Trying to keep up with all of saxophonist Dave Liebman's musical exploits? Good luck. A year doesn't seem to go by when Liebman doesn't release multiple recordings with different bands on different labels. Take 2014 for example: it's a year that has already seen his big band-based A Tribute To Wayne Shorter (Mama Records, 2014), an exploratory venture with The Saxophone Summit on Artistshare, and a co-headlined release dubbed The Miami Jazz Project (Zoho, 2014). And then there's Liebman's live efforts. He still travels the globe, bringing his music to the people and maintaining his road warrior" status in the ...read more
On his 1967 hit song Monterey," Eric Burdon, of Eric Burdon and the Animals, sang that Ravi Shankar's music made him cry. This was part of a litany of observational praises of the artists who performed at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival: The Who, Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, the Birds, The Jefferson Airplane. And from India, Ravi Shankar, an odd and foreign name dropped in with the big time rock stars of the day. By 1967, Beatles fans were aware of guitarist George Harrison's fascination with Indian music, and his mentor-ship under the Indian sitarist Shankar. In ...read more
If high spirits and good humor alone could carry the day, Local Legend, the second album by the California-based Urban Renewal Project, would earn five stars for candor and commitment. The group is comprised of talented musicians (twenty-seven in all) who believe in what they are doing and give every one of the album's nine numbers their best shot. On the other hand, the music ranges from pop and rap to funk, blues, R&B, soul and hip-hop, offering little in the realm of satisfaction for those who are partial to more customary forms of big-band jazz. The URP has its ...read more
Saxophonist Kenny Shanker was eight years post-graduation before recording his debut album, Steppin' Up, which took another two years to get its 2011 release on Posi-tone records. So admirers of the New York based musician could be forgiven for not expecting album number two quite so soon. But here it is, Action City: released just 17 months after it was recorded and readily fulfilling the promise of the debut. Just what kind of action does Shanker find in Action City? It's varied. Times Square" is cool, hip, confident: action with style, reflected in Shanker's equally cool alto. The ...read more
Norwegian saxophonist Hanna Paulsberg founded the HPC in 2011, whislt studying at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. Her quartet's debut, Waltz for Lilli (Ora Fonogram, 2012) announced a notable talent, one conversant in the North American swing tradition as well as influences closer to home. The concept, perhaps, was not new, but the reviews were universally positive. Since then, Paulsberg has been busy leading the HPC and touring with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, which collaborated with Marius Neset on the pulsating Lion (ACT Music, 2014). With the wind in her sails, Paulsberg's second quartet outing follows ...read more
Groove Or Die. So says Paul Jackson, bassist extraordinaire. It's clear that the decision isn't one that's troubled Jackson, or fellow band members Xantoné Blacq and French percussionist Tony Match, for too long--this album is all about the groove. Or, to be more specific, the grooves. Jackson has been a first-call bassist for many years--a founding member of Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, a member of the rhythm sections of luminaries such as Stevie Wonder and George Benson. The trio is a relatively new combo, however: Groove Or Die is its debut recording. The bassist establishes his manifesto ...read more
The packaging starts you thinking. There's a painting showing what looks like ectoplasm, or perhaps a space alien, playing two musical instruments at the same time, like Roland Kirk used to do. Then the cunning addition of an apostrophe in the Trios of the title, to render it meaningless, or perhaps abstract. Inside there's a selfie shot from low down of a bearded Thomas Hass looking God-like and grim, alongside text explaining his music: Trio's & Beyond is a musical concept where I can experience the 'spontaneous combustion' in various musical settings and explore the trio format ...read more
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