Reviews

Out of the Blue Raoul Björkenheim ECsTaSy

01/14/16    Albums    By Mike Joyce

Raoul Björkenheim ECsTaSy
Out of the Blue
Cuneiform Records

Critics have heaped lavish praise on guitarist Raoul Björkenheim’s curious brand of improvised jazz, and understandably so, even if commonly drawn parallels (Ayler, Coleman, Coltrane, Mahavishnu, Hendrix, Fela, et al.) only serve to underscore the audacious...

A New Dance Rotem Sivan Trio

01/13/16    Albums    By Matt R. Lohr

Rotem Sivan Trio
A New Dance
Fresh Sound Records

On A New Dance , guitarist-composer Rotem Sivan and his musicians, bassist Haggai Cohen-Milo and drummer Colin Stranahan, weave 10 tracks of such hushed, bittersweet warmth that their intricacies may sneak up on you. Sivan’s singular combination of impressive...

Come Fly With Me Herb Alpert

01/12/16    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Herb Alpert
Come Fly With Me

More than 50 years have passed since Herb Alpert burst onto the international music scene with his Tijuana Brass and proved, quite literally, instrumental in presaging the smooth-jazz movement that he’s still a vital part of. As one of the most admired music...

Review: David Bowie's "Blackstar"

01/11/16    Albums    By Michael J. West

Review: David Bowie's "Blackstar"

Days before his death, Bowie released his final statement--backed by a jazz quintet

Birth of a Being David S. Ware/Apogee

01/11/16    Albums    By Steve Greenlee

David S. Ware/Apogee
Birth of a Being
AUM Fidelity

The late David S. Ware was a fully formed musician by the time he made his first recording as a leader, Birth of a Being , in 1977. He was already blowing gale-force winds through his tenor saxophone on that recording, and his ideas were every bit as forceful...

The Legendary Live Tapes 1978-1981 Weather Report

01/10/16    Albums    By Michael J. West

Weather Report
The Legendary Live Tapes 1978-1981
Legacy

It’s no great insight to suggest that Weather Report was primarily a studio band. The legendary fusion ensemble was too reliant on electronic instruments and innovative production techniques to quite come off on the stage, even as they attained arena-rock...

Clear Day Emilie-Claire Barlow

01/09/16    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Emilie-Claire Barlow
Clear Day

Though Diana Krall remains Canada’s most celebrated jazz vocalist, Emilie-Claire Barlow, now 11 albums into a career of steadily escalating prowess, nips ever closer at her heels. Barlow’s voice is lighter and brighter than Krall’s, her range wider and her...

For George, Cole and Duke Harry Allen

01/08/16    Albums    By Jeff Tamarkin

Harry Allen
For George, Cole and Duke
Blue Heron

Tenor saxophonist Harry Allen’s discography is filled with tribute albums, to personal heroes ranging from Billy Strayhorn to Zoot Sims, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Henry Mancini. Two of the heroes on For George, Cole and Duke have already been subjects of...

A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters John Coltrane

01/07/16    Albums    By Brad Farberman

John Coltrane
A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters
Impulse!/Verve

Veteran jazz fans probably do not often listen to A Love Supreme , saxophonist John Coltrane’s unfathomably important 1965 album of passionate, spiritual jazz. They internalized the LP, performed by Trane’s “Classic Quartet”—pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist...

American Spirit Christian Howes

01/06/16    Albums    By Mike Shanley

Christian Howes
American Spirit
Resonance Records

For a song that became recognized beyond the Broadway stage, “America,” the immortal West Side Story showcase, possesses one of the more abrasive cadences in popular music. Christian Howes opens American Spirit with the song, but his version lacks the bombast...