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Find full CD and individual track reviews of your favorite jazz artists right here, and hopefully you also discover some new artists to add to your collection as well.

Tommy Vig has created an original, strangely intuitive, and ultimately satisfying big band. This music is avant garde, and dissonance is integral to their vision. That said, Vig's pieces are about as catchy as avant garde big bands could conceivably be. Fast unison parts are balanced with clear melodies, and rounded out with explorative soloing and inventive charts.
Lucky's Boy is a 2011 release by veteran New England pianist Pamela Hines. Hines is joined by the stellar rhythm section of John Lockwood on bass and Les Harris, Jr. on drums. Also present is April Hall on vocals, whose bluesy style fits well with the proceedings. The entire set is devoted to Hines' originals.
Rarely does an ensemble come along that has its own vision, one that is rooted in the music the members heard around them and grew up with, yet is still original in conception. That is truly the case with the Montalban Quintet. One of the first to incorporate indie music conceptualizations placed within jazz frameworks, this ensemble has staked out a unique path.
Evening In Vermont is the ninth CD by the straight-ahead jazz quartet, TRP (The Reese Project). Featuring three members of the Reese clan, Tom play flutes, Laurie is on cello, and Kirk on piano, rounded out by the percussion set work of Dave Young, the ensemble plays a collection of original, covers by jazz legends like Wayne Shorter and Roland Kirk, and folk songs.
In this, the age of being able to record your own CD in your basement, the adage, “just because you can record your own CD doesn’t mean you should,” has never been more true, especially in the smooth jazz realm. The market has been flooded with, let’s face it, tons of just terrible recordings, mostly done by artists playing all the parts themselves on their keyboard workstations. None of the above applies to the new CD by saxophonist Neamen, So Free.
03.12.2011

Bridges by Tin / Bag

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This is ethereal, contemplative music played beautifully by the unusual combination of trumpet and guitar. Kris Tiner's tone is warm and full, and unusually gentle for a young brass player. He takes the lead most of the way, but Mike Baggetta's presence is continuous. Fitting the mood of the album, the guitarist often uses long-sustain sparsely-placed notes, whether accenting Tiner's solos or soloing himself. (Classical music fans will recognize the influence of composer Morton Feldman.) "Bobo" opens with a mournful wail strongly reminiscent of Miles' Sketches of Spain. The entire track may remind you of that album, but it's quieter…
Donovan Mixon has seen some of the world in the last two decades, and the influences show in Culmination. After teaching at the Berklee College of Music, the guitarist spent seven years in Italy, then ten in Turkey, bouncing between freelance work and teaching. Now he's back, with a group of mostly Turkish musicians, and the result is a mix of chamber jazz, world music, and bop that is intense, yet quiet and film-like in atmosphere.
02.12.2011

Reach by ESP

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The Bad Plus and the Esbjörn Svensson Trio, a few years ago, blew the walls down when it came to how modern musical elements could be fused into jazz and still be true to the history and culture of America’s classical music. Traveling down that same road comes E.S.P. The best way to think of this group is cool jazz meets groove. Their hip swinging lines are fused with an emphasis on the beat and their melodies are just cool enough to have been composed back in the 1950s. The result is some of the freshest new jazz heard since…
Vocalist and composer Michael Franks has had a long career of which anyone would be envious. Since his launching pad hit “Popsicle Toes,” Franks has consistently released strong jazz oriented recordings featuring the best jazz musicians in both backing and featured roles. Like Kenny Rankin, Franks found a unique way to present his soft pop without ever sounding dated. Time Together is yet another fantastic Franks release featuring the best jazz musicians sweetly swinging behind Franks’ eye-winking lyrics.
Self-taught native Washingtonian Jeff Logan today lives in Maryland, near where we grew up. While he has a day job as an administrator in Prince George’s County detention center, Logan has opened concerts for artists such as Martha & The Vandellas and Junior Walker & The All-Stars. This, his seventh release, finds Logan playing all of the instruments as well as releasing the CD on his own BASS-mint Records. With 12 tracks, 10 of them originals, Logan has recorded a sweet recording of subdued instrumental R&B.
Player A is a loose collection of studio musicians out of Nashville who have come together under the direction of keyboardist, producer and Creative Soul label President Eric Copland. While all of the musicians on the disc are heavy hitters, there is no way they are household names unless you like to read liner notes on the records of others because it’s there where you’ll find their names. The cast of musicians rotates and revolves depending on the composition, but the one stable element throughout is Copeland’s playing, his compositions and arrangements; besides the two covers, one by the Brothers…
  EnCore, as its title suggests, is the second outing by Fred Fried and Core. Listening to this record, one can see why Fred Fried wished to work with this group for a second time—the band, comprised of Fried on eight string guitar, Michael Lavoie on bass and Miki Matsuki on drums, interacts with natural ease and their individual styles are matched well.
Primarily known as a session musician, pianist Eddie Gip Noble has worked with artists such as Gerald Albright, Patti Austin, Wayne Henderson, Etta James and Johnny “Guitar” Watson. In The Lite Of Things is Noble’s second release, following 2004’s Love T.K.O. Like a number of keyboard oriented albums by Kim Pensyl, this recording was totally done by Noble, playing all of the parts on a keyboard workstation. In this case it’s the Korg Triton Studio Musicworkstation Sampling Keyboard. There is one exception. On “I Don’t Want To Be Alone Tonight,” Noble adds a guitarist and vocalist to great effect. The…
To jazz lovers the name of saxophonist and flutist Jeff Coffin should not be new. In addition to his 14 years spent as a member of Bela Fleck’s band, Coffin has worked with others like Dave Matthews and spent a lot of time working in studios for artists like Delbert McClinton, Brooks & Dunn and Marc Broussard. For this three-time Grammy winner, Coffin’s newest recording is a two-disc set gathered from live concerts in Illinois and Texas with his musicians while on tour in 2010 and 2011.
Founder and Director of the Program in Jazz Studies, and Associate Director of the Program in Musical Performance at Princeton University, Anthony Branker also directs ensembles and teaches courses in jazz theory, improvisation and composition, jazz performance practice in historical and cultural context, jazz composition, and jazz history. A U.S. Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in Tallinn, Estonia, Branker has previously been a member of the faculty at the Manhattan School of Music, Rutgers University, Hunter College, Ursinus College, and the New Jersey Summer Arts Institute.
Philippines born, Boston raised, now New York based guitarist, composer, arranger, producer and teacher Ron Jackson has spent time playing with a number of different artists. Among these are James Spaulding, Taj Majal, The Boys Choir of Harlem, Cecil Brooks III, Jimmy McGriff, Cissy Houston, Ralph Peterson, Russell Malone, Larry Coryell, Don Braden, Benny Golson, Randy Weston, Ron Carter, and Oliver Lake, to list just a few.
28.11.2011

Luz de La Noche

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 In a day and age when most musical artists become prisoners of stilted genre-defining labels, Argentinean Florencia Ruiz eschews categorization. On her first U.S. release Luz de La Noche (Light of the Night), a studio recording from Adventure Music, Ruiz blends rock, jazz, and MPB elements to forge a truly original sound. Be forewarned: If you were expecting tango nouveau, then you're on the wrong train.
Bassist, cellist and composer Buell Neidlinger, born in 1936, came up by playing with Herbie Nichols, Oran “Hot Lips” Page, and Vic Dickenson, among others. With his apprenticeships done, Neidlinger started working with artists like Tony Bennett, Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Rex Stewart and for seven years with pianist Cecil Taylor. After a stint in Sir John Barbirolli’s Houston Symphony, Neidlinger returned to New York in 1965 to work with composers like George Crumb and John Cage. Further work included time with the Berkshire Music Center Orchestra, one Igor Stravinsky’s chamber ensembles, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. A move to…
Music is a funny business. There are so many incredibly talented musicians that never get the respect they are due, and conversely there are a number of musicians of rather average ability who get way more than there 15 minutes of fame. On the front end of that equation is the incredibly talented jazz pianist Sir Roland Hanna.
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.