Mike Joyce

Mike’s Contributions

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01/20/16    Albums

Turning Towards the Light
Adam Rudolph Go: Organic Guitar Orchestra

Guitar orchestras are not all that uncommon around the world, but Adam Rudolph’s ensemble is decidedly unlike any other. For one thing, the 11 musicians who perform on Turning Towards the Light are notable recording artists and bandleaders in their own right...

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01/14/16    Albums

Out of the Blue
Raoul Björkenheim ECsTaSy

Critics have heaped lavish praise on guitarist Raoul Björkenheim’s curious brand of improvised jazz, and understandably so, even if commonly drawn parallels (Ayler, Coleman, Coltrane, Mahavishnu, Hendrix, Fela, et al.) only serve to underscore the audacious...

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11/10/15    Albums

The Real Thing
Eric Alexander

Soulful, songful and so clearly a recording made by musicians with common roots and an uncommon level of rapport, The Real Thing won’t disappoint fans of straight-ahead jazz that projects a timeless allure. The opening cut, the album’s title track, could...

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10/29/15    Albums

The Evolution of Oneself
Orrin Evans

Some jazz pairings seem all but inevitable until they prove stubbornly elusive. So it’s great to see two of Philly’s best, pianist Orrin Evans and bassist Christian McBride, finally collaborate on a CD—and an audacious one at that, featuring drummer Karriem...

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10/05/15    Albums

Swing Zing!
Frank Vignola & Vinny Raniolo

Where precisely does swing give way to zing on this collection of mostly guitar duets? Look no further than those performances that demand virtuosic technique from veteran guitarist Frank Vignola and his well-matched compatriots. Vignola and fellow guitarist...

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09/24/15    Albums

Awwlright!
Mike LeDonne

Fans of vintage soul-jazz organ combos are not only likely to concur with the title of keyboardist Mike LeDonne’s latest release, they may even find the album worthy of an additional exclamation point or two. It’s soulful, Hammond B-3 stuff, all right, from...

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09/17/15    Albums

Play a Bill Frisell Set List
Michael Gibbs & the NDR Bigband

Throughout Bill Frisell’s prolific recording career, what goes around tends to come around, as youthful encounters and long-held fascinations inspire new studio projects and concert collaborations. Serendipity played a significant role in the guitarist’s...

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08/23/15    Albums

Soloist
Andy Brown

When programming the selection of tunes on his latest CD, Soloist , Chicago-based guitarist Andy Brown couldn’t have chosen a more enticing opener than his fingerstyle take on “Dancing in the Dark.” Or a more telling one, for it certainly suggests pleasures...

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08/12/15    Albums

Diga Diga Doo: Hot Music from Chicago
Marty Grosz/Fat Babies

Fledgling jazz musicians take note. In his annotations to this lighthearted collection of vintage tunes, Marty Grosz, the 85-year-old guitarist, banjoist, crooner and raconteur, offers some sage advice: “I suggest that you take up an instrument, study and...

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07/24/15    Albums

A Million Colors in Your Mind
Cyrus Chestnut

There’s nothing quite like the sound of pianist Cyrus Chestnut hammering his way through a five chord in a climactic turnaround, as if to underscore his abiding affection for blues and gospel traditions. It evokes images of a smiling slugger rounding third...

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06/16/15    Albums

Rigamaroll
Jerry Bergonzi

For someone who’s always been reluctant to tout his skills as a composer, Boston-based saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi certainly knows how to write to his strengths.Hard-charging, riff-based tunes prove that time and again here, providing bracing impetus for...

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06/14/15    Albums

Deja Vu
Peter and Will Anderson

On this thoroughly entertaining quintet session, twins Will and Peter Anderson team up with one of the most renowned and beloved siblings in jazz history, drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath, who turns 80 on May 31. No surprise, then, that the young reedmen sound...

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05/24/15    Albums

Live Beauty
John Stowell/Michael Zilber Quartet

Anyone who has enjoyed previous collaborations by guitarist John Stowell and saxophonist Michael Zilber will be delighted to discover that nothing gets lost in the transition from studio to stage on this 2012 concert recording. It’s an intimate quartet affair...

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05/18/15    Albums

Duets
Kevin Eubanks/Stanley Jordan

Melodic finesse? Rhythmic funk? An album likely to appeal to a cross-section of smooth and mainstream jazz tastes? You shouldn’t expect anything less from a recording that pairs guitar vets Stanley Jordan and Kevin Eubanks. Yet for all the signature traits...

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12/27/14    Albums

Guitar in the Space Age!
Bill Frisell

Guitar in the Space Age! marks giant steps backward and forward in time for guitarist Bill Frisell. On one hand, it’s a celebration of the improbable rise of the electric guitar—particularly the models made by Fender—during the ’50s and ’60s. But more important...

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12/26/14    Albums

The Melody Lingers On
Houston Person

Here’s veteran reedman Houston Person rolling in the deep again, his tone resonant as ever, his primary focus the Great American Songbook and its enduring lyricism. Unmistakably in his element, relaxed and yet fully engaged, the tenor saxophonist is clearly...

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About Mike Joyce