David Whiteis

David’s Contributions


05/24/16    Albums

Jeremy Pelt

Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt’s approach remains solidly postbop in feel and execution, with strong echoes of Miles Davis’ mid- to late-’60s work—lent authority here by the presence of Davis alum Ron Carter on bass. The opener, a Pelt original entitled “Baswald’s...


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...


10/11/15    Albums

Ghost Tones: Portraits of George Russel
Ran Blake

Veteran pianist-composer Ran Blake includes original music, a few standards and interpretations of some of George Russell’s most important recorded pieces on this tender but ultimately bracing tribute to his longtime friend and colleague. A serene, almost...


08/09/15    Albums

A Tribute to Fort Apache Band
Jerry González & Miguel Blanco Big Band

Trumpeter-percussionist Jerry González’s Fort Apache Band is certainly not the first to graft elements of bebop, postbop and straight-ahead swing onto an Afro-Cuban framework. But its relatively sparse voicings and the dexterity and subtlety of its soloists...


07/21/15    Albums

Triangles and Circles
Dafnis Prieto Sextet

This CD’s title and that of its opening selection, “Back and Forth,” exemplify the music: Shapes, shadings and tonalities swirl in and out, sometimes alternating, sometimes blending, sometimes juxtaposed. Emotionally, as well, it’s an exercise in shape-shifting...


07/14/15    Albums

No U Turn: Live in Pasadena, 1975
Bobby Bradford & John Carter Quintet

This previously unissued recording of cornetist Bobby Bradford and woodwinds player John Carter at Caltech’s Baxter Lecture Hall, with two bassists—Stanley Carter and Roberto Miranda—and drummer William Jeffrey, is the earliest known documentation of the...


06/29/15    Albums

Memory in the Center, An Afro Opera: Homage to Nelson Mandela
Ernest Dawkins' Live in the Spirit Residency Big Band

This orchestral jazz suite, written in tribute to Nelson Mandela and recorded live on the opening night of the 2014 Chicago Jazz Festival, grafts elements of South African dance and melody onto a characteristic Ernest Dawkins fusion of postbop melodic and...


06/24/15    Albums

Just Say Yes
Chicago Yestet

A hard-swinging 11-piece big band, fronted by vocalists delivering lyrics that tackle themes like love, loss and the joys of clubbing along with a few optimistic pleas for tolerance, peace and technological sanity—it could have been an exercise in reactionary...


06/21/15    Albums

Primal Scream
David Chesky Jazz in the New Harmonic

Pianist David Chesky is hardly unique in his embrace of both classical music and jazz, nor is his stated mission—to use “harmonic language … from the Messiaen, Webern, and Ives school” to challenge his bandsmen with “chords that they don’t usually hear in...

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About David Whiteis