Sixteen Sunsets Jane ira Bloom

03/15/14    Albums    By Lloyd Sachs

Jane ira Bloom
Sixteen Sunsets

Jane Ira Bloom has always been a lyrical player, but on her first ballads collection, stripped of technical enhancements, this elite soprano saxophonist reveals new depths. Leading a quartet including Dominic Fallacaro, a young pianist with a nice light...

Check Cashing Day Bobby Watson & the "I Have a Dream" Project

03/14/14    Albums    By Bill Beuttler

Bobby Watson & the "I Have a Dream" Project
Check Cashing Day
Bobby Watson

Bobby Watson may seem an unlikely firebrand, but that doesn’t mean he lacks political consciousness. The veteran alto saxophonist’s new album celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech simultaneously chides society...

Ran Blake Plays Solo Piano Ran Blake

03/13/14    Albums    By Mike Shanley

Ran Blake
Ran Blake Plays Solo Piano

Although many of the titles in the ESP-Disk’ catalog have been reissued multiple times since their original releases, Ran Blake Plays Solo Piano has been an unfortunate exception. Aside from a rare Italian reissue, the album hasn’t really been seen or heard...

Mutations Vijay Iyer

03/13/14    Albums    By Thomas Conrad

Vijay Iyer
ECM Records

This album arrives with high expectations. Vijay Iyer is among the most decorated jazz musicians of his generation. He wins jazz polls, professorships, prizes and MacArthur Fellowships. Mutations is his debut on ECM, a label known for bringing forth new...

Paris 1969 Thelonious Monk

03/12/14    Albums    By Thomas Conrad

Thelonious Monk
Paris 1969

This odd, frayed, faded document, newly unearthed, may make you cry, sometimes from heartbreak, sometimes from joy. Thelonious Monk was only 52 in 1969, and had another 12 years to live. But in terms of his artistic life, he was near the end. At the Salle...

Little Warrior Lisa Engelken

03/11/14    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Lisa Engelken
Little Warrior
Little Angel

Lisa Engelken’s Little Warrior does precisely what a good sophomore album should: build upon a solid base (her 2010 debut, Caravan ) while growing more adventurous and, by extension, more original. Working with a superb West Coast rhythm section—bassist...

The Connection Ray Mantilla

03/10/14    Albums    By Owen Cordle

Ray Mantilla
The Connection

Jazz and Afro-Caribbean rhythms are a natural connection, one attractively celebrated in the work of Latin percussionist Ray Mantilla, who was born in the South Bronx in 1934. Here, we have a variety of performances by members of his septet, ranging from...

Space and Time Nicky Schrire

03/09/14    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Nicky Schrire
Space and Time
Nicky Schrire

Two years ago, newcomer Nicky Schrire made an auspicious (if underappreciated) debut with Freedom Flight , a collection of jazz standards, pop covers and originals all supported by a full band. For her sophomore release, again spanning standards, pop and...

Lost Tapes: Germany 1956-1958 Modern Jazz Quartet

03/08/14    Albums    By Thomas Conrad

Modern Jazz Quartet
Lost Tapes: Germany 1956-1958

The German label Jazzhaus claims to be sitting on “possibly the most comprehensive reservoir of unpublished jazz recordings worldwide: more than 3,000 hours of footage.” In 2012 they began releasing their stash. They are now at 13 titles and counting. So...

Duets: 20th Anniversary Edition Frank Sinatra

03/07/14    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Frank Sinatra
Duets: 20th Anniversary Edition
Capitol Records

Frank Sinatra was 77 when he recorded Duets in 1993, and though a companion collection and one final studio album would follow, it truly was his last hurrah. He was back at Capitol Studios, the setting for his landmark 1950s sessions. The tunes were among...