Reviews

Classic James P. Johnson Sessions (1921-1943) James P. Johnson

05/13/16    Albums    By Colin Fleming

James P. Johnson
Classic James P. Johnson Sessions (1921-1943)
Mosaic Records

Jazz piano masters tend to slot easily into categories. There are seemingly beyond-the-bounds-of-possibility virtuosos (Art Tatum), blues melders (Wynton Kelly) and genre purveyors (Meade Lux Lewis), but few ivory-savants leapt about like James P. Johnson...

Wanted Gregoire Maret

05/13/16    Albums    By Thomas Conrad

Gregoire Maret
Wanted
Sunnyside

Given all the first-rate musicians here, Wanted is a major disappointment. Grégoire Maret hit with a splash a decade ago, because of his talent but also because of his vehicle. He plays the chromatic harmonica, an instrument rare in jazz, whose haunting...

Power of 10 NYSQ

05/12/16    Albums    By Thomas Conrad

NYSQ
Power of 10
Whirlwind

NYSQ is for New York Standards Quartet; the 10 is for their duration as a band, in years. Perhaps they like the acronym because, as drummer Gene Jackson says in his liner notes, the Modern Jazz Quartet is one of the band’s models. MJQ is a paradigm, not...

a cosmic rhythm with each stroke Vijay Iyer/Wadada Leo Smith

05/12/16    Albums    By Mac Randall

Vijay Iyer/Wadada Leo Smith
a cosmic rhythm with each stroke
ECM Records

a cosmic rhythm with each stroke (ECM) This certainly isn’t the first time Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith have worked together—their partnership in Smith’s Golden Quartet goes back years—but it is their first duo recording, and an unusual one too. Its centerpiece...

Kamasi, Pharoah & the Arkestra in Brooklyn

05/12/16    Concerts    By Aidan Levy

Kamasi, Pharoah & the Arkestra in Brooklyn

Generations of spiritual jazz presented by Red Bull

Warp Jon Balke

05/11/16    Albums    By Thomas Conrad

Jon Balke
Warp
ECM Records

Jon Balke is probably best known for his Magnetic North Orchestra, a project dedicated to exploring (or erasing) the boundaries between form and freedom in large-ensemble jazz. Warp is a solo piano record that continues Balke’s interest in extending formats...

The Theory of Joy Ian Shaw

05/10/16    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Ian Shaw
The Theory of Joy
Jazz Village

Great jazz singers, like great comedians, are masters of timing. That Ian Shaw is a virtuoso of both disciplines, balancing standup and concert gigs, speaks to the breadth of his genius and to the singularity of his style as a singer. It’s hardly surprising...

In Paris: The ORTF Recordings Larry Young

05/09/16    Albums    By Britt Robson

Larry Young
In Paris: The ORTF Recordings

These 1960s European sessions capture organist Larry Young in a fruitful mid-period of his tragically short career: beyond the overt Jimmy Smith influences of his early material for Prestige, but not yet in the cosmic avant-jazz-rock orbit he would later...

Quiver Ralph Alessi

05/08/16    Albums    By Mac Randall

Ralph Alessi
Quiver
ECM Records

Like its 2013 predecessor, Baida , trumpeter-composer Ralph Alessi’s second ECM release as a leader is a quartet album. The pianist has changed (Gary Versace replacing Jason Moran), but the other players—bassist Drew Gress and drummer Nasheet Waits—remain...

Moments in Time Stan Getz

05/08/16    Albums    By Steve Greenlee

Stan Getz
Moments in Time
Resonance Records

What a magical week it must have been at Keystone Korner in May of 1976. Stan Getz had a six-night stand at the San Francisco club, and each night was split in two. The first set featured the saxophonist’s quartet with pianist Joanne Brackeen, bassist Clint...