David R. Adler

David R.’s Contributions


11/04/08    Concerts

Enrico Pieranunzi at Birdland

Fittingly for shows on and around Halloween, there were different Enrico Pieranunzis on display last week at Birdland. The Italian master pianist spent two nights each with two starkly contrasting units: first a trio with bassist Steve Swallow and drummer...


November 2008    Artist Profiles

Rebecca Martin: Post-Pop

I think all my records have a roundness to them,” says singer-songwriter Rebecca Martin. “Some records are angular, but I think of my records as big circles.” On The Growing Season, her fourth solo release and her debut on the Sunnyside label, Martin widens...


November 2008    Albums

The Light and Other Things
Giacomo Merega/David Tronzo/Noah Kaplan

This is the debut recording of Italian-born electric bassist Giacomo Merega, although given the collaborative nature of the music, it’s fair that guitar innovator David Tronzo and Brooklyn-based saxophonist Noah Kaplan get equal billing. Inspired in part...


10/30/08    Concerts

Creative Music Studio Celebration

From the stage at Symphony Space, pianist/vibraphonist Karl Berger wondered aloud: If he mentioned Creative Music Studio (CMS), the entity being celebrated this evening, would people know what he was talking about? It may still be one of the more obscure...


October 2008    Artist Profiles

Mike Reed: Doubled Up

Chicago drummer Mike Reed drops two ambitious albums on the same day When drummer Mike Reed recorded The Speed of Change and Proliferation, he didn’t foresee putting both out at the same time. But together, the two discs (on 482 Music) say something important...


August 2008    Albums

Always Outnumbered
Steuart Liebig/Tee-Tot Quartet

“Tee-tot” is an apt onomatopoeic term for the semi-drunk, limping rhythms put across by this oddball quartet. Led by West Coast “contrabassguitarist” Steuart Liebig, the group boasts a frontline of cornet (Dan Clucas) and Dobro (Scot Ray), with Joseph Berardi...

August 2008    Solo

Playing Changes for Change

Saxophonist Tim Ries has a song called “What Happened to Ya?” with lyrics that cite a lack of political resolve among the aging ’60s generation. Some would extend this critique to the jazz community itself, arguing that protest jazz—what Archie Shepp once...


August 2008    Albums

The Art of Dying
Jason Ajemian

There’s an alluringly schizoid quality to this solo effort by Chicago Underground bassist Jason Ajemian. At the core of the session is his trio Smokeless Heat, with tenor saxophonist Tim Haldeman and drummer Noritaka Tanaka. But the group grows to include...


August 2008    Albums

Quartet (GTM) 2006
Anthony Braxton

“The underground is great once you get used to it,” writes Anthony Braxton in the liner notes to this multi-disc set, one of many in the reedman-composer’s elephantine discography. He’s speaking as an artist, but the same truth applies to listeners. “Getting...


August 2008    Albums

Present Tense
James Carter

James Carter’s first outing for EmArcy is an unselfconscious mix of influences, more three-dimensional than his various tribute discs and the recent organ-trio blowouts Live at Baker’s and Out of Nowhere. The saxophonist fronts a versatile, hard-swinging...


07/03/08    Concerts

Herbie Hancock at JVC - New York

A Herbie Hancock performance will never be insignificant, but this JVC Jazz Festival showcase, coming on the heels of the pianist’s Grammy upset for River: The Joni Letters, seemed to carry additional meaning. Here we have a living jazz master who has crashed...


May 2008    Albums

Season of Changes
Brian Blade Fellowship

Hugely celebrated as a drummer, Brian Blade has never really received his due as a composer and bandleader. If Season of Changes changes anything, let it be that. The new album arrives 10 years after the Fellowship’s eponymous debut and ends an eight-year...


May 2008    Albums

The Classical Variations
Uri Caine

Although it highlights Uri Caine’s offbeat projects dating back to 1997, The Classical Variations is not a best-of. Eleven of the 20 tracks are previously unreleased, and the disc has its own sequential integrity. If the pianist’s deconstructions of Mahler...


May 2008    Albums

The Quincy Jones ABC/Mercury Big Band Jazz Sessions
Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones, a 2008 NEA Jazz Master, stood out from his fellow honorees when they gathered in Toronto at this year’s IAJE conference. For unlike trumpeter Joe Wilder and the rest, “Q” traveled with a security detail. He is among the hugest of pop-music...


May 2008    Albums

Affairs of State
Andrew Rathbun

“Fiction could not create more colorful, ridiculous characters,” writes Andrew Rathbun in the liner notes to Affairs of State. He’s speaking of the Bush administration. A native of Canada based in Brooklyn, Rathbun is upset, like many, by political realities...


March 2008    Albums

Day Trip
Pat Metheny w/ Christian Mcbride & Antonio Sanchez

Pat Metheny is best known for his 30 years and running with the Pat Metheny Group. Among his widely varied projects, however, the trio holds a special place, beginning in 1976 with his debut album, Bright Size Life, featuring Jaco Pastorius and Bob Moses...

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About David R. Adler