David Whiteis

David’s Contributions


12/06/16    Albums

Orrin Evans

Pianist-composer Orrin Evans expands his usual lineup here, adding guitarists Kevin Eubanks and Kurt Rosenwinkel to the mix. From the moment Eubanks enters (on “Calls,” the second track), he wastes no time taking things into fresh sonic and harmonic territory...


11/23/16    Albums

Musical Monsters
Don Cherry/John Tchicai

Free-jazz trumpet pioneer Don Cherry’s posthumous legacy continues to grow with this document of a 1980 performance at Jazz Festival Willisau in Switzerland, featuring Cherry along with an old cohort, saxophonist John Tchicai, and a Swiss rhythm section...


08/09/16    Albums

High Art
The Power Quintet

No new ground is broken here, but this set from trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, pianist Danny Grissett, vibraphonist Steve Nelson, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Bill Stewart—cast solidly in a straight-ahead postbop framework—is spiked with the pleasure that...


08/03/16    Albums

Feet in the Mud
Mimi Jones

Bassist-vocalist Mimi Jones is joined here by soprano saxophonist Samir Zarif, pianist Jon Cowherd and drummer Jonathan Barber, settling into a comfortable groove pitched midway between ’70s-styled urban funk-jazz and straight-ahead swing. The opener, “Mr...


06/29/16    Albums

Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground
Noah Preminger

On this kind-of sequel to last year’s live Pivot , saxophonist Noah Preminger, trumpeter Jason Palmer, bassist Kim Cass and drummer Ian Froman take on a set of traditional blues and spirituals and reimagine them as vehicles for free improvisation. Among...


06/28/16    Albums

New Direction
Herlin Riley

There’s a subtle but pointed message implied in the title, as it relates to most of the music on this disc: Contrary to what some revivalists and progressives might insist, music can explore new directions without self-consciously proclaiming either its...


06/01/16    Albums

Jeremy Pelt

David Whiteis reviews new album from trumpeter


05/30/16    Albums

Boss Level
Arturo O'Farrill Sextet

A free-flowing sense of adventure permeates this album, recorded a few days after the sextet concluded a stint at Birdland. It’s obvious that the musicians—including pianist Arturo O’Farrill and his sons Adam (trumpet) and Zack (drums), along with tenor...


05/22/16    Albums

Alfredo Rodriguez

The tocororo , Cuba’s national bird, is a brightly plumed songbird that, according to legend, dies of sadness when caged. The political symbolism is obvious: Alfredo Rodriguez, a Cuban expatriate, emigrated to the U.S. in 2009; as he puts it on his website...


03/16/16    Features

Tomeka Reid: Story of Her Life

Reflecting on her Chicago jazz family, recent quartet record and more


12/22/15    Albums

A Dance and a Hop
Josh Berman Trio

Chicago-based cornetist Josh Berman exemplifies the best of the current generation of young improvisers. Schooled in the entirety of the jazz tradition, he mixes influences and ideas drawn from diverse eras and genres, tweaking convention while honoring...


11/18/15    Albums

Hoodoo Blues
Roots Magic

The notes tell us that “this music means to draw a line somewhere between the Blues tradition and Creative Jazz. The original tongue and the modern dialect of Black Music.” This is hardly a new conceit, of course—the AACM has been doing this for 50 years...


11/08/15    Albums

Live in Santa Cruz!
Benny Green

Benny Green conveys exalted inspiration without showboating or pretentiousness. Even his most subtle and complex offerings go down with such ease that it may take several listens for the depth of that subtlety and complexity to become truly evident. This...


10/24/15    Albums

Days of Freeman
James Brandon Lewis

Tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, along with bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma and drummer Rudy Royston, delivers a taut, street-smart set, rooted firmly in hip-hop ancestry yet crafted to honor the tenets of inspired jazz improvisation. References to venerated...


10/18/15    Albums

Aires Tropicales
Paquito D’rivera & Quinteto Cimarrón

This disc features works by Paquito D’Rivera as well as a variety of other Cuban composers; it testifies to the saxophonist/clarinetist’s ongoing love for the rich (and too often underappreciated) Cuban classical-music tradition. He is complemented by Quinteto...


10/15/15    Albums

Oded Lev-Ari

This disc’s title is appropriate in more ways than one. Melodic lines interweave in deft counterpoint, segueing into contrasting tempos and rhythmic patterns; the various instruments engage in a swirling dance, now one voice predominant, now another. Anat...

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About David Whiteis