Mark Keresman

Mark Keresman


Much progressive/space/Kraut/post-rock can sound so very, if I may be so bold, white, totally filleted of soul. Many jam bands and groove merchants get into urgent, you-gotta-be-there flights/tangents that can veer into unmemorable self-indulgence. The Californian East Bay-based collective Mushroom surmounts these obstacles by being equally at home with both styles, injecting them with playful humor (a hunk o’ funkadelica entitled "The Revolution Will Not Be Telev …

As any regular reader of this site knows, there are many super-fine musicians that soar beneath the discerning radar of even the jazz world. Perhaps they don’t want to move to NYC, Los Angeles, London, or Paris; they’ve no feeling for the "business" side of the music biz, don’t tour much (or at all), or in some cases, a player has a parallel career.

Take Denny Zeitlin-not only is he an aces-back-to-back jazz pianist but also a practicing psychiatrist. Zeitlin also did the electronics-l

Is there anyone that doesn’t know Ornette Coleman is one of the most important jazz musician/composers of the 20th century? For those that don’t, thumbnail sketch: In the late 1950s Coleman developed an alternative method of jazz improvisation, far looser/flexible in terms of harmony and chord progression. His approach was "freer" than other saxophonists yet was based firmly in the blues (the feeling, if not structurally). At the time, some critics, listeners, and musi

In a strange way, violinist/composer/singer/songwriter Jenny Scheinman is something of a throwback to an older American epoch. For as long as America has had borders and divisions, there’ve been people crossing/flouting them with abandon. Bing Crosby, the man that defined pop singing in the first half on the 20th century, recorded Irish ballads, Tin Pan Alley tunes, jazz, Hawaiian songs, and more. The following iconic performers recorded a healthy (or dazzling) variety of styles/genres: Louis Ar

If there's one thing there's not a shortage of, it's tenor saxophonists. There are many, but few are at all like Branford Marsalis. Many saxophonists can be summed-up in a few glib words, but Branford (I hope he forgives my familiarity) has a style that reflects many styles, many "schools," many eras, yet there's nothing pastiche about him. Classic pre-bop styles (Coleman Hawkins, Georgie Auld, Lester Young, Illinois Jacquet), proto-bop icons (Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon), hard-bop-through-f

For a fellow who’s been recording since 1963, pianist Denny Zeitlin (from the Chicago area, btw) doesn’t have a huge discography it must be his parallel gig keeping him from the keys: psychiatry. (But he did find time to compose the electronica-laced score the creepy 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.) More recent history, Zeitlin has kept an exemplary super-exemplary, in fact trio performing & recording for about five years. Bass ace Buster Williams
This David Berkman fellow you’d better be on the lookout for him. However, he might be too tasteful and unassuming for his own good like piano aces Cedar Walton and Larry Willis, he’s got tremendous technique but he uses it to serve the music, not his ego, and like them, his style is so unfailingly lyrical, imaginative yet unhurried, subtle, tasty and tasteful, it’d be easy to take him for granted in a world with so many other, more effusive, "dynamic" piano masters.

At Chicago’s

This young Mr. Chris Potter has proven his tenor saxophonic mettle on many recordings, both on his own and in the service of Dave Holland and Dave Douglas. Though he has several fine discs under his own leadership, the only one (thus far) that’s knocked me for a loop is his latest, Underground (Sunnyside), which has my vote for the year’s most dazzling disc du jazz. While even edgiest musicians these days prove themselves to be predictable, Potter is

For those who’ve been taking an extended nap, drummer Matt Wilson has been establishing himself as, in the words of serious-minded critics, an exciting presence on the American scene. Whether he’s tapping the tubs for big daddies such as Dewey Redman, Lee Konitz, and Denny Zeitlin or leading a couple of very different but engaging quartets, Illinois-bred drummer/leader/composer Wilson is indeed a major contender.

How? Why? The answer lay on a cold, rain, snow, and slee

First off, the "obvious" intro-type stuff: Pat Metheny is one of Our Time’s primo jazz guitarists and bandleaders, a virtual "jazz ambassador" in that he’s valued by hardcore jazz fans as well as casual jazz fans and folk who aren’t particularly jazz fans at all. While a dedicated jazz musician, Metheny’s approach encompasses influences of folk, rock, country, and "free" improvisation, and accents bright, engaging, festive melodies. Further, he makes full use of the available sound-altering tech
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