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Gebhard Ullmann/Chris Dahlgren/Jay Rosen: CutitOut

On CutItOut, reed expert Gebhard Ullmann contains himself to two low-end instruments: bass clarinet and bass flute. This complements Chris Dahlgren’s approach to bass playing, which combines plucking, bowing and using electronics to create a looping, droning pattern. Jay Rosen spends most of the time creating his own textures of ringing sound with cymbals and … Read More “Gebhard Ullmann/Chris Dahlgren/Jay Rosen: CutitOut”

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Bobby Zankel & The Warriors of the Wonderful Sound: Ceremonies of Forgiveness

The seeds for the 14-piece Warriors ensemble were planted in 2001, when alto saxophonist Bobby Zankel premiered it at the Collective Voices Festival. Regular performances at Philadelphia’s Club Tritone have since sustained what would typically be an unwieldy group. These opportunities have also given Zankel the chance to write lengthy pieces that exploit their sonic … Read More “Bobby Zankel & The Warriors of the Wonderful Sound: Ceremonies of Forgiveness”

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Ernest Dawkins: The Messenger: Live at the Original Velvet Lounge

“I always wanted to do an album dedicated to the blues, ‘cuz this is a blues town.” With that, saxophonist Ernest Dawkins cues Darius Savage’s slow, walking bass line and talk-sings a testimony on hometown Chicago and his music. Part oratory, part gutbucket excursion, “Goin’ Downtown Blues” serves as the centerpiece of an enthralling live … Read More “Ernest Dawkins: The Messenger: Live at the Original Velvet Lounge”

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Skip Heller Trio: Mean Things Happening in This Land

Almost every piece in guitarist Skip Heller’s press kit mentions his unorthodox song choices (“from the Jackson 5 to Dean Martin,” basically). So it goes with Mean Things Happening in This Land, which includes three tunes by post-punk bands. XTC’s “Dear God” has an infectious staccato melody played over an electric piano that leans on … Read More “Skip Heller Trio: Mean Things Happening in This Land”

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Ted Nash & Still Evolved: In the Loop

Among the ranks of musicians to be called “rising stars” in the past few years, saxophonist Ted Nash may have a leg up thanks to his affiliation with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. (He also has over two decades of experience, making the designation questionable, but that’s another story.) If that gets more ears turned … Read More “Ted Nash & Still Evolved: In the Loop”

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David Berger and the Sultans of Swing: Hindustan

I’m not a person who normally gives two hoots about the technical aspects of a recording session. I agree, perhaps simply on principal, that analog beats the pants off of digital, but after that, forget it. Still, a light went off in my head upon reading that Hindustan was recorded digitally and then put through … Read More “David Berger and the Sultans of Swing: Hindustan”

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Avishai Cohen: Continuo

When Avishai Cohen (bass), Mark Guiliana (drums) and Amos Hoffman (oud) answer pianist Sam Barsh’s flowing piano lick with a resounding crash in “Nu Nu,” the whole group exerts its collective authority: This is a unit with rock-solid cohesion that knows how to kick off an album. The piano melody gets a tad repetitive before … Read More “Avishai Cohen: Continuo”

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Brad Goode: Hypnotic Suggestion

Trumpeter Brad Goode has performed in Chicago with Von Freeman and Lin Halliday and led the Green Mill’s house band, but in recent years he’s been teaching music, most recently at the University of Colorado at Boulder. An inquisitive writer with an intriguing set of solo ideas, Goode recorded Hypnotic Suggestion in the Windy City … Read More “Brad Goode: Hypnotic Suggestion”

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Heernt: Locked in a Basement

The surly looking gents in Heernt resemble a trio of indie rockers more likely to grace the pages of JazzTimes’ sister magazine, Harp. But CDs, of course, shouldn’t be judged by their covers. Drummer Mark Guiliana, also a member of bassist Avishai Cohen’s trio, plays with an authority that could suit jazz or thrash. He … Read More “Heernt: Locked in a Basement”

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Chuck Redd: Remembers Barney Kessel: Happy All the Time

Chuck Redd started his musical career as a drummer, but during his time with Charlie Byrd’s trio he also built up his vibraphone skills. For his second vibes-centered disc, Redd pays homage to guitarist Barney Kessel, with whom he played from 1980 to 1991. With bassist Hassan Shakur as a mainstay, Redd brings in a … Read More “Chuck Redd: Remembers Barney Kessel: Happy All the Time”

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Joe McPhee, Matthew Shipp, Dominc Duval: In Finland

Take three musicians on the vanguard of free improvisation, two who have played together extensively and one who’s new to the equation, put them onstage and eventually their explorations will lead to…”My Funny Valentine”? “Blue Monk”? “Summertime”? Yes, yes and yes. It might sound odd, but those standards come to the surface in each of … Read More “Joe McPhee, Matthew Shipp, Dominc Duval: In Finland”

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Nils Petter Molvær: An American Compilation

This collection of tracks, originally released in Europe, begs the questions as to where the line falls that divides groovy, trumpet-driven electronica from smooth jazz. Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær took a quantum leap for ECM with his late-’90s debut, combining the label’s understated aesthetic with programmed beats and trippy effects. He plays with a … Read More “Nils Petter Molvær: An American Compilation”

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Steve Khan: The Green Field

Ten years since his last album as a leader, guitarist Steve Khan enlisted the support of bassist John Patitucci and drummer Jack DeJohnette (who both played on 1996’s Got My Mental) for his new project, which adds percussionist Manolo Badrena. Ralph Irizarry (timbales) and Roberto Quintero (congas) join the quartet on four of the nine … Read More “Steve Khan: The Green Field”

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Donny McCaslin: Soar

The congas-and-tenor conversation that opens Soar kicks things off in high gear. “Tanya,” a Panamanian folk song, is marked by some remarkably fast tonguing from tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin, who doesn’t seem to break for air throughout the song’s three minutes. Conguero Pernell Saturnino fuels the fire, too, as he does on most of the … Read More “Donny McCaslin: Soar”

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Charnett Moffett: Internet

While Charnett Moffett’s 2004 album For the Love of Peace was something of a family affair-since his brothers, sister and wife pitched in-the bassist sticks to a piano-trio format this time for all but two tracks. The spotlight stays on Moffett, who switches between upright, fretless, piccolo basses and fretted bass guitar on the 17 … Read More “Charnett Moffett: Internet”

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Tony Monaco: East to West

The left foot is a key element in an organ player’s arsenal. When operated with proper dexterity, it can turn a standard blues into a greasy, swinging affair. That’s exactly what happens on “I’ll Remember Jimmy,” organist Tony Monaco’s opening salvo on East to West. That left foot-and maybe his right, too-pumps out a walking … Read More “Tony Monaco: East to West”

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Motion Trio: Play-Station

The buzzing bass notes that open Play-Station say one thing loud and clear: This is not your grandfather’s, or your father’s, accordion. Poland’s Motion Trio-leader Janusz Wojtarowicz, Marchin Galazyn and Pawel Baranek-create that texture, and all but a few of the sounds on the album, by working the bellows, keys and buttons in the same … Read More “Motion Trio: Play-Station”

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Gregg Bendian’s Trio Pianissimo: Change

Trio Pianissimo is decidedly more subdued than Interzone and the Mahavishnu Project, percussionist Gregg Bendian’s other bands. But the name seems to refer less to the group’s volume and more to its instrumentation of piano (Steve Hunt), bass (John Lockwood) and drums. Trio Pianissimo’s second album is grounded in the straightahead traditions of the piano … Read More “Gregg Bendian’s Trio Pianissimo: Change”

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Dennis Chambers, Jeff Berlin, Dave Fiuczynski, T Lavitz: Boston T Party

A meeting of four fusion whizzes could easily digress into a game of “Can you top this,” where any sense of composition gives way to an endless parade of chops. Chambers (drums), Berlin (bass), Fiuczynski (guitars) and Lavitz (keyboards) all play with a ferocity that can sustain itself for hours. Luckily Boston T Party is … Read More “Dennis Chambers, Jeff Berlin, Dave Fiuczynski, T Lavitz: Boston T Party”

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Skip Heller Trio: Out of Time: The Skip Heller Trio Live in Philly

“I own about three hundred albums that sound pretty much like this,” Skip Heller writes in the notes for Out of Time. It’s not the best way to plug a live guitar-organ-drums album, a genre whose quantities are a dime a dozen. But the guitarist and the material he chose for a return to his … Read More “Skip Heller Trio: Out of Time: The Skip Heller Trio Live in Philly”

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Pierre Dorge and New Jungle Orchestra: Negra Tigra

Negra Tigra sports five renditions, plus a false start, of the title track, and all but one clock in at exactly one minute, eight seconds. Guitarist Pierre Dorge and his crew start the tune sounding like Spike Jones attempting “Salt Peanuts,” then immediately take a sharp left turn into some fast swing that channels “Hold … Read More “Pierre Dorge and New Jungle Orchestra: Negra Tigra”

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Either/Orchestra: Ethiopiques 20: Live In Addis

After Either/Orchestra recorded three Ethiopian jazz compositions on 2000’s More Beautiful Than Death, the Boston group received several positive responses from the music’s practitioners, including Francis Falceto, editor of the Ethipioques compilation series. His feedback eventually led to E/O’s performance at the Ethiopian Music Festival, where this two-disc album was recorded. The extended visit exposed … Read More “Either/Orchestra: Ethiopiques 20: Live In Addis”

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Prince Lasha & the Odean Pope Trio: The Mystery of Prince Lasha

Fort Worth native Prince Lasha is usually mentioned in connection with longtime collaborator Sonny Simmons or for his appearances on two Eric Dolphy albums. His first album as leader in over 20 years begs the question, Why didn’t Lasha receive more attention the first time around? At 76, he’s still an exciting soloist, at home … Read More “Prince Lasha & the Odean Pope Trio: The Mystery of Prince Lasha”

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Sherrie Maricle and the Diva Jazz Orchestra: TNT: A Tommy Newsom Tribute

To salute the former tenor saxophonist of The Tonight Show band, drummer Sherrie Maricle and her all-female Diva Jazz Orchestra went right to the source: They borrowed 10 charts from Tommy Newsom himself, including two of his own compositions. Diva must have reveled in the pairing, since Newsom has a gift for bringing out all … Read More “Sherrie Maricle and the Diva Jazz Orchestra: TNT: A Tommy Newsom Tribute”

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Triptych Myth: The Beautiful

Triptych Myth–Cooper-Moore (piano), Tom Abbs (bass) and Chad Taylor (drums)–can’t be pinned down easily as a particular type of piano trio. They excel at free excursions that evoke Cecil Taylor’s Candid recordings, but they sound equally at home with softer, lyrical ballads. Free jazz might often consist of blistering, harsh sonorities, but these three prove … Read More “Triptych Myth: The Beautiful”

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Patty Waters: Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe: Live in San Francisco 2002

The screaming “Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair” gets all the ink, but short shrift is given to the seven Patty Waters originals that filled the other side of her 1965 debut, Sings (ESP). On these originals, Waters sang late night confessions in a voice that wouldn’t wake the neighbor in the … Read More “Patty Waters: Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe: Live in San Francisco 2002”

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Matthew Von Doran: In This Present Moment

For his debut as a leader, Orange County guitarist Matthew Van Doran recorded 10 original compositions with a revolving cast of musicians. Guests include Yellowjackets members Bob Mintzer, Jimmy Haslip and Marcus Baylor, as well as drummer Peter Erskine, organist Larry Goldings and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington. Von Doran predominantly plays electric guitar, but when … Read More “Matthew Von Doran: In This Present Moment”

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Charnett Moffett: For the Love of Peace

The opening moments of For the Love of Peace set the standard for what will follow. “In the Beginning” starts with Charnett Moffett bowing his bass, pulling thick rich tones from his instrument that buttress the somber accompaniment of his brother Mondre’s trumpet and the cascading piano textures played by a person identified as “J.S.” … Read More “Charnett Moffett: For the Love of Peace”

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