Michael J. West

Michael J.’s Contributions

Mikereed1_anewkindofdance_span3

11/22/15    Albums

A New Kind of Dance
Mike Reed's People Places & Things

Like Ornette Coleman, whom drummer-composer Mike Reed eulogizes in his liner notes, People Places & Things has always staked out a soulful, melodic side of experimental jazz. But it’s never been quite as soulful or melodic as it is on A New Kind of Dance...

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11/13/15    Concerts

Review: The Dominican Republic Jazz Festival

Historically small jazz scene finds Its way, with some growing pains

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10/17/15    Albums

Kwanza
Albert Heath

A decade before the Marsalises triggered a bebop revival, seminal producer Don Schlitten was giving beboppers a recording outlet with Xanadu Records. A veteran jazz record producer who’d worked for RCA, Prestige and Muse, among many other labels, Schlitten...

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10/08/15    Features

Stanley Cowell: Never Too Late

A pianist-composer's late-career renaissance

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09/30/15    Albums

Starfire
Jaga Jazzist

If Return to Forever in their chopsiest, synth-heaviest incarnation had continued evolving into the age of electronic dance music, they’d sound much like Norway’s Jaga Jazzist. Even their newest album’s title, Starfire , suggests RTF and their ilk. But on...

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09/21/15    Albums

This is the Day
Giovanni Guidi Trio

Behind This Is the Day ’s scrim of subtlety, the Giovanni Guidi Trio quietly plays hell with the piano-trio format. Most of the time, drummer Joäo Lobo neither keeps nor accents the beat—he plays free. Bassist Thomas Morgan occasionally plays accents, but...

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08/27/15    Albums

Say When
Steve Davis

What worked for J.J. Johnson will work for Steve Davis—that’s the apparent logic behind Say When , Davis’ competent but ultimately middling tribute to his and all bebop trombonists’ forefather. Davis expresses in the liner notes his desire for the world...

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08/25/15    Albums

In Good Company
George Cables

George Cables’ title refers first to the pianist-composers he covers—John Hicks, Kenny Barron, Ellington and Strayhorn—and second to his trio with bassist Essiet Essiet and drummer Victor Lewis. The album’s a cheery swinger, an exemplar of mainstream piano...

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08/22/15    Features

Remembering Ornette Coleman's Wisdom

Comments from colleagues and disciples

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08/07/15    Albums

Luminosa
Anat Cohen

Anat Cohen has always loved Brazil’s music, and her seventh disc, Luminosa , goes deep down that rabbit hole. The Israeli multireedist’s quartet (keyboardist Jason Lindner, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Daniel Freedman) assays Brazilian standards and Brazilian...

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07/18/15    Albums

Three Times Three
Antonio Sanchez

Though it’d be incorrect to call these two new releases by drummer Antonio Sanchez a followup to his score from last year’s Oscar-winning Birdman , it’s impossible not to consider this new work alongside the film music. That score comprised unaccompanied...

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06/27/15    Overdue Ovation

Overdue Ovation for Jim Snidero

Contractual motivation

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06/25/15    Albums

Jamison
Jamison Ross

The debut album by the winner of the 2012 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Drums Competition isn’t what jazz fans will expect. Jamison Ross, it turns out, is a singer as well, and on Jamison he’s a singer first. But once the confusion subsides, there remains...

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06/09/15    Albums

Mockroot
Tigran Hamasyan

Tigran Hamasyan’s music exists in its own universe, and on Mockroot that means distancing itself even from the pianist’s eccentric self-described “electro-acoustic Armenian rock.” The Armenian-American’s sixth album holds on to the rock trappings in some...

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05/23/15    Albums

Swing Makes You Happy!
George Gee Swing Orchestra

“Swing music is a living, growing, and evolving art form,” says bandleader George Gee in his liner notes for Swing Makes You Happy! , featuring his 11-piece Swing Orchestra. He could hardly have produced a better example of that sentiment: This album is...

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05/22/15    Albums

The Undying Spirit
E.J. Strickland Quintet

There’s a tendency on drummer-led albums for the listener’s ear to focus on the drums no matter what they’re doing. E.J. Strickland turns that tendency into inevitability on his second album, The Undying Spirit . It opens with an unaccompanied virtuoso solo...

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About Michael J. West

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