Reviews

Hot Town Ghost Train Orchestra

07/02/15    Albums    By Steve Greenlee

Ghost Train Orchestra
Hot Town
Accurate Records

The only downside to listening to old jazz recordings from the 1920s is that they sound as though they were made in the 1920s. Brian Carpenter is making a career out of remedying that, and he continues his winning formula on Hot Town , the third album from...

Festival International de Jazz de Montréal Kicks Off 36th Edition

07/02/15    Concerts    By Sharonne Cohen

Festival International de Jazz de Montréal Kicks Off 36th Edition

Days 1-4 of Canada's massive annual event

Spark Jenna Mammina & Rolf Sturm

07/01/15    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Jenna Mammina & Rolf Sturm
Spark
Water Street Music

What began as a casual introduction at a rehearsal for a Grateful Dead tribute orchestra has blossomed into a fine pop-jazz partnership, and it only took two decades. The band was Joe Gallant’s Illuminati and, throughout their shared three-year stint in...

Arms & hands Kirk Knuffke

06/30/15    Albums    By Mike Shanley

Kirk Knuffke
Arms & hands
The Royal Potato Family

Kirk Knuffke has played in all sorts of contexts, so a trio is nothing unusual for the cornetist. What makes Arms & Hands distinctive, though, is his choice of bandmates. Bassist Mark Helias comes from a more adventurous (and prolific) background (Anthony...

The Straight Horn of Africa: A Path to Liberation Sam Newsome

06/30/15    Albums    By Brad Farberman

Sam Newsome
The Straight Horn of Africa: A Path to Liberation
Some New Records

On soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome’s The Straight Horn of Africa: A Path to Liberation , the second entry in his The Art of the Soprano series, one hears, in addition to the leader’s ax, the sounds of mbira , synthesizer, flute and clarinet. But that’s all...

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

06/29/15    Albums    By David Whiteis

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

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...

Emanation (Solo: Volume 2) Roberta Piket

06/28/15    Albums    By Mike Shanley

Roberta Piket
Emanation (Solo: Volume 2)
Thirteenth Note

At one time, pianists could be chastised for having a “weak left hand,” which simply played chords while the right hand did all the heavy lifting. On her second album of solo piano, Roberta Piket proves that not only is her left hand well equipped, it often...

Jive Samba Duduka da Fonseca

06/27/15    Albums    By Allen Morrison

Duduka da Fonseca
Jive Samba
Zoho

If you think that Brazilian-influenced jazz might be a bit passé, you don’t know Duduka. Drummer Duduka da Fonseca, that is, who wrote the book on Brazilian drumming, literally, with his Brazilian Rhythms for Drumset , first published in 1993. Ever since...

Jamison Jamison Ross

06/25/15    Albums    By Michael J. West

Jamison Ross
Jamison
Concord Jazz

The debut album by the winner of the 2012 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Drums Competition isn’t what jazz fans will expect. Jamison Ross, it turns out, is a singer as well, and on Jamison he’s a singer first. But once the confusion subsides, there remains...

Just Say Yes Chicago Yestet

06/24/15    Albums    By David Whiteis

Chicago Yestet
Just Say Yes
Tiddlywinks

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...