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Courtney Pine: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

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Courtney Pine didn't pick up his beloved tenor saxophone for more than a decade, until an album exploring the black British experience demanded it. The multi-instrumentalist eschewed the horn on the likes of Europa, House of Legends and Song (The Ballad Book), his two-hander with pianist Zoe Rahman. “I spoke to Sonny Rollins about five years ago at a concert, and I asked him, 'Why don't you play loads of instruments, like John Coltrane?' What he said was, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ed Palermo: The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren

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It isn't a characteristically positive sign when an album incorporates obvious humor into its credits and occasionally, the music itself. The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren could raise red flags with its title, personnel adjectives such as “Terrifying Trombones" and listing Kellyanne Conway as “Alternative Executive Producer." But a listener familiar with The Ed Palermo Big Band, Cuneiform catalog, including Oh No! Not Jazz!! (2014), One Child Left Behind (2016) and The Great Un-American Songbook, Vols. I & II (2017), knows ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jackie Shane: Any Other Way

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The Chicago-based reissue label, Numero Group, has done much to resurrect musical gems of the past, especially in their acclaimed Eccentric Soul Series that has uncovered music released by forgotten labels like Capsoul, Deep City and Prix. The latest entry in the catalog is a musical monograph of the unsung soul singer, Jackie Shane, who finally gets her due with the box set Any Other Way (2017) that collects a large part of her musical output. On the surface, it ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Leo Richardson Quartet: The Chase

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An alumnus of London's Trinity College of Music, tenor saxophonist Leo Richards, who incidentally is the son of bassist Jim Richardson (formerly of the jazz rock band If), graduated from the College with a first class honours degree in Jazz Performance. Whilst studying at Trinity he was tutored by some world class players including Jean Toussaint, Julian Siegel, Martin Speake, Mark Lockheart and Mick Foster. Since leaving Trinity he has become an in-demand saxophonist on the London Jazz scene. He's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mostly Other People Do The Killing: Paint

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Mostly Other People Do The Killing have released their second CD of 2017 and, in keeping with the group's unpredictability, it's a bit of a curve ball. Whereas on previous releases they've ranged in size from a quartet to a septet, this time they've cut themselves down to a simple piano trio. Other than that, it's business as usual. Bassist Moppa Elliott's original compositions are still named for towns in Pennsylvania (which this time all include colors in their names), ...

THE VINYL POST

Passion, Grace and Fire

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Although they are primarily known for their gold CD reissue program and multi-channel SACDs, the Audio Fidelity firm has recently plunged into the vinyl market with a small number of titles. These limited edition 180 gram pressings are remastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and packaged in glossy gatefold covers. Tapping into some music not usually associated with audiophile editions, Audio Fidelity's most recent batch of releases wisely includes the superlative 1982 release Passion, Grace, and Fire by guitar ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Matthew Mitchell: A Pouting Grimace

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A regular member of Tim Berne's Snakeoil and the Dave Douglas Quintet, pianist/keyboardist/composer Matt Mitchell has recently appeared on Rudresh Mahanthappa's Bird Calls (ACT Music, 2015) and Jonathan Finlayson's Moving Still (Pi Recordings, 2016). Mitchell has worked with a broad array of top-name artists including Steve Coleman, John Hollenbeck and Mario Pavone. Mitchell is a chameleon, able to take on completely different musical personas across of fast array of situations. His own Vista Accumulation (Pi Recordings, 2015) was one of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lettuce: Witches Stew: A Tribute to Miles Davis

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It's a daunting task but a laudable ambition to afford direct tribute to a musician as iconic as Miles Davis and a work of his equal in stature, Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970). But like the ensembles before them that revisited this bonafide classic, including the World Saxophone Quartet, Lettuce prove up to the task. In fact, he octet tender their homage, Witches Stew, in such a way it suggests 'The Man with the Horn,' were he still living, might well ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mica Bethea: Stage 'N Studio

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When listening to the Mica Bethea Big Band's generally admirable two-CD set, Stage 'n Studio, the first thought is, “Why hasn't anyone done this before?" That query is immediately replaced by a second thought: “Perhaps someone has and we simply overlooked it." In either case, Bethea's decision to perform (basically) the same material in a recording studio and in front of an audience was clearly inspired. That the result is somewhat less so is no fault of Bethea or the ...


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