John Vincent Barron

John Vincent Barron

The Massachusetts-based Mill City Trio stirs up a quiet brand of intensity on Looking Up, with the somewhat unusual instrumentation of drums and two guitars. Drummer Anthony D'Anna provides a delicate, yet driving foundation for guitarists Jamie Dunphy and Greg Passler who display a like-minded approach to jazz guitar. Exchanging solo lines full of quick wit and swinging exuberance, the two revive the spirit of celebrated guitar duo outings with the likes Herb Ellis and Joe Pass on original piec
Featuring a stellar cast of Brooklyn-based musicians, G.R.A.S.S.—the Gowanus Reggae and Ska Society—take on the challenge of reworking the classic sounds of Bob Marley and the Wailers. Their self produced release, G.R.A.S.S. on Fire brings an instrumental, jazz leaning perspective to Marley's 1973 major label debut Catch a Fire. Although void of lyrical content, the ensemble, led by electric bassist J.A. Granelli and keyboardist Nate Shaw, captures the essence of Marley's politically charged mes
New York saxophonist Benjamin Drazen doesn't waste any time letting a listener know what his musical intent is all about. From the opening moments of Inner Flights, his debut release as a leader, the fiery alto and soprano saxophonist swings unrepentantly with blistering lines and a bold, Jackie McLean-inspired sounds. Along with a high-energy rhythm section, Drazen delivers a sturdy set of his straight-ahead originals and a couple of standards. At ease with fast tempos, Drazen careens effortles
It's a bold endeavor to believe you can invoke freshness and vitality into thinly worn standards like "Body and Soul," "All the Things You Are" and "My Funny Valentine." Trumpeter Cuong Vu meets the challenge head-on with imaginative results on Leaps of Faith, a quartet outing with wide-open improvisatory exploration, melding consonant lyricism with chaotic tumult. Vu, a Seattle-based musician who has worked with a host of renowned musical personalities, such as guitarist Pat Metheny, stands out
Vocalist/pianist Peter Eldridge, perhaps best known for his work with the Grammy winning New York Voices, delivers a Latin-inspired collection of sleek songwriting with Mad Heaven, his first venture for Palmetto Records. Following in the footsteps of his critically acclaimed, self-produced 2005 release Decorum, Eldridge offers up sophisticated arrangements and clever, personalized lyrics, accompanied by a top notch crew of jazz sidemen. Eldridge's music finds comfort in a variety of Brazilian gr
On The Prairie Prophet, saxophonist Ernest Dawkins and his New Horizon Ensemble pay tribute to friend and mentor Fred Anderson, saxophonist and owner of the Velvet Lounge in Chicago who passed away on June 24, 2010. Dawkins and company traverse a diverse landscape of musical moods, from jubilant buoyancy ("Hymn for a Hip King"), to intense spontaneity ("Sketches"), to lyrical ensemble statements ("Balladesque," "Shades of the Prairie Prophet"). Standout soloing is in abundance throughout with st
Toronto-area businessman Mario Romano studied music formally in the 1970s before being lured into the more lucrative world of cement and construction. Without ever losing his passion for jazz piano, Romano has managed to maintain a healthy dose of chops and a keen sense of arranging. Valentina, his debut recording for the Canadian label Alma Records, features a familiar set of standards and a couple of original pieces in an acoustic quartet setting. Top-notch Toronto musicians Pat LaBarbera (ten
Power Play is a disc of hard-driving, intense, full-throttle, straight-ahead jazz. It's not that saxophonist Ralph Bowen isn't capable of subdued tender moments—such moments are certainly present throughout this disc—, it's just that the renowned veteran of the East Coast scene, in both his playing and composing, happily leans to the aggressive side of modern, progressive jazz. From his days in the 1980s with young-lion super group Out of The Blue, to his more recent stints with pianists Horace
For the last ten years or so, guitarist Samo Salamon has been making a name for himself throughout the European jazz market as an inventive improviser, composer and leader of diverse small group ensembles, often featuring American notables such as saxophonists Mark Turner and David Binney. A tireless self-promoter, the Slovenian native has been creating a buzz with critics and fans of jazz guitar. His latest release, Almost Almond, is an inticing trio release sure to further the guitarist's repu
New York-based pianist Alon Nechushtan has worked as a sideman with the likes of Frank London and Baya Kouyate and is the founder of the quintet TALAT, a critically acclaimed jazz-meets-klezmer ensemble. Nechushtan makes a bold statement with Words Beyond, his first release as leader of a progressive trio featuring bassist Francois Moutin and drummer Dan Weiss. The disc is a hard swinging, soulful collection of nine of the pianist's original compositions. Nechushtan has the ability to reshape a
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