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Jon Batiste: Chronology of a Dream: Live at the Village Vanguard (Verve)

Thirty-three-year-old keyboardist and Louisiana native Jon Batiste has rocketed into public consciousness over the past decade. With a musical education fueled by New Orleans and the Juilliard School, he went from stages and studios to television via the Big Easy-centered HBO series Treme. Since 2015, he’s been musical director for The Late Show with Stephen … Read More “Jon Batiste: Chronology of a Dream: Live at the Village Vanguard (Verve)”

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Nguyen Le: Overseas (ACT)

A reticent guitar hero born in Paris to Vietnamese parents, Nguyen Le has cast a wide stylistic net over his 30-year recording career, fusing jazz, rock, world music, and hip-hop. His newest release, Overseas, emphasizes Le’s far-reaching variations on traditional Vietnamese music. Its starting point was his score for Cirque-Nouveau, the live dance, acrobatics, and … Read More “Nguyen Le: Overseas (ACT)”

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Scott Henderson: People Mover (Scott Henderson)

Guitarist Scott Henderson’s innate talents overwhelmed both the music scene and music schools of his native South Florida before he moved to Los Angeles 40 years ago. Yet he didn’t relocate for stardom, eschewing sideman roles with Chick Corea, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Joe Zawinul to form his own band Tribal Tech, active from 1984-2013. Henderson’s … Read More “Scott Henderson: People Mover (Scott Henderson)”

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Mark Wingfield & Gary Husband: Tor & Vale (MoonJune)

Conversational and improvisational, Tor & Vale is a first-ever series of dialogues between guitarist Mark Wingfield and pianist Gary Husband that’s suitably named for the peaks and valleys of the two native Brits’ homeland. Both musicians are equipped for such a shape-shifting session, in which space between notes is as important as notes themselves. Wingfield’s … Read More “Mark Wingfield & Gary Husband: Tor & Vale (MoonJune)”

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Mike Clark: Indigo Blue Live at the Iridium (Ropeadope)

Drummer Mike Clark first gained acclaim in the 1970s, with a chameleonic playing style that ranged from funk with keyboardist Herbie Hancock to propulsive fusion with British group Brand X. But you wouldn’t know it by listening to Indigo Blue Live at the Iridium, featuring an all-acoustic sextet rounded out by all-stars (bassist Christian McBride, … Read More “Mike Clark: Indigo Blue Live at the Iridium (Ropeadope)”

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Charnett Moffett: Bright New Day (Motéma)

Bassist Charnett Moffett has a catalog of solo recordings dating back 32 years, yet he may be best known for his touring and recording with guitarist Stanley Jordan. Such is the reality for rhythm instrumentalists, even ones whose recording credits include Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, and Ornette Coleman. On his latest release, Moffett—who can impressively … Read More “Charnett Moffett: Bright New Day (Motéma)”

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Fred Hersch & WDR Big Band: Begin Again (Palmetto)

It’s tempting to assume that the subtlety and nuance of pianist Fred Hersch’s Begin Again stem from the arrangements by Vince Mendoza and performances by German accompanists the WDR Big Band. Both are, after all, Grammy winners. But while the orchestrations and conducting of Mendoza and playing by the ensemble are vital, it’s Hersch’s unique … Read More “Fred Hersch & WDR Big Band: Begin Again (Palmetto)”

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Oz Noy: Booga Looga Loo (Abstract Logix)

Israel-born, New York City-based guitarist Oz Noy’s motto—“It’s jazz, it just doesn’t sound like it”—echoes across his groove-oriented 15-year recording career as a leader, highlighted by early gems like his 2006 debut Oz Live and 2007 disc Fuzzy. Starting with his Twisted Blues series in 2011, Noy veered into hit-and-miss themed releases. His latest collection, … Read More “Oz Noy: Booga Looga Loo (Abstract Logix)”

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Frost Concert Jazz Band/Daversa: Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra (ArtistShare)

Guitarist/composer Justin Morell is known for taking high-degree-of-difficulty challenges, including mixing the jazz and classical genres. For his Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra, Morell features elements of concertos by Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven. The Los Angeles-raised composer is assisted by recent multi-Grammy winner John Daversa, chair of studio music and jazz at the University … Read More “Frost Concert Jazz Band/Daversa: Concerto for Guitar and Jazz Orchestra (ArtistShare)”

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Chicago Soul Jazz Collective: Soulophone (Self-released)

A common misnomer is that music with horns is jazz. Add horns to R&B rhythms, or to blues progressions, and it’s practically an automatic perception. Such is the case with the Chicago Soul Jazz Collective, a talented sextet that further skews jazz by having primarily acoustic instrumentalists (tenor saxophonist John Fournier, trumpeter Marques Carroll, pianist … Read More “Chicago Soul Jazz Collective: Soulophone (Self-released)”

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Alan Pasqua: Soliloquy (Mouthpiece Music)

Keyboardist Alan Pasqua, 66, rose to prominence in the mid-1970s as part of drummer Tony Williams’ Lifetime, one of several visionary ensembles led by alumni of Miles Davis’ bands. The only reason the Fender Rhodes specialist didn’t achieve wider name recognition was probably that he came along a few years after Davis graduated the Mount … Read More “Alan Pasqua: Soliloquy (Mouthpiece Music)”

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Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra: Fandango at the Wall (Resilience Music Alliance)

Even by the standards set by pianist, composer, bandleader, and social activist Arturo O’Farrill, Fandango at the Wall, a double-CD with the 18-piece Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, qualifies as personal. A New York City resident, the 58-year-old O’Farrill was born in Mexico City, and he’s been openly critical of President Trump’s attempts to build a … Read More “Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra: Fandango at the Wall (Resilience Music Alliance)”

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John Scofield: Combo 66 (Verve)

At age 66, guitarist John Scofield has earned heroic jazz/fusion status for his understated style, open mind, and tributaries that include releases with jam-band festival faves Medeski, Martin & Wood and Gov’t Mule. On Combo 66, Scofield adopts a unique, hybrid electric/acoustic improvisational format—in which he’s often the only electric instrumentalist—with a quartet rounded out … Read More “John Scofield: Combo 66 (Verve)”

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Brian Bromberg: Thicker Than Water (Artistry)

Bassist Brian Bromberg’s 30-plus-year solo career crested with a 2002 release, Jaco, on which he deftly paid tribute to bass great Jaco Pastorius’ otherworldly combination of compositional skills and musical athleticism. Bromberg’s new CD, Thicker Than Water, like much of his catalog, primarily displays the latter. Recorded with 11 different basses, the 13-song release—featuring all … Read More “Brian Bromberg: Thicker Than Water (Artistry)”

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Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band: West Side Story Reimagined (Jazzheads)

Drummer Bobby Sanabria was born in the South Bronx in 1957, the same year West Side Story opened on Broadway. As a native New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent who first experienced that musical through its 1961 film adaptation, Sanabria was most transfixed by how well composer Leonard Bernstein’s instrumental themes captured the Puerto Rican … Read More “Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band: West Side Story Reimagined (Jazzheads)”

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