Reviews

The Journey Charles McPherson

06/03/15    Albums    By Matt R. Lohr

Charles McPherson
The Journey
Capri Records

A mainstay of the jazz scene since the early 1960s, when he embarked on a 12-year stint playing with Charles Mingus, alto saxophonist and composer Charles McPherson burns the bop torch brightly on The Journey , his 24th album as leader. This collection of...

The Signal Maker Mark Helias Open Loose

06/01/15    Albums    By Mike Shanley

Mark Helias Open Loose
The Signal Maker
Intakt

Musicians who thrive in the realm of free improvisation need to be flexible, stopping and rerouting their path as a performance calls for it. While the possibility exists to extend and expand during solos, the most attentive players can make a point succinctly...

Hypercolor Hypercolor

06/01/15    Albums    By Matt R. Lohr

Hypercolor
Hypercolor
Tzadik

Although they have been performing together for eight years now, the New York avant-garde trio Hypercolor released their self-titled debut recording early this year. It was worth the wait, as the band—guitarist Eyal Maoz, bassist James Ilgenfritz and drummer...

Dawn Mike Osborne

05/31/15    Albums    By Mike Shanley

Mike Osborne
Dawn
Cuneiform Records

Some musicians project a cocksure attitude with regard to their abilities, while others can be driven by a lack of confidence. For Mike Osborne, the latter proved to be his undoing. A fixture on the jazz scene in 1960s/70s England, his career was derailed...

Salutes Johnny Mercer: Live at Birdland John Pizzarelli

05/30/15    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

John Pizzarelli
Salutes Johnny Mercer: Live at Birdland
Deluxe Sounds

As John Pizzarelli albums go, Salutes Johnny Mercer seems a decidedly low-key endeavor, released on his own, small label with little fanfare. And yet it delivers in spades everything one expects from the perennially affable guitarist and vocalist: intense...

Electric Butter: A Big Band Tribute to Paul Butterfield and Michael Bloomfield The Ed Palermo Big Band & Rob Paparozzi

05/29/15    Albums    By Jeff Tamarkin

The Ed Palermo Big Band & Rob Paparozzi
Electric Butter: A Big Band Tribute to Paul Butterfield and Michael Bloomfield
Ed Palermo

It’s difficult from the vantage point of half a century to gauge just how important and inspirational the Paul Butterfield Blues Band was in the mid- to late ’60s. The integrated Chicago-based ensemble—in particular singer and harmonica ace Butterfield and...

Great American Songs Through the Years Jeff Hamilton Trio

05/28/15    Albums    By Allen Morrison

Jeff Hamilton Trio
Great American Songs Through the Years
Capri Records

For those who might think the great tradition of crisply arranged, deeply swinging piano trios ended with the passing of Oscar Peterson and Ray Brown, there is good news in the form of drummer Jeff Hamilton’s latest recording with his highly accomplished...

Monk: The Lost Files Clarence Penn & Penn Station

05/27/15    Albums    By Britt Robson

Clarence Penn & Penn Station
Monk: The Lost Files
Origin Records

It is a testament to how singular and beloved the music of Thelonious Monk is that the slightest changes to it can be unsettling. Almost from the moment drummer Clarence Penn and his quartet Penn Station launch into “Well, You Needn’t,” Monk devotees will...

Eternal Chris McNulty

05/26/15    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Chris McNulty
Eternal
Palmetto Records

As vocalist Chris McNulty explains in the liner notes, it took one tragedy to enable her to musically address another. The Australian expat was in New York when Hurricane Sandy struck, and she remained housebound—no power, no water—for eight days. Such intense...

The Song is My Story Abdullah Ibrahim

05/25/15    Albums    By Brad Farberman

Abdullah Ibrahim
The Song is My Story
Intuition/Sunnyside

The Song Is My Story , a gorgeous solo-piano album from the veteran South African musician Abdullah Ibrahim, is 17 tracks long. By jazz standards, it should be a two- or three-disc set. Instead, by the time the album has finished, only about 40 minutes have...