Michael J. West
Michael J.’s Contributions
Harmonica player Grégoire Maret’s self-titled leader debut couldn’t have featured any other instrument. It’s full of delicate arrangements that a more powerful ax would crush. Ironically, the harmonica is the album’s major problem. Specifically, Maret’s...
05/20/12 Overdue Ovation
On arranging for kids, pros, Hollywood, JFK…
Host Dee Dee Bridgewater (pictured), Allison Miller, Carmen Lundy and more in D.C.
In Brooklyn, two rising bass stars raise a family
Drummer Billy Hart’s current quartet lineup has been together since 2003, working steadily for most of that time; All Our Reasons , however, is only their second album (and first for ECM). It follows their 2005 debut, Quartet , a rhythmically forthright...
Frame should be a mess. It’s an eclectic zigzag of contemporary styles, played in configurations ranging from duo to full sextet, with multireedist (but primarily tenor saxophonist) Ben Wendel rotating between axes and keyboards rotating between players...
In a perfect world, The Monk Project would be a hit record. It finds veteran trumpeter Jimmy Owens and a hard-swinging bop septet making fresh, joyful work of Thelonious’ oeuvre. That’s no easy task in a Monk-saturated world, but Owens’ intricate arrangements...
Pianist George Colligan’s Living for the City , a record of jazz, rock and soul standards, is spotty. It’s not thoroughly inconsistent; Colligan’s power trio (bassist Josh Ginsburg and drummer E.J. Strickland) is unrelenting in its virtuosity, vigor and...
The eagerness to please that shines through the superb Live at the Library of Congress isn’t a façade. The record really does strive for entertainment, with nine morsels of robust melody and swing. But you can’t put two musicians with the maturity, accomplishment...
Seasons is best approached as a DVD release with bonus audio CD, not vice versa. The April 2011 performance features four guitarists (Anthony Wilson, Steve Cardenas, Julian Lage and Chico Pinheiro) on gorgeous, custom acoustic archtop guitars built by luthier...
Pianist Eric Reed’s ambition for his latest album is right there in the title: to create something beautiful. He succeeds. Something Beautiful is a pristine straight-ahead piano-trio date (with bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Rodney Green) that’s equally...
With an acclaimed trio album in the bag, the pianist/composer looks toward the silver screen
Like this collection’s title, the two-CD Forever Lasting is largely redundant, which is true of any CD by the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. They’re one of the world’s most polished ensembles. Their book, the work of cofounder Thad Jones and his protégés (predominantly...
“Clown Painting,” the industrial groan that opens Wiry Strong , announces that trumpeter Ralph Alessi and his This Against That quintet aren’t sugar-coating their third album. But most of the album has far more melody and form (though similarly outré motifs...
Since the 1920s, all-female groups have made their mark on jazz
Michael J. West reviews Brad Mehldau & Kevin Hays' 'Modern Music'
About Michael J. West
Michael J. West has loved jazz since he was a teenager in North Carolina, but it wasn't until moving to the big city--Washington, D.C.--after college that he became a devoted fanatic. In addition to JazzTimes, he covers jazz for the Washington City Paper. His work has also appeared in the Village Voice, TBD, Jazz.com, the Monterey County Weekly and the East Bay Express. West lives in D.C., near the "jazz district" of U Street, with his wife and daughter.
Michael J. West has loved jazz since he was a teenager in North Carolina, but it wasn't until moving to the big city--Washington, D.C.--after college that he became a devoted fanatic. In addition to JazzTimes, he covers jazz for the Washington City Paper. His work has also appeared in the Village Voice, TBD, Jazz.com, the Monterey County Weekly and the East Bay Express.
West lives in D.C., near the "jazz district" of U Street, with his wife and daughter.
Michael J. West joined the JazzTimes community on Jun 13, 2008