George Kanzler

George’s Contributions

May 2010    Albums

Albums — May 2010

When the harmonica is heard in jazz, it is most often the 12-tone chromatic harmonica, not the diatonic “blues harp,” which is associated more with Bob Dylan and Chicago blues. Howard Levy, however, has almost single-handedly developed the full jazz potential...

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03/12/10    Concerts

Bible Belt Jazz

George Kanzler reviews recent shows and the scene in Asheville, NC.

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03/10/10    Albums

Days in the Life
Robby Ameen

Although he’s been a leading drummer on the Latin pop and jazz scene for over two decades, this is the first album where Robby Ameen has served as both leader and principal composer/arranger. Definitely a drummer’s date, it spotlights Ameen’s versatility...

03/10/10    Albums

When the harmonica is heard in jazz, it is most often the 12-tone chromatic harmonica, not the diatonic “blues harp,” which is associated more with Bob Dylan and Chicago blues. Howard Levy, however, has almost single-handedly developed the full jazz potential...

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May 2009    Albums

Music Update
Jason Marsalis

The clan‘s youngest member hedges his bets

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April 2009    Albums

The Music of Djavan
Lori Bell

Jazz flute and Brazilian music go all the way back to Herbie Mann’s pioneering work, recordings that predated even tenor saxophonist Stan Getz’s crossover hits. Both Getz and Mann embraced bossa nova and collaborated with Brazilian musicians, but Bell, a...

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April 2009    Albums

Reflections
Mark Colby

Stan Getz is tenor saxophonist Mark Colby’s stylistic model, and on previous recordings his debt to Getz has been obvious. It’s not a bad model—everyone doesn’t have to sound like Coltrane—especially when you, like Colby, have a strong lyrical bent and can...

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April 2009    Albums

The Art of the Trio
Ernie Krivda

You can hear what Joe Lovano has heard in his fellow Cleveland tenor saxophonist Ernie Krivda: a similar rough, wooly tweed tone and same fearless, questing imagination. Seven years older, Krivda has a unique jazz voice, one that has had an impact on Lovano...

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April 2009    Albums

Ring Dem Bells
The Johnny Varro Swing 7

In the ecclesiastics of swing, the Johnny Varro Swing 7 would be in the liberal camp. Pianist Varro, irrespective of his associations with neo-traditionalists, is no atavist trying to recreate the swing of yesteryear via musical Xeroxing; he’s more interested...

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March 2009    Albums

Unconventional Wisdom
Randy Sandke

It’s appropriate to revive a venerable spelling to describe trumpeter Randy Sandke, for he is in every sense a compleat musician, a true Renaissance man of jazz. Any doubts about his all-around command of his chosen instrument should be dispelled after listening...

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March 2009    Albums

High Noon: The Jazz Soul of Frankie Laine
Gary Smulyan

From his first hit, “That’s My Desire” in 1947, Frankie Laine was on the pop charts consistently for two decades, often with country fare like the movie theme that gives this CD its title. So at first he seems an unlikely inspiration for a jazz project led...

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December 2008    Albums

Our Delight
The James Moody and Hank Jones Quartet

If you’re looking for instrumental fireworks or can’t abide reflection in your jazz, you’ll find no delight here. But if you value the wisdom of elders and the hard-won grace of decades spent mastering the traditions and nuances of the music, this CD is...

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December 2008    Albums

The Scene
The Stryker/Slagle Band

In this era of ever-shifting alliances and endlessly malleable bands, guitarist Dave Stryker and alto and soprano saxophonist/flutist Steve Slagle have achieved, for two decades, a contemporary rarity: a band with a distinct, highly developed sound. In order...

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November 2008    Albums

O’Reilly Street
Sir James Galway & Tiempo Libre

If a classical musician wants to take a dip in the jazz pool, there’s no better way to start than with the compositions of Claude Bolling, the French composer who blends Baroque and jazz in his suites. Flutist Galway at least dips his toes in the pool on...

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November 2008    Albums

Duff’s Blues: Live From the Zoellner Arts Center
Gene Ludwig Trio with the Bill Warfield Big Band

It’s too bad the Hammond B3 organ isn’t showcased more often with a big band. It’s a terrific combine producing a big, deep, meaty sound. Case in point: this CD, putting together veteran B3 organist Gene Ludwig, who got his start four decades ago in Pittsburgh...

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November 2008    Albums

Jammin’ Uptown
Alvin Queen

Aside from a bonus track, this CD first saw light as an LP from drummer Queen’s Nilva label, based in Switzerland, in 1985. An expatriate living in Europe since the ’80s, Queen made the sextet session in New York with bassist Ray Drummond doing double duty...

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About George Kanzler

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George Kanzler has been a jazz and pop staff writer for 33 years at the Star-Ledger.