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BeBop / Hard Bop - CD Reviews (479)

Mike Melito's The Right Time features nine songs that come squarely from the bop and hard bop traditions. The set is an interesting one from the standpoint of compositions, featuring a mix of standards, orignals and two lesser known songs from the pen of John Coltrane.
This is an album that the aficionados of bop will thoroughly enjoy. The ensemble gathered here are first class musicians who ply their trade with both joyful abandon and sensitivity. The session was done in a day giving it the feel of extemporaneous 'swing' as the glorious bands of Bird et al exhibited in the heyday of jazz. There is bop from top to bottom, with each tune carefully chosen. "Groovin' High" is a prime example of jazz as it should be played. Pfeifer's piano opens matters like a cool breeze.
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.
In 1976 Dexter Gordon decided to move back to US after few years in Scandinavia; he got already a contract from CBS records. Gordon started jamming at the Vanguard along with the Louis Hayes/Woody Shaw Quintet and after these live recordings was produced the beautiful double album Homecoming. Michael Cuscuna – the executive producer from Columbia – noticed already Woody's talent and genius on trumpet since the mid 70's: Cuscuna produced for Muse Records all Woody's albums starting from the beautiful The Moontrane in 1974.
A winner in the 2008 Downbeat rising star poll, post-bop tenor man Donny McCaslin probably qualifies now as a fully risen star. He's worked with many jazz luminaries and has been a solid part of Dave Douglas's working quintet since 2005. On Declaration, McCaslin proves his chops as a player, composer and arranger...
Michael Cuscuna – executive producer from CBS Records - hired Woody Shaw in 1977. Someone thought that Miles Davis in person " sponsored " Shaw to the board of Columbia. Anyway this partnership would have made a larger audience aware of Shaw's huge talent.

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Over nearly half a century, composer-arranger-pianist-ensemble leader Andrew Hill gained international jazz renown for his uniquely original music, which is by turns dark, fragile, funny, stark, unforgettably tuneful, percussive, insightful, oblique, transparent and mysterious. Giants like Art Tatum, Bud Powell and above all Thelonius Monk influenced Hill's style that was marked by heavy chromatics, complex chords, flowing and legato phrasing as well as by Ravel and Debussy; classic contemporary music recalls on several composition arrangements and improvisations.
Rick Stone's Fractals is an excellent hard bop recording. For this release, the guitarist is joined by his live band featuring Marco Panascia on bass and Tom Pollard on drums. The warm sensitivity these players show each other, undoubtedly perfected through countless hours of playing together, provides the perfect context for Stone's fluid solos. The guitarist's tone is truly gorgeous. It is rich, full and despite its well-rounded low end, always clear. Stone's tone and articulation are so inviting that even the most complex harmonic ideas never alienate the listener.  The phrasing is sometimes reminiscent of Jim Hall (a compliment…
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…
Anyone with a yen for well-played, hard-swinging, original hard-bop is going to love Alexander McCabe's "Quiz." McCabe, a young alto saxophonist who's spent time backing Ray Charles and Chico O'Farrill, is accompanied by an all-star band that includes the fantastically creative Philly native Uri Caine on piano, the rock-solid bass of Ugonna Okegwo, and either of two dynamic drummers – Rudy Royston (known for his sterling work with Ron Miles, he's Jon Irabagon's drummer of choice these days), and ex-Joshua Redman and Joanne Brackeen skinsman Greg Hutchinson.
Kayo Hiraki's pianistic ability interprets jazz standards into boppish gems adding a distinctive vocal on some.This is the fifth CD for this artist from Japan. She has appeared at all the major jazz clubs in New York and performed with many of the top stars.
Duke Pearson was a major figure in the 1960s jazz scene as a composer, arranger, pianist, bandleader and A & R man for Blue Note Records. He wrote tunes that have become standards ("Jeannine," "Cristo Redentor") and he helped to create the Blue Note signature sound of the period, the mix of hard bop and soul jazz remembered so fondly by fans of the time. It should be no surprise to see a tribute album, and Swingadelic has stepped up to do just that.  
What makes a man a legend in his own time? For Dave Grusin, the task has not been lightly taken. Grusin’s prolific career stands omnipresent amongst America’s musical repertoire as he stands included within the ranks of impressive composers who form what we come to know as The Great American Songbook. As a composer/arranger/pianist/ and serious educator, Grusin excels beyond the heights that most only dare to dream. His Grammy-winning and well known classics of the contemporary jazz genre such
Guitarist Sheryl Bailey has a well-earned reputation for delivering distinctive, soulful playing and For All Those Living more than lives up to this stature. The tunes range from uptempo bop to mellow waltz, and Bailey imbues each track with her compelling instrumental imagination. Together with a superlative trio of musicians, Bailey delivers an outstanding set of infectiously arranged tunes that pop out of the speakers with ear-catching soul and dexterous musical vision.Each of the eight tunes
Retrato en Blanco Y Negro is the latest release by the very talented Valeria Proano. This Ecuador-born resident of Miami has put together one of the most listenable collections of Latin, jazz and pop tunes I have listened to in a long while. What especially draws you to this collection is the rich voice of Ms. Proano. She has the technical skills to execute even the most challenging phrasing and the sensitivity to put her own signature on each and every note. I was pleasantly surprised to see th
After a couple decades of making inspiring contemporary jazz to critical acclaim the esteemed ensemble has decided now is the perfect time to take a look back and showcase some of the quality music that has characterized the group’s recording existence. On the new release, Back InThe Dayz – Airborne Anthology, the group undertakes a musical retracing with a generous helping of fourteen re-mastered/re-edited classic tracks from their prior seven releases on the Tilt Records label in addition to
A serious sculpture of musical superiority molded from the pulse of Dave Grusin’s intellect as well as crafted by exceptional precision, opens the music sheets of this new Heads Up project An Evening with Dave Grusin. One of the world’s top ivory manipulators in iconic fashion, unravels genius into entertainment this one sunset. An Evening with Dave Grusin is a renaissance of unique temperament, from keys to vibraphone... Interestingly enough, this spin is the first musical effort to be concurre
Pianist Noah Haidu composes and plays with a genuine approach to blending the sounds of hard-bop, soul and Latin-tinged jazz. Slipstream, his debut release for Posi-Tone records, effortlessly melds varying styles into an accessible mix of sleek melodic themes and contagious rhythms. Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon make up the front-line of the quintet, capturing seven of Haidu's original pieces and a swinging piano trio version of Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things."
Benn Clatworthy is a superb tenor saxophone player (in this era of non-compliance to the jazz idiom). His worthy constituents, Joe Bagg at the Hammond B3 and Don Littleton on drums, round out a first-class jazz group. In the title tune "Three Wise Monkeys," a Clatworthy original, the tenor solo is pure magic. His ideation is not only creative, but carries a message on that horn in a most definitive way. Joe Bagg lays down some great lines, adding a Bird riff most discreetly. Littleton's timing i
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