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Contemporary Jazz - CD Reviews (1790)

Guitarist, singer, composer, teacher and poet Reynold David Philipsek has released a number recordings as a leader over the years. Among the artists he's worked with include Connie Evingson, Clint Hoover, The Wolverines Big Band, Glen Helgeson, and Patrick Harison. Philipsek also played with French Gypsy Jazz master Dorado Schmitt during his 2005 U.S. tour.
Guitarist and Berkeley, California native Alex Skolnick was originally inspired to learn the guitar from listening to Kiss. His devotion, and lessons with people like Joe Satriani, to guitar excellence earned Skolnick a spot in the thrash metal band Testament. Interestingly enough, it was while with this band he discovered the music of Miles Davis. Moving to New York to pursue jazz Skolnick earned a degree from the New School, where he studied with Richie Beirach, George Garzone, and Hal Galper. In the process of school and studies Skolnick formed the Alex Skolnick Trio, which is featured on this release.
Under the Sun is the title of the outstanding contemporary jazz release on Patrick's Song Factory from the masterful keyboardist/composer Patrick Bradley. His initial solo release, Come Rain or Shine, appeared four years ago serving as the artist's formal introduction. On Under the Sun the artist has emancipated all his enormous creative chops to craft a modern tour de force that provides gratifying classy excellence throughout. 
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...
He beckons on the cover, seated at the piano, an imposing figure in a yellow Moroccan shirt and cap. The CD opens to show him grinning and seated at the keys. The liner notes are by the author of the best biography of Thelonious Monk. The recording is a solid set of compositions, all but one written by him and many dating back decades. At 84, Randy is still going strong, after more than a half century of composing and performing. More than 50 CDs and albums in, he still has something to say, as
Returning is the third CD for FMR Records from Bob Gluck. I fully enjoyed his previous effort Something Quiet which came out earlier this year. While the similarities are there, this latest effort in my mind, is a step farther for Gluck. The trio format features Gluck's virtuoso piano work, the tight supportive punctuation of Michael Bisio's bass work and the incredible dynamics of Dean Sharp on drums. This configuration drives the relationships of dynamics and rhythm and the interchange that mu
When Ron Carter writes album notes for another bass player, I take notice. After hearing this album, I think even non-bassists will agree Kenny Davis deserves the praise. Whether soloing or under the top line with well-chosen harmonic support, his articulation is clean, his intonation dead-on, his tone rich and full. Unusual for even a bass-led group, the bowed solo on the heartfelt "Gone too Soon" makes it the date's best track. Davis goes to bluesy plucking on "Before Sunrise," and it's anothe
The Captain Black Big Band, led by pianist Orrin Evans, is a high-intensity, swinging affair featuring a number of top soloists from the jazz scenes of New York and Philadelphia. Recorded during three different live performances in 2010, the group features a rotating cast of thirty-eight musicians over seven tracks. Despite the lack of a cohesive unit, the disc maintains stunning consistency with undeniable spirit and musical drive. From the opening "Art of War," a blistering, boppish piece feat
All Things Must Converge is a memorable listening experience, and the orginal jazz compositions are well-conceived, lively, and enjoyable listening. Al Garcia plays guitars, and other instruments, and these songs are his creation.Al Garcia has a big, lovely talent, and it is much in evidence with this collection. The CD features eight songs. They include "Labyrinth," "The Eternal Cycle," the memorable "Lingua Franca" with its intriguing harmony, "A Distant Mirror," "Two Shakes," "As Luck Would H
Acclaimed vocalist Gretchen Parlato presents an ambitious follow-up to 2009's In a Dream with The Lost and Found, a smorgasbord of vocal jazz styling over a diverse set of tracks. Along with associate producer Robert Glasper, Parlato reaches far and wide with the aid of a first rate band. Pianist Taylor Eigsti, bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Kendrick Scott create ultra-hip grooves while maintaining a sensitive rapport with Parlato's soft-spoken approach. Bassist Alan Hampton—who does a convin
This is Walter Beasley's fifteenth album which was released on October twenty-six of 2010. This album was produced by Chris "Big Dog" Davis and Phil Davis. Walter Beasley is a best-selling contemporary jazz artist of today. He is a recording artist, performer, full professor at Berklee College of Music, performance consultant, and music entrepreneur (founder and CEO of Affable Publishing and Affable Records) who hit number one on the contemporary jazz charts. He plays the soprano/alto saxophone
The Fred Hess Big Band has a winner on its hands with the innovative big band CD collection, Into The Open. The collection shines with its intricate approaches and right-on performances.With the exception of the Jean Bardy/Denny Goodhew song, "See You" (Illuma Soma), all other songs are by composer Fred Hess. There are eight songs with a total playing time of 65:27 minutes. The imaginative song list contains such big band gems as "Sooz Blooz," "Home Bass," "See You" (Illuma Soma), "Norman's Gold
Julian Waterfall Pollack is a keeper. Though in his early 20s, he already has enough technique and imagination to hold attention, and he swings with the best. The opening, "Summertime," demonstrates all of the above. After a slow bluesy statement of the melody, there's a repeat in double-time with insistent single-note harmony in the left hand. Double-time prevails. Runs flash by. The left hand challenges the right in a fugal pattern with cross rhythms. Your foot needs to tap, but may not be abl
Janet Planet has been a jazz musician for over twenty-five years. Words taken from her pres kit, "She is a productive recording artist, performer, teacher and clinician. She has been self-produced and managed for the majority or her career. Jazziz Magazine hailed her as a 'Voice of the New Jazz Culture...amazingly powerful with seemingly limitless expression'." In her biography it states that she has performed with legends such as Jackie and Roy, George Benson, and her mentor Nancy King, and sha
Point of No Return is truly an exceptional journey in jazz listening with its original compositions by pianist Michel Reis. Listening to Michel Reis is akin to listening to a most perfect combination of jazz stylings by such pianists as Danilo Perez, Andre Previn, and Bill Evans, topped by the special creative touch of Michel Reis. Michel Reis has an unique jazz piano sound, and his place in the realm of jazz pianists is assured, as heard in this fine collection. This CD collection will discover
Cote D'Azur is a fascinating collection of jazz music that will light up your listening time with much joy, entertainment, and fun. The musicians are very imaginative in both their solo work and group work.What makes this an outstanding jazz CD is its unusual blend of jazz motifs, world music motifs, and the influence of contemporary French jazz. There are ten great original songs in the collection. Among them are found "Cote D'Azur," Le Calypso," "Bandol," "Sainte Maxime," "Postcard From Cannes
Big City Circus is one of those recordings that defies expectations in more ways than one. Looking at the bass-less trio instrumentation, I assumed this CD was going to be dominated by free-ish or avant-garde type sounds. This turned out not to be the case. Yennoir, best known for his work with Boston's great little big band, The Either/Orchestra, and his trio – while certainly on the quirky side – essentially maintain a reserved, swinging sound throughout “Big City Circus.” Yennoir's sound on t
The seemingly endless parade of very worthwhile jazz recordings by artists I've never heard of continues with the Britton Brothers' debut CD, Uncertain Living. Ben and John Britton play the saxophone and trumpet, respectively, and have made a name for themselves in academic jazz circles while remaining relatively unknown to the jazz-listening public at large. “Uncertain Living” shows that the Brittons and their band are clearly ready for prime time – the playing here is marvelous and the writing