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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.

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
These are tough times for jazz vocalists. Most have recorded all the life out of the American Songbook repertoire, beating standards into an early death. Yet, recordings of standards by jazz singers keep coming out and coming out, and coming out. Thank goodness there are a few vocalists, like Norma Winstone, who have uncompromising taste and are willing to step out on a ledge, usually with great results. Cassandra Wilson has always been one of these kinds of jazz singers. Sure, she’s covere
Probably the last thing anyone would ever expect to come from cutting edge jazz label Origin Records, would be a traditionally-oriented jazz Christmas album, but that is exactly what we get in this release from vocalist Greta Matassa, and bassist and vocalist Clipper Anderson. If there is anything cutting edge about this release, it’s in the fact so many of these Christmas songs are rarities. For example, “The Bell That Couldn’t Jingle” comes from the Tijuana Brass Christmas recording, and “Th
Chicago native, composer and vocalist Paula Prophet studied classical guitar as a child, but credits her musical training to listening to the Motown and classic jazz singers as a child. She credits her work of 20 years as a licensed therapist in providing the inspiration for compositional/lyricist abilities. Her previous work includes time spent performing with Dr. Feelgood and the Interns of Love, on tour throughout the United States and internationally. This short 23-minute demo/introductory
Boston native, New England perennial jazz award winner and vocalist, Paul Broadnax spent time in the service before working as an arranger for the Sabby Lewis Band. Later, he worked with bands led by Tom Kennedy and Buster Daniels. In the 1970s, he worked in the Paul Champ Three before forming a trio with bassist Dave Trefethen and drummer Les Harris, Jr. Broadnax currently works in trio with Dave, now on guitar, and Peter Kontrimas on bass. Among the artists Broadnax has worked with include
Doing something unique with the vibraphone is a tough road to walk, especially if one is a serious musician. Notoriously difficult to play with respect to the instrument’s lack of emotional variety, it’s no surprise its best practitioners have been those of the swing world like Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson and Terry Gibbs, or more modern ensemble-tied visionaries like Mike Mainieri, Steve Nelson or Stefon Harris. Truly original voices, such as Gary Burton’s, are very rare in this world.
Pianist and composer Adam Bodine, who originally hails from the Chicagoland area, now lives in Colorado. Classically trained, Bodine formed his current trio in 2008 to showcase his developing book of original compositions. Blue Mud is Bodine’s second self-released recording. Here Bodine is joined by Kalin Capra on bass, and Roswell, Georgia native and Berklee College of Music graduate Luke Emig on drums. Eleven original Bodine compositions are featured on this album. If there is one thing un
There are so many potential pitfalls that can occur when one tries to record a live date, it’s obvious why so few jazz recordings are done in this situation. Unfortunately, a few of those potential hazards rear their ugly head and diminish the work done by the Steve Elmer Trio on this recording. Recorded on June 10, 2010 at Cleopatra’s Needle in New York, a restaurant and no-cover jazz club named after the famed monument in New York’s Central Park, the piano used for this recording is a bit ou
Like a delightful summer barbecue and the camaraderie of friends and family, renowned jazz saxophonist, Bobby Watson, actually recaptures it all on his CD The Gates BBQ Suite, featuring the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance Concert Jazz Orchestra. The CD is a tribute to the famous Gates BBQ in Kansas City and on the liner notes, Bobby expressed his appreciation for barbecue describing it as food that always represented a “celebration in my life." “Smoking meat remains near and dear to me," s
Joel Harrison is an illustrious guitarist and composer in the jazz circles and not to mention a great bandleader and he has put his many talents on his latest compilation called String Choir – The Music of Paul Motian which was released on January 23. Recapturing the music of straight-ahead jazz musician Paul Motian is no easy feat especially when the interpretation is within another genre; in this case classical. But Joel has pulled it off on this fully-stringed compilation that offers music on
Marcus Miller performing live is indeed a very euphoric experience, and those who have never been so fortunate might as well grab a copy of his latest CD “A Night in Monte-Carlo,” which is due for a February 1st release. The CD is a live audio documentation of one of Marcus’ treasured performances in Monaco back in 2008. Marcus is backed up by the L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo and is also joined by trumpeter Roy Hargrove and guitarist Raul Midon. Out of the box, the first track on th
Cote D'Azur is a fascinating collection of jazz music that will light up your listening time with much joy, entertainment, and fun. The musicians are very imaginative in both their solo work and group work.What makes this an outstanding jazz CD is its unusual blend of jazz motifs, world music motifs, and the influence of contemporary French jazz. There are ten great original songs in the collection. Among them are found "Cote D'Azur," Le Calypso," "Bandol," "Sainte Maxime," "Postcard From Cannes
Berkeley, California-raised saxophonist, pianist and composer Dan Wilensky joined Ray Charles’ band as the lead alto player immediately following high school. After spending a brief amount of time studying at the Eastman School of Music, Wilensky joined organist Jack McDuff’s band and moved to New York. The saxophonist went on to cut his teeth working with artists like Cornell Dupree, Steve Gadd, Dave Letterman and studio great Will Lee, Richard Tee and Dave Weckl, as well as going on the road
For the last ten years or so, guitarist Samo Salamon has been making a name for himself throughout the European jazz market as an inventive improviser, composer and leader of diverse small group ensembles, often featuring American notables such as saxophonists Mark Turner and David Binney. A tireless self-promoter, the Slovenian native has been creating a buzz with critics and fans of jazz guitar. His latest release, Almost Almond, is an inticing trio release sure to further the guitarist's repu
While heavily derivative of Weather Report and Steps Ahead, Ron Van Stratum’s Swingin’ In The Swamp still satisfies. This should, however, be no surprise when one considers who this Netherlands born and raised drummer and percussionist has played with. Following studies on classical percussion at the conservatory in Tilburg and jazz drumming at the Maastricht conservatory, both located in The Netherlands, Stratum has worked with artists like Mike Mainieri (founder of Steps Ahead), Jaco Pastori