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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.

Sean Sullivan wants to do it all and wants to give listeners everything in his musical arsenal on Square One. The New York-based singer, songwriter, and guitarist delivers no fewer than 21 songs (17 on the disc and four bonus downloads) that showcase his considerable talents. A two-time winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, Sullivan brings five original numbers to the album, ranging from the catchy jazz-funk title song to the soft island-flavored “Summer Rain.” Sullivan then swings loos
The Fred Hess Big Band has a winner on its hands with the innovative big band CD collection, Into The Open. The collection shines with its intricate approaches and right-on performances.With the exception of the Jean Bardy/Denny Goodhew song, "See You" (Illuma Soma), all other songs are by composer Fred Hess. There are eight songs with a total playing time of 65:27 minutes. The imaginative song list contains such big band gems as "Sooz Blooz," "Home Bass," "See You" (Illuma Soma), "Norman's Gold
Julian Waterfall Pollack is a keeper. Though in his early 20s, he already has enough technique and imagination to hold attention, and he swings with the best. The opening, "Summertime," demonstrates all of the above. After a slow bluesy statement of the melody, there's a repeat in double-time with insistent single-note harmony in the left hand. Double-time prevails. Runs flash by. The left hand challenges the right in a fugal pattern with cross rhythms. Your foot needs to tap, but may not be abl
Janet Planet has been a jazz musician for over twenty-five years. Words taken from her pres kit, "She is a productive recording artist, performer, teacher and clinician. She has been self-produced and managed for the majority or her career. Jazziz Magazine hailed her as a 'Voice of the New Jazz Culture...amazingly powerful with seemingly limitless expression'." In her biography it states that she has performed with legends such as Jackie and Roy, George Benson, and her mentor Nancy King, and sha
Point of No Return is truly an exceptional journey in jazz listening with its original compositions by pianist Michel Reis. Listening to Michel Reis is akin to listening to a most perfect combination of jazz stylings by such pianists as Danilo Perez, Andre Previn, and Bill Evans, topped by the special creative touch of Michel Reis. Michel Reis has an unique jazz piano sound, and his place in the realm of jazz pianists is assured, as heard in this fine collection. This CD collection will discover
The first cut here, "Espelho de tua força," has the expectant vibe of great things to come. What does follow is Brazilian-tinged jazz driven by consistently precise and colorful percussion--friendly but not exceptional. The flute is light and fluffy, the keyboard electronically mellow, the bass plump and springy. Alexandre Cunha provides the main excitement. He's a wonderful percussionist, fluent in the idioms of both American jazz and Latin rhythms, and active, but careful to fit in as he prod
Creative drive demands new sounds and techniques. With so many terrific jazz pianists recording nowadays, it's tough to satisfy that drive—tough even to be noticed, unless you are the second coming of Art Tatum. It’s tempting to try a new approach—maybe a piano and percussion duo? Dave Anderson and Mike Wingo have given it a shot.Wingo produces a spectrum of colors not often heard accompanying a piano. His exotic set includes bongos, many cymbal sizes, and a few percussive rarities. Bongos push
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
Spohie Berkal-Sarbit opens matters on her latest CD, Young and Foolish, with a driving, swinging rendition of "I'm Gonna Live 'til I die." Sperandei's trumpet captures the essence of this arrangement as he twists and turns this tune upside down brilliantly with his rapid fire offerings. This number is a portent of things to come, as it is an ear-catcher from the opening note to the last.With the title song, "Young And Foolish," the ballad side of this seductive vocalist is captured most enchanti
A dog is a man’s best friend, indeed. And on this 2010 release, improvising sax great Lol Coxhill and eminent drummer/percussionist Roger Turner pay a bit of abstract homage to our much beloved canines. The improvisation is at times minimalist in scope, yet the continually moving parts equate into a polytonal feast for one’s psyche.Coxhill performs on his customary soprano saxophone and counters Turner’s bells hits, rim-shots, tom tom patterns and colorific integration of small percussion impl
Lauren Hooker delivers a bold album full of interesting twists and turns. The surprises start early. She opens the album with a cool original that she kicks off but then turns over to poet Jeanette Curtis Rideau, who delivers a spoken-word performance. The track conjures up the feel and sounds of a 1950s nightclub inhabited by hip beatniks. “I ride your music—feel your story and smile,” says Rideau as a horn wails behind her. “Because your music brings out the poetry in me.” Life Of The Music co
If you are like me, the last thing you are looking for in a modern jazz album is another run-out cut of “All The Things You Are.” During my first listen of Hiroe Sekine’s debut album A-mé, I found myself stopped in the middle of the street (I was walking the dog at the time), fumbling for my i-Pod, trying to find the name of the track I was listening. It sounded so familiar, yet I couldn’t put my finger on it. As it progressed, the ostinato of the piano with a subtle Latin groove gently undernea
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
Back-when, there was a TV preview-trailer for the science-fiction movie The Blob (the original, not the 1980s remake) that scared the living [fill in blank] out of me. “The monster that can’t be killed,” screamed the icy voice-over. The Blob was this formless, massive organism that basically absorbed anything living that it touched, growing ever larger in the process. Around the same time (we're talking late 1950s), the scary monsters of free jazz and rock & roll were threatening the world,
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
1999 Carmine Caruso Jazz Trumpet Competition award winner Thomas Marriott has worked in Maynard Ferguson’s Big Bop Nouveau band, and with artists like Rosemary Clooney, Ritchie Cole, Charlie Hunter, Kenny Kirkland, Joe Locke, The Chico O’Farrill Orchestra, and The Tito Puente Orchestra, among others. Overall Marriott has appeared on over 100 recordings and his previous release, East-West Trumpet Summit, with Ray Vega, was feature on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition.”Marriott is joined w
Seattle-based trumpeter and composer, Chad McCullough, teams up with Slovakian and currently The Hague-based pianist, Michal Vanoucek, as leaders for a straight-ahead jazz quintet recording of ten original compositions. McCullough, who has earned degrees from the University of Idaho and the University of Washington, has worked in the Disneyland bands, and played piano and trumpet with the Glenn Miller ghost orchestra. Others he has worked with include Wynonna Judd, Claudio Roditi and Michael W
Ever since Dexter Gordon won an Oscar for his work in Bertrand Tavernier’s ’Round Midnight, the story of American jazz musicians finding rejuvenation under European stage lights has been a mainstream one. A lot of what those musicians actually played over there, however, has been hard to find Stateside, instead trickling in across the decades through traded tapes, bootlegs and shoddy releases (with a few notable exceptions). So, it is with some interest that this grab-bag of live dates, o
Freedom Suite is both different and unique and traditional and common at the same. Mixing hip-hop elements first done well, in a jazz vein, by Miles Davis on Boo-Dop, expanded in many ways with mixed results by Greg Osby on his 3-D Lifestyles, and made accessible and popish by Quincy Jones, this recording incorporates all of these influences as well as throwing in a few of its own. This music presented here is pop, R&B, hip-hop and jazzy, with the inclusion of straight-up interviews with a