The drummer-composer Ches Smith builds a reputation as bandleader and sideman
Where classical, improvisation and composition meet
Most standards began as what we now refer to as covers, songs that everyone instantly recognized and could sing along to, even in their instrumental format. The shifting tides of pop culture have washed away many of Tin Pan Alley’s masterpieces—at least...
Jazz, world music and steel pan in a rum-soaked, boozy and laid-back atmosphere
Self-described as a “grammatically incoherent jazz bastardization,” the trio Thiefs captures all of the tone of jazz but none of its grammar. Aligned rhythmically with drum-and-bass and modally with trance, the group adheres to so many different genre parameters...
As the title indicates, this is not strictly an Afro-Cuban jazz record, but flits between styles, incorporating straight-ahead and Latin influences. Named for the artistic technique that uses parallel lines to create shading and depth, Arturo Stable’s varied...
A world of invention within straight-ahead jazz
Another successful fundraising collaboration for Wynton and orchestra
Weasel Walter must take comfort in chaos. On this followup to Electric Fruit , this trio’s debut, he revels in it, creating a carnival-esque hall of mirrors: theater of the absurd with Walter as ringmaster, or the ferryman over the river Styx, depending...
It may be his first small-group recording, but veteran composer, educator and arranger Jeff Holmes isn’t exactly a late bloomer. The director of jazz and African-American music studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has written for the likes...
Prior to 2010’s Prayer for Peace , 71-year-old Stanley Cowell had focused on his teaching career at Rutgers and had taken a sabbatical from recording for well over a decade. It’s Time is another reminder of the imaginative versatility we’d been missing in...
Shayna Dulberger must have a death drive. “Improvisation” opens the album with an out-of-time clangor of cymbals, low-register bass and keening alto saxophone grating on each other in increasing levels of postmodern percussiveness. Dulberger, saxophonist...
The pianist makes waves as a leader with temporally daring original music
How the devastating hurricane affected venues and musicians
If Mahoroba is a type of Japanese utopia, Akiko Pavolka and her sextet, House of Illusion, do everything they can to get there. An understated bliss pervades the album, her fifth as a leader, with the soft timbre of Loren Stillman’s alto saxophone complementing...
About Aidan Levy
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Aidan Levy joined the JazzTimes community on Dec 16, 2009