CD/LP/Track Review


John Fedchock New York Big Band: Like It Is

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Worth waiting for--an expression that can be used to describe any number of life's pleasurable experiences: a memorable vacation, a sumptuous meal, a thrilling chance encounter --or even the fifth recording (and first in roughly eight years) by trombonist John Fedchock's superlative New York Big Band. Pleasurable it is from start to finish, with inspired blowing by the ensemble enhancing ten of Fedchock's exemplary charts. Whatever the premise or circumstance, Fedchock tells it Like It Is, and the band responds ...


Mark Christian Miller: Crazy Moon

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Southern California already has Mark Winkler. Some crazy critical mass is reached when considering vocalist Mark Christian Miller's Crazy Moon. Not because Miller and Winkler are so much alike...there is a bit of that, but more because they are so different. Both have performed on the Left Coast for the past 25 years, each building a dedicated following and each making a light and appealing brand of jazz vocals. Miller has a Broadway voice with jazz approach. His tone is ...


Eric Marienthal and Chuck Loeb: Bridges

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What happens when the guy manning the guitar seat in Fourplay meets up with the erstwhile sax guy for the Jeff Lorber Fusion? More than what you might expect. In fact, Eric Marienthal (the sax guy) and Chuck Loeb (the guitar guy) both defy and go beyond expectations on the surprisingly eclectic and entertaining Bridges. Marienthal re-teams with Loeb since his last solo album, It's Love (eOne, 2012) and this collaboration is one of the rare pairings where musicality takes ...


Mary Halvorson: Meltframe

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In a quietly forceful way, guitarist Mary Halvorson has cemented her place among the company of modern-day counterparts such as Eivind Aarset, Nels Cline and Terje Rypdal. The Brooklyn based composer/musician has performed with the likes of Anthony Braxton (both sharing credentials at Wesleyan University), cornet player Taylor Ho Bynum and the avant-garde group Trevor Dunn's Trio-Convulsant. Halvorson has recorded with trumpeter Nate Wooley, multi-reedist Jon Irabagon and Norwegian bassist Eivind Opsvik. The consistent factor in Halvorson's career to date, ...


Jonah Parzen-Johnson: Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow

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Hymn-like melodies, oscillating and quivering sounds, and a mixture of solemnity and adventurousness all inform the solo work of saxophonist Jonah Parzen-Johnson. On Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow, Parzen-Johnson is all by his lonesome with his baritone saxophone and analog synthesizer, creating what could rightly be described as trance spirituals for the modern epoch or, in the words of the man himself, “lo-fi experimental folk music." Parzen-Johnson, a Chicago native who's now based in Brooklyn, was ...


Barry Altschul's 3dom Factor: Tales of the Unforeseen

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Barry Altschul made his mark on the musical world at a time of both turmoil and guarded acceptance. Charles Lloyd's quartet, with the unknown pianist Keith Jarrett, was bridging a gap with psychedelic rock at the Fillmore West; Miles Davis' Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970) along with the work of groups like Weather Report, the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Carlos Santana were blurring the line between increasingly progressive rock and even more progressive jazz in the late 1960s and early 1970s. A ...


Kutiman: Space Cassava

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Kutiman is an Israeli polymath composer, musician and film producer. Space Cassava is the title of a 2015 mini-album release which is available as a download and also on a limited vinyl version. Despite the paucity of the combined length of the two tracks, weighing in at around 25 minutes, there is some heavy stuff to appreciate here. Although the line-up would belie its credibility, this is actually big band music made possible by Kutiman's ingenious multi-tracking and ability to ...


Joe Albany: Now's The Time

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Pianist Joe Albany (1924-1988) is a musicological artifact within an art form full of them. Most recently, Albany has garnered attention through the movie and soundtrack Low Down (Bona Fide Productions, 2014, directed by Jeff Priess) based on the bracing, stream-of-conscience memoire written by his daughter, Amy-Jo Albany. His is a story told many times: near-genius junkie brushes stardom but never achieves the escape velocity necessary to escape his desperate circumstances to make his mark. Central to any discussion of ...

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