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The Brooks Tegler Big Band: This Is It!

For more than three decades, drummer/singer/bandleader Brooks Tegler has been waging a one-man campaign to play, preserve and promote a generation of jazz about which he is obsessed: the period between the mid-30s and the end of the 50s — that golden era of big bands. Based in Washington, D.C., Tegler has managed to recruit … Read More “The Brooks Tegler Big Band: This Is It!”

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Pamela Rose: Wild Women of Song

Pamela Rose would make one helluva politician. She’s already a firmly established jazz and blues vocalist bearing a slight physical and musical resemblance to Bette Midler. And like Midler, Rose infuses her live and recorded performances with non-stop energy. The political reference involves her fifth release, sub-titled “Great Gal Composers of the Jazz Era.” She … Read More “Pamela Rose: Wild Women of Song”

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Sunny Crownover/Duke Robillard: Introducing Sunny And Her Boys

I know what the album title says, but it seems that Ms Crownover is really paying homage to the joy girls of the past: Ella Fitzgerald, Maxine Sullivan, Billie Holiday, Ivie Anderson, Helen Humes and Hadda Brooks. With names like that — not to channel, but to emulate — Sunny’s debut couldn’t miss. And with … Read More “Sunny Crownover/Duke Robillard: Introducing Sunny And Her Boys”

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Denise Perrier: The Second Time Around

This album is well-named; it marks Denise Perrier’s fourth CD and the second time around with tenorist Houston Person. Ms Perrier is also well-named. Her singing style is bubbly and her personality always sparkles. (I must thank Alisa Clancy, of KCSM, Jazz91, in San Mateo. I embellished on the original metaphor in her liner notes.) … Read More “Denise Perrier: The Second Time Around

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Carol Duboc Featuring Hubert Laws: Burt Bacharach Songbook

Pianist Jimmy Rowles once famously remarked, “Burt Bacharach’s tunes sound like third alto parts.” Well, don’t try to sell singer Carol Duboc on that notion. Based on the effort she expended on her latest album, she’s quite comfortable with the songwriter who hails from Carol’s hometown, Kansas City. That effort extended to producing the session; … Read More “Carol Duboc Featuring Hubert Laws: Burt Bacharach Songbook

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Duke Heitger & Bernd Lhotzky: Doin’ The Voom Voom

When an opportunity arose last summer for Arbors’ owner Mat Domby to produce Ohio-born trumpeter Duke Heitger, and Bavarian native, pianist Bernd Lhotzky on the latter’s turf, Domber flew to Bavaria to engineer the session. It proved to be so relaxed and laid-back, most of the 17 tracks were accomplished on first takes: evidence of … Read More “Duke Heitger & Bernd Lhotzky: Doin’ The Voom Voom

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Kenny Davern & Ken Peplowski : Dialogues

This is what jazz is all about: inventive musicians getting together and having a swinging conversation. Two pairs of creative thinkers here: clarinetists Davern and Peplowski, guitarists Howard Alden and James Chirillo, plus a barebones rhythm section of bassist Nicki Parrott and drummer Tony DeNicola. As in any good summit meeting, comments are exchanged on … Read More “Kenny Davern & Ken Peplowski : Dialogues”

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Jeff Hackworth: How Little We Know

Tenorist Jeff Hackworth boasts a big, pleasant tone and just enough credentials (having played with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra when it was fronted by Buddy Morrow) to justify a second album. The first found him in the context of an organ trio. The current offering features an excellent combo of pianist Norman Simmons, bassist Peter … Read More “Jeff Hackworth: How Little We Know”

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Holly Hofmann & Mike Wofford: Live at Athenaeum Jazz, Vol. 2

This is a coupling that transcends mere jazz. Flutist Holly Hofmann and pianist Mike Wofford provide melody, harmony, rhythm and improvisation so completely that any perceptive listener would never bemoan the lack of bass and drums. The chemistry resulting from their loosely arranged explorations is so instinctive, the duo seems to be straddling the nebulous … Read More “Holly Hofmann & Mike Wofford: Live at Athenaeum Jazz, Vol. 2”

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Arturo Sandoval: Rumba Palace

Considering this is Sandoval’s debut for Telarc, the results are surprisingly devoid of the fire one expects from the sizzling trumpeter. His playing is not at fault; it’s the overall presentation. Seemingly aimed at the dancers in his loyal, growing fan base, there are too few sparks: the pure erotica of “Sexy Lady,” with the … Read More “Arturo Sandoval: Rumba Palace”

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Marguerite Mariama: Wild Women Never Get the Blues…Well, Not Anymore!

Say hello to Marguerite Mariama, the quintessential “take-charge” woman: executive producer of her debut album with a background that includes educator-cultural-historian-actress-dancer (studied with Katherine Dunham). If that fails to impress you, call her Dr. Mariama. She earned her doctorate in performance education and was a professor in the New York City University system for 10 … Read More “Marguerite Mariama: Wild Women Never Get the Blues…Well, Not Anymore!”

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Jiggs Whigham & Wolfgang Köhler: Two Too

Duologues are always fascinating. They’re transparent enough to reveal the technique of both participants and how well they listen to each other. Trombonist Whigham and pianist Köhler are amazingly supportive to each other’s licks, never stepping on each other’s chops. Each has the ultimate freedom to improvise, and in this format the execution is so … Read More “Jiggs Whigham & Wolfgang Köhler: Two Too”

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Lisa Hilton: Midnight in Manhattan

Pianist Lisa Hilton has stitched together a self-described profile of Manhattan-bearing titles like “City Streets,” “Warm Summer Night,” “Sunday Morning,” “Late Night” and the title track. The titles are not only interchangeable; they’re totally meaningless. Hilton did not succeed in fashioning an urban travelogue via mini-tone poems. What results from her repetitious meanderings is a … Read More “Lisa Hilton: Midnight in Manhattan”

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Joe Locke/Geoffrey Keezer Group: Live in Seattle

Constantly flirting with atonality but never surrendering to it, this quartet made a lasting impression at the 2005 Ballard Jazz Festival, where the hip folks at Origin made a live, studio-quality recording. So much is happening at any given moment that careful, repeat listening is required to separate the various strands that combine to create … Read More “Joe Locke/Geoffrey Keezer Group: Live in Seattle”

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The Howard Alden-Dan Barrett Quintet: Live in ’95

Here’s a combo that typifies everything right about jazz: good writing, clever voicings and an exuberant group sound with excellent solos by everyone in the quintet. So the end result is happy, straightahead, multistyle swing. The band’s genre-hopping is heard immediately with a John Kirby-flavored intimacy on “9:20 Special.” That’s followed by the Benny Carter … Read More “The Howard Alden-Dan Barrett Quintet: Live in ’95”

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Mike Melvoin presents Dan Jaffe: Playing the Word

The fusion of jazz and poetry has been a noble but uneven experience, from Langston Hughes and Lawrence Ferlinghetti through Kenneth Rexroth and Jack Kerouac. There can be no dispute that jazz and poetry belong together. Who could separate a Bob Dorough lyric from its melody? On this album, even though Melvoin’s music is not … Read More “Mike Melvoin presents Dan Jaffe: Playing the Word”

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Ralph Sutton and Dick Cary: Rendezvous at Sunnie’s 1969

A frontline of pianist Ralph Sutton and trumpeter Dick Cary taking on 13 standards guarantees unswervingly straightahead and unabashedly mainstream results. This is Volume 7 of Arbors’ Historical Series, recorded in 1969 at Sunnie’s Rendezvous, near Sutton’s home in Aspen, Colorado. Sutton’s wife, Sunnie, owned the club at the time, begging the question: Why did … Read More “Ralph Sutton and Dick Cary: Rendezvous at Sunnie’s 1969”

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Scott Anderson’s Nia Quintet: End of Time

This group is basically a contemporary, bop-flavored quintet of two horns and three rhythm players. It swings intelligently, sometimes intellectually. The preferred timbre from the front line generally finds Anderson on flugelhorn with tenorist Daniel Nicholson, too often in unison, over a first-rate rhythm section of pianist Tom Vaitsas, bassist Patrick Williams and drummer Greg … Read More “Scott Anderson’s Nia Quintet: End of Time”

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Louis Armstrong: Louis Armstrong in Scandinavia Vol. 2

When Louis Armstrong was in his prime, Dixieland had long passed its own peak. But as Satchmo proves on these 19 tracks, culled from two Scandinavian tours (Stockholm and Copenhagen in 1955; Stockholm again in ’59), the whole idea behind jazz was to be completely spontaneous, have a ball and please the people. Well, Armstrong … Read More “Louis Armstrong: Louis Armstrong in Scandinavia Vol. 2”

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Stan Kenton with The Los Angeles Neophonic Orchestra: New Horizons Vol. I

For the brief, artistically rich but financially bankrupt period of 1965-’68, Stan Kenton placed a black tie on jazz with his dream band, the Los Angeles Neophonic Orchestra. Its home was as opulent as his vision: downtown Los Angeles’ brand-new, 3,200-seat Music Center. In December ’64, it opened to the sounds of the L.A. Philharmonic … Read More “Stan Kenton with The Los Angeles Neophonic Orchestra: New Horizons Vol. I”

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Lalo: Half Moon

Lalo has never met a genre, time signature, instrument or electronic device she didn’t like. However, she did reject a name once-her own. Born Laura Friedman, the stunning Savannah swinger chose her nickname, Lalo. Her eclecticism saturates her latest release, a restless collection of mood swings that defy pigeonholing. What can be described with certainty … Read More “Lalo: Half Moon”

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Carol Robbins: Jazz Play

Carol Robbins is very likely the number one harpist on the scene. (Reinforcing that ranking, she studied with the previous generation’s top jazz-oriented harpist, Dorothy Ashby.) But the mere thought of harp in solo or comping modes is still daunting and requires that you keep your ears wide open. There are many beautiful moments here. … Read More “Carol Robbins: Jazz Play”

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