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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.

John Daversa's arrangements and compositions incorporate a high degree of hip-ness. A superb trumpeter who maximizes his use of the Electric Valve Instrument (EVI) via rippling notes and compelling solo spots within the grand schema, he fuses hip-hop, funk, rock, and the jazz element into an uncannily coherent form-factor. Audacious, brassy, and energized are simply a few appropriate descriptors.
10.10.2011

This Heart of Mine

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Pamela Hines is a New England Conservatory of Music graduate who is making her mark in jazz with an eclectic series of releases. This Heart of Mine is her solo piano album from 2009. This followed her 2008 New Christmas, an adventurous record consisting entirely of holiday originals. You don’t see many artists try that any more—and Hines gets credit just for the effort, let alone the music.
John Colianni is a gifted pianist with a strong interest in swing and early bebop. Jazz is a very historically conscious genre, even as it is always moving forward. Still, even among the most historically minded contingent of modern jazz, Colianni sounds positively old-fashioned. The pianist keeps one foot squarely in a 1940s swing aesthetic, and, by the sheer joy of his playing, he obviously deeply loves the music he is drawing from. That said, one is not likely to confuse this recording with a swing recording from the 1940s. Colianni has a modern flair that is apparent both in…
  Rick Braun, in October 2011 issue of JazzTimes magazine, admitted what those who are in the smooth jazz business end have known for a while, notably the demise of commercial radio and its commercial music business.  He admits the good side of this is that, “there’s no pressure on the artists to come up with radio-play hits anymore.”  With both of the above facts now in play, there has been a mad scramble going on among record companies and artists.
Besides his stature within New York City's enigmatic downtown scene, trumpeter Steven Bernstein's varied resume includes writing and performances with rock and pop legends. Therefore, he possesses an insider and outsider type view, also evidenced by his leadership with the band Sex Mob, known for nicely twisted, reconstructed, and off-kilter covers of famous rock and pop tunes. Here, Bernstein and a large ensemble, including re-mix master Bill Laswell, keyboardist Bernie Worrell and guitarist Vernon Reid loom as vital cogs in the wheel of success, extended across the music of pop-funk icon Sly Stone.
04.10.2011

Tony MacAlpine

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Consummate West Coast guitarist Tony MacAlpine embarks upon a harmonious and at times ferocious search and destroy mission on his 13th solo album. Assisted by bassist Philip Bynoe on one piece, and all-universe drummers Marco Minnemann and Virgil Donati sharing duties, the program offers a hearty track mix. Here, MacAlpine pays close attention to compositional structure unlike many other prog-metal guitar albums, leaning heavily on the technical gymnastics side amid mediocre song-forms. He also multitasks by overlaying keys, bass and handling the programming spectrum. MacAlpine shreds into the netherworld with a spirited modus operandi framed on scorching crunch chords, cleanly…
Vocalist Tony Adamo’s new CD, What Is Hip?, is a funkified and deeply rhythmic locked affair with some of the best musicians of the day.  Put together by master guitarist and producer Jerry Stucker, this horn-laden album reminds one of the early days of Tower Of Power (TOP) brought up to date by modern sensibilities.  Some of the big names assisting Adamo include master drummer Steve Gadd, percussionist and Headhunter Bill Summers, trumpeters Mic Gillette, Henry Hung, and Eddie Henderson, as well as TOP bari saxophone soul man Stephen “Doc” Kupka and keyboardist Rodney Franklin.
Firmly rooted in the sort of challenging post-bop, pre-free modern jazz epitomized by the pre-electric Miles Davis Quintet of the mid-1960s, and – perhaps – the early 70s ECM sound, the music of Nordic Connect is nonetheless quite un-stodgy and rich in interesting 21st Century influences and flavors. The compositions largely, written by pianist Maggi Olin (though Ingrid Jensen, Christine Jensen and Jon Wikan each chip in some), at times, recall some of the mid-to-late 60s and early 70s Blue Note recordings by Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, as they branched out from Miles' musical orbit. As in Miles' and…
Though the late 90s Exotica / Space Age Bachelor Pad Music mini-trend of the late 90s and early 2000s is long over, vibraphonist Brian O'Neill continues to make original music in this vein under the Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica moniker. Listening to the band's sophomore effort, “Third River Rangoon,” I couldn't help but wonder if he wasn't selling himself short. Many correctly associate exotica with mood music, a hip sort of sound to have on in the background while the primary order of business is sipping a Mai-Tai and eating sushi. From the first track on “Third River Rangoon,” it's clear…
Though both came to prominence in Anthony Braxton's revolutionary groups of the early-to-mid 1970s, the music that trombonist Ray Anderson and clarinetist / saxophonist Marty Ehrlich create on Hear You Say is adventurous, hard-swinging post-bop steeped in the blues and redolent with the organic, bobbing polyrhythms of New Orleans.  
Bassist / composer Chris Dahlgren is one of those guys who has done a lot of different things in his musical career. He holds an MA in composition from Wesleyan University where he worked with an impressive array of avant-garde conceptualists and artists including Alvin Lucier, Anthony Braxton, LaMonte Young, and Christian Wolff. He was also the house bassist at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club in Cincinnati, OH, a bastion of straight-ahead and big band jazz. He's also recorded and toured with Joe Lovano, Art Lande, Fred Hirsch, Charles Tolliver, Herb Ellis, and Red Rodney to name a few. After…
Three European improvising heavyweights align for an intriguing expansionist endeavor, where space, dainty subtleties, and asymmetrical underpinnings aid the organic and polytonal output of the band's multifarious developments. With orbital and darting exchanges, the trio also delves into minimalism and free-microtonal interludes amid gradually climactic choruses.
Indeed, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt is a talented individual. A rising star who boasts a reputable resume as a first-call session artist and leader, he's been in the thick of things since his graduation from the Berklee School of Music and arrival in New York City in the late 90's. Here, Pelt and his ensemble breeze through a potpourri of simmering, crisply executed bop and swing vamps. Perpetual motion and a steady stream of improvisational jaunts by the soloists, prompt remembrances of the classic Blue Note Record era, where hard bop and tuneful storylines assimilate into a consortium of vibrant counter-maneuvers, darting…
Trumpeter, vocalist and composer Sarah Wilson has spent significant time in the jazz and new music scenes on both the East and West coasts of the US. This is reflected in the personnel on "Trapeze Project," which features outstanding players from the Bay Area (Goldberg, Amendola) and NYC (Melford, Harris). "Trapeze Project" is Wilson's second recording as a leader, the first being "Music for an Imaginary Play," which came out in 2006. Wilson has a really interesting resumè that doesn't quite hew to the normal expectations one might have of a jazz musician. The recipient of several high-profile composing commissions,…
Reflections on the meaning and significance of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, typically do not inspire a rockin' good time. That's precisely what's going on with Blasphemy and Other Serious Crimes, the sophomore CD from guitarist Yoshie Fruchter's great New York-based band Pitom. Fruchter and Pitom play a sort of advanced poly-stylistic instrumental rock that contains elements of jazz, traditional Hebraic music, metal, old-school prog rock, thrash, sludge and about a half-dozen other distinct musical sub-sub-genres that seem to be popping up at an alarming rate these days. So, while Fruchter's music is definitely a sort of fusion, it's definitely not…
"Foxy," Jon Irabagon's fourth recording as a leader is – as the whimsical cover art parody suggests – a tribute to the great Sonny Rollins. Like Rollins' "Way Out West" (compare Rollins' empty-holstered cowboy on the cover of that LP with Irabagon's similar pose on the reverse side of the CD), “Foxy” is a piano-less trio consisting of tenor saxophone, bass and drums. Here's another thing “Foxy” has in common with Rollins' historic recording - it is a genuine tour de force. Known for his abundant technique, unending improvisational resourcefulness, and boundless sense of the absurd through his work with…