Chris Kelsey

Chris’s Contributions

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10/12/11    Gearhead

RS Berkeley’s Legends Series Mouthpieces by Drake

Expertly crafted 'pieces replicate the equipment of icons

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06/27/11    Features

Noah Preminger: Taking It Outlaw

Saxophonist Noah Preminger and the art of originality

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05/18/11    Gearhead

Yamaha’s Custom Z Soprano Sax: Look at Little Sister

Yamaha’s Custom Z soprano sax is a sharp new horn from a company that’s had it right since day one

April 2011    Gearhead

MACSAX Empyreal Alto: Powerful Tones & Unadorned Beauty

The first person to apply lacquer to a brass instrument must have considered it an act of great aesthetic consequence. No longer would the horn be a mere assemblage of keys, pads and springs. It was now a shiny, golden decorative object, suited for life...

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December 2010    Gearhead

RS Berkeley’s Virtuoso Saxophone: Capturing Colossus

Chris Kelsey says that RS Berkeley’s Virtuoso saxophones aim for that vintage-Selmer vibe

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April 2010    Albums

Tapestries for Small Orchestra
Bill Dixon

This set’s title suggests small strands coming together to form a greater whole, which is indeed an important aspect of Bill Dixon’s conception. Yet tapestries are inert, and Dixon’s music is not. It might move slowly much of the time, but it most certainly...

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02/25/10    Albums

Gebhard Ullmann Basement Research Don't Touch My Music Vols. 1 & 2

German woodwind master offers a perfectly balanced sort of avant-jazz

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May 2009    Albums

Every So Often
Ellery Eskelin, Sylvie Courvoisier

Ellery Eskelin’s determination to do his own thing at all costs might not have made him a household name, but it’s made him one of the most consistently interesting tenor saxophonists in jazz, which is undoubtedly what he set out to do anyway. He’s joined...

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May 2009    Albums

Prayer for My Ancestors
Azar Lawrence

With names like Alphonse Mouzon, Roy McCurdy and Azar Lawrence listed on the sleeve, you could be forgiven for expecting this to be either a re-release or a new release of a session recorded in the ’70s. Yet the music was recorded recently, and while some...

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April 2009    Albums

Yeraz
Trygve Seim/Frode Haltli

Tenor and soprano saxophonist Trygve Seim and accordionist Frode Haltli are joined on Yeraz by a third, non-corporeal member: silence. The space around and between the pair’s improvised exchanges exerts a powerful, nearly tangible presence, contributing...

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March 2009    Albums

Blending Times
Ravi Coltrane

An air of impulsive surrender suffuses this music, as if Ravi Coltrane aimed to embody Lennie Tristano’s musical philosophy of intuition and feeling. From E.J. Strickland’s cascading, rainstick-like drumming and Drew Gress’ malleable bass lines, to Luis...

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March 2009    Gearhead

Yamaha YAS- BP Alto Saxophone

In the interest of full disclosure, I should confess: There’s never been a time in my musical life when I didn’t own at least one Yamaha saxophone. The first horn I could really call my own was a Vito alto, which was basically a Yamaha stencil (although...

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January/February 2009    Gigbag

Gigbag: January/February 2009

George Garzone’s Tenor Wisdom Virtuoso mouthpiece craftsman Jody Espina expands into the instructional DVD market with The Music of George Garzone & the Triadic Chromatic Approach, a comprehensive presentation of the ideas behind the music of Berklee and...

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December 2008    Albums

Clockwise
Michael Bates

It’s no surprise that Greenleaf label owner Dave Douglas likes what he hears in the young bassist/composer Michael Bates, a musician who, like Douglas himself, evidences multifarious musical interests. From the Stravinsky-esque “Great Exhibition” to the...

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December 2008    Albums

Ten
Anthony Brown’s Asian American Orchestra with special guests Steve Lacy & David Murray

Much of this music sounds like it could have been the soundtrack to a ’50s movie set in post-WWII Japan, one featuring big-band tunes played by a combination of traditional jazz instruments and indigenous Asian instruments. Unlike many recent fusions of...

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December 2008    Albums

Bert’s Playground
Ari Hoenig

Drummer Ari Hoenig is well known to habitués of Smalls, the downtown NYC club that for many years has fostered young jazz talent away from the spotlight that shines on larger, higher-profile venues. Hoenig’s recordings on the club’s associated label have...

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About Chris Kelsey

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Soprano saxophonist and jazz critic Chris Kelsey has been winning musician friends and influencing discerning JazzTimes readers for several years now.