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Clearly inspired by prenaturally skilled popsters like Harry Nilsson, Brian Wilson and, most obviously Emitt Rhodes, whose “Promises I’ve Made” closes the record, Gabbard centers his songs around piano, vocal harmonies, and an eager sense of cautious optimism.
An unprecedented collaboration between major jazz labels, Relief aims to raise money for struggling musicians by collecting new and previously unreleased tracks from several well-known jazz artists.
Joined as headliner by his poet/dancer spouse Patricia Nicholson, Parker enters an explicitly political arena here – unsurprisingly for artists of color.
As far as Handsome Jack is concerned, the music of the twenty-first century doesn’t matter.
It’s the Canadian ace’s concerts that still produce awed whispers amongst his followers, and A Time For Love: The Oscar Peterson Quartet Live in Helsinki, 1987 documents a great one.
Longtime readers of this magazine/website will recognize the name Jeff Elbel, as he has written his fair share of pieces for The Big Takeover. But he’s also an accomplished singer/songwriter, as evidenced by his eighth album The Threefinger Opera.
Organized by Antietam leader Tara Key, His Majesty’s Request began as a benefit album to raise money for Wink O’Bannon’s treatment. But the guitarist died before the project could be completed, and now it exists in support of two music-related Louisville charities.
As musician, composer, bandleader, artistic director of the Newport Jazz Festival and host of NPR’s Jazz Night in America, bassist Christian McBride is practically the face of contemporary jazz.
The Black Watch’s bounty of quality songs continues with Here & There, the L.A. band’s fourth release in the past two years.
The group’s second album Apophenian Bliss picks up right where the first one left off: with a blaze of bristling (baritone) guitar noise, spaced-out keyboard storms, bluesy bass thud and kit-punishing drum athletics.
Saxophonist Ivo Perelman has long had a special relationship with the piano. He expands on that concept with Brass and Ivory Tales, a nine-disk box set of improvisations with nine different pianists that took the saxist seven years to complete.
It’s no easy thing to make an old school psychedelic rock record that isn’t either unintentionally parodic or covered in mold. Damned, though, if Virginia’s Snake Mountain Revival hasn’t done it.
The King circa ‘71, still in fine voice, at a creative crossroads.
For a while it seemed like the kind of rock & roll played by The Right Here – straightforward, heartfelt, drawn from the experiences of the hardworking 99% – threatened to take over the world.
Jess Chalker is an Australian singer-songwriter and artist originally from Sydney now living in London, UK. From humble roots as one of YouTube’s first-ever viral artists (with over 1.5m views of her self-penned songs), Jess went on to front Australian new-wave duo, We are the Brave, whose grassroots hits ‘Your Ghost’ and ‘Sparrow’ have now achieved close to a million streams across YouTube, Soundcloud and Spotify.
Armed with his custom five-string electric upright bass and looping technology, Weber weaves tracks based on tunes from studio LPs Orchestra and Pendulum into colorful new tapestries.
Though he has a remarkable CV as a sideman with several jazz luminaries, trombonist Joe Fielder has an equally impressive day job as music director and staff arranger for Sesame Street since 2009.
On cuts like Dave Brubeck’s “The Duke,” Johnny Green and Edward Heyman’s “Out of Nowhere” and Frank Loesser’s “I Know,” melody reigns supreme, Charlap teasing extended improvisations over Peter’s swinging bass and Kenny’s finger-snapping brushwork.
A big voice infuses old soul sounds with modern urgency.
Just to remind us all that’s he still relevant, though, and not just reliving the glory days, Adamson accompanies the memoir’s release with Steal Away, four brand new songs.
While it still displays plenty of Shipp’s rule-breaking flamboyance, a willingness to kick down the wall of tradition and traipse through the debris, there’s an introspection here, a sense of exploration turned deep inside instead of outside.
It may not be accurate to claim that Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers invented hard bop, they certainly epitomized it.
A lot of people think of big bands and jazz orchestras as repertoire acts, created to honor and/or exploit the music of the past. But there’s been a revival of large ensemble groupings in the jazz world of late, including Assembly of Shadows, led by composer and saxophonist Remy Le Boeuf.
As if former Drones leader Gareth Liddiard wasn’t busy enough with the prolific, hard-touring Tropical Fuck Storm, he has to go and form another band in his native Australia – during the pandemic no less.
This is a fun memento for Peanuts and Vince Guaraldi vinyl collectors, or anyone waiting at the pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin to finally make his grand entrance.
Featuring an expertly selected setlist and a bravura performance with a well-oiled band, Edizione Speciale shows a jazz veteran at his absolute best.
With a lineup like that, plus the decades of experience everyone brings to the table, there’s little chance of Homeward Bound sucking, and sure enough, it doesn’t.
Though weaned on Japanese classical music, pianist Ayumi Tanaka has done her most formative work in the Norwegian jazz scene.
With loyalty to guitar hooks and counterpoint harmonies, clever lyrics that made seedy personalities sound like the folks next door, and an expansive musical mind attuned to creating just the right arrangement or fill for the song at hand, the Los Angeleno makes music that has an easy familiarity without ever sounding specifically like anyone else.
A pastel psychedelic haze, seasoned with notes of modern angst.
Tenor saxophonist Chet Doxas is probably best known for playing in the jazz supergroup Riverside with trumpet star Dave Douglas and bass god Steve Swallow. But there are good reasons he keeps such heady company, and they’re on display on his latest leader LP You Can’t Take It With You.
Joined by bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland, one of the greatest, grooviest rhythm sections in jazz, Loueke focuses less on finger-twisting licks and more on using his impressive technique to convey the melodies in the most efficient way possible.
A lifelong Replacements fan talks about his 10 favorite bonus tracks (so far…) from the definitive new ‘Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash’ box set.
Saxophonist Kazemde George has performed alongside several certified badasses, including Jason Moran, David Murray and Solange Knowles – so you know he can play. What I Insist, his first album as a leader, proves is that he can write and lead a band as well.
Originally intended to be sketches for development at a later date, the songs settled into being complete in and of themselves, with Stevens generating patterns, following their offshoots, and adding smidgens of improvisation for spice.
As might be expected from three players who’ve been partners on and off for so long, the threesome connects on a level so deep it’s nearly spiritual.
The long and winding road of the Fab Four’s most troubled album.
Exactly what you’d hope for from the prime era of “college rock” – catchy, smart, cheeky, with plainspoken girl/guy next door singing and a perfect balance between jangle and crunch.
A longstanding practice in the jazz tradition is the concept of veterans collaborating with up-and-comers, and that’s what happens on Streams.
His boundless imagination and thirst for good stories beyond boy-meets-girl and this-is-why-I-killed-them-all fills his albums with songs that are structurally informed by the narrative flow, rather than melody or harmony. But that doesn’t mean they’re not musical.
Rightfully acclaimed as one of the most impressive and imaginative pianists currently treading the jazz boards, Craig Taborn has played everything from hard bop to avant-garde to fusion to electronica, sitting comfortably in every situation and bringing his own distinctive style to all of them.
From Love to the Beatles to the Beach Boys, echoes of the sunnier side of the sixties abound, not to mention side glances at the PJs’ neo-psych peers. But they’re only implications – this band never rips off anyone.
This is the kind of music that could become overbearing in the wrong hands, a gloom-soaked ride to nowhere. But Rosenthal always drives his despairing themes with genuine emotional power, never toppling into melodrama or misery porn.
Working with jazz violin maverick and co-producer Regina Carter, Sung and her cohorts have crafted a superb record that doesn’t so much push the boundaries of jazz as make clear how much discovery there still is within its borders.
There are musicians who combine genres, to find the ways the frisson between styles can produce something interesting. Then there are the artists who want to simply obliterate genre designations altogether.
The Bootheels were one of many, many combos knockin’ it out with little goal in mind than making a big honkin’ noise and hoping someone might notice. It’s a familiar story, which begs the question: what makes the Bootheels special enough to earn 1988: The Original Demos, a collection from one of the country’s most respected reissue labels?
Eick’s focus is on ensemble playing and melody, often upbeat and overtly pretty melody, not rhythm or improv fire.
Though formally trained, the Norwegian has spent nearly four decades standing consistently at a crossroads where rock, jazz, electronica, psych and ambient music meet, copulate, and produce healthy mutant children.