Reviews

Natural Essence Cyrus Chestnut

07/25/16    Albums    By Mike Joyce

Cyrus Chestnut
Natural Essence
HighNote Records

Chordal jabs, light-fingered trills, cascading runs, robust turnarounds—no question: Pianist Cyrus Chestnut is in delightfully animated form when this trio session opens with the Joe Henderson boogaloo “Mamacita.” And Chestnut is not alone in reviving the...

Upward Spiral Branford Marsalis Quartet/Special Guest Kurt Elling

07/25/16    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Branford Marsalis Quartet/Special Guest Kurt Elling
Upward Spiral
OKeh

How did one of the best and most important jazz bands around—saxophonist Branford Marsalis, pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Justin Faulkner—come to unite with one of the best and most important jazz vocalists? The idea ignited when...

Notes From New York Bill Charlap Trio

07/24/16    Albums    By Matt R. Lohr

Bill Charlap Trio
Notes From New York
Impulse!

It’s worth remembering that no artist is constantly obligated to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes, just making a really great wheel can be an accomplishment in itself. And while no one would say Notes From New York , the new outing from the Bill Charlap Trio...

After Dark Champian Fulton

07/24/16    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Champian Fulton
After Dark
Gut String

The title is well chosen, as are the front- and back-cover images, both showcasing Champian Fulton draped in fur. The vocalist-pianist’s sixth album is late-night, smoky- boîte jazz of the highest caliber, its arrangements elegantly mink-wrapped. Featuring...

Early Americans Jane Ira Bloom

07/23/16    Albums    By Britt Robson

Jane Ira Bloom
Early Americans

How in the world is this Jane Ira Bloom’s first trio record? Nearly 40 years and now 16 albums into her career, the soprano saxophonist has the pellucid tone and timbre that merit the sunlight and scrutiny of a spare ensemble. Yes, there are two duo recordings...

Live at Montreux 1993 Al Jarreau

07/23/16    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Al Jarreau
Live at Montreux 1993
Eagle Rock

Clearly an audience favorite, Al Jarreau has made a dozen Montreux appearances to date. Twelve years prior to this 70-minute set from 1993, he was captured live, albeit briefly, alongside Randy Crawford at the venerable Swiss festival, their trio of duets...

Songbook of the Americas Kat Parra

07/22/16    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Kat Parra
Songbook of the Americas

Born in California, partially raised in Chile and deeply immersed in world music with particular emphasis on Latin and Afro-Cuban influences, vocalist Kat Parra is arguably the ideal ambassador to map a musical tour of the Americas. Though she bypasses the...

Rīgas Ritmi Festival Reviewed

07/20/16    Concerts    By John Murph

Rīgas Ritmi Festival Reviewed

Jazz meets Latvian folk song, and more

Albert Murray's “Murray Talks Music”

07/19/16    Books    By Matt R. Lohr

Albert Murray's “Murray Talks Music”

Book includes previously unpublished work

Live in Athens, Greece Mark Murphy

07/18/16    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Mark Murphy
Live in Athens, Greece
Harbinger

It’s hard to imagine more disparate vocalists than Shirley Bassey and Mark Murphy, but Greek guitarist Spiros Exaras, the driving force behind this 2008 club date, insists in the liner notes that among myriad gigs with international headliners only Bassey...