Reviews

Swings Both Ways Robbie Williams

03/20/14    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Robbie Williams
Swings Both Ways
Island

Robbie Williams really knows how to swing. He demonstrated so in 2007 with the Rat Pack-scented Swing When You’re Winning , and he proves himself even hipper across this collection of 13 covers and originals. That he can expertly shape a jaunty “Puttin’...

I Hear the Sound Archie Shepp Attica Blues Orchestra

03/19/14    Albums    By Mike Shanley

Archie Shepp Attica Blues Orchestra
I Hear the Sound
Archieball

Upon its original release in 1972, Archie Shepp’s Attica Blues made bold statements politically and musically. It was inspired by the riot at Attica Prison the prior year, where 39 prisoners and hostages were killed. Shepp, who had recorded with groups ranging...

Concert Review: Vijay Iyer Trio with Special Guest Robert Pinsky/PoemJazz

03/18/14    Concerts    By Bill Beuttler

Concert Review: Vijay Iyer Trio with Special Guest Robert Pinsky/PoemJazz

Cambridge collaboration is experimental but embraceable

Classified: Remixed and Expanded James Booker

03/18/14    Albums    By Jeff Tamarkin

James Booker
Classified: Remixed and Expanded
Rounder

Before listening to Classified , the album that many consider New Orleans pianist James Booker’s finest, it’s helpful to know the backstory. Co-producer Scott Billington details that tale in the liner notes accompanying this reissue: how in 1982 he had approached...

Inspire Me! Tim Warfield

03/17/14    Albums    By Aidan Levy

Tim Warfield
Inspire Me!
HHM

This tight throwback to the golden era of hard bop showcases the virtuosity and brash tenor sound of erstwhile Young Lion Tim Warfield. But saxophonist Herb Harris deserves just as much recognition for writing, arranging, producing and releasing, on his...

Genevieve & Ferdinand Kate McGarry & Keith Ganz

03/16/14    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Kate McGarry & Keith Ganz
Genevieve & Ferdinand
Sunnyside

Vocalist Kate McGarry’s singular skill at interweaving pop, folk and jazz has been evident since her recording debut a dozen years ago. But in 2006, with the Grammy-nominated If Less Is More … Nothing Is Everything , she advanced to a higher plateau. Not...

Sixteen Sunsets Jane ira Bloom

03/15/14    Albums    By Lloyd Sachs

Jane ira Bloom
Sixteen Sunsets
Outline

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
ESP-Disk

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
Mutations
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...