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Studio Savvy

Three of jazz’s best producers on how to make the most of your time in headphones

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Kenny Barron/Dave Holland: The Art of Conversation

There are conversations meant solely for the ears of those involved, full of jocular camaraderie and inside references. And then there are those designed to be overheard, where the dialogue is meant to engage and enlighten anyone who is listening in as well as the speakers themselves. With a musical relationship dating back nearly three … Read More “Kenny Barron/Dave Holland: The Art of Conversation”

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Elio Villafranca and the Jass Syncopators: Caribbean TInge

Born in Cuba and classically trained, pianist Elio Villafranca has long offered a unique take on Latin jazz, foregoing the reliance on percussion pyrotechnics for a more fully integrated blend of his varied interests. That’s not to say that he can’t bring the fire when it’s called for, as he does on “Mambo Vivo,” a … Read More “Elio Villafranca and the Jass Syncopators: Caribbean TInge”

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The David Ullmann 8: Corduroy

Too often, when a jazz composer draws upon a specific conceptual inspiration, the link between that source and the music itself seems tenuous at best, impossible to determine without the aid of copious liner notes. But slipping David Ullmann’s Corduroy into the CD player for the first time without glancing at the accompanying press release, … Read More “The David Ullmann 8: Corduroy”

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Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood: Juice

For more than 20 years, Medeski Martin and Wood have thrived on remaining indefinable. Are they a jam band with jazz chops? A jazz trio following a groove-rock muse? An avant-garde soul-jazz band? That very malleability has meant that their sound is compatible with everything from jazz clubs to festival stages, and also makes them … Read More “Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood: Juice”

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Erik Friedlander: Nighthawks

For all the devastation left in its wake, Hurricane Sandy fortunately didn’t leave New York City a total wasteland. But given the metropolis’ usual vibrant bustle, it certainly must have felt that way as residents abandoned their homes and power outages left the streets quiet and dark. That feeling is reflected on the second CD … Read More “Erik Friedlander: Nighthawks”

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Abdullah Ibrahim: Mukashi (Once Upon a Time)

On the eve of his 80th birthday and less than a year after the death of his wife, singer Sathima Bea Benjamin, South African piano great Abdullah Ibrahim has released his starkest, most reflective collection to date. Mukashi is a Japanese word that translates as “Once upon a time,” and the album finds Ibrahim in … Read More “Abdullah Ibrahim: Mukashi (Once Upon a Time)”

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