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Nicholas Payton: Relaxin’ with Nick (Smoke Sessions)

Per its title, Relaxin’ with Nick captures Nicholas Payton fully laidback, on music culled from a weekend of performances at NYC’s Smoke earlier this year. Payton unfurls oft-brilliant trumpet and piano/keyboard lines and textures, sometimes simultaneously, over the hand-in-glove grooves of bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington, the regular rhythm section for Bill Charlap, … Read More “Nicholas Payton: Relaxin’ with Nick (Smoke Sessions)”

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The Scene: Brigadoon by the Beach

The long-running Suncoast Jazz Festival, its 29th edition slated for this November on Clearwater Beach in Clearwater, Fla., might best be defined by the kind of festival that it isn’t. Unlike the area’s well-known big jazz festival, it’s not a single-venue outdoors affair dominated by non-jazz acts. Nor is it a fairgrounds-style event with multiple … Read More “The Scene: Brigadoon by the Beach”

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Amendola vs. Blades: Everybody Wins (Royal Potato Family)

Having first collaborated for a 2006 performance of Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite, organist/keyboardist Wil Blades and drummer Scott Amendola stepped out as a recording duo with 2017’s cheekily titled Greatest Hits album. For their second release, journeymen musicians Amendola (Nels Cline Singers, T.J. Kirk, Bill Frisell) and Blades (Billy Martin, Stanton Moore, Charlie Hunter) … Read More “Amendola vs. Blades: Everybody Wins (Royal Potato Family)”

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Monty Alexander: Wareika Hill (RastaMonk Vibrations) (MACD)

“Like a Rastafarian in Jamaica, he was different,” Jamaican-born pianist Monty Alexander says of Thelonious Monk, whom he first heard in person at New York City’s legendary Five Spot in 1963. Monk soon became a major influence on Alexander’s music, which was rooted in the reggae and ska of his native country as well as … Read More “Monty Alexander: Wareika Hill (RastaMonk Vibrations) (MACD)”

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Jimmy Cobb: This I Dig of You (Smoke Sessions)

Is there a ride cymbal more integral to solid groove-making on more jazz recordings and performances than the one(s) played by drummer Jimmy Cobb, the last surviving musician from the sessions for Miles’ Kind of Blue? Cobb, also heard with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, John Coltrane, and Cannonball Adderley over … Read More “Jimmy Cobb: This I Dig of You (Smoke Sessions)”

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Bob Sheppard: The Fine Line (Challenge)

As a first-call L.A. saxophonist, Bob Sheppard has famously toured with Steely Dan, played with loads of notable jazzers and marquee-name pop stars, and has appeared on—by one count—more than 100 movie and TV soundtracks. Between supporting others and teaching, Sheppard has only been able to record a handful of albums as a leader in … Read More “Bob Sheppard: The Fine Line (Challenge)”

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Al Foster: Inspirations & Dedications (Smoke Sessions)

Only 16 when he started playing trio gigs with the likes of Larry Willis and Eddie Gomez, drummer Al Foster has spent six decades as a not-so-secret special groove ingredient enlivening performances and sessions by a long list of heavy hitters. For Inspirations & Dedications, a rare outing as a leader, Foster deploys his working … Read More “Al Foster: Inspirations & Dedications (Smoke Sessions)”

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Gerry Gibbs & Thrasher People: Our People (Whaling City Sound)

Five musicians, 40 instruments, 19 interrelated compositions, five consecutive days in a Queens home studio, 66 minutes of music: By the numbers alone, Gerry Gibbs’ latest batch of original tunes is quite a feat. The sprawling disc, something of a followup to the drummer/composer’s 2017 salute to Weather Report, has Gibbs and Alex Collins, the … Read More “Gerry Gibbs & Thrasher People: Our People (Whaling City Sound)”

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