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Eddie Allen Quintet: Summer Days

What would you get if you melded a bit of Art Blakey to the imagination of Lester Bowie? You’d get trumpeter Eddie (E. J.) Allen who collaborated with both bandleaders and leads a high-voltage quintet through a set displaying his diverse approach, precise technique and exceptional composing skills. Standards by Herbie Hancock, Benny Golson, McCoy … Read More “Eddie Allen Quintet: Summer Days”

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The Bronx Horns: Silver in the Bronx

On its second recording, The Bronx Horns pays homage to pianist-composer Horace Silver with 10 Latin-jazz interpretations of Silver favorites arranged by Ray Vega, Marty Sheller, Oscar Hernandez and others. Led by tenor saxophonist-flutist Mitch Frohman, the eight-musician ensemble serves up splendidly blended, danceable horn arrangements performed by Vega (trumpet/flugelhorn) and Bobby Porcelli (alto sax). … Read More “The Bronx Horns: Silver in the Bronx”

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Charles Earland: Stomp!

Stomp! is the last new recording by the late Hammond B-3 organist Charles Earland, and this March 13, 1999, studio date features the leader with a quintet performing mostly his originals that help him live up to his tag as “The Mighty Burner.” Earland became known at the end of the 1960s soul-jazz era but … Read More “Charles Earland: Stomp!”

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David Benoit/Greg Bissonette/Brian Bromberg: The Great Composers of Jazz

The newly formed Vertical Jazz Records debuts with an attractive, six-CD series of straightahead trio, quartet and quintet recordings showcasing top West Coast jazz artists, many of whom had never recorded together before. Because these musicians have leaned toward pop-jazz or pursued unidentified studio work, they may surprise you with their stunning straightahead remakes of … Read More “David Benoit/Greg Bissonette/Brian Bromberg: The Great Composers of Jazz”

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Luciana Souza: An Answer to Your Silence

With a synergistic team, multi-talented vocalist-composer Luciana Souza delivers 11 originals and standards that shimmer with energy, excitement and innovation. Souza’s liberated, impressionistic style rivals that of modern Brazilian-jazz vocal masters Elis Regina, Joyce, Milton Nascimento and others, yet she’s no mere copycat. Brazilian-born Souza began performing as a youngster under tutelage of her father, … Read More “Luciana Souza: An Answer to Your Silence”

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Barbara Sfraga: Oh, What a Thrill

Making an exceptional debut as leader, versatile vocalist Barbara Sfraga engages listeners straightaway with her multifaceted style on 12 jazz/pop standards and originals. Her dynamic delivery brings to mind Anita O’Day or Patricia Barber, yet Sfraga’s one of those rare warblers who becomes immersed in lyrics without over-embellishing for special effect. Sfraga has a distinctive … Read More “Barbara Sfraga: Oh, What a Thrill”

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One For All: Upward and Onward

Together for several years, One for All is a cooperative sextet of seasoned players (all good buddies) on the New York scene. On Upward and Onward, eight tunes are earmarked with effervescent solo and ensemble work from front-liners Eric Alexander (tenor sax), Jim Rotondi (trumpet, flugelhorn) and Steve Davis (trombone), and outstanding rhythm support from … Read More “One For All: Upward and Onward”

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George Robert/Phil Woods: The Summit

On The Summit, Swiss-born and based saxophonist George Robert teams with veteran saxist Phil Woods for nine stimulating front-line alto (or clarinet) interchanges for the German label. Berklee-trained Robert may not enjoy the widest name recognition in the U.S., but he’s amassed 21 albums as leader and sideman for various import labels since 1985. During … Read More “George Robert/Phil Woods: The Summit”

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Sterling Place All-Stars: Sterling Place All-Stars

The Sterling Place All-Stars are veteran players who have at one time or another lived on the same block in Brooklyn, NY. Alto/soprano saxophonist Vincent Herring is an esteemed musician who’s racked up 10 albums as leader and more than 70 as sideman. Pianist Ronnie Mathews has accompanied an array of artists, including Dexter Gordon … Read More “Sterling Place All-Stars: Sterling Place All-Stars”

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Harry Allen Quartet: A Little Touch of Harry

Much lauded by jazz critics, 32-year-old tenor saxophonist Harry Allen is an example of perfection in motion on this collaboration with pianist Kenny Barron, bassist George Mraz, and drummer Al Foster. Throughout the 12 standards, Allen shows plenty of versatility, passion, precision, and panache. Working with one of the best New York rhythm sections, the … Read More “Harry Allen Quartet: A Little Touch of Harry”

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Pieter Ostrander/Mike Schiffer: Velvet Heat

Veteran musicians, tenor saxophonist Pieter Ostrander and pianist Mike Schiffer, lead a diverse session of 15 soothing original sketches drawn from their vast backgrounds and experiences. Recorded on various dates during 1996-’97, sound quality is uneven, yet passion for their melodic creations is not. From classical-tinged brevities, to blues, to free-form improvisations, most of the … Read More “Pieter Ostrander/Mike Schiffer: Velvet Heat”

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Bill Cosby: Hello, Friend: To Ennis With Love

Producer Bill Cosby devotes this session, recorded on various 1993 dates and previously unreleased, to the memory of his son, Ennis, whose familiar greeting before his tragic death was, “Hello, my friend.” This is the fourth Verve album Cosby has produced and with its loose, groove-oriented feel, expert teamwork and exceptional solos, it may be … Read More “Bill Cosby: Hello, Friend: To Ennis With Love”

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Eliane Elias: The Three Americas

Taking new chances on ten originals and two Jobim classics of The Three Americas, Brazilian-born pianist Eliane Elias melds influences of Central and South America to North American jazz. Elias is a powerful lyrical pianist who has demonstrated on previous recordings that she can imaginatively stretch out. On this disc, Elias displays her keyboard prowess … Read More “Eliane Elias: The Three Americas”

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Kenny Rankin: Here In My Heart

For his second Private Music album (following Professional Dreamer, 1995), crooner Kenny Rankin flawlessly delivers 13 love ballads and South American-flavored songs, with non-intrusive backing from top soloists. Saxophonists Michael Brecker and Ernie Watts, keyboardist Don Grusin, guitarists Oscar Castro-Neves, harmonica player Toots Thielemans, and Ricardo Silveira add politely to the session. Singers Rosa Pasos, … Read More “Kenny Rankin: Here In My Heart”

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Lynne Arriale Trio: With Words Unspoken

Pianist Lynne Arriale has earned widespread media acclaim for her rich lyricism, harmonic sophistication, abundant passion and fine art of improvisation. For her third DMP album, Arriale resummons bassist Drew Gress and drummer Steve Davis, who deliver stately mainstream jazz similar to their 1995 CD, When You Listen. Arriale’s approach on the six romantic standards … Read More “Lynne Arriale Trio: With Words Unspoken”

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