Passion World Kurt Elling

07/27/15    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Kurt Elling
Passion World
Concord Records

Kurt Elling’s latest, his second with bassist Clark Sommers, drummer Kendrick Scott and guitarist John McLean, is also his first without pianist and arranger Laurence Hobgood. (Keyboardist Gary Versace now completes the ace quintet.) It’s a momentous turning...

Gefion Jakob Bro

07/26/15    Albums    By Evan Haga

Jakob Bro
ECM Records

The 37-year-old Danish guitarist and composer Jakob Bro, whose sideman credits include drummer Paul Motian’s Electric Bebop Band and Tomasz Stanko’s Dark Eyes Quintet, deals almost exclusively with the sort of twinkling, reflective, melancholic music that...

The Talk of the Town Sal Mosca

07/25/15    Albums    By Jeff Tamarkin

Sal Mosca
The Talk of the Town

When he died at age 80 in 2007, pianist Sal Mosca had never really received the accolades he deserved—despite having played with the likes of Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh. A pianist of great skill and grace, coming...

A Million Colors in Your Mind Cyrus Chestnut

07/24/15    Albums    By Mike Joyce

Cyrus Chestnut
A Million Colors in Your Mind
HighNote Records

There’s nothing quite like the sound of pianist Cyrus Chestnut hammering his way through a five chord in a climactic turnaround, as if to underscore his abiding affection for blues and gospel traditions. It evokes images of a smiling slugger rounding third...

In for a Penny, In for a Pound Henry Threadgill Zooid

07/23/15    Albums    By Britt Robson

Henry Threadgill Zooid
In for a Penny, In for a Pound
Pi Recordings

Saxophonist/flutist Henry Threadgill has deployed Zooid as his ensemble vehicle for 14 years now, longer than his marvelous, indelible tenures with Air and Very Very Circus. This group is the most schematic and controlled of the three, yet it continues to...

This is Gary McFarland Gary McFarland

07/22/15    Movies    By Thomas Conrad

Gary McFarland
This is Gary McFarland

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “There are no second acts in American lives.” On Nov. 2, 1971, Gary McFarland died under mysterious circumstances at the 55 Bar in Greenwich Village. He was 38. Apparently he ingested a lethal dose of liquid methadone. It will...

Kitano Noir Sara Serpa & Ran Blake

07/22/15    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Sara Serpa & Ran Blake
Kitano Noir

Apart from his landmark work with Jeanne Lee in the 1950s and early ’60s (and their brief but sublime reunion in the late ’80s), pianist Ran Blake has devoted little attention to vocalists. Until, that is, the current decade, as the Third Stream pioneer...

Let the Bells Ring On Charlie Hunter Trio

07/21/15    Albums    By Brad Farberman

Charlie Hunter Trio
Let the Bells Ring On
Charlie Hunter

Let the Bells Ring On , the vigorous first album from seven-string guitarist Charlie Hunter’s trio with drummer Bobby Previte and trombonist Curtis Fowlkes, is, on paper, a pretty transparent work. “Anthem USA” takes from rock music; “Hillbilly Heroine Chic”...

Triangles and Circles Dafnis Prieto Sexter

07/21/15    Albums    By David Whiteis

Dafnis Prieto Sexter
Triangles and Circles

This CD’s title and that of its opening selection, “Back and Forth,” exemplify the music: Shapes, shadings and tonalities swirl in and out, sometimes alternating, sometimes blending, sometimes juxtaposed. Emotionally, as well, it’s an exercise in shape-shifting...

Love Songs: The Hidden History Ted Gioia

07/20/15    Books    By Jeff Tamarkin

Ted Gioia
Love Songs: The Hidden History

Everybody loves a love song. Countless have been written, and billions of words have been expended on them: why a beautifully sung romantic ballad makes us feel all tingly inside, who sings them most persuasively and why, how come they don’t write ’em like...