Michael J. West

Michael J.’s Contributions

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12/01/16    Features

JT Essentials: Protest Jazz

"Strange Fruit," "We Insist!," "Attica Blues" and more

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11/21/16    Albums

Havana Blue
Orbert Davis' Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble

Orchestral jazz is always a bit of a dicey proposition, teetering on the edge of pretentiousness. And when it’s performed by a “chamber ensemble” comprising 11 pieces, it’s even less promising. But trumpeter Orbert Davis, director of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic...

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11/04/16    Albums

Classic 1936-1947 Count Basie and Lester Young Studio Sessions
Count Basie and Lester Young

It’s a universally acknowledged truth that great music never sounds out-of-date, and Count Basie is remarkably evergreen. His “Old Testament” band epitomizes the big-band swing era—the rhythmic, harmonic and melodic devices that made 1930s America dance...

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10/26/16    Albums

Inner Agent
David Gibson

The tuxedoed, sunglasses-clad, cocktail-nursing David Gibson in Inner Agent’s CD-gatefold photo evokes not the James Bond type that the title suggests but the laidback cool of the Rat Pack. That’s not what the trombonist’s postbop music brings to mind, though...

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10/22/16    Albums

Cosmic Adventure
Scott Tixier

Considering its unconventional frontline of Scott Tixier’s violin and Yvonnick Prene’s harmonica, Cosmic Adventure is surprisingly conventional jazz. The album’s nine tracks are mostly A-B forms, mostly swinging, mostly with lyrical, hummable melodies and...

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09/20/16    Features

The Roots of Warren Wolf

Some of the vibraphonist's favorites include Jackson, Hampton among others

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09/19/16    Features

A Portrait of Warren Wolf

Anytime, anywhere, the vibraphonist delivers striking chops and soulful musicality

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08/14/16    Albums

Restless Idealism
Roxy Coss

Tenor saxophonist Roxy Coss is a protégé of trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, and on the 10 original compositions that make up Restless Idealism , it shows. Among other things she shares with Pelt (who appears on two tracks) are fondnesses for elaborate linear melodies...

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08/10/16    Albums

Perfection
Murray, Allen & Carrington Power Trio

As great as saxophonist David Murray, pianist Geri Allen and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington are separately, it’s truly difficult to remember the last time any of them sounded as good as they all do together on Perfection . The members of the jazz “power trio”...

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08/02/16    Albums

Lotus
Mike Moreno

Between Billy Strayhorn and Woody Shaw, the Indian lotus flower adorning guitarist Mike Moreno’s fifth album has quite the history in jazz. But Moreno’s music therein has more in common with the mythological Greek lotus—when consumed, it evoked a pleasantly...

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07/09/16    Albums

3 Compositions (EEMHM) 2011
Anthony Braxton

Taken together, Anthony Braxton’s three new box sets comprise 14 discs and as many hours of music, each set using a different ensemble and taking a different musical approach. But any one of the releases is by itself overwhelming. The shortest, 3 Compositions...

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07/07/16    Albums

Luminosity
Florian Hoefner Group

“Typical” and “generic” aren’t synonyms. Pianist Florian Hoefner works to create music that “doesn’t sound like generic jazz.” To be sure, Luminosity , Hoefner’s third album with his quartet, is not generic, with its oblong structures and meters that require...

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06/29/16    Albums

Live at Maxwell's
Duane Eubanks & DE3

Duane Eubanks’ trumpet style is hard to pin down. While his tone is instantly recognizable, with a unique balance of brightness and restraint that nods to Clifford Brown, his application of it varies. Indeed, on the fine Live at Maxwell’s , a trio record...

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06/22/16    Concerts

DC Jazz Fest at the Yards

Kamasi, Ravi, Revive Big Band and more

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05/13/16    Chops

Chops: Making Perfect Practice

Three great musicians discuss woodshedding

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04/29/16    Solo

FootPrince

The jazz side of Prince

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About Michael J. West

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Michael J. West joined the JazzTimes community on Jun 13, 2008