Christopher Loudon

Christopher’s Contributions

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11/23/15    Albums

Two Songbirds of a Feather
Becky Kilgore & Nicki Parrott

Some jazz voices—Ella and Louis, Carmen and Betty, Bing and Rosie—seem made for one another. The bi-generational teaming of Rebecca (Becky) Kilgore and Nicki Parrott flaunts that it-had-to-happen spirit. Best evidence among this baker’s dozen tracks is the...

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11/19/15    Albums

Jazz and Other Four Letter Words
Mark Winkler

Last time we heard from Mark Winkler, in 2013, was with a studio version of West Coast Cool, the snappy, midcentury-styled nightclub act that he and the Manhattan Transfer’s Cheryl Bentyne toured across North America. It seems, however, that Winkler isn’t...

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11/14/15    Albums

Alegria de Viver
Leny Andrade & Roni Ben-Hur

Though she’s extremely under-recognized outside Latin America, veteran Brazilian vocalist Leny Andrade has achieved status and esteem there equivalent of Ella, Sarah or Billie. Known for her scorching delivery and dense, earthy sound, the Rio-born Andrade...

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11/06/15    Albums

Send One Your Love
New West Guitar Group

The math is simple: three guitarists; 10 tracks; and five vocalists, each exploring two love songs, one vintage and one more contemporary. The three players—Perry Smith, Jeff Stein and John Storie, collectively know as New West Guitar Group—have been together...

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10/31/15    Albums

The Royal Bopsters Project
London, Meader, Pramuk & Ross

Five years in gestation, this boplicious project serves as both the introduction to a terrific new vocal foursome and as a living tribute to five of jazz singing’s foremost pioneers. The idea was ignited in 2010 when Amy London and Holli Ross paid a visit...

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10/27/15    Albums

Midnight McCartney
John Pizzarelli

The same week that the Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love” hit No. 1 in Billboard in April 1964, Ella Fitzgerald recorded her version. Lennon and McCartney compositions have remained a vital part of the vocal-jazz repertoire ever since. But you’d be hard pressed...

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10/25/15    Albums

Sophisticated Abbey: Live at the Keystone Korner
Abbey Lincoln

Anyone who knows Abbey Lincoln’s history is aware of the sizable recording gap—a barren stretch from 1962 to 1972 followed by close to two decades of very sporadic live and studio sessions—that preceded her vibrant comeback in the early ’90s. Any unearthed...

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10/19/15    Albums

Many a New Day: Karrin Allyson Sings Rodgers & Hammerstein
Karrin Allyson

Why do jazz singers embrace so many songs by Rodgers and Hart yet so few—save the Coltrane-blessed “My Favorite Things”—by Rodgers and Hammerstein? While Rodgers’ music is accepted as consistently top-drawer, Hart’s lyrics are widely considered sharper...

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10/15/15    Concerts

Review: South Africa's Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival

A dichotomous affair, from the disappointing to the sublime

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10/12/15    Albums

Speaking in Tongues
Luciana Souza

Though its title is borrowed from Corinthians , referencing how an unfamiliar language speaks not to man but to God, Luciana Souza’s outstanding Speaking in Tongues also aligns with another Old Testament reference. For, in its synthesis of varied cultures...

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10/09/15    Albums

For One to Love
Cécile McLorin Salvant

Though it was actually her second full-length release, on the strength of one album, 2013’s WomanChild , Cécile McLorin Salvant vaulted from Miami-born Monk competition victor to the world’s most celebrated female jazz vocalist. It’s mighty tough to follow...

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10/02/15    Albums

Offering: The Music of Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson
Charenee Wade

As producer Mark Ruffin explains in the liner notes, Offering is an apologia of sorts. Across his multi-decade career as broadcaster and journalist, Ruffin often crossed paths with Gil Scott-Heron. His knowledge of, and appreciation for, Scott-Heron’s work...

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09/20/15    Albums

Form & Formless
Ellen Johnson

It’s hardly surprising that Ellen Johnson was specially selected by Bobby McFerrin to work with his Voicestra ensemble. When it comes to shaping wordless gems, Johnson packs as imaginative a wallop as the mighty McFerrin. An accomplished jazz educator, Johnson...

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09/15/15    Albums

Rise
Shayna Steele

She’s backed Moby, Bette Midler and Kelly Clarkson, performed on Broadway, toured with Rihanna, recorded an EP and a full-length disc under her own steam and been hailed as an “R&B diva.” As she’s carved this circuitous path, Shayna Steele has also acquired...

09/08/15    Albums

Everything is Cool
Giacomo Gates

A latecomer to jazz as a vocation, Giacomo Gates cut his first album 20 years ago at age 45 and has since recorded just six more as a leader. But what he lacks in quantity he’s more than made up for in quality. A fervent acolyte of bebop, scat and vocalese...

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09/03/15    Albums

Touchstone
Ariel Pocock

With its pairing of a neophyte vocalist-pianist with four jazz heavyweights, this album might better have been titled Post-Millennial All-Stars Featuring Ariel Pocock . Not that the 22-year-old Floridian can’t hold her own in the company of tenor saxophonist...

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About Christopher Loudon

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