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Fred Hersch & WDR Big Band: Begin Again (Palmetto)

It’s tempting to assume that the subtlety and nuance of pianist Fred Hersch’s Begin Again stem from the arrangements by Vince Mendoza and performances by German accompanists the WDR Big Band. Both are, after all, Grammy winners. But while the orchestrations and conducting of Mendoza and playing by the ensemble are vital, it’s Hersch’s unique … Read More “Fred Hersch & WDR Big Band: Begin Again (Palmetto)”

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Steps Ahead: Steppin’ Out (Sunnyside)

Cofounded by vibraphonist Mike Mainieri and saxophonist Michael Brecker in 1979, Steps and later Steps Ahead saw their bold blend of acoustic-electric fusion and modern jazz draw listeners for the next 25 years or so. Mainieri provided the catchy, steady-grooving tunes, and the group became a launching pad for a long list of top-rank players, … Read More “Steps Ahead: Steppin’ Out (Sunnyside)”

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Ron Carter and the WDR Big Band: My Personal Songbook

Ron Carter has been one of the most prolific musicians in jazz for more than 50 years, working within nearly every conceivable configuration (his press bio says he’s appeared on 2,500 recordings). But, for whatever reason, the big-band format had largely evaded him until recent years. The release of Ron Carter’s Great Big Band (Sunnyside) … Read More “Ron Carter and the WDR Big Band: My Personal Songbook”

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