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FEATURED INTERVIEWS

  • Law school creates more than a few challenges. There are hours upon hours of studying, grueling hours interning at law firms, and financial bills that need to find a way to get paid. For many law students the adversity is…
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  •  New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton has never conformed to anyone or anything. Reading his Facebook posts and Twitter “tweets”, you sort of get an idea about how un-traditional he is. He speaks his mind and, should someone attempt to challenge…
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  • Born in Dallas, Texas and now happily domiciled in Los Angeles, bass player Edwin Livingston could be described as being on the crest of a wave.  His CD 'Transitions' was released in late 2010 and when recently I caught up…
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  • Kem Owens
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    Adekemi Owens, known professionally and affectionately to music fans as "Kem," has come a long way from Nashville, Tennessee to his current hometown of Detroit, Michigan. So, one figures that is why this musical genius has written and performed songs…
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MORE INTERVIEWS

The scrolling notes of pianist of Yelena Echemoff embroider imagery soundscapes that soothe, excite and entrap the listener in an experience beyond earthly dimensions. Her latest album Flying Steps features Peter Erskine on drums and Darek Oleszkiewicz on double bass, and establishes Echemoff as an engaging pianist and composer of ambient bliss.

Aspects Of Oscar is one of the finest tributes to the master pianist Oscar Peterson that I have ever heard. The fact that it's under the leadership of my favorite bassist, Dave Young and features a band of talented Canadian musicians makes it all the more enjoyable.

Dave Young's professional relationship with jazz giant Oscar Peterson spanned three decades during which he played in the Oscar Peterson Trio in appearances all over the world up until Peterson's death. "To my way of thinking, Dave Young is one of the most talented bassists on the jazz scene. His harmonic sympatico and unerring sense of time have kept him in the foreground of the jazz picture." --Dr. Oscar Peterson

Many Dutch progressive-jazz musicians tend to inject dashes of humor into the grand scheme of things, evidenced by Talking Cows' witty and somewhat bawdy video on its website, also noted on the amusing album cover art.  Yet, the quartet takes a no nonsense musical approach and cuts to the chase with vigorous intent.  Vibrant and often multidirectional, they exude a persuasive small ensemble outlook with contiguous re-engineering processes and a brute force mode of execution.

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.

Contemporary Jazz is good for crossover and for new listeners of the art form, however true  jazz lovers definitely appreciate it when an artist can take it back to straight ahead jazz.
Turkish drummer Ferit Odman has done just that; he has taken listeners back to the classic sound with the results being nothing short of entertaining. This is the type of compilation you would love to use as a wind down as you sit at the fireplace with your loved one during the cold months. Don't rule it out to accompany you and your family on a relaxing rides out of town either.

Acclaimed pianist Luis Perdomo benefits from a dream rhythm section that exercises sympathetic support on this rather zealous trio date.   He's a first-rate improviser, and there's no mystery as to why he's an in-demand session artist.   On this album, Perdomo fuses a restless spirit with a highly rhythmic architecture.  His artistry is modeled on power, grace and shifting tides amid a poetry-in-motion gait, encapsulated by sweeping runs and unanticipated time changes.  Here, the band locks in and punches out a series of sizzling movements, contrasting the temperate subtleties.

Finnish pianist/composer Heikki Sarmanto is a legendary figure within Scandinavian progressive-jazz circles. And this 1972 big band reissue also restates his hip-ness and forward-looking proclivities amid his productions for stage and cinema. Among many rewarding factors, "Everything Is It" has not lost any steam over the years, and is an adventurous undertaking that forges a progressive slant, but incorporates the snazzy, pop shaded big band arrangements of the era.

David Budway is joined by Branford Marsalis and Marcus Strickland on his CD, A New Kiss

Traipsing from somber lulls to jubilant bursts, trumpeter Mike Field is a force of nature flint by a mix of bop and swing with schisms of improvisation. His new CD, Phoenix Rising from the Ashes features Carlie Howell on upright bass, Dave Chan on drums, Paul Metcalfe on tenor saxophone, and Matt Newton on piano. Produced by Field, the recording is a lavish assortment of intertwining swirls and a tussle of flourishes tethered to a sprinting stride.

The Steve Hall Quintet mingle blues with elements soul, funk, modern bop, and straight ahead jazz on their new album, Cruisin' On Burnside