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CD/LP/Track Review

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Zoor: Volumes A + B

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Zoor is a French trio consisting of tenor saxophonist Bertrand Denzler, electric guitarist Jean-Sébastien Mariage and drummer Antonin Gerbal. All three have considerable experience with other bands -Gerbal in the jazz trio Peeping Tom and the improv trio R Mutt, both with releases on Umlaut, of which Gerbal was a co-founder in 2009. Denzler is well known for his albums on Potlatch, notably his innovative solo sax record Tenor (Potlatch, 2010) and in the sax quartet Propagations (Potlatch, 2007); he has also recorded with Mariage for Creative Sources. But, prior to Zoor, Denzler and Mariage's main collaboration was in the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Connie Crothers: Concert In Paris

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Connie Crothers' piano sounds like nothing you've heard before. Sure, it's acoustic, she plays melodies, she can be inside or outside the music. One thing she isn't, though, is wishy-washy. One of her latest, Concert In Paris, is a solo effort. And for anyone who loves the intimacy of a solo-piano recital, this one more jazz than classical in nature; for anyone who digs the feeling of being played to and for in a cozy setting; for anyone who likes to step back and let the beautiful sounds of an acoustic piano mesmerize you with extended personal musical statements; then ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Natsuki Tamura, Alexander Frangenheim: Nax

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Trumpeter Natsuki Tamura has long straddled the divide between free improvisation and lyrical jazz. The latter has been adequately and beautifully represented in his work with Gato Libre. That quartet features his wife and occasional duo partner--the pianist and accordionist Satoko Fujii--and combines elements of folk, chamber and modern jazz. In contrast, much of his solo work such as A Song for Jyaki (Leo Records, 1998) is full of distorted multi-phonic explorations. Nax, a duo outing with German bassist Alexander Frangenheim, goes much further outside the parameters of jazz or music in general. An artist in multiple disciplines, Frangenheim bridges ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Azure: Hiptronics

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Such is the musical shift between Azure's When She Smiles (Azuremusic, 2009) and Hiptronics that they sound like different bands; effectively, they are. The main songwriter, classically influenced pianist Pierre-Francois Blanchard has been replaced by keyboardist Federico Solazzo and only co-founder, guitarist Rogier Schneemann remains from the original group, which has grown to a quintet with the addition of trumpeter Rik Mol. In interior design terms it would be akin to gutting a property and going for a futuristic styling with a little 1970s retro thrown in--think Woody Allen's Sleeper with a funk-cum-hip hop soundtrack. The old Azure ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ezra Weiss Sextet: Before You Know It [Live In Portland]

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Recorded over two nights in Portland's Ivories Jazz Lounge during late-2013, Before You Know It [Live In Portland] is pianist and composer Ezra Weiss' seventh album and his first live recording. Weiss' previous releases have featured big bands (Our Path To This Moment [Roark Records, 2012]) and trios (The Shirley Horn Suite [Roark Records, 2011]). However, it's the sextet format that has featured most strongly on Weiss' recordings and it's this line-up that returns for Before You Know It [Live In Portland]. The set starts on a high with “Winter Machine" and the band keeps the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Spin Quartet: In Circles

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2014 has been a stellar year for jazz quartets working without chording instruments--two horns, bass/drums, no piano, no guitar. Trumpeter Tom Harrell released the marvelous a very groove-based Trip (High Note Records); a somewhat old-timey sounding Riverside (Greenleaf Music), featuring trumpeter Dave Douglas; the smoldering and hypnotic The Lathe of Heaven (ECM Records) by the Mark Turner quartet. Add to the list The Spin Quartet's In Circles (Origin Records). Influenced, in a bold, even brash fashion by the tradition that draws from baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan's quartet's of the late fifties and alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman' ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gato Libre: DuDu

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Trumpeter Natsuki Tamura's quartet Gato Libre has always recorded stimulating, progressive music heavily laced with a Spanish lyricism. DuDu is no exception. “Mouse" is the prime example of this. On it the musicians push far the harmonic boundaries of their respective instruments creating delightfully jarring cacophony intertwined with intensely melodic explorations.Despite the personnel change after bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu's untimely death, the group remains remarkable cohesive. The new recruit, trombonist Yasuko Kaneko brings a warm fluidity to the bottom register that enhances the overall dramatic ambience. “Gato" for instance opens with Kaneko's intriguing, growling poetic solo. Guitarist Kazuhiko Tsumura ...



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