Swings the Penthouse Ernestine Anderson

06/19/15    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Ernestine Anderson
Swings the Penthouse
HighNote Records

While Ernestine Anderson can, at 86, claim a recording career that spans six decades, there is a sizable hole stretching from 1963 to 1976. Anderson’s work pre- and post-gap sounds markedly different. By the time of her professional resuscitation by Concord...

You've Been Watching me Tim Berne's Snakeoil

06/18/15    Albums    By Mike Shanley

Tim Berne's Snakeoil
You've Been Watching me
ECM Records

Certain musical strategies can betray a Tim Berne composition. There’s the angular melody, played by the leader’s acidic alto, often in harmony with another horn, while the rhythm section tosses and turns beneath them. With the theme complete, two members...

Blue Camus Ben Sidran

06/17/15    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Ben Sidran
Blue Camus

Great jazz, true jazz, is in the ears of the interpreter, whether player or listener. So Ben Sidran is fair in arguing that jazz and existentialism are kindred forces. On his website, the vocalist, keyboardist and songwriter acknowledges his previous album...

Review: The 2015 Playboy Jazz Festival

06/16/15    Concerts    By Matt R. Lohr

Review: The 2015 Playboy Jazz Festival

Salvation and swing, dynamism and dance, tradition and transcendence

Rigamaroll Jerry Bergonzi

06/16/15    Albums    By Mike Joyce

Jerry Bergonzi

For someone who’s always been reluctant to tout his skills as a composer, Boston-based saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi certainly knows how to write to his strengths.Hard-charging, riff-based tunes prove that time and again here, providing bracing impetus for...

Switzerland 1974 Soft Machine

06/15/15    Albums    By Colin Fleming

Soft Machine
Switzerland 1974
Cuneiform Records

You have to be an extremely confident unit—and one mother of a band—to turn up at a prestigious mega-gig like the Montreux Jazz Festival and drop a set of new material on the audience like the newly rejiggered Soft Machine did in July 1974. Turns out that...

Deja Vu Peter and Will Anderson

06/14/15    Albums    By Mike Joyce

Peter and Will Anderson
Deja Vu
Gut String

On this thoroughly entertaining quintet session, twins Will and Peter Anderson team up with one of the most renowned and beloved siblings in jazz history, drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath, who turns 80 on May 31. No surprise, then, that the young reedmen sound...

Out of My Dreams Joanne Tatham

06/13/15    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Joanne Tatham
Out of My Dreams
Cafe Pacific

Peter Erskine’s sparkling drum solo, ushering in the breezy McCoy Tyner-Sammy Cahn confection “You Taught My Heart to Sing,” seems a perfect introduction to vocalist Joanne Tatham. Blessed with impeccable phrasing and a meticulous sense of time, Tatham projects...

Infolding Spin Marvel

06/12/15    Albums    By Thomas Conrad

Spin Marvel

The RareNoise label, based in London, started in 2008 and has become an important source for unique projects combining art (jazz) with hard science (electronic technology). ANIMATION’s Transparent Heart and Indigo Mist’s That the Days Go By and Never Come...

Triple Play Doug Webb

06/11/15    Albums    By Thomas Conrad

Doug Webb
Triple Play

Tenor saxophone junkies unite. Why aren’t more records made this way? Position three powerhouse tenors across a stereo system’s soundstage, left (Walt Weiskopf), center (Doug Webb), right (Joel Frahm). Hire a fearless organist (Brian Charette) and a tempestuous...