Reviews

eCsTaSy Raoul Björkenheim

07/29/14    Albums    By Mike Shanley

Raoul Björkenheim
eCsTaSy
Cuneiform Records

“El Pueblo Unido” has a simple, folky melody that could be inspired by guitarist Raoul Björkenheim’s home in Finland. Delivered by an electric guitar and tenor sax and a free-rolling rhythm section, however, it sounds like nothing less than a lost Ornette...

Back East Jerry Vivino

07/28/14    Albums    By Jeff Tamarkin

Jerry Vivino
Back East

In the liner notes for Back East , saxophonist (and sometime flutist) Jerry Vivino states early on that he’s “not Joe Lovano” and that “I know my limits.” What Vivino is saying is not that he can’t cut it, but that jazz is not his fulltime gig. Like his...

A Lot of Livin' to Do Nick Ziobro

07/27/14    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Nick Ziobro
A Lot of Livin' to Do
Titanium

Like a chapter straight out of Glee , Nick Ziobro was just a 16-year-old high school senior in upstate New York, singing in the student choir, when he decided to enter the 2012 Great American Songbook Vocal Competition, Michael Feinstein’s showcase for young...

Authority Melts From Me Bobby Avey

07/26/14    Albums    By Mike Shanley

Bobby Avey
Authority Melts From Me
Whirlwind

Bobby Avey’s visit to Haiti proved to be a life-changing experience. The pianist traveled to the country in 2012 and learned about its struggles with colonialism, slavery and foreign intervention, and his discovery of vodou drumming ensembles became the...

When Words Fail David Weiss

07/25/14    Albums    By Sharonne Cohen

David Weiss
When Words Fail
Motema

The title for this recording evokes Hans Christian Andersen’s commentary on the power of music: “Where words fail, music speaks.” Words indeed fail here, and this instrumental album reflects on the theme of loss—the pain, grief and sense of hopelessness—but...

Blue Light 'Til Dawn Cassandra Wilson

07/24/14    Albums    By Thomas Conrad

Cassandra Wilson
Blue Light 'Til Dawn
Blue Note Records

Released in late 1993, Blue Light ’Til Dawn was a game-changer. It did not win Cassandra Wilson a Grammy (those came later), but it sold nearly a million copies. It shot her to the top of the DownBeat Critics Poll in the female vocalist category, where she...

Bloom JD Allen

07/23/14    Albums    By Bill Beuttler

JD Allen
Bloom
Savant

JD Allen writes in his album notes that “Technically Bloom draws from three sources, 20th-century classical music, the American songbook and jazz improvisation.” But two of Allen’s tenor sax predecessors—John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins—are much in evidence...

Complicated Day Roy Nathanson's Sotto Voce

07/22/14    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Roy Nathanson's Sotto Voce
Complicated Day
Enja Yellowbird

Now and then it’s nice to be reminded that jazz can be bold and imaginative and still be fun. Complicated Day comes from the complicated mind of Roy Nathanson—saxophonist, vocalist, composer, lyricist, bandleader and charter member of Manhattan’s Downtown...

Road Shows, Volume 3 Sonny Rollins

07/21/14    Albums    By Thomas Conrad

Sonny Rollins
Road Shows, Volume 3
Doxy/OKeh

Our greatest living jazz musician has not made many great records in recent years. That’s why the first two volumes of Road Shows , in 2008 and 2011, were important. They contained previously unavailable confirmation that the rumors and legends were true...

Alto Essentials

07/20/14    Albums    By JazzTimes

Alto Essentials

The most important alto saxophone albums in jazz history