Jazz Articles


London Jazz Festival 2015

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London Jazz Festival London, UK November 13-22, 2015 Like many city-fests, the London Jazz Festival criss-crosses the town, spanning the River Thames that splits it in two. Two Southbank Centre venues--the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room--are being refurbished this year, making Kings' Place an even more significant festival stage and bringing the Cadogan Hall near “posh" Sloan Square into major service. The festival's programming is, as ever, eclectic and highly creative ...


Scott Jeppesen: Wonders

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Ancient history and current times collide on the sophomore release from California-based tenor saxophonist Scott Jeppesen: with Wonders, he offers up an intelligent, semi-programmatic look at the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World as seen through a modern jazz lens. Jeppesen, a once-upon-a-time protégé of saxophonist Joe Henderson and a jazz studies doctoral student at the University of Southern California, fuses his passion for history with some serious composing and playing chops. Descriptive writings and drawings documenting ...


Ken Vandermark Resonance Ensemble: Double Arc

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For the most part, we only follow the trajectory of an artist's career many years after his work has been completed. Looking back at the career of Miles Davis, you can now play connect-the-dots from bebop to Gil Evans to modal jazz to electric Miles. Certainly, back in the day, many a listener knew not where Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970) came from. We are fortunate today to have access to so much more music and an artist like saxophonist Ken ...


Matthew Shipp Trio: The Conduct of Jazz

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A glance at pianist Matthew Shipp's discography reveals that small group work has long been a focus. Indeed in recent times one of the prime outlets for his artistry is his classic piano trio, which ranks among the pre-eminent outfits in modern jazz. The Conduct Of Jazz represents Shipp's twelfth release in the format. Although there has been gradual change in personnel over the years--Newman Taylor Baker makes his debut on the drum stool alongside monster bassist Michael Bisio, replacing ...


Five Play: Live at the Deer Head Inn

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I haven't been to the Delaware Water Gap in Pennsylvania in years. But if I make it there, I hope to time my visit to coincide with Five Play at theDeer Head Inn, which bills itself as the “oldest continuously running jazz club in the country." Long may it prosper, for there are good musical things happening there. Big bands and their leaders have always had small groups:from Benny Goodman to Stan Kenton, and Woody Herman and Tommy ...


Ginger Baker's Jazz Confusion in Bergheim

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Ginger Baker's Jazz Confusion Medio.Rhein.Erft Bergheim, Germany November 27, 2015 Ginger Baker looked a bit stiff in his casual shades, but he sure as hell got the job done with unique style. He had people clapping and yelling their approval by around the two-minute mark and from then onward. Too bad there was no photography allowed, because this was a picture of precision. “I'm so old I think I'm getting dementia ...


Stanley Jordan: Standards Volume 1 – 1986

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In my lust for Blue Note CDs, I've mostly focused on the label's classic period: the 1950s and '60s. That's where you'll find the very best hard bop and soul-jazz ever produced. But nothing good lasts forever, and no particular musical style stays popular for long. As bop and soul faded, so did Blue Note. The label limped into the '70s, producing not much of interest. Finally, inevitably, the label died in the 1980s. It simply stopped producing ...


César Cardoso: Bottom Shelf

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"Além" starts unceremoniously, almost mid-tune, tenor sax and guitar evoking a sultry Stan Getz mood. The labyrinthine structure of the title track adds to its appeal and benefits from strong playing with a feisty guitar solo. César Cardoso's soprano on “Ónica" evinces a delicate interplay between the sax and the guitar. It might be a bit too much to suggest that the essential pairing of this saxophonist and guitarist is as effective as that heard on John McLaughlin's classic album ...

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