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Eri Yamamoto Trio & Choral Chameleon: Goshu Ondo Suite (AUM Fidelity)

Although traditional folk songs have been a favorite source for classical composers from Brahms to Bartók, they don’t have a corresponding place in the jazz canon. And that’s a pity, as pianist and composer Eri Yamamoto makes plain with her Goshu Ondo Suite. Composed for choir and jazz trio, it’s based around a traditional circle-dance … Read More “Eri Yamamoto Trio & Choral Chameleon: Goshu Ondo Suite (AUM Fidelity)”

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T.K. Blue: The Rhythms Continue (JAJA)

To say that Randy Weston was underappreciated is not the same as saying he wasn’t appreciated; instead, it’s to acknowledge that the honors he received, which include being named a National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master, never quite matched the enormity of his achievements in connecting jazz to its African roots. The Rhythms Continue … Read More “T.K. Blue: The Rhythms Continue (JAJA)”

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Olli Hirvonen: Displace (Ropeadope)

Although jazz guitar players have been amplified since the days of Charlie Christian, for the most part they’ve been fairly cautious about how they used that amplification. Even after fusion found some players moving from Fender tweeds to Marshall stacks, the majority of jazz guitarists have chosen to keep their sound clean, not crunchy. Finnish … Read More “Olli Hirvonen: Displace (Ropeadope)”

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Adam Rudolph: The Matrix Reloaded

If you look inside the CD package of Ragmala, the Go: Organic Orchestra’s collaboration with Brooklyn Raga Massive, you’ll find a Carnatic music proverb: “Shruthir mata, Laya pitaha,” which is translated as “Melody is the Mother, Rhythm is the Father.” That’s a concept that orchestra leader Adam Rudolph, in his role as a composer, takes … Read More “Adam Rudolph: The Matrix Reloaded”

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Dave Holland/Zakir Hussain/Chris Potter: Good Hope (Edition)

Two years ago, tabla master Zakir Hussain assembled a sextet he called Crosscurrents, which brought together Indian and Western musicians to explore the jazz content of Bollywood film scores. Good Hope expands on that concept by boiling the group down to a trio, and shifting the focus from movie music to a more generalized approach. … Read More “Dave Holland/Zakir Hussain/Chris Potter: Good Hope (Edition)”

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Ben Wolfe: Fatherhood (Resident Arts)

Strings are the connectors on bassist Ben Wolfe’s Fatherhood. Not heartstrings, mind, but violins, viola, and cello. Wolfe’s father Dan was a violinist, and the bassist credits his dad with having introduced him to jazz. Thus Wolfe’s use of a string quartet on here has sentimental, not just instrumental, import. What Wolfe does with those … Read More “Ben Wolfe: Fatherhood (Resident Arts)”

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Diego Rivera: Connections (Posi-Tone)

In a strange way, the best thing about Diego Rivera’s third album, Connections, is the extent to which we don’t hear him. Not that there’s anything lacking in what he does, as his playing is carefully phrased and beautifully nuanced, with a vocalist’s sense of melodic line. On the occasions when his tenor takes the … Read More “Diego Rivera: Connections (Posi-Tone)”

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Jonathon Crompton: Intuit (New Lab)

“Intuit,” the title tune from Australian expat Jonathon Crompton’s debut, opens auspiciously, with Crompton’s alto squeaking the shreds of a melody between squealing harmonics, as Ingrid Laubrock’s tenor hard-tongues a honking counterpoint. Before long, they’re joined by Adam Hopkins’ bass and Kate Gentile’s percussion, both jabbing at the pulse without really taking command. By the … Read More “Jonathon Crompton: Intuit (New Lab)”

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Curtis Nowosad: Curtis Nowosad (Sessionheads United)

On his third album, drummer Curtis Nowosad celebrates his move from Winnipeg, Manitoba to New York, N.Y. by updating his sound. Where his first two albums were solidly straight-ahead, applying a hard-bop aesthetic even to pop tunes such as Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel,” this one is slick and fusion-edged—not quite smooth … Read More “Curtis Nowosad: Curtis Nowosad (Sessionheads United)”

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Eric Hofbauer: Book of Water (Creative Nation)

As album concepts go, guitarist Eric Hofbauer’s Five Agents project is pretty solid. Taking inspiration from Wu Xing, an ancient Daoist precept that sees the world as being composed of five cyclic elements or agents, Hofbauer decided to compose and record a series of albums honoring each agent in turn. Although Chinese tradition tends to … Read More “Eric Hofbauer: Book of Water (Creative Nation)”

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Lisa Maxwell Big Band: Shiny! (Uncle Marvin Music)

If Lisa Maxwell’s name means nothing to you, perhaps Lew Soloff’s might. The veteran trumpeter had long championed Maxwell’s work as an arranger, and urged her to make an album of her own; his fatal heart attack in 2015 made her realize that she shouldn’t wait. And so, Shiny! Maxwell’s isn’t a working band, so … Read More “Lisa Maxwell Big Band: Shiny! (Uncle Marvin Music)”

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