Michael J. West
Michael J.’s Contributions
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...
Some of the vibraphonist's favorites include Jackson, Hampton among others
Anytime, anywhere, the vibraphonist delivers striking chops and soulful musicality
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...
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”...
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...
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...
“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...
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...
Kamasi, Ravi, Revive Big Band and more
Three great musicians discuss woodshedding
The jazz side of Prince
The cutesy title of Otis Was a Polar Bear , the third album by drummer-composer Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom sextet, is not an anomaly. Inspired by the birth of Miller’s first child, the album exudes preciousness throughout. It seems to want to capture...
It’s been quite a while since a tenor saxophonist arrived who’s learned the lessons of Lester Young as fully as Ken Fowser has. His compositions are honed to their essence; his solos combine fresh lyricism and firm pocket. But what shines brightest (and...
Nicki Parrott on simultaneous vocal/bass performance
Anyone without at least a casual knowledge of Charlie Parker’s Savoy and Dial recordings is probably not reading JazzTimes . They are the jazz equivalent of the New Testament, the founding texts of post-World War II jazz and the basis for everything—from...
About Michael J. West
Michael J. West joined the JazzTimes community on Jun 13, 2008