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Ez Pour Spout: Don’t Shave the Feeling

The influence of John Zorn and of self-satirizing rock groups such as Cake come through in this set of instrumental covers of fairly pedestrian pop and rock material. Included are versions of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” Isaac Hayes’ soul classic “Walk on By,” two Burt Bacharach songs, Kurt Cobain’s “Heart-Shaped Box,” Mike Post and Pete Carpenter’s … Read More “Ez Pour Spout: Don’t Shave the Feeling”

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Paul Bley: Basics

Seasoned solo pianist Paul Bley presents a program of 10 original compositions and one standard, Thelonious’ “Monk’s Mood.” Each note rings with calm authority, the by-product of years in the bop and postbop trenches. His two hands, at times, sound as if they are holding a fascinating conversation with each other; on the tune “Lucky,” … Read More “Paul Bley: Basics”

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Elliott Levin/Tyrone Hill Quartet: A Fine Intensity

Both Soul-Etude and A Fine Intensity come from an exhaustive two-day recording session held in the spring of 1999. With bassist Howard Cooper and drummer Ed Watkins forming the rhythmic base of this working group, trombonist Hill and tenor and soprano saxophonist Levin are able to relax, but that does not keep them from blowing … Read More “Elliott Levin/Tyrone Hill Quartet: A Fine Intensity”

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Lou Donaldson Quartet: Relaxing at Sea: Live on the QE2

Forget about the casual atmosphere and rampant stage patter; this is an excellent album strictly on musical terms. Donaldson’s longtime organist, Dr. Lonnie Smith, has been at the peak of his powers for several years now. “Best organist in the country!” Donaldson declares following a mint version of his Blue Note classic “The Midnight Creeper.” … Read More “Lou Donaldson Quartet: Relaxing at Sea: Live on the QE2”

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Matt Wilson: Utility Player

Drummer Matt Wilson’s musical sensibility lies somewhere between the country and the city, the sublime and the superfluous, the avant-garde and the mainstream. Since he broke through in 1996, the jazz and mainstream media have been effusive in their praise for Wilson’s home-style music, which brings together a wide range of influences, from country-western songwriter … Read More “Matt Wilson: Utility Player”

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Max Roach Remembers Tony Williams

The recent, unexpected death of master drummer Anthony Williams came as a terrible shock to his family, friends, and music lovers everywhere. On Thursday, February 20, Williams, after complaining of stomach pain, was admitted to the hospital for gall bladder surgery. On Sunday, February 23, while recuperating from surgery, he apparently suffered a fatal heart … Read More “Max Roach Remembers Tony Williams”

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Lee Konitz: On His Own Terms

Great jazz can be like a flurry of snowflakes. No two solos, or phrases, are alike, and the subtlest inflections attached to each note are one-of-a-kind. The greatest jazz players—the innovators—are also one-of-a-kind. Lee Konitz is this kind of player, a professional improviser on the alto saxophone for 50 of his 70 years. He has … Read More “Lee Konitz: On His Own Terms”

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