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Lynne Arriale: Convergence

Lynne Arriale is a powerful pianist with a strong melodic sense and a taste for well-built pop tunes. Sparked by remarkable bass and oud player Omer Avital, tensile, tasteful drummer Anthony Pinciotti and Bill McHenry, a tenor saxophonist who can be broad-shouldered in one tune and breathy in the next, Arriale turns in six largely … Read More “Lynne Arriale: Convergence”

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Ralph Bowen: Power Play

Ralph Bowen is an assured saxophonist and versatile composer who clearly enjoys spontaneous conversation with his mates. Hear such chatter on “The Good Shepherd,” as Bowen and bassist Kenny Davis race one another, Bowen elongating the melody as Davis furiously fills beneath. Texture is important to the febrile Bowen and his empathetic band, which includes … Read More “Ralph Bowen: Power Play”

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Erik Friedlander: 50 Miniatures for Improvising Quintet

Jewish philosophy, religious belief and mathematics buttress this startling CD, a collection spanning tune, snippet, melody and outburst. Inspired by the 14th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, it consists of seven groups of seven pieces, capped by a standalone. It is best listened to as a whole, as it resists casual sampling, and its shape … Read More “Erik Friedlander: 50 Miniatures for Improvising Quintet”

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Ernie Krivda and the Detroit Connection: Live at the Dirty Dog

A big fish in the small jazz pond that is Cleveland, Ernie Krivda is a fiery proponent of accessible, bop-heavy jazz. The latest CD from the prolific tenor sax master finds Krivda in illustrious Detroit company: the legendary minimalist pianist Claude Black, drummer Renee Gonsalves (son of Paul Gonsalves) and bassist Dan Kolton. Culled from … Read More “Ernie Krivda and the Detroit Connection: Live at the Dirty Dog”

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Gregory Tardy: The Strongest Love

On this, his first CD after a three-year sabbatical from performing, Gregory Tardy offers up a set of devotional pieces along with one secular standard, Billy Strayhorn’s “A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing.” Unlike the music of, say, latter-day Coltrane, these selections serve primarily as paeans to, rather than aural exemplifications of, the striving for … Read More “Gregory Tardy: The Strongest Love”

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Grace Kelly/Phil Woods: The Man With the Hat

A Boston-based prodigy on alto saxophone, Grace Kelly plays just fine with the best, holding her own and then some. In 2008 she teamed up with alto saxophonist Lee Konitz on GRACEfulLEE. Her current soulmate is Phil Woods, the legendary alto man who will celebrate his 80th birthday in November of this year. They make … Read More “Grace Kelly/Phil Woods: The Man With the Hat”

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MIchael Dease: Grace

The buttery, assured trombonist Michael Dease is at home with everything from classic jazz to frantic bop to Brazilian samba. His fourth album as a leader finds him in fine company, with a rhythm section of pianist Cyrus Chestnut, bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Gene Jackson, and an excellent modernist foil in promising young saxophonist/flutist … Read More “MIchael Dease: Grace”

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Hadley Caliman & Pete Christlieb: Reunion

This was Hadley Caliman’s last recording before his death of liver cancer in September. Recorded with his old friend and fellow tenor saxophonist Pete Christlieb in November 2009, it finds Caliman in high spirits and full energy. It’s a very good, mainstream jazz album featuring that comforting stalwart, the tenor battle. The styles of the … Read More “Hadley Caliman & Pete Christlieb: Reunion”

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Rebecca Coupe Franks: Check the Box

A moderately engaging blend of instrumentals and vocals, Coupe Franks’ vocal debut works best when the leader goes Latinate and uptempo. “Exposure” and “Exposure Duo,” which bracket this well-meaning disk, demonstrate how Coupe Franks’ trumpet prowess exceeds her vocal ability. Still, Franks can be an expressive singer: the funky, hopeful title track spotlights her small, … Read More “Rebecca Coupe Franks: Check the Box”

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Jason Robinson: The Two Faces of Janus

Tenor saxophonist Jason Robinson marries intellect to sweat, brains to bawdiness, narrative to sidetrack, straight line to detour, familiarity to surprise-the dualities peppering this long, exciting disk go on. The tunes shift meter, texture, and voice. Some feature Robinson solo; some pit him against peers/collaborators/alto saxophonists Rudresh Mahanthappa and Marty Ehrlich (who also plays squonky … Read More “Jason Robinson: The Two Faces of Janus”

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Radam Schwartz & Conspiracy for Positivity featuring Miles Griffith: Songs for the Soul

Miles Griffith is a raspy vocalist with a lot of heart. His collaborations with Hammond B3 expert Radam Schwartz are fun, even when the lyrics are treacly, as on “Youthology.” Schwartz’s instrumentals are notable, particularly “Sky Namel,” a jaunty number featuring Schwartz’s left hand at its friskiest. Griffith may be the star of this deeply … Read More “Radam Schwartz & Conspiracy for Positivity featuring Miles Griffith: Songs for the Soul”

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Either/Orchestra: Mood Music for Time Travellers

The 11th disc by the Either/Orchestra rumbles to life with “The (one of a kind) Shimmy,” a funny, rambling piece showcasing veteran E/O trumpeter Tom Halter. Like the rest of the E/O’s first “American” release after years of foreign touring, it’s droll, jammy, friendly, engaging and influenced by the 10-piece band’s work with Ethiopian musicians; … Read More “Either/Orchestra: Mood Music for Time Travellers”

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Chick Corea: Solo Piano: Improvisations/Children’s Songs

Chick Corea was a busy man in the early ’70s. In addition to his work with Miles Davis’ electric band, he created two of the three discs in this crystalline yet sturdy box. Piano Improvisations? Vols. 1 and 2 were released in 1971, Children’s Songs in 1983. All feature Corea’s touch, paradoxically delicate and percussive, … Read More “Chick Corea: Solo Piano: Improvisations/Children’s Songs”

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Tia Fuller: Decisive Steps

As its title suggests, saxophonist Tia Fuller’s third CD as a leader is an assertive affair. It’s largely about self-realization: in the title track, the aspirational “Windsoar,” and a perky, occasionally abstract take on “My Shining Hour,” one of two standards (the other is a sultry “I Can’t Get Started”). Prominently backed by pianist Shamie … Read More “Tia Fuller: Decisive Steps

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