Reviews

The 21st Century Trad Band Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet

02/17/15    Albums    By Matt R. Lohr

Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet
The 21st Century Trad Band
Basin Street Records

The whimsical artwork for The 21st Century Trad Band depicts vibraphonist Jason Marsalis and his musicians (pianist Austin Johnson, bassist Will Goble and drummer David Potter) as caped musical superheroes, Goble playing a rocket-powered bass, Potter using...

What Is This Thing Called? Jean-Michel Pilc

02/16/15    Albums    By Thomas Conrad

Jean-Michel Pilc
What Is This Thing Called?
Sunnyside

In the vast archives of solo jazz piano recordings, this one has few precedents. Its 68 minutes contain 31 tracks, many under a minute, most under two. With one exception, all are completely improvised. The album is a challenging listening experience. By...

What I Heard Oliver Lake Organ Quartet

02/15/15    Albums    By Mike Shanley

Oliver Lake Organ Quartet
What I Heard
Passin' Thru

There’s no doubt that Oliver Lake’s alto saxophone could tear up a blues with the help of some greasy B3 pedals and drawbars. His work with the World Saxophone Quartet regularly takes tradition and breathes new life into it, and his recent big band does...

Everybody Says Don't Mark Jennett

02/13/15    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Mark Jennett
Everybody Says Don't
Jazzizit Records

There are great jazz singers. There are great cabaret singers. Then there’s the coterie of uniquely gifted stylists who straddle the border comfortably, seamlessly blending keen jazz instincts with the storytelling élan that fuels cabaret. Ann Hampton Callaway...

Live in Concert Manu Katche

02/11/15    Albums    By Steve Greenlee

Manu Katche
Live in Concert
ACT Music + Vision

Manu Katché has left ECM after four records, and his new album, Live in Concert , showcases a slightly more aggressive side of the drummer, who is a Frenchman with African roots. The disc, recorded at the New Morning jazz club in Paris, contains nine songs...

Concert Review: Pat Martino in Florida

02/10/15    Concerts    By Ken Franckling

Concert Review: Pat Martino in Florida

“A great artist who lifts the bandstand with his genius”

City Folk James Farm

02/10/15    Albums    By Britt Robson

James Farm
City Folk
Nonesuch Records

On City Folk the heralded quartet James Farm indicates they are in it for the long haul. The song-based, ensemble-first aesthetic that guided their eponymous debut three years ago has only deepened, with the composers taking more liberties than the soloists...

In the Wee Small Hours Sax Gordon

02/08/15    Albums    By David Whiteis

Sax Gordon
In the Wee Small Hours
Delmark Records

Tenorman Sax Gordon joins forces here with organist Alberto Marsico and drummer Alessandro Minetto to recreate the classic soul-jazz organ trio. The set list, as might be expected, is rich with standards and chestnuts, but neither Gordon nor his compatriots...

Because of Billie Molly Johnson

02/07/15    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Molly Johnson
Because of Billie
Universal

As Molly Johnson explains in the liner notes, when people note her similarity to Billie Holiday, she responds that, no, she’s not “like” Holiday but is “because of” her. Which is a stretch, considering that Johnson’s career began with a brief flirtation...

10--10th Anniversary: Best of-Live at the SFJAZZ Center SFJAZZ Collective

02/05/15    Albums    By Britt Robson

SFJAZZ Collective
10--10th Anniversary: Best of-Live at the SFJAZZ Center
SFJAZZ

The founding template for the SFJAZZ Collective, devised by saxophonist Joshua Redman and executive artistic director Randall Kline in 2004, was a stroke of genius. Recruit a stellar octet of musician-composers and underwrite a residency, tour and recording...