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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.

      Mary Louise Knutson has produced a lovely jazz trio record with the release of In the Bubble, her second record following her debut release in 2001, Call Me When You Get There. Just like that debut, In the Bubble has landed Knutson in the JazzWeek Top 50 chart, where it's been for 12 weeks. Based in Minneapolis, she is another proof point for the fact that there are fantastic jazz musicians tucked away all over the U.S., far from the coasts.
To truly appreciate Peripheral Vision, a quartet based in Toronto, Canada, one may want to be hip to overtime hockey. It's like this: tenor saxophonist Trevor Hogg is the forward standing/playing nearest the goal/melody. Guitarist Don Scott is the other forward who stands near the faceoff circle ready to capture any rebounds and embellish Hogg's shots/ideas that he may not take, or need help to complete. Watching from a distance -- and providing an airtight, rhythmic foundation – are the defensemen on the blue line, bassist Michael Herring and drummer Nick Fraser. While the scoring/soloing almost always goes to the…
Pete Herzog's Steel Guitar, A Blues Opera, tells the story of one guitar as it passes through different hands over its lifetime. It's purchased, stolen, won in a card game, and handed down through generations. "I have often thought about vintage instruments I have played and wondered at their history and felt all those who had played had colored their sound," Herzog explains. That curiosity about whose hands have graced a guitar and where it has traveled sparked the idea for the new album.
Watching smooth jazz artists embark on new ventures, new arenas and new paths is actually one of the more exciting things to happen to music in 2011 and still now in 2012.  With the death of smooth jazz radio we've witnessed George Benson return to the kind of music he played on his CTI and early Warner Brothers recordings, watched Richard Elliot move to soul-jazz, and Candy Dulfer gravitate more fully towards dance music.
When Diane Schuur burst on the national scene in 1985 with the release of her Deedles recording on GRP, the world was treated to an exceptional vocalist who had strengths in jazz and jazz-pop crossover.  Her string of hit records was aided by not just topnotch production and producing via her partnership with the Dave Grusin - Larry Rosen brain trust, but also a selection of material that fit her voice and abilities in way that has rarely been seen since.  Add to this her abundant skill on piano, which is subtle and always overlooked, and you had an artist…
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.
It just doesn't seem possible this could be Lewis' 80th recording.  It feels like it was yesterday when keyboardist, composer and radio show host Ramsey Lewis's mega hit, "The 'In' Crowd," was first on the radio.  Since the eruption of that light swinging jazz track on radios throughout the world in 1965, Lewis has gone on to a career that would be the envy of everyone who has ever made an instrumental record.
This Germany-based trio artfully expresses the lower register realm, framed on a program that enables the musicians to share equal ground and incorporate a concentrated focus, cloaking a major portion of the album. With growling basses, sinewy arco-passages and the use of objects to alter sounds and provide an ethereal framework, the musicians uncannily tender motifs that could sometimes allude to the use of background electronics. In a sense, the trio plays tricks with your psyche, abetted by darkly resonating notes and supple passages. They often intimate a sacred rite of passage amid several spikes and interconnecting movements, signaling understated…
New York City-reared veteran and well-travelled drummer Tony Bianco has been a mainstay in global modern jazz and improvisational circles amid prolific engagements with sax pioneers Evan Parker and David Liebman. Here, he aligns with youthful European inventors, guitarist Michel Delville (The Wrong Object) and nascent saxophonist Jordi Grognard for a program that pushes the envelope via structural baselines and heavy doses of improvisation.
19.01.2012

Pintura by 1982

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The young HUBRO record label issues LPs and CDs by Norwegian artists, pursuing improvisation that touches upon indigenous folk, jazz, minimalism, electronica and avant-garde metrics. As the second album by the trio 1982 offers a striking audio perspective via its unusual instrumentation. With deep-rooted and slightly disfigured Scandinavian folk, the band casts a vista akin to a solemn winter evening sprawled across farmland-like vistas under a full moon, amid a few highly-charged spikes in the action.
In 1976 Dexter Gordon decided to move back to US after few years in Scandinavia; he got already a contract from CBS records. Gordon started jamming at the Vanguard along with the Louis Hayes/Woody Shaw Quintet and after these live recordings was produced the beautiful double album Homecoming. Michael Cuscuna – the executive producer from Columbia – noticed already Woody's talent and genius on trumpet since the mid 70's: Cuscuna produced for Muse Records all Woody's albums starting from the beautiful The Moontrane in 1974.
11.01.2012

Erb/Baker/Zerang

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Even though this album by Swiss artist Christoph Erb (reeds) and Chicagoans, Jim Baker (synth & piano) and Michael Zerang (percussion) is often centered on avant-garde sound-shaping implementations, their keen use of space looms as an added instrument. Therefore, it's not always what is stated that counts because the trio leaves room for interpretation and as a result, the program isn't clouded with excesses or superfluous content. Indeed, unorthodox and spiked with minimalism, the musicians explore the capabilities of their instruments via this polytonal endeavor that tenders an undulating environment, spawned by buzzing frameworks and laconic tonal swashes.
Keyboardist, composer and arranger Art "Spike" Schloemer is most obviously influenced by musicians like Joe Zawinul and Jan Hammer.  Schloemer is, like Zawinul, a true technical master, and like Hammer, has a lilt in his compositions that make them more than pleasing vehicles.  Schloemer's incredibly nimble fingers fly throughout the recording, and he puts them to good use in this collection of high powered, highly percussive fusion.
There was a time when jazz aficionados waited in high anticipation for new recordings from specific musicians, like Miles Davis and Weather Report.  You always knew there would be something new, fresh and exciting in every one of their releases, and countless people would want to be the first to hear what the direction would be.  Sadly, today this is almost no longer true.  Now the world is full of jazz released on CD that is predictable and staid.   There are, however, two ensembles that continue to delight audiences with something new with every single one of their releases, trumpeter…
The debut album for Housecore Records by this modern psychedelic outfit summons the late 1960's hippie culture, shaded by a modern glean, and strikes a harmonious chord amid the album cover art that at first glance may signify a Sci-Fi western featuring zombies as the outlaws. Maybe an old wine in new bottles thing, but the ensemble's rewarding factors lie within memorable comps. With a touch of progressive-rock amid haunting lyricism, the studio engineering processes embed or perhaps simulate a purist, analog-like soundstage. Featuring psychedelic and hard-rock guitar parts, climactic movements, and a touch of antiquity, the band also embraces…