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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.

Visual artist, pianist, vocalist, and composer Meredith d'Ambrosio has quietly been releasing critically acclaimed recordings since 1978.  Never one to push recordings on her fans, By Myself is her first release since 2006.  This new 2011 recording features, exclusively, the songs of Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz and is framed only by her voice and sparse piano playing.
Tosh Sheridan likes to play nylon-string acoustic guitar, and this album displays that in abundance. Now, before you dismiss this as wine bar or bookstore music, give it a listen. You may be surprised at his versatility, his technique, or his evident charm. He takes a baker's dozen of standards, blues, and even pop tunes, makes them do tricks in a leisurely fashion, and teams with other guitarists on nearly half the pieces to provide fascinating listening for jazz guitar fans.
If I lived in Boston, I would have already heard of Yoko Miwa. She is a mainstay of the jazz scene there, and her teaching at the Berklee College of Music places her in the center of musical activity in Boston. She also plays dynamite piano, with a left hand that could crush a Volkswagen. Perhaps the rest of the country needs to be clued in.
Ron Hart and Gary Fitzgerald are old friends from the 1970s when they worked in a quartet together playing clubs in Cleveland, Ohio. The years of familiarity bring a relaxed and comfortable collaboration on this set of five standards, five originals and one creative jazz makeover of an old Percy Mayfield R&B tune made famous in the 1960s by Ray Charles, "Hit the Road, Jack."  This duo proves that you don't need a guy with sticks to keep time, and the absence of the drums heightens the clarity of the remaining voices.
Versatile alto saxophonist Pete Robbins enjoys recording his ensembles within the live format. His sixth album as a leader also represents his third consecutive live recording, influenced by his residence and subsequent visits to Copenhagen. Moreover, his European band aka the Transatlantic Quartet, imparts the open-air architectures often evidenced by the Scandinavian progressive-jazz contingents amid slight inferences to the breadth and lightness of folk music. However, Robbins' previous outings lean more towards the high-octane strata, including knotty funk grooves and tricky time signatures. And he's a superb technician, possessing a fertile imagination.
One of the more exciting and inventive improvising artists, Slovenian guitarist Samo Salamon's stylistic modus operandi, coupled with massive chops has earned him prominence within global, progressive-jazz circles. He seems comfortable with the flexibility of smaller ensembles, highlighted here with the dual bass-less trio formats, performing with like-minded and revered US and European musicians.
The Italian band names itself after a popular plum brandy, to correlate the refined or perhaps slick components that augment its broad repertoire. With its third album, the artists' continue on a path that integrates memorable storylines within a homogeneous old school/new school line of attack, where Eastern and Western folk melodies, radiant prog-rock, and nods to Jean Luc Ponty era fusion come to mind. Sporting a signature sound, featuring horns, violin, and harmonica coalescing with knotty guitar-driven time signatures, the musicians' fashion a mark of authority that has earned them accolades among critics and prog aficionados.
Spanning several decades, progressive-jazz and improvisational icon Anthony Braxton has been no stranger to duet settings amid his large and small ensemble aggregations. Therefore, this 2-CD program recorded live in 1989 is the artist's fruitful collaboration with bassist Buell Neidlinger, noted for his work with Cecil Taylor, Steve Lacy, and educational duties at the New England Conservatory.
Based in Washington D.C., the musicians bring varied experience to the table amid stints with notable free-jazz artists, nouveau rockers, and prominent jazz-based improvisers. The duo's second album is an exploratory, yet affable excursion into parts unknown via the improvisational nature of the program. With fuzz-toned atmospherics, staggered flows and fleeting themes, the music offers a hearty forum for one's imagination to wander. However, there's uncanny logic within the grand schema, often devised on loosely based storylines, linear choruses and blitzing interchanges.
Ido Bukelman is an active Israeli free jazz performer, recording artist, composer and co-founder of OutNow Recordings. He plays with a sense of serious exploration, without frivolity, whether the tune is melancholy or frenzied. Cracked Song is one of four recordings Bukelman released in 2011, this one unique in that he supplemented his usual trio with cellist Yuval Mesner. Mesner adds some darkness to the sound and, of course, the more flowing lines of bowed instrument.
In the liners, producer Martin Davidson provides anecdotes, interview quotes and other relevant information surrounding the premise for these vintage tracks, recorded under the leadership of the late soprano saxophone great Steve Lacy.  Spanning previously unreleased and reissued material from 1967 through 1973, Lacy performs with iconoclastic modern jazz artists such as trumpeter Enrico Rava, vibist Karl Berger and others.   And in most instances, the audio processing is quite good as the album offers a comprehensive sampling of Lacy's avant-garde proclivities cast in various ensembles, including eminent synthesizer improviser Richard Teitelbaum who credits Lacy with being his..."first and maybe main…
With such a geographically visual image for an album title, vibraphonist Tim Collins leads his quartet through six original compositions and two covers where one's mental imagery can conjure various sublime locations through the tonal colors that this ensemble strives for and attains. Collins' quartet – pianist Danny Grissett, bassist Matt Clohesy, and drummer Tommy Crane – assert their energy immediately on "TNT," the very energetic and appropriately- named opener.  Collins' sound benefits from Grissett's accompaniment, which propels the melody while Crane explores his entire kit.  Crane's tom-tom runs and cymbal splashes help evoke a scene of being at sea. …
Perhaps one of the more important drummers in global improvisation circles, Tom Rainey's discography as a sideman, for example, could read like a history of postmodern jazz, spanning conventional and nonconforming practices.  He's a fluid drummer who subdivides the rhythmical element into fragments while tap-dancing across the kit, shaded with lyrical qualities and offbeat digressions, as the list goes on.  On this trio date, he aligns with cutting-edge artists Mary Halvorson (guitar) and Ingrid Laubrock (saxophones), for a series of loosely designed improvisational jaunts, where space and counter-maneuvers are but a few of many rewarding attributes evidenced throughout.
One of the premier modern jazz trumpeters, Wallace Roney's Home fuses postmodernism with a classic 60's Blue Note Records stylization and touts the best of many jazz worlds on this superfine 2012 release.  Over the years, Roney has developed a stylistic realm of sound amid inferences to Miles Davis's bluesy intonations.  The band, including Roney's talented brother and saxophonist Antoine, glide through original compositions and works by renowned jazz artists.
24.02.2012

Rhyton by Rhyton

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With persuasive sonic assaults, ping-ponging stereo effects, and a web-like maze of improvisation, this trio tenders a modern psychedelic soundscape with avant-garde like tendencies. They shade the proceedings with a renegade New York City downtown aura, featuring phased-out guitar parts, booming bass ostinatos, pumping rhythms and dabs of chaos via the slow to medium-tempo grooves.
I was concerned when I saw the front of the CD, "Paquito D'Rivera Presents Alex Brown, Pianist." It's nice for a big-name musician to help out the new kid, but does he really need an endorsement? Is he that bad? Fortunately, I was dead wrong. Brown is one of the finest young pianists I've come across, and this debut album is nothing short of outstanding.
Rarely, only very rarely, is a recording released that brings together a host of the greatest jazz musicians on which they all play to the highest of standards.  There have been more than a ton of recorded amalgamations of all-star jazz groupings going all the way back to the Jazz At The Philharmonic concerts of Norman Granz.  The end result of those kinds of producer-inspired recordings usually finds a host of mismatched musicians all trying to find common ground.  While there were more hits than misses on the JATP fests, groupings such as those by Arista and Columbia records in…
Composer and pianist Michiel Braam has largely remained under the radar here, but he's a big-time figure in Europe, where he has led the notable Bik Bent Braam band and several other groups. His latest effort is the ensemble Hybrid 10tet, which makes its recording debut with On The Move, an album made up of songs inspired by the venues played by the band during a recent tour.
Vocalist Rene Marie's seventh CD as a leader, Voice Of My Beautiful Country, borrows heavily from Americana as well as, what appears on almost every jazz vocalist's recording recently, a number of standards drawn from the wider rock world.  The best part of the recording is how Marie proves there is great depth that can be mined from songs many of us grew up on.  "O Shenandoah," for example, gets an extended treatment that is so free flowing and open to possibilities one can't help but imagine it's this arrangement of the folk song getting called up on gigs. 
This is an album that the aficionados of bop will thoroughly enjoy. The ensemble gathered here are first class musicians who ply their trade with both joyful abandon and sensitivity. The session was done in a day giving it the feel of extemporaneous 'swing' as the glorious bands of Bird et al exhibited in the heyday of jazz. There is bop from top to bottom, with each tune carefully chosen. "Groovin' High" is a prime example of jazz as it should be played. Pfeifer's piano opens matters like a cool breeze.