CD/LP/Track Review

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Simon Sammut: Crossing

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'Crossing' is one of those versatile terms that can be taken many different ways--among other things, it can signify the traversing of a place or boundary, a meeting spot where roads pass each other, or perhaps the act of combining individual things together into a new whole. Simon Sammut means the word in all those senses on his second album. Crossing offers meditative instrumental pieces based on a dozen different concepts, also accompanying each one with a thoughtful background description ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alexander Hawkins: Unit[e]

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With each subsequent release, pianist-composer Alexander Hawkins further cements his place in the top tier of modern, forward-thinking artists. The Oxford, UK native has worked as a leader in nonet, ensemble, quartet, trio and solo formats and is a member of the Convergence Quartet featuring cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, drummer Harris Eisenstadt, and bassist Dominic Lash. Increasingly in-demand, Hawkins has recently recorded with Evan Parker on the duo release Leaps in Leicester (Clean Feed, 2016) and with Rob Mazurek on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Josienne Clarke / Kit Downes: Such A Sky

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Sometimes life's great pleasures creep up almost unnoticed. One day they're not there, next day it seems like they've been around forever. Such A Sky is one such pleasure. A five-track EP, it's the debut release from BBC Folk Award winning singer Josienne Clarke and Mercury Prize nominated keyboardist Kit Downes. Clarke announced the release of Such A Sky on her Twitter feed with a lovely lack of hyperbole: “I've made a little EP with pianoer Kit Downes ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brian Marsella Trio: Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31

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How many angels are there? Alto saxophonist/composer John Zorn started his Masada Book Two, Book of Angels endeavor in 2005, with Astaroth: Book of Angels, Volume 1, by the Jamie Saft Trio. Thirty recordings and twelve years later, he offers up Buer: Book Of Angels, Volume 31, by the Brian Marsella Trio. A tune for every angel. That's a lot of angels. The always adventurous and prolific Zorn, who reportedly wrote three hundred songs for his Book of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Cunliffe: BACHanalia

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As the title denotes, pianist Bill Cunliffe and his ensemble take a swing (literally) at the great Johann Sebastian on BACHanalia, pivoting as well toward the music of C.P.E. Bach, Sergei Prokofiev, Manuel de Falla, Cole Porter, Oscar Levant and Cunliffe himself. In spite of its classical veneer, this is at its core a jazz session, and as such embodies the essential elements one would expect from such an enterprise. To phrase it another way, Cunliffe transports these masters of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jared Hall: Hallways

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It has been a long road for trumpeter/composer Jared Hall. That road has been a path cloistered in jazz education, starting in his native Spokane, WA studying with Dan Keberle at Whitworth University, to his masters completion at Indiana University under David Baker. At that point, Hall had a decision to make, in terms of continuing his studies, or jumping in headfirst to life as an artist at large. After all, this is a music of feeling, a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dave Burrell: The Crave

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A leading free jazz pianist playing the music of Jelly Roll Morton? It's not as far-fetched as you might think. Morton has attracted a number of interpreters from the supposedly extreme end of the spectrum, from Sun Ra of course, first issued on Live At The Gibus (Atlantic, 1975), to Chicago trio Air on Air Lore (Arista Novus, 1979) and Japanese pianist Aki Takase's New Blues (Enja, 2012). The Crave makes explicit Dave Burrell's connection to older piano styles. Even ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Soul Sugar: Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub)

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Phenomenal French band, Soul Sugar, comes through with what could surely be the best reggae album of 2017--Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub). True to its name, this album is full of funky, soulful reggae tunes, and each one has a delightful dub version as well.Keyboard player Guillaume “Gee" Méténier, who specializes in vintage keyboards such as Clavinet, Fender Rhodes, and especially the B3 Hammond organ leads Soul Sugar. Méténier is a disciple of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dion DiMucci: Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965

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As much of a pleasure it is to hear Dion DiMucci's voice throughout Kickin' Child--and it is a great pleasure indeed even if you never traversed the path from “Runaround Sue" to “Abraham Martin & John"--there's no denying the all too obvious sources of the music. Even the cover photo hearkens to Bob Dylan's Freewheelin' (Columbia, 1963) career phase, wherein he first experimented with the accompaniment of an electric band. And the transparently imitative nature of the recordings ...


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