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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.

My Next Heartbeat is keyboardist, producer, engineer, composer and Founder and Pastor of Northview Christian Church Hart Ramsey's second release as a leader.  This lively set of smooth jazz music doesn't skimp on nice easy-going grooves or compromise on room for Ramsey's accompanying musicians to express themselves on those grooves via long improvised solos.
The trumpet is the most difficult instrument to play (physically) requiring top notch chops and Dan Jacobs has been blessed in this regard many times over. This quartet has it all together in this fine album. The arrangements are fabulous and the solos are not only inventive but performed soulfully and pleasing to the ear.
Volume 3 of influential trumpeter Dave Douglas's "Portable Series" casts yet another perspective of the artist's resiliency and broad vernacular.  The premise behind the three volumes, featuring different ensembles is based on informal gatherings, hearkening back to the olden days where musicians would align for pick-up sessions.  Otherwise, Bad Mango is not simply a high-octane bashing session, but offers a polytonal soundscape, spanning a diverse mix that is a nicely balanced package containing equal parts jazz and world music.  Neither genre supersedes the other, although an indigenous setting is laid out via the percussionists' multifunctional approach to the program.
Ed Barrett has a presence on YouTube, but there isn't a lot of rousing concert footage or material from his albums. You'll find instead a short interview piece where he talks about why he plays jazz, his background, and some footage of him goofing around on drums and piano. He seems like a quiet, unassuming guy who loves to play jazz guitar; sort of like an accountant who does gigs on the side. But his latest release, Hocus Focus, demonstrates his abilities and passions in a very direct way.
The scrolling notes of pianist of Yelena Echemoff embroider imagery soundscapes that soothe, excite and entrap the listener in an experience beyond earthly dimensions. Her latest album Flying Steps features Peter Erskine on drums and Darek Oleszkiewicz on double bass, and establishes Echemoff as an engaging pianist and composer of ambient bliss.
Thunder Soul is the movie/documentary, executive produced by Jamie Foxx, about the award winning Kashmere High School Stage Band, out of Houston, Texas.  The band was led by a visionary music teacher, Conrad "Prof" Johnson Sr., who, like Miles Davis, recognized music and life was changing dramatically for African-Americans in the early 1970s and moved his traditionally oriented jazz stage band into the realm of jazz funk.  Documentaries, if they are successful, find ways to not just make the true life experiences focused on in the movie personal for the audience, but also complete the picture with a full round…
Aspects Of Oscar is one of the finest tributes to the master pianist Oscar Peterson that I have ever heard. The fact that it's under the leadership of my favorite bassist, Dave Young and features a band of talented Canadian musicians makes it all the more enjoyable. Dave Young's professional relationship with jazz giant Oscar Peterson spanned three decades during which he played in the Oscar Peterson Trio in appearances all over the world up until Peterson's death. "To my way of thinking, Dave Young is one of the most talented bassists on the jazz scene. His harmonic sympatico and…
Many Dutch progressive-jazz musicians tend to inject dashes of humor into the grand scheme of things, evidenced by Talking Cows' witty and somewhat bawdy video on its website, also noted on the amusing album cover art.  Yet, the quartet takes a no nonsense musical approach and cuts to the chase with vigorous intent.  Vibrant and often multidirectional, they exude a persuasive small ensemble outlook with contiguous re-engineering processes and a brute force mode of execution.
Remember the 1970s – of course you don't, you weren't born yet.  Trust me, it was a great time for jazz.  Big record labels, like Columbia and Warner Brothers, gave their stable of jazz artists good funding to produce personal statements not bounded by end of quarter financial statements.  Even small labels, like CTI and Arista, gave their artists the room to find their own way.  The result was the best, most diverse, decade of jazz ever created.  Cinque harkens back to those great days.
It has to have been difficult for Lorraine Feather.  Her father, Leonard Feather, was the man who not only singlehandedly defined the role of the modern jazz critic, but was also arguably the greatest jazz journalist ever.  That's a huge shadow to grow up under, especially if the daughter has talents and ambitions that heavily lean towards the aural arts.  Lorraine, however, has fashioned a career that is apologetic to no one.
A mixture of recurring motifs and improvisational soloing, the bebop stylizing of pianist Mike Longo is reflective of the generation of music where he came from, which is that of the late '50s and early '60s. A time when saying you're a fan of jazz denoted your good taste or savoir faire in music. Longo's new recording To My Surprise bolsters a collage of swinging soirees like "Limbo" buffered by the relaxing torch lit embers of "Alone Again." The tracks are made for the nightclub ambience both congenial and upbeat reminiscent of Mary Lou Williams and Roy Eldridge.
Eminent improvisers, alto saxophonist/pocket trumpeter Joe McPhee and drummer Michael Zerang lay out an impressionistic series of abstracts, underscored by a New Orleans vibe on this session recorded live in the Crescent City at Big Top. They navigate through seedy streets, yet exude hope and a variety of emotive characteristics while sustaining a great deal of interest throughout. Passionate, significantly creative and synergistic, the duo launches the festivities with the 24-minute piece "Congo Square Dances/Saints and Sinners."
Contemporary Jazz is good for crossover and for new listeners of the art form, however true  jazz lovers definitely appreciate it when an artist can take it back to straight ahead jazz.Turkish drummer Ferit Odman has done just that; he has taken listeners back to the classic sound with the results being nothing short of entertaining. This is the type of compilation you would love to use as a wind down as you sit at the fireplace with your loved one during the cold months. Don't rule it out to accompany you and your family on a relaxing rides out…
I've been listening to Sir Paul McCartney's newest CD Kisses on the Bottom for a number of hours on repeat. I have to say this at the outset ... It truly is an outstanding piece of music. The songs are well chosen, heartfelt and beautiful to listen to. They conjure romantic yearnings easily and effortlessly as McCartney delivers up his captivating vocals ... along with Eric Clapton's jazzy guitar riffs, Diana Krall's beautiful piano playing and Stevie Wonder's enchanting harmonica work.
Clarinetist John Carter and trumpeter/cornetist Bobby Bradford aligned forces in 1965 and eventually helped flip the West Coast USA jazz scene on its side, although widespread recognition was fleeting. Bradford still remains a vital exponent of progressive-jazz amid numerous session dates and co-led efforts for various record labels. Carter passed away in1991 and released several landmark recordings for Swiss-based Hat Hut Records, Gramavision and others. He wowed the critics via his Folklore: Episodes in the Development of American Folk Music series (1982-1990), providing a visionary musical account of America's roots, owing to the blues and African-American culture.
Acclaimed pianist Luis Perdomo benefits from a dream rhythm section that exercises sympathetic support on this rather zealous trio date.   He's a first-rate improviser, and there's no mystery as to why he's an in-demand session artist.   On this album, Perdomo fuses a restless spirit with a highly rhythmic architecture.  His artistry is modeled on power, grace and shifting tides amid a poetry-in-motion gait, encapsulated by sweeping runs and unanticipated time changes.  Here, the band locks in and punches out a series of sizzling movements, contrasting the temperate subtleties.
Finnish pianist/composer Heikki Sarmanto is a legendary figure within Scandinavian progressive-jazz circles. And this 1972 big band reissue also restates his hip-ness and forward-looking proclivities amid his productions for stage and cinema. Among many rewarding factors, "Everything Is It" has not lost any steam over the years, and is an adventurous undertaking that forges a progressive slant, but incorporates the snazzy, pop shaded big band arrangements of the era.
Guitar master Bill Frisell's global approach includes progressive-jazz, jazz-rock, chamber-jazz, and Americana as the list goes on. But what separates him from others is his signature voice. Otherwise, a biopic account of his rise to prominence exceeds the boundaries of this article. However, Frisell's visionary propensities hit another high mark on this album, based on John Lennon's discography.
Ten Tunes is a loose and playful recording. The band hints at a multitude of styles; they touch on rock, country and funk, as well as Middle Eastern and Latin music, all within a jazz context. Despite the group's eclectic influences, Ten Songs works well as a cohesive whole. This can be attributed to two reasons. First, the group assembled here—leader Bill Barner on clarinet, Stan Smith on guitar, Roger Hines on bass and Danny Aguiar on drums—establish in the pocket grooves on each track, so that each song has an easy rhythmic appeal. Secondly, though the context of the…