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Maceo Parker: A Brand New Bag

Shouts of “Maceo!” by James Brown, both onstage and on albums, preceded solos by saxophonist Maceo Parker from the 1960s to the 1980s, giving him rare first-name fame. Parker’s fiery playing with the Godfather of Soul didn’t hurt his recognition either. From his baritone sax lines on the hits “I Feel Good” and “Out of … Read More “Maceo Parker: A Brand New Bag”

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Azar Lawrence: Enlightened in the New Age

When Azar Lawrence grabs you for a handshake, your fingers quickly know they’ve met their match. He may be past the mid-century mark, but the veteran Los Angeles tenor saxophonist still has the sturdy look and powerful presence of a first-string linebacker. His playing is no less vigorous, but far more emotionally multifaceted, a gripping … Read More “Azar Lawrence: Enlightened in the New Age”

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Lisa Thorson’s JazzArtSigns: Unbound

Vocalist and bandleader Lisa Thorson is wheelchair bound, but when she performs with her quintet many people won’t even notice. Instead they’ll focus on the animated motions of improvisational painter Nancy Ostrovsky. Working prominently behind the musicians, Ostrovsky creates a huge painting in sync with the music. Or perhaps they’ll watch an American Sign Language … Read More “Lisa Thorson’s JazzArtSigns: Unbound”

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Skalpel’s Top 10 Polish Jazz Albums

Skalpel is the name under which Wroclaw, Poland’s Marcin Cichy and Igor Pudlo make their sample-heavy jazztronica. The duo’s second CD, Konfusion (Ninja Tune), mines dusty grooves culled primarily from Polish jazz LPs made in the 1960s and ’70s to create a dark, moody downtempo soundtrack–using a 21st-century approach to reflect the time when Communism … Read More “Skalpel’s Top 10 Polish Jazz Albums”

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