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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.

Achingly soulful with a hint of apathetic teenage angst, from top to bottom, Spiral drips with an honesty that has been lacking with many of the latest jazz offerings of the past decade. Trimmed out with guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and drummer Jamire Williams, Dr. Smith’s current touring band, the tunes on this album run the gauntlet, from Slide Hampton and Frank Loesser to Rodgers and Hart. Not limited by the three man line-up, Spiral is full of textual nuance that rumbles by the listener with
Born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Pedro Bermudez is a pianist with lot of experience playing with salsa legends like Willie Rosario, Roberto Roena and the Puerto Rican Latin Jazz group Batacumbele.The opening track "Yuba a Santurce" is an homage to Pedro's town, Santurce. This is a piece with Bomba and Jazz fusion, reminiscent of the music of another great Jazz musician from Puerto Rico, trmbonist William Cepeda. Good improvisations by Ivan Renta on sax and Oscar Stagnaro on drums.Pedro plays the f
Well-traveled bassist Michael Formanek and his band-mates, here on The Rub and Spare Change, are accelerators of the new jazz with roots in New York City amid collaborations in the US and abroad for over three decades. An interesting composer and consummate idea man, Formanek highlights his cunning compositional prowess with this debut solo effort for ECM Records. The division of labor in this release equates to a program that builds upon the players’ individual strengths and voices. Formanek
Australia is a land of beautiful sights, kangaroos, and even some great rock bands like AC/DC, Inxs and Men at Work. But Jazz is not the first word that comes to mind when talking about Australia. Sydney native bassist Mark Costa might change that perception with his album Textures. Textures is a collection of interesting compositions in a Jazz Fusion tradition. All compositions are originals by Mark Costa and like all good jazz music, Mark leave a lot of space to improvisations. "Dedication", i
On the surface, putting together a duo album seems like a pretty straight-ahead idea: you get some tunes together and head to the studio. All too often though, the mojo that keeps a duo album from going stale runs out. Without the collaboration that comes with putting together four or five players in a room, melodic lines float about unanswered and the comping of the guitar can become labored. The energy and spontaneous creativity that is needed to breathe life into the album deflates. Flights:
Pianist and Denver, Colorado native Lisa Downing has spent time touring with new-age artists like Liz Story and Lee Bartley, as well as shared the program with other artists like David Lanz. Her collegiate music degree is a joint one between the University of Colorado at Denver and Metropolitan State College.A Delicate Balance is her third solo piano recording and has a style very reminiscent of Liz Story. Downing’s 12-track, 42-minute disc is a collection of solo piano pieces inspired by peop
UCLA ethnomusicology graduate and New Orleans native, Sandra Booker was the first vocal student to receive the Julian Cannonball Adderley Memorial Scholarship. Since then, she has taught vocal workshops at universities like Cal State Northridge and Santa Monica Community College, as well as at various high schools. Professionally, you’ve probably heard her voice on Coca-Cola and Ralph Lauren television commercials. All of this is to lay the groundwork that Booker is the real deal. An artist
In the early 1970’s, Emerson, Lake & Palmer helped accelerate the burgeoning progressive-rock movement with dazzling technical acumen and a distinct convergence of classical, jazz and fundamental rock basics. They sold millions of LPs, although their elaborate and showy stage antics, at times diminished the band’s relevance. Ultimately, the world took notice and the trio developed a huge following. However, prog and fusion took a downturn in the early 80s to new forms of rock and a prisma
Brazilian Voyage indeed hits some breezy, swaying Brazilian highlights, but there are stops in Germany, New York and, perhaps, Kentucky. Even the samba-like tracks are more worldly than usual. Brazil's most famous classical composer, Heitor Villa-Lobos, is represented by "Trenzinho Do Caipira." It's from his collection Bachianas Brasileiras, which honored the musical style of Bach. All of this could have turned out to be overly intellectual. It didn't. Villa-Lobos' noisy depiction of a little
Saxophonist Dan White began his musical studies on piano before switching over to the saxophone at a young age. Raised in Williamsville, NY, he is currently a junior at Ohio State University studying music. Fran’s Place is his first full-length self-released recording. The seven tunes were all recorded on one day in August of 2009.White is accompanied by a trio including Buffalo native Chris Ziemba on Fender Rhodes. Ziemba, who is quickly making musical waves with invites to such hig
What a better way to start Canadian singer/composer Laura Harrison's debut album Now Here, than with the extraordinaire interpretation and fabulous scats in the Sarah Vaughan song "Shulie a Bop." The hard swing, superb scats and amazing phrasing on this first track should tell you what's this lady is all about. Laura is a singer with complete command over her voice, a master of scats and improvisations. This is how a jazz singer should sound.Laura sings in perfect Portuguese in Vinicius de Morae
Acoustic and electric bassist Terje Gewelt hails from Norway, where he grew up in a small town on the southeastern coast. Starting on the guitar at the age of 10 he switched to the bass at age of 14 and never looked back. Studies with the great Norwegian bassist Arild Andersen and playing with Norwegian pianist Atle Bakken, only strengthened the young musician. Studies in the United States at the Bass Institute in Los Angeles, with Jeff Berlin and Bob Magnuson, led to playing gigs in clubs wi
Vocalist and Ohio native Rita Edmond began singing in the church. Later studies with the highly regarded vocal teacher Evangeline Stewart only helped refine the four-octave vocal instrument that Rita has so sweetly polished over her career. A longtime experienced singer of R&B and pop demos for companies like Motown, BET, MCA, EMI Publishing and Warner-Chappell, left the artist wanting. Two years ago Edmond began to move out and explore more heavily the jazz inflected singing that was in h
Saxophonist and pianist Brian Hogans has been making the jazz world take notice. The Morrow, GA native has worked with artists like James Williams, Winard Harper and as a regular in the Sean Jones Quintet. A switch hitter with fantastic abilities on both saxophone and piano (he subbed as a piano player in Jones’ band for a period), Hogans focuses on the alto and soprano saxophones on this, his debut CD. Joined by an all-star backing band including Aaron Goldberg on piano, this recording tears
Here it is the Jazzmas season and Susie Arioli's smoky message comes through with some classy Christmas tunes. "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" features a lovely guitar solo by Jordan Officer that complements this touching chestnut to the max. Arioli treats this song like an old friend and that makes the listening even more enjoyable."I'll Be Home For Christmas" evokes memories galore and only emphasizes the idea that Susie Arioli is a true jazz vocalist and should stick to that genre. S
Imagine that the classic quintet albums recorded by the late Tony Williams now have the following instrumentation: tenor saxophone, trumpet, drums and Hammond B-3 organ. This scenario makes up almost half the performances on Back Home, organist Pat Bianchi’s second release. This recording is balanced out when Bianchi leads a second ensemble featuring the more traditional organ trio with guitar and drums.Bianchi’s hard-bop quartet, tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, trumpeter Terell Stafford, and
Here's that rainy day is the debut album from California native singer, Nicole Lvoff. An album with delicate arrangements plus the crystal clear tone and sweet voice of Nicole Lvoff on songs like Darn that dream, Here's that rainy day, the slow and sexy Angel eyes and Billie Holiday Don't Explain. This is music for romance, to listen with that special someone.But Nicole and her band can swing too. Listen to the slow swinging version Sometimes I'm Happy, the upbeat swing arrangement of Too marvel
It wasn’t until tenor saxophonist, flutist and clarinetist Takao Iwaki was 19 that he took his first private lesson. Late, by American standards for studying individually, Iwaki was eventually accepted by the Berklee College of Music where he studied with famed musician George Garzone and was a member of Phil Wilson’s Rainbow Big Band. With a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Composition in hand Iwaki worked mainly for the Caribbean Cruise line for the first three years following graduation. In 2008
The Brad Linde Ensemble honors some of the jazz giants who emerged in the middle of the last century, most of them recognized instantly now by single names. This release features styles associated with Miles and Monk. Three of the tunes were on Davis's Birth of the Cool album. Four others, including two originals, are related to the vibe of that famous recording. Rounding out the even dozen are five oft-recorded by Monk, including four of his own. The material is terrific. The arrangements, upda
After winning the 2008 International Massimo Urbani Award, Philology Records offered Italian pianist Francesco Marziani the opportunity of recording his debut. So here it is, the first album from one of the new italian jazz talents, Francesco Marziani. In My Own Sweet Way was recorded with bassist Massimo Moriconi and drummer Massimo Manzi.Besides being an excellent pianist with great knowlege of the jazz language, and flawless technique, Francesco is an accomplished composer. His compositions a