Reviews

Invitation Nicolas Bearde

03/19/16    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Nicolas Bearde
Invitation
Right Groove Rekkids

Where jazz intersects soul, there are few more satisfying stylists than Nicolas Bearde, a richly impressive amalgam of Bill Withers and Billy Eckstine. The Nashville-bred vocalist is now 20 years into a dual career, balancing solo dates and recordings, released...

Electric Ascension ROVA Channeling Coltrane

03/18/16    Albums    By Mike Shanley

ROVA Channeling Coltrane
Electric Ascension
RogueArt

Ascension served as John Coltrane’s line in the sand when it was released in 1966. Those who sought greater musical enlightenment embraced the album-length piece, performed by the saxophonist in a horn-heavy ensemble of 11. On the other side of the line...

Honor Thy Fathers Laurence Hobgood Trio

03/16/16    Albums    By Michael J. West

Laurence Hobgood Trio
Honor Thy Fathers
Circumstantial

It’s easy to hear similarities between Laurence Hobgood’s piano and that of Brad Mehldau, who shares primary influences (Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans). But Hobgood, known for his years as Kurt Elling’s musical director, differentiates himself via another...

Balancing Act Mike Holober

03/14/16    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Mike Holober
Balancing Act
Palmetto Records

Judging from his stellar work with the WDR Big Band, HR Big Band, Gotham Jazz Orchestra and several other large ensembles, pianist-composer-arranger Mike Holober is well practiced in the art of weighing disparate musical parts to achieve a balanced whole...

When You Wish Upon a Star Bill Frisell

03/13/16    Albums    By Mike Joyce

Bill Frisell
When You Wish Upon a Star
OKeh

Had it been released a few months ago, this CD would have made a perfect holiday gift for the Frisell fan who can’t get enough TMC. Yet another example of the prolific guitarist’s imagination and wanderlust, When You Wish Upon a Star is proof that going...

Space Squid Bill Stewart

03/11/16    Albums    By Thomas Conrad

Bill Stewart
Space Squid
Pirouet

Bill Stewart is the furthest thing from a basher. His taste and intelligence and counterintuitive relationships to time have made him a favorite drummer of people like John Scofield and Pat Metheny. In press notes, the genesis of Space Squid is described...

Aria Sullivan Fortner

03/09/16    Albums    By Bill Beuttler

Sullivan Fortner
Aria
Impulse!

Pianist Sullivan Fortner’s dazzling debut album is the sort of tradition-steeped modernism that so many Young Lions following Wynton Marsalis rode to stardom in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Its opener, “Aria,” is followed in quick succession by two more...

Let's Get Lost Cyrille Aimee

03/08/16    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Cyrille Aimee
Let's Get Lost
Mack Avenue Records

Speaking with JazzTimes two years ago, vocalist Cyrille Aimée explained why, viewing music as an essentially positive force, she purposefully focused on upbeat material. No sad songs, she insisted. That rule has at last been bent, if only slightly. Otherwise...

The Catastrophist Tortoise

03/07/16    Albums    By Mac Randall

Tortoise
The Catastrophist
Thrill Jockey

For Tortoise’s first album in seven years, the band did a little closet cleaning. Among the material that got dusted off were five pieces commissioned by the city of Chicago in 2010 to celebrate its jazz community. All five started out with basic head/solos...

The Distance Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus

03/06/16    Albums    By John Murph

Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus
The Distance
ECM Records

Bassist Michael Formanek certainly goes the distance on this grand endeavor, on which he fronts Ensemble Kolossus, an 18-piece band that leans heavily toward a kind of modern Third Stream. He folds in multiple reference points that range from Olivier Messiaen...