Michael J. West
Michael J.’s Contributions
02/13/13 Overdue Ovation
From his work with Dizzy through his teaching today, the picture of dedication
La Peur Du Vide sits uneasily between straight-ahead and free jazz, occasionally tipping to one side or the other. It’s familiar ground for tenor saxophonist Bill McHenry—even more so for his quartet (pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Andrew...
Ninety Miles , the Afro-Cuban recording by vibraphonist Stefon Harris, saxophonist David Sánchez and trumpeter Christian Scott, was among 2011’s best releases; Cubadisco , its new live follow-up, includes six of the nine compositions performed on the studio...
Fusion, lest we forget, spawned both new age and smooth jazz. Guitarist Lee Ritenour’s Rhythm Sessions is proof. Alongside its ample fusion credentials (including two dozen accomplished players, among them Marcus Miller and Stanley Clarke), it’s loaded with...
For all the cunning with which they assemble it, Sonic Liberation Front’s musical patchwork still feels like a mess. But it’s a glorious, enchanting mess. Boasting a range of guests and instruments (especially horns and percussion) so complex it literally...
Eschewing his usual saxophone partners, Wah-Wah finds Danish guitarist-composer Torben Waldorff leading an American band (keyboardist Gary Versace, bassist Matt Clohesy, drummer Jon Wikan) that’s long on melody but also on texture and atmosphere. Only the...
Bill Laswell’s sound on the Warwick Alien—a newly designed fretless acoustic bass guitar—is astonishingly beautiful. Its core is the thick-string timbre of the upright, but rounder and more malleable, ideal for harmonic low-end drones supporting the guitaristic...
The very presence of a harp, Carol Robbins’ instrument, can cloak jazz in the veneer of new age. On Moraga , it does, and the Windham Hill vibe is amplified by low-key tunes and the presence of Gary Meek’s soprano saxophone and Larry Koonse’s classical guitar...
Angelic Warrior is a veritable almanac of the alto saxophone in contemporary mainstream jazz. Tia Fuller gives her distinctive sound a full and exhilarating workout, with bop (“Cherokee”), Coltrane-esque modal jams (“Royston Rumble”), Caribbean flavor (“Descend...
Weather Report’s first six albums, as Bill Milkowski reflects in the notes for Columbia’s collection thereof, saw the fusion legends move from “an electric avant-garde band that appealed strictly to the cognoscenti” to “a ferocious groove-oriented juggernaut...
With a few exceptions, trumpeter/flugelhornist Nadje Noordhuis’ debut recording is all soft-colored, European-inspired melodies and gentle rhythms. It’s an extremely muted album, in other words, but that fact doesn’t diminish its power. Noordhuis has a sweet...
The arrangements that organist Greg Lewis uses on Organ Monk: Uwo in the Black , his second quartet album of guess-whose music, show little to no deviation from Monk’s. Instead, Lewis expresses his astonishing originality through his aggressive instrumental...
Defining success in today's online music biz
The trumpeter discusses his quintet music, his prolific output and more
11/04/12 Overdue Ovation
A prolific trumpeter fluent in jazz, classical and more
A look at the best music apps for jazz fans and musicians
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