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Various Jazz Styles - CD Reviews (255)

Three veritable jazz heavyweights align for a briskly moving and thoroughly modern program, steeped in galvanizing thematic encounters. Trombonist Conrad Herwig, heralded for his hip 'Latinizations' of jazz standards amid a progressive outline, exercises ample doses of pop and sizzle throughout many of these oscillating pieces. And the lack of a bassist engenders a musical climate that offers a loose, open-air foundation for improvisation, sparked by all-universe drummer Jack DeJohnette's sweeping rolls and polyrhythmic timekeeping.
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.
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.
Highly-regarded saxophonist and composer Jack Wilkins morphs a holistic viewpoint derived from Appalachian Mountains culture and spins a hip, Americana vibe into the modern jazz vernacular.  Where other projects of a similar nature fail due to superfluous content or perhaps lean too heavily on one genre, Wilkins' mood-evoking sentiment and zesty arrangements proclaim a well-rounded scenario.
One of the irrefutable greats in the modern and avant-garde jazz idioms, Brooklyn, N.Y., reared drummer Andrew Cyrille delves into his Haitian lineage on this harmonious quintet date for the Finnish, TUM Records label. In effect, the drummer effortlessly aligns jazz music with the Spanish, French and Latin influenced Haitian stylizations, spanning ceremonial, carnival and indigenous folk components. And as the world music revolution has intertwined countless genres, the music of Haiti often seems neglected within the consortium of jazz-fusion endeavors, largely concentrated in African, Asian, Middle Eastern or Latin foundations.
Currently residing in New York City, keyboardist John Escreet hails from the U.K and professes a novel outlook, while making a significant impression with critics and progressive-jazz advocates based on five largely acclaimed albums. The artist once again aligns with the crème de la crème of modern jazz adventurists, including saxophonist David Binney on Exception to the Rule.
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.
Monika Herzig is a supremely talented jazz pianist/composer/arranger who was born in a small village in Germany. Upon obtaining the chance to come to the United States on a student exchange program, she seized the opportunity to further her jazz studies and now has merited a prestigious position teaching music at Indiana University. Her new enchanting CD is titled Come With Me, and includes a DVD which features several live performances and penetrating background information and interviews with both herself and fellow musicians. The CD exhibits a profound harmonic density with the music manifesting itself on many levels; much like…
In the music press, much (perhaps too much) has been made of the need for American jazz musicians to preserve traditional jazz sounds. Never mind that the truest tradition of jazz is one of constant change and rebirth, many use this historical preservation imperative as an excuse to simply regurgitate the past over and over until the listening public is inundated with CDs titled 'So-And-So Plays The Standards.' In fact, what jazz really needs to remain relevant in the 21st Century is original compositions, and a deeper, cross-cutting understanding of the myriad ways that contemporary musical styles relate to jazz…
The story keeps unfolding for this fabled trio that released its first outing in 1978. With rest stops along the way, the musicians' synergy remains as a source of amazement, coupled with their perpetual creative sparks that sculpt a route embedded with fresh concepts and supreme musicianship. 
Even by modern-day standards, jazz piano trios are not customarily designed with sheer firepower and a gargantuan rhythmic presence.   On this album set for USA release in June 2011, Japanese pianist Hiromi fuses her energized musical persona with revered artists, bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon Phillips. 
We had to share a table with a stranger but it was ok -- he bought us a few drinks. It was in “The Blue Room” of the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans, circa 1975 and Ray Charles was the headliner. It’s been almost forty years and I can’t remember what we had for dinner or if there was an opening act. I can remember that Ray Charles was still at the top of his game. The Raeletts were there and his stage band performed to perfection as the crossover genius dazzled the crowd with a collection of hits
This album marks a milestone in revered session drummer Adam Cruz’ career as he celebrates his debut as a leader. And he’s supported by instrumentalists who reside at the forefront of progressive-jazz. As a drummer, Cruz imparts a musicality steeped in subtle dynamics and snappy grooves while offering sensitive accompaniment throughout. He’s an accelerator as well, via the Latin-jazz element, dancing rim-shots, and polyrhythmic fills. From a holistic standpoint, he doesn’t steal the show, an
On his debut effort as a solo artist, New York City-based alto saxophonist Curtis MacDonald doesn’t blaze new trails, but offers a holistic agenda that probes the mind and offers a hearty glimpse into his compositional acumen. One of the constants here resides in his penchant for adjusting tonalities and mode of delivery for a particular segment or motif. In essence, these arrangements are designed with firmly planted emotive characteristics.With regal horns choruses and subtle hues, MacDonal
It isn't often I get over-the-top excited about a new CD, but when I received a press release regarding Disney Jazz Volume 1: Everybody Wants to Be a Cat, my heart began to beat wildly. Remembering some very fine Disney interpretations by some of our finest i.e., Bill Evans, Louie Armstrong, Brubeck, Coltrane, Miles, my anticipation was not misguided. After all, Disney has delighted countless trillions of viewers with his cartoons, films and Magic Kingdom, but to understate the music that has accompanied the optical delight of everything Disney would be simply ludicrous. 
An electric guitar is not the first instrument that comes to mind when someone thinks about Latin music, but the idea is not new. Carlos Santana did it in the 70's fusing Rock with his Latin heritage. The difference is that John fuses jazz and Latin music playing the electric guitar.A native of Walla Walla, Washington, John is an experienced guitar player. It was his experience in the 70s of teaching English in Latin America that influenced his music to this day. And, you may hear that influence
One of the ways jazz has grown is by absorbing the sounds and rhythms of other cultures. African and Latin American music were strong early influences. Today, India is making waves. Since classical Indian music has always included extensive improvisation, it seems it might have happened sooner. However, while spirituals, rumbas and African drums readily appeal to Western ears, Indian raga is a more difficult fit—its scales more exotic, its rhythms more austerely complex. But now, saxophonist R
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