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Randy Brecker/Bobby Shew: Trumpet Summit Prague: The Mendoza Arrangements

High-brass firepower is the theme of Trumpet Summit Prague, and there’s plenty of the good stuff to go around, thanks to the on-point playing and improvising of a trio of trumpeters. Here, American players Randy Brecker and Bobby Shew, and Jan Hasenöhrl, founder of the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, join forces with the CSNO and … Read More “Randy Brecker/Bobby Shew: Trumpet Summit Prague: The Mendoza Arrangements”

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Avishai Cohen Trio: From Darkness

Since the late ’90s, when Avishai Cohen broke through with his genre-defying solo debut, Adama, and his inspired playing with Chick Corea’s Origin sextet, the Israeli-born bassist has leavened his jazz with classical strains and Middle Eastern folk textures. Those elements remain intact on From Darkness, his third recording with trio mates Nitai Hershkovits on … Read More “Avishai Cohen Trio: From Darkness”

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Dave Bass: NYC Sessions

Gone, pianist Dave Bass’ first recording as a leader following a two-decade absence from the music profession, was one of jazz’s success stories of 2010, earning critical acclaim and extensive airplay. For the follow-up, NYC Sessions, Bass goes East Coast with a CD recorded in New York City in late 2012. He’s joined by bassist … Read More “Dave Bass: NYC Sessions”

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Glenn Zaleski: My Ideal

Glenn Zaleski points to Bill Evans’ work as a model for his own approach to trio playing, and that influence is deeply felt throughout My Ideal, the Massachusetts-bred pianist’s appealing debut as a leader. Zaleski, who studied at the Brubeck Institute in California and the New School before settling in New York City, is joined … Read More “Glenn Zaleski: My Ideal”

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Tim Garland: Songs to the North Sky

Revisiting the approach he took on 2009’s Libra, saxophonist Tim Garland divides Songs to the North Sky into two discs. The first CD features Lighthouse, his expandable small group with drummer/percussionist Asaf Sirkis, while the second reunites the Brit-born composer with the Royal Northern Sinfonia Strings. It’s less two sides of the same coin than … Read More “Tim Garland: Songs to the North Sky”

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Rebirth Brass Band: Move Your Body

After reclaiming its mojo as a raucous, horns-heavy traditional street band on 2011’s inspired and inspiring Rebirth of New Orleans, which won the group its first Grammy, one of the Crescent City’s most acclaimed marching brass outfit continues in a similar vein with the aptly titled Move Your Body. This particular version of the octet’s … Read More “Rebirth Brass Band: Move Your Body”

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Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden: Last Dance

[Editor’s note: This review was written and published in JazzTimes shortly before Charlie Haden’s death. We’ve left it intact.] So maybe this project should officially be known as the Standards Duo. Four years after old friends and onetime musical collaborators Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden released their first batch of vintage material recorded at the … Read More “Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden: Last Dance”

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Jaco Pastorius: Modern American Music…Period! The Criteria Sessions

Modern American Music … Period!, released on CD, multicolored vinyl and via download, offers the unfettered 1974 Miami demo sessions for bassist Jaco Pastorius’ 1976 solo debut. These recordings, previously unissued in full, unedited form, have been in the possession of Jaco’s brother Gregory, as Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, a co-producer of the project, explains … Read More “Jaco Pastorius: Modern American Music…Period! The Criteria Sessions”

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Gerry Gibbs/Ron Carter/Kenny Barron: Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio

For his seventh album as a leader, relatively unsung drummer Gerry “The Thrasher” Gibbs enlists two revered jazz veterans as rhythm-section partners, bassist Ron Carter and pianist Kenny Barron. Both were childhood heroes to Gibbs; he was 10, in 1974, when he first heard Carter, and 11 when he heard Barron, courtesy of albums bought … Read More “Gerry Gibbs/Ron Carter/Kenny Barron: Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio”

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SFJAZZ Collective: Live: SFJAZZ Center 2013–The Music of Chick Corea & New Compositions

With its latest ambitious recording, the San Francisco-based SFJAZZ Collective celebrates another great composer (the group’s modus operandi), a new venue and a new addition to the band. Two years ago, the Collective saluted the music of Stevie Wonder with a release recorded over five nights at Jazz Standard in New York City. For its … Read More “SFJAZZ Collective: Live: SFJAZZ Center 2013–The Music of Chick Corea & New Compositions”

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3 Cohens: Tightrope

With earlier 3 Cohens albums titled Family, Braid and One, the Israeli-born siblings have always conveyed an appealing unity vibe: They’re tightly bound together by artistic creativity, spirit, blood and, at this stage of their careers, a desire to collaborate on ambitious recordings. Their appealing musical interconnectivity shines brightly on Tightrope, an album that indeed … Read More “3 Cohens: Tightrope”

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No BS Brass!: Fight Song: A Tribute to Charles Mingus

Funky brass bands, heavy on the New Orleans street beat with jazz and rock variously interwoven into the mix, have regained a degree of cache, thanks to the likes of Rebirth, the Dirty Dozen and Trombone Shorty. Now here comes Richmond, Va.’s 11-piece No BS Brass! Stylistically a bit all over the place, the band … Read More “No BS Brass!: Fight Song: A Tribute to Charles Mingus”

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Drew Gress: The Sky Inside

Well-traveled bassist Drew Gress, equally at home in new-music and straight-ahead environs, deploys on this project the same band heard on 2008’s The Irrational Numbers and 2005’s 7 Black Butterflies; two of the group’s core players, saxophonist Tim Berne and drummer Tom Rainey, longtime Gress associates, also appeared on 2001’s Spin & Drift, the first … Read More “Drew Gress: The Sky Inside”

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Drye & Drye: Open Letter

Refreshing concept, smartly executed: Brooklyn-based trombonist Brian Drye and his father, baritone saxophonist Howard Drye (both hail from Rhode Island), team up for a double-album featuring original compositions honoring their various influences. The horns are the thing, with the two joined by trumpeter Jeff Hermanson and clarinetist, alto and soprano saxophonist Mike McGinnis, and the … Read More “Drye & Drye: Open Letter”

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Dumpstaphunk: Dirty Word

The New Orleans funk is steep and the let’s-all-get-along unity groove is deep on Dirty Word, the second full-length recording from a band that’s steadily evolved since its informal start a decade ago at Jazz Fest, as an all-star collective led by keyboardist Ivan Neville. Once something of a loosely organized outfit heavily informed by … Read More “Dumpstaphunk: Dirty Word”

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Ronnie Cuber: Live at Jazzfest Berlin

Baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber’s third release for SteepleChase predates his association with the label, and might be thought of as a happy accident. At the titular fest, in 2008, Cuber’s quartet-with pianist Kenny Drew Jr., electric bassist Ruben Rodriguez and drummer Ben Perowsky-played a two-set show that the four remembered as a highlight of their … Read More “Ronnie Cuber: Live at Jazzfest Berlin”

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Swingadelic: Toussaintville

Any tribute to the creative prowess and influence of Allen Toussaint, the New Orleans pianist and eclectic composer of great imagination, is always welcome. In time for his 75th birthday, New York little-big-band Swingadelic offers just such honors, taking a galvanizing tour through the land of Toussaint’s tangy rhythm music, tunes made famous by a … Read More “Swingadelic: Toussaintville”

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Yellowjackets: A Rise in the Road

For Yellowjackets’ 22nd album, pianist Russell Ferrante, the band’s sole remaining founding member, is joined by tenor saxophonist Bob Mintzer (23-year member), drummer William Kennedy (14-year member, over two different stints) and new bassist Felix Pastorius, born five years after the band’s 1977 start. Pastorius, one of Jaco’s twin sons, replaces Jimmy Haslip, also a … Read More “Yellowjackets: A Rise in the Road”

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Michel Camilo: What’s Up?

Michel Camilo has never been one to shy away from a challenge, whether fronting a remarkably agile power piano trio like the one showcased in the documentary Calle 54, leading a big band, going one-on-one with flamenco guitarist Tomatito, guesting with orchestras (often performing his own arrangements) or creating film scores. For his first unaccompanied … Read More “Michel Camilo: What’s Up?”

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The Soundtrack of Things to Come: Jaleel Shaw

How best to make a musical representation of a visual medium? That, in effect, was one challenge alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw faced when putting together The Soundtrack of Things to Come, the Philadelphia native’s rangy, accomplished third album as a leader. Four of the disc’s 10 pieces, all of which have Shaw heading his regular … Read More “The Soundtrack of Things to Come: Jaleel Shaw”

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Greg Abate: The Greg Abate Quintet Featuring Phil Woods

Greg Abate’s latest is a decidedly meat-and-potatoes affair, a straight-ahead outing on which the saxophonist is joined by one of his major influences, alto master Phil Woods. No-frills doesn’t mean no thrills, however, as there’s much pleasure to be had in the sound of these two gifted players doubling up on alto and combining Woods’ … Read More “Greg Abate: The Greg Abate Quintet Featuring Phil Woods”

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