Michael J. West

Michael J.’s Contributions

Joelovanddouglas_monterey_span3

04/21/15    Albums

Live at Monterey Jazz Festival
Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas Sound Prints

Sound Prints’ co-leaders, saxophonist Joe Lovano and trumpeter Dave Douglas, both solo on the band’s debut album, Live at Monterey Jazz Festival . But the real meat of the recording, and of the band, is their interplay: harmony, counterpoint, call-and-response...

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04/14/15    Albums

Main Street
Jim Snidero

A determinedly straightahead alto saxophonist, Jim Snidero staffs his Main Street quartet with determinedly adventurous young musicians—and gets them swinging along with him. It’s no surprise to hear that pianist Fabian Almazan, bassist Linda Oh and drummer...

Glenn_miller_2_span3

03/27/15    Features

The Trombone: The Most Promising Instrument on the Bandstand?

Historically overshadowed, it's back in the game

Akuadixon_span3

03/11/15    Albums

Akua Dixon
Akua Dixon

Akua Dixon made a baffling choice in self-titling her second album, which features the cellist in a string quartet, plus special guests. It’s a declamatory presentation, but what is she declaiming when she solos exactly three times on the entire album? That...

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03/04/15    Albums

Children of the Sun
Joe Sample & NDR Bigband

The late pianist Joe Sample’s final work is also easily his most ambitious: an album-length suite exploring the emotional landscape of slaves in the Middle Passage, written for Germany’s 20-plus-piece NDR Bigband. At times the ambition is too much for its...

Rezabbasi_intentsandpurposes_span3

03/03/15    Albums

Intents and Purposes
Rez Abbasi Acoustic Quartet

The conceit behind Intents and Purposes is a nifty one: seminal fusion tunes, rendered in the gentler textures of acoustic guitar (Rez Abbasi), vibraphone (Bill Ware), bass (Stephan Crump) and drums (Eric McPherson). Abbasi’s Acoustic Quartet makes its point...

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02/19/15    Features

Kenny Barron: Icon-in-Residence

At 71, representing the pinnacle of the jazz-piano tradition

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01/26/15    Features

David Bowie and Maria Schneider's Enigmatic Collaboration

A big band project, but not that Duke

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12/29/14    Albums

Out Loud
Frank Lowe Quartet

Considering its expansive influence, the Loft-jazz movement receives scant attention among archival releases. That in itself makes the appearance of the double-LP Out Loud a welcome (albeit pricey and limited) one. That it’s by Frank Lowe is all the better...

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12/12/14    Overdue Ovation

Overdue Ovation: Ralph Peterson

Life in the third quarter

Conradherwig_latinsideofjoehenderson_span3

11/28/14    Albums

The Latin Side of Joe Henderson
Conrad Herwig

At its best, Conrad Herwig’s ongoing “Latin Side” project (which has already covered Trane, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock) reveals much about the omnipresence of the “Spanish tinge” in jazz repertoire. On The Latin Side of Joe Henderson...

Louis_armstrong_columbia_box_set_span3

11/17/14    Albums

Columbia and RCA Victor Live Recordings of Louis Armstrong and the All Stars
Louis Armstrong

Even among the collectors and completists for whom it’s intended, a nine-CD box set is not for listening to en masse. It’s best to break it down into constituent segments. In Columbia and RCA Victor Live Recordings of Louis Armstrong and the All Stars...

Franklacy2_span3

11/09/14    Overdue Ovation

Overdue Ovation: Frank Lacy

The trombone's champion

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11/08/14    Albums

The Thought of You
Otis Brown III

Drummer Otis Brown III, best known as a member of Joe Lovano’s Us Five, percolates with nervous energy on The Thought of You , his debut as a leader. Even on midtempo tunes like “Stages of Thought,” no easing or rests are apparent in his lines, and burners...

Mark_turner_quartet_lathe_of_heaven_span3

10/15/14    Albums

Lathe of Heaven
Mark Turner

Even cerebral musicians need to connect emotionally with their audiences. Tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, who is as cerebral as they come, struggles with this task on Lathe of Heaven . His first album as a leader since 2001’s Dharma Days , Lathe realizes...

Lennypickett_span3

09/22/14    Albums

Lenny Pickett With UMO Jazz Orchestra
The Prescription

Lenny Pickett puts a number of pleasing moments into The Prescription , his first solo record in almost 30 years. It’s the way he assembles them that’s not so pleasing. Pickett, best known as the featured saxophonist and musical director for the Saturday...

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About Michael J. West

Mjw_thumb

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