Reviews

Live Beauty John Stowell/Michael Zilber Quartet

05/24/15    Albums    By Mike Joyce

John Stowell/Michael Zilber Quartet
Live Beauty
Origin Records

Anyone who has enjoyed previous collaborations by guitarist John Stowell and saxophonist Michael Zilber will be delighted to discover that nothing gets lost in the transition from studio to stage on this 2012 concert recording. It’s an intimate quartet affair...

Swing Makes You Happy! George Gee Swing Orchestra

05/23/15    Albums    By Michael J. West

George Gee Swing Orchestra
Swing Makes You Happy!
Rondette Jazz

“Swing music is a living, growing, and evolving art form,” says bandleader George Gee in his liner notes for Swing Makes You Happy! , featuring his 11-piece Swing Orchestra. He could hardly have produced a better example of that sentiment: This album is...

The Undying Spirit E.J. Strickland Quintet

05/22/15    Albums    By Michael J. West

E.J. Strickland Quintet
The Undying Spirit
Strick Muzik

There’s a tendency on drummer-led albums for the listener’s ear to focus on the drums no matter what they’re doing. E.J. Strickland turns that tendency into inevitability on his second album, The Undying Spirit . It opens with an unaccompanied virtuoso solo...

70 Strong Steve Gadd Band

05/21/15    Albums    By Bill Meredith

Steve Gadd Band
70 Strong
BFM

Nearly every listening experience involves expectations based on scenario, instrumentation and personnel. When the occasion is supreme studio drummer Steve Gadd’s 70th birthday recording—with trumpeter Walt Fowler, guitarist Michael Landau, keyboardist Larry...

Drum Lore Vol. 2: More Lore Owen Howard

05/20/15    Albums    By Thomas Conrad

Owen Howard
Drum Lore Vol. 2: More Lore
BJU

Despite the title, this album is not drum-centric. While Owen Howard comes down on the hot, proactive side of the drum-intensity spectrum, his transitory polyrhythms and thrusting forces are integral to his band, which is his priority. His own tunes are...

Messin' With Mr. T Dave Stryker

05/20/15    Albums    By Owen Cordle

Dave Stryker
Messin' With Mr. T
Strikezone

The bluesy, soulful guitarist Dave Stryker played in tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine’s band from 1986 through 1995. On Messin’ With Mr. T , he invites 10 tenor players, organist Jared Gold, drummer McClenty Hunter and, on six tracks, percussionist Mayra...

Slow Motion Miracles Sachal

05/19/15    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Sachal
Slow Motion Miracles
OKeh

In recent years, much has been made of the steady migration of aging pop and rock stars toward jazzier pastures, with continual raids (and more than the occasional pillage) of the Great American Songbook. Significantly less attention has been paid an opposite...

Duets Kevin Eubanks/Stanley Jordan

05/18/15    Albums    By Mike Joyce

Kevin Eubanks/Stanley Jordan
Duets
Mack Avenue Records

Melodic finesse? Rhythmic funk? An album likely to appeal to a cross-section of smooth and mainstream jazz tastes? You shouldn’t expect anything less from a recording that pairs guitar vets Stanley Jordan and Kevin Eubanks. Yet for all the signature traits...

From Darkness Avishai Cohen Trio

05/17/15    Albums    By Philip Booth

Avishai Cohen Trio
From Darkness
Razdaz

Since the late ’90s, when Avishai Cohen broke through with his genre-defying solo debut, Adama , and his inspired playing with Chick Corea’s Origin sextet, the Israeli-born bassist has leavened his jazz with classical strains and Middle Eastern folk textures...

Texas Tenor The Buddy Tate Quartet

05/16/15    Albums    By David Whiteis

The Buddy Tate Quartet
Texas Tenor
Delmark/Sackville

“Texas tenor” usually calls to mind propulsive swing, a brawny tone and a blues-drenched toughness leavened by tenderness on ballads. This reissue, including two previously unreleased selections, displays these characteristics in abundance. Befitting a veteran...