Reviews

Take Me to the Alley Gregory Porter

06/26/16    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Gregory Porter
Take Me to the Alley
Blue Note Records

Whatever the discipline, whenever a star rises too far too fast there’s invariably backlash, a too-big-for-his-britches reset. Gregory Porter, his breakout velocity rivaled only by Cécile McLorin Salvant, is surely due. But judging by Take Me to the Alley...

Jazz at the Philharmonic: The Ella Fitzgerald Set Ella Fitzgerald

06/25/16    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Ella Fitzgerald
Jazz at the Philharmonic: The Ella Fitzgerald Set
Verve

Ella was a little late to the party. When impresario Norman Granz launched what would become his landmark series of Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts and tours in 1944, his all-star lineups included other vocalists, Billie Holiday among them. When he finally...

Better Than Anything...Live Sheila Jordan

06/24/16    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Sheila Jordan
Better Than Anything...Live
There Records

Still going strong at 87, Sheila Jordan was a mere lass of 62 when San Francisco radio host Bud Spangler broadcasted this 60-minute set from Kimball’s East in Oakland in 1991. Just prior to his death in 2014, Spangler unearthed his radio check of the session...

Spoleto Festival USA

06/24/16    Concerts    By Perry Tannenbaum

Spoleto Festival USA

Performances included Cécile McLorin Salvant, Randy Weston and more

August Love Song Heather Masse & Roswell Rudd

06/23/16    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Heather Masse & Roswell Rudd
August Love Song
Red House

Though she was born and raised in Maine and studied vocal jazz at NEC, Heather Masse remains best known for her now decade-long membership in the Canadian folk/bluegrass trio the Wailin’ Jennys and her frequent appearances, with and without the group, on...

Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin Willie Nelson

06/22/16    Albums    By Christopher Loudon

Willie Nelson
Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin
Sony/Legacy

Suggesting that Willie Nelson’s voice has aged is like saying a sequoia seems somehow gnarlier. Sure Nelson’s trademark sound has grown more grizzled, a bit more parched. But place this latest collection of standards aside his landmark Stardust , from 1978...

DC Jazz Fest at the Yards

06/22/16    Concerts    By Michael J. West

DC Jazz Fest at the Yards

Kamasi, Ravi, Revive Big Band and more

Celestial Weather Wadada Leo Smith & John Lindberg

06/21/16    Albums    By Bill Beuttler

Wadada Leo Smith & John Lindberg
Celestial Weather
Tum

Wadada Leo Smith and John Lindberg have performed as a duo over the years, since connecting in the ’70s in Anthony Braxton’s Creative Orchestra, but it wasn’t until June of 2012 that they got around to recording an album as such. The result, though less...

Intersection Ark Ovrutski Quintet

06/20/16    Albums    By Thomas Conrad

Ark Ovrutski Quintet
Intersection
Origin Records

Intersection is an unusual combination of personalities. Ark Ovrutski, originally from the Ukraine, is a bassist given to dark, heavy, solemn solos. But he likes to surround himself with light-footed Brazilians (pianist Helio Alves, drummer Duduka Da Fonseca...

Beginning of a Memory Matt Wilson's Big Happy Family

06/17/16    Albums    By Matt R. Lohr

Matt Wilson's Big Happy Family
Beginning of a Memory
Palmetto Records

The jazz funeral is a time-honored tradition, but it’s seldom been more exultant or moving than on Matt Wilson’s Beginning of a Memory . The drummer’s first album as leader since the death of his wife, Felicia, in 2014, this recording unites Wilson’s Arts...