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Find full CD and individual track reviews of your favorite jazz artists right here, and hopefully you also discover some new artists to add to your collection as well.

Barcelona, Spain., native Dave Juarez is well-educated in the jazz vernacular amid studies with guitar great John Abercrombie and enrollment at SUNY Purchase upon his relocation to New York. Here, the artist conveys agility, focus, and a multidimensional line of attack with his estimable supporting lineup. He alternates moods, tonalities and shadings while shifting the stride and launching animated solos alongside pianist John Escreet and saxophonist Seamus Blake.
17.08.2011

Three Equals One

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At fgitst, this sounds like John Moulder's session. He carries the melody and rides the slalom-like harmonic changes with unusual sureness and grace. But no, Larry Gray's the leader, wrote the tunes, skis the drifts with equal assurance, and has his fair shar of solo time. Charles Heath completes the trio with the assertive, yet supportive style of many of today's best drummers.
After a number of recent recordings that were average at best, George Benson has released his best recording in well over a decade. Guitar Man reminds everyone that George Benson used to be considered the finest guitarist of his generation. An exceptional melodic improviser of the highest level and refinement, Benson plays his heart out, and the result will most certainly be one of the top 10 discs of not just this year, but probably this coming decade.
East meets West with an enlivening and entertaining form factor, thanks to Palestinian pianist and buzuq performer Tareq Abboushi. In effect, the New York-based quintet diminishes the mystery and places more emphasis on intrigue. It's a union that combines Middle Eastern traditional music with various forms of Western modalities.
Dr. Norman David gathers a world-class ensemble, here on this winning studio session. An arranger, composer and educator residing in the Philadelphia area, David also struts his impressive soprano saxophone faculties amid his hearty dialogues with saxophonist George Garzone, trumpeter Tim Hagans and others. Seasoned with memorable hooks and articulate thematic-engineering outbreaks, one of many highpoints is the robust piece, "Tuesday Overture."
Each of the two bands highlighted on this 2011 disc feature alto saxophonist Herman Hauge. Previously unissued, these sides were recorded in 1973 and 1984. And per the album notes, Hauge cites the improvisational vehicles with outlying influences and interfaces between [architectural] design and space as pertinent factors.  
Any duet album featuring Brazilian string masters Yamandu Costa and Hamilton de Holanda is worth taking note, and for enthusiasts who have been following these two consummate instrumentalists, the 2008 São Paulo recording "Live!" on Adventure Music represents another gem to add to the Brazilian duet canon.
The prospects weren't promising—a rare combo mix, mostly original tunes, relatively unknown musicians, and a Scandinavian recording label. Shudder. The last group of young Northern Europeans I'd heard had me torn between boredom and suicide. Surprise! The trio sound works, the originals are strong, the musicians are first class, and the audio quality is just fine.
Creativity exudes through any musical genre. And in the free or semi-structured realm of jazz, the tried and true can be beaten into submission, often leading to a ho hum listening experience. Aimless cacophony and uninteresting dialogues are first-offender elements within these formats. However, lesser-known artists such as Italian saxophonist Biagio Coppa keenly realize that ingenuity and vigor are recipes for the betterment or perhaps, advancement of music through the artistic looking glass. With an estimable support system, the saxophonist injects a complex, yet personalized series of propositions throughout this first-class release.
In string quartets, it may serve as the "bottom," the baby bass violin. In symphony orchestras, it is presented in multiples and blends in with the entire ensemble. But by itself on a 42-minute album? Well?.. This possibility is explored by Paris-born cellist Vincent Courtois on L'Imprevu, the very first release by re:think-art records. Here, Courtois offers 12 intriguing performances that feature his cello engaging in conversation, singing, snarling, and creating drama...by itself.
Zagreb Croatia native, pianist and composer Matija Dedic earned a collegiate degree from the Jazz Academy in Graz, Austria. Dedic comes from a musical family; his father received musical awards and his mom sang with Louis Armstrong and Phil Woods. Some of Dedic's piano teachers have included jazz stalwarts Hal Galper and Barry Harris. Among the musicians Dedic has played with are Benny Golson, Kenny Burrell, Roy Haynes, Alvin Queen, Lenny White and Larry Grenadier. As a composer Dedic has written for television, the theatre and some Croatian pop artists. M.D. in NYC is his second release as a leader.
There have always been bands of superstar jazz musicians. Usually put together by a producer, witness the Stanley Clarke, Larry Carlton, Billy Cobham, Deron Johnson & Najee Live At The Greek tour, or a record company, witness the 1970s CTI label-mate concerts, but a band of superstars who come together on a regular basis is almost unheard of. That has all changed with the SF Jazz Collective.
Ant-Bee (Billy James) is a multi-instrumentalist and producer who is often revered for his forays into early mechanisms of progressive-pop and rock. Known for cutting-edge productions, featuring members of the Mothers of Invention, Captain Beefheart's Magic Band and Alice Copper's ensembles, Ant-Bee's first album since the 1997 release Lunar Music, depicts an ingenious mind on the loose. Hence, Electronic Church Muzik takes spirituality past the boundaries of common ideologies via nods to early psychedelic music and offbeat sidebars that yield rewarding results, spanning an abundance of opposing angles, unanticipated detours, witty stylizations and harmonious theme-building jaunts.
Monrovia Liberia born guitarist Martin Mathelier was raised mostly in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. First learning the guitar from his well-known Haitian guitar virtuoso brother Marc Mathelier, the younger brother focused, as he got older, on Brazilian Bossa Nova. In 1981, in New York, Martin, along with two others, founded the group Vibes, a long lasting band featuring Haitian Kompa music.
Saxophonist, flutist, keyboardist, composer and arranger Eric Person, who was born in St. Louis and trained at the St. Louis Conservatory of Music, continues his tradition to release good music that is questing, yet firmly planted in jazz's tradition with his latest CD, The Grand Illusion.
There are a number of excellent saxophonists who have worked in the area of gospel jazz, including Kirk Whalum, Angella Christie and Tom Braxton. Todd Ledbetter is another one of these musical pioneers. A student of Dr. Nathan Davis at the University of Pittsburgh, Ledbetter eventually worked with artists like saxophonists Grover Washington Jr., James Moody, Eddie Harris and trumpeter Jon Faddis. Later work in the bands of Joe Harris, Roger Humphries and Bishop Walter Hawkins led to Ledbetter becoming a leader in his own right.
After performing with modern day pioneers and revered mainstream jazz artists, vibist Chris Dingman steps out with a fascinating and irrefutably, enlivening debut solo release. Framed upon his personal life amid the highs and lows spanning the past decade, Dingman parallels the emotive element during these seamlessly engineered works that interweave into a persuasive narrative.