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Live Review: New York Winter Jazzfest 2019

The 15th annual Winter Jazzfest in New York opened on Friday, Jan. 4 at Le Poisson Rouge with “Thing Called Life: Prince Reimagined,” a concert by the festival’s artist-in-residence Meshell Ndegeocello. It was a risky move, for it recalled the bad old days when the Kool Jazz Festival toured the nation with such headliners as … Read More “Live Review: New York Winter Jazzfest 2019”

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Tony Allen: Jack of All Parades

Above: Tony Allen (center) prepares for liftoff at the 2018 Newport Jazz Festival as Herlin Riley (left) and others watch the onstage action. Photo: Alan Nahigian. “I’m a half-caste,” Tony Allen says in his trailer dressing room at the Newport Jazz Festival. “Do you know that word, ‘half-caste?’ My father was Nigerian, and my mother … Read More “Tony Allen: Jack of All Parades”

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Steve Cardenas: Missing Motian & Praising Monk

Steve Cardenas’ recent Newvelle Records LP is called Charlie & Paul—as in Haden and Motian, two of the guitarist’s biggest influences and two musicians who gave his career a boost by hiring him. The lyricism of their compositions is echoed in his two leader albums for Fresh Sounds and two subsequent ones for Sunnyside. Cardenas … Read More “Steve Cardenas: Missing Motian & Praising Monk”

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Todd Marcus: Streets of Baltimore

Rising jazz star Todd Marcus lives just three blocks from Gilmor Homes, the Baltimore housing project where Freddie Gray lived and was arrested in 2015. Marcus didn’t grow up in the poverty-plagued Sandtown neighborhood, but the New Jersey native started volunteering there as a 19-year-old college student, moved in two years later and is still … Read More “Todd Marcus: Streets of Baltimore”

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Antonio Sanchez: Immigrant Songs

When Antonio Sanchez eats at restaurants in New York, he’ll often ask the busboys where they’re from. Sanchez, Pat Metheny’s drummer for the past 17 years and the leader of his own band, Migration, is from Mexico City, so he identifies with his fellow Latino immigrants. Sometimes he’ll get into long conversations with them, and … Read More “Antonio Sanchez: Immigrant Songs”

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Joe Fiedler: Bop Beginnings, Avant-Garde Adventures

In the mid-1980s, Joe Fiedler was a jazz student at the University of Pittsburgh, studying the trombone bible according to J.J. Johnson under the tutelage of hard-bop legend Nathan Davis. A math nerd, Fiedler enjoyed the puzzle of chord substitutions, but he felt he was missing something. Then, late one night, as he was driving … Read More “Joe Fiedler: Bop Beginnings, Avant-Garde Adventures”

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Linda May Han Oh: Presence

  When bassists become bandleaders, they must choose: How much should they hang back in their familiar role as part of the rhythm section and how much should they step forward in a more assertive role? As Linda May Han Oh began work on her fourth album as a bandleader, Walk Against Wind (Biophilia), the … Read More “Linda May Han Oh: Presence”

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Various Artists: The Complete Dial Modern Jazz Sessions

To understand the significance of Dial Records, a good place to start is the tune “Relaxin’ at Camarillo.” Camarillo is 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles, where Dial was founded in 1945 by Ross Russell, the young owner of the Tempo Music Shop, the record store he had opened the year before. The Camarillo State … Read More “Various Artists: The Complete Dial Modern Jazz Sessions”

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Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band: Landmarks

Wayne Shorter is the most self-effacing of bandleaders; he often plays with such reticence that you’d never guess he was the star unless you glanced at an album’s credits or noticed his bandmates’ reactions to his cues during a gig. Brian Blade, Shorter’s drummer for the past 13 years, is similarly understated. On Landmarks, the … Read More “Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band: Landmarks”

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Pat Metheny Unity Group : Kin (←→)

Ever since 1980, when guitarist Pat Metheny became a big enough jazz star to record whatever he wanted, he has more or less alternated avant-garde ventures with more populist projects. His user-friendly collaborations with keyboardist Lyle Mays in the ’80s and ’90s were interspersed with more adventurous partnerships with Ornette Coleman, Charlie Haden and Steve … Read More “Pat Metheny Unity Group : Kin (←→)”

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Dave Dougas: Time Travel

When Dave Douglas unveiled his new acoustic quintet last year, it was with an atypical project: Be Still, a pastoral collection of folk songs and hymns that his mother had requested for her funeral, and the first-ever Douglas album to feature a vocalist (Aoife O’Donovan). It was a moving, gorgeous recording, but its unusual nature … Read More “Dave Dougas: Time Travel”

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