Michael J. West
Michael J.’s Contributions
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'
Michael J. West reviews Miguel Zenón’s new CD, 'Alma Adentro.'
Warren Wolf loves melody, and he likes it spit-and-polish. It’s evident in the song choices for the Baltimorean vibraphonist’s debut. Whether originals or covers, the straight-ahead tunes are all well developed, occasionally even through-composed; no stretched...
Freedom contains a curious patchwork of styles—none of them, ironically, free. Pianist Orrin Evans and his trio (Dwayne Burno on bass, Byron Landham or Anwar Marshall on drums), plus tenor saxophonist Larry McKenna on two songs, tackle various aspects of...
How else could Pat Metheny follow the over-the-top grandeur of Orchestrion ? What’s It All About is a solo album, the guitarist performing ’60s and early ’70s pop staples—a couple of them jazz crossovers—mostly on baritone guitar. It’s a quiet, beautiful...
Although some American superstars were featured the highlights were—surprise!—the homegrown Danish acts.
Saxophonist Matana Roberts preaches the avant-garde gospel far and wide
On Latinbird , which is exactly what it says it is, alto saxophonist T.K. Blue gets the recipe right. He picks some great Charlie Parker tunes (plus two originals and “’Round Midnight”), gives them skillful Latin arrangements of all varieties, and assembles...
Outer Reaches is drummer Ralph Peterson’s tribute to organist Larry Young and trumpeter Woody Shaw. Not surprisingly, its 12 tracks include two-thirds of their 1965 New Thing classic, Unity . The quartet (Peterson, trumpeter Josh Evans, saxophonist Jovan...
May 2011 Albums
Michael J. West reviews new album from pianist, a live solo set from his week-long residency at the Village Vanguard in December 2010
May 2011 Albums
Considering that South African pianist/composer Abdullah Ibrahim founded his Ekaya ensemble as an anti-apartheid vehicle, Sotho Blue —a straight-ahead re-examination of Ibrahim’s older pieces in a post-apartheid context—is long overdue. Twenty years after...
May 2011 Albums
Live has no business being so dull. The Tamarindo quartet comprises four bottomless wells of talent (tenor/soprano saxophonist Tony Malaby, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, bassist William Parker and drummer Nasheet Waits), joining here in a free session at the...
March 2011 Albums
Casual listening might dismiss For All We Know as background music. It has the swing and lyrical-but-airy atmosphere of the jazz quartet at your local Sunday Brunch special, and trumpeter-leader Eddie Henderson and guitarist John Scofield, while creative...
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