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Gianluigi Trovesi/Gianni Coscia : Frère Jacques—Round About Offenbach

If you can’t quite figure out whether clarinetist Gianluigi Trovesi and accordionist Gianni Coscia’s latest is a jazz or classical release, the subtitle offers a genre-hopping clue: It’s both. Though ostensibly dedicated to 19th-century French composer Jacques Offenbach, Frère Jacques-Round About Offenbach is, as the reference to the Monk standard suggests, less a straight rendering … Read More “Gianluigi Trovesi/Gianni Coscia : Frère Jacques—Round About Offenbach”

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Colin Vallon Trio: Rruga

On Colin Vallon’s MySpace page, you can find a picture of the young pianist and his two youthful bandmates, bassist Patrice Moret and drummer Samuel Rohrer, huddled together in laughter. The gesture appears to be unironic and a little bit innocent, the sort of thing three elementary school kids might do after discovering they all … Read More “Colin Vallon Trio: Rruga”

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Marcin Wasilewski Trio: Faithful

Faithful, the third ECM album from the Marcin Wasilewski Trio-sixth if you count the records featuring trumpeter Tomasz Stanko-takes its name from a plaintive ballad by Ornette Coleman. The bold-faced saxophonist is an unexpected inspiration for this Polish piano trio, which combines melancholic elegance and headphone-worthy detail in a way that few outfits can match. … Read More “Marcin Wasilewski Trio: Faithful”

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Mathias Eick: Skala

Is Skala a jazz record? The guy who made it, Mathias Eick, is certainly a jazz musician. The Norwegian trumpeter, age 31, improvises all over Vespers, the glacially paced new album from the Iro Haarla Quintet. But on Skala, his second (and most scripted) album as a leader, Eick largely sticks to melodies and motifs. … Read More “Mathias Eick: Skala”

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Stephan Micus: Bold as Light

Stephan Micus, a 57-year-old German vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, has recorded for ECM, his country’s most prominent jazz label, since the late ’70s. Bold as Light, his 19th effort for the label, is at times reminiscent of trumpeter Don Cherry’s globalized fusion (think Codona). And on the opening track, “Rain,” Micus echoes the French Quarter melancholia … Read More “Stephan Micus: Bold as Light”

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Keefe Jackson Quartet: Seeing You See

Keefe Jackson, a saxophonist and clarinetist, seems to fit in well in his adopted hometown of Chicago, Ill. He’s even recorded several albums for that town’s landmark jazz label, Delmark. And Seeing You See, his first for the Portuguese label Clean Feed, has a crisp, nimble sensibility that touches on two of the Windy City’s … Read More “Keefe Jackson Quartet: Seeing You See”

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Tomasz Stanko Quintet: Dark Eyes

Tomasz Stanko began his career as an ECM recording artist with 1975’s Balladyna, a post-Ornette outburst that gives little hint of the kind of trumpeter he has become. Taken together, the best of his recent work-2006’s Lontano, 2004’s Suspended Night and 2002’s Soul of Things-represent some of the most evocative, atmospheric jazz this side of … Read More “Tomasz Stanko Quintet: Dark Eyes”

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Human Feel : Galore

As if to remind listeners of their downtown past, Human Feel begins its first new album in over a decade with an onslaught of Lower East Side noise. This kind of throat-clearing might’ve been impressive back in the era of “Young Lion” conservatism, but nowadays it begs the question: Why did these guys get back … Read More “Human Feel : Galore”

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John Abercrombie Quartet: The Third Quartet

In jazz, it seems, it pays to be in your face or achingly sweet. Veteran guitarist John Abercrombie is neither. Though more nimble than most, he shows little interest in guitar heroism. And his playing, which is recognizable for its rich, silvery tone, is melodic, but never explicitly so. He is, in other words, the … Read More “John Abercrombie Quartet: The Third Quartet”

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Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis, Roscoe Mitchell : Streaming

In the press materials for Streaming, his new album with pianist Muhal Richard Abrams and saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell, trombonist and laptopper George Lewis says the music made by this leaderless trio is “open,” not “free.” The difference? In Lewis’ words, “open” improvisation is all about responding to “what’s at hand” and viewing “ideas from multiple … Read More “Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis, Roscoe Mitchell : Streaming”

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Dave Burrell : Momentum

For most who have heard of him, Dave Burrell is inextricably linked to a time when chaos was king. The 66-year-old pianist plays on some of the New Thing’s most memorable freak-outs-Pharoah Sanders’ Tauhid and Sonny Sharrock’s Black Woman, among others-and his own albums from the same period are almost as notorious. But Burrell never … Read More “Dave Burrell : Momentum”

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Ray Russell: Goodbye Svengali

You probably know Ray Russell’s playing even if you’ve never heard the guy’s name. The British guitarist, a pro since 1963, has added licks to James Bond flicks as well as to popular albums by Tina Turner and Robert Plant. Much of his nonsession work, however, is best described as ‘underground.’ Russell snuck several avant-leaning … Read More “Ray Russell: Goodbye Svengali”

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Terje Rypdal: Vossabrygg

Vossabrygg, the latest from Norwegian guitarist Terje Rypdal, recorded live at the Vossa Jazz festival, is something of a tribute to one of jazz-rock’s most sacred artifacts, Miles Davis’ circa-’69 head-expander Bitches Brew. Rypdal, a guitarist whose playing and tone fall somewhere between Electric Ladyland and Windham Hill, mined the electric Miles vein pretty hard … Read More “Terje Rypdal: Vossabrygg”

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James Carter, Cyrus Chestnut, Ali Jackson, Reginald Veal: Gold Sounds

Pavement is not the most obvious choice for an instrumental-jazz tribute. The ’90s-era indie rock outfit is known for many things–its lit-grad lyrics, its slack musicianship, its style (for miles and miles)–but perhaps the least of which is the jazz-worthiness of its melodies. That’s not to say that the band never wrote a stand-alone tune. … Read More “James Carter, Cyrus Chestnut, Ali Jackson, Reginald Veal: Gold Sounds”

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Bohren & Der Club of Gore: Geisterfaust

The four Germans in self-described “horror jazz” outfit Bohren & Der Club of Gore aren’t so much jazz musicians influenced by rock as they are “drunken metalheads” who’ve opted for In a Silent Way-type instrumentation. Bohren keyboardist-bassist Morten Gass says that 2004’s glacially paced Black Earth is a “doom record.” Yet that album sounds like … Read More “Bohren & Der Club of Gore: Geisterfaust”

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