blues featuring an all-star cast of the guitarist's regular collaborators. The format is pretty much the same on Twisted Blues Volume 2 (Abstract Logix, 2014), with old sparring partners joined ...read more
Saxophonist Mark Turner favors quality over quantity. Lathe of Heaven--his first outing as a leader since 2001--is his first on the ECM label. Turner has hardly been absent from the music scene as the intervening years have seen him as a sideman for guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel and saxophonist David Binney among many others. He's gathered strong praise for his role on trumpeter Enrico Rava's fine New York Days (ECM, 2009) and as one-third of the trio Fly with drummer Jeff Ballard and bassist Larry Grenadier. Turner cites saxophonists Wayne Marsh and John Coltrane as primary influences; not ...read more
So what makes The Latin Side Of Joe Henderson different from trombonist Conrad Herwig's previous Latin Side albums? Well, for starters, Herwig played with Henderson for several years, an experience which gave him great insight into the music and the man who made it. Then there's the material itself. Henderson's music, more so than that of previous Latin Side honorees like Herbie Hancock or John Coltrane, is tailor-made for this type of project, as some of the songs already lean toward the Latin side. This album, recorded live at New York's Blue Note in July of 2012, ...read more
Remember when CDs were so expensive to make that record companies would release double albums and remove a track or two, just so that it could fit on a single CD? Well, there may be many negatives about the state of the music industry today---despite this being a time when so much music is being made that, like the glory days in the 1960s/70s, it seems like anything is possible...there's just no more industry support to help any of it reach the same number of people--but one good thing is that the price of manufacturing a CD has dropped so ...read more
With this album, Denmark's premier jazz pianist Carsten Dahl throws into doubt the old adage that familiarity breeds contempt. First, there's the line-up: he's played with Lennart Ginman (bass) and Frands Rifbjerg (drums) many times before, most notably on two previous albums for Storyville, Will You Make My Soup Hot & Silver from 1996 and Message From Bud, recorded two years later. Fine albums, both, but eclipsed by this one. Secondly, there's the content. Nearly all the numbers on A Good Time will be familiar to Dahl aficionados, yet none have received such relaxed ...read more
A home isn't just a physical space and a place to hang your hat; a home is wherever an individual finds comfort, acceptance, and personal fulfillment. On Finding Home, bassist-vocalist Kristin Korb explores the journey and process that brought her to such a place in her life. Korb, who grew up in Montana, found a new home in California a long time ago. She studied at the University of California at San Diego, became a pupil of the late Ray Brown, and eventually set up shop in 2002 in Los Angeles, developing a career as teacher, recording ...read more
Dear Mr. P.C. I play five nights a week in a restaurant, and there's a sign right at the entrance that says Restrooms are for Customer Use Only." My problem is that it's a four-hour gig, and sometimes I have to go really bad by the end. Would it be out of line for me to ask the management if I could use the restroom once a night? --John Dear John: The problem is all the uncertainties it would create. For example: If you don't use the restroom one night, ...read more
On Everybody Says Don't, his second album, London-based singer Mark Jennett joins a bunch of top flight instrumentalists, including producer Geoff Gascoyne, on a collection that takes in an impressive array of songs, composers and moods. Great songs, interpreted with style. Jennett opens up with Stephen Sondheim's Everybody Says Don't," taken at speed. Gascoyne's acoustic bass and Sebastian De Krom's drums move the song forward with swing and precision, Jennett's vocal is suitably emphatic and Rob Barron's swift and percussive piano solo is all-too-brief. The pace drops for a ballad reading of Cole Porter's Just One ...read more
Multi-reedist/composer Christian Vuust has been a mainstay of the Danish jazz scene for close to thirty years. A professor at the Royal Academy of Music in his hometown of Aarhus, Vuust has crafted a significant discography as leader, working with some of Denmark's best jazz musicians. Urban Hyms marks a departure for Vuust, being his first CD recorded outside Denmark. Recorded in a single day in jny:New York, Jeff Ballard, Ben Street and Aaron Parks's sophisticated yet subtle support frames Vuust's original compositions, which draw deeply from European and American wells alike. Danish psalms have heavily influenced Vuust--he's ...read more
Trumpeter Thad Jones and drummer extraordinaire Mel Lewis may have given birth to the band that's now known as The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, but the late Bob Brookmeyer gave the group artistic independence at a time when it was sorely needed. When Jones left the fold and departed for Europe at the tail end of the '70s, things could've gone a very different way for this storied outfit: it could've simply carried on as a pretty good band that covered Thad Jones' music, endlessly recycling songs of the then-recent past. The Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, né Thad ...read more
A release on the Dancing Wayang label is always cause for celebration for several reasons. Firstly, they are few and far between, with Alps being only the label's ninth release since it began issuing records in 2007; rarely do two appear in a year, and never more than two--which makes 2014 a special year as Alps follows the release of Motion by N.E.W. earlier in the year. Secondly, the reason for their scarcity is that each Dancing Wayang release is a labour of love, with great care and attention to detail lavished on each one. That extends from the careful ...read more
Given his proclivity for wildly eclectic, big-concept musical projects featuring improbable combinations of multi-ethnic instrumentalists, Joel Harrison is about the last guitarist I'd expect to record a funky slab of power-trio jazz-rock-funk fusion. Across the board, his guitaristic skills have taken a back seat to compositional concerns and rich, detailed arrangements. Yet, here is Mother Stump, Harrison's paean to 70s-era jazz-rooted, rock-powered, funked-up guitar-centric instrumental music. Moreover, Harrison has pointedly eschewed all of the studio polish and post-production nonsense that bogs down must fusion albums these days. Like the best music in any genre, Mother Stump derives its potency from ...read more
Lion is a good name for Marius Neset's first recording with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, for like a great cat, the Norwegian orchestra purrs and prowls, roars and pounces. Regardless of tempo--whether cruising or charging--there's majesty in the collective voice. Commissioned for the Molde Jazz Festival in 2012, the momentum from that performance took Neset and this twelve-piece orchestra into the recording studio with spectacular results. In fourteen years, the TJO has become something of a Norwegian national institution, reaching an ever-greater audience across Europe. Lion is another feather in its cap, following collaborations with Chick Corea, Pat ...read more
Julie Kelly is a talented singer whose talents are a fairly well-kept secret except on the West Coast, where she makes her home. Happy to Be is Kelly's eighth album, the first on Graham Carter's Colorado-based Jazzed Media label, and as has been her custom in the past, she chooses for the most part interesting songs that aren't heard nearly often enough. Compositions by Dave Frishberg, Bob Dorough, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Richard Rodney Bennett and even Phoebe Snow are here, hanging out alongside engaging themes by such lesser-known but no less able writers as Bill Peterson, Jim Tomlinson and Susan ...read more
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