CD/LP/Track Review

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Russ DeFilippis: The Sorcerer's Accomplice

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Jazz guitarist and educator Russ DeFilippis from Stony Point, New York delivers his second album as leader with the appropriately titled The Sorcerer's Accomplice, a ten-piece project of smooth-styled jazz with a Brazilian flair. Why is the album title so apropos? In 2012, DeFilippis met fellow educator, composer and pianist Richard Sorce at a rehearsal of Sorce's Latin-jazz compositions which, eventually became part of Sorce's recording A Place I've Never Been (Ever Jazz Records, 2015). For this ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Konstrukt & Peter Brötzmann: The Message: Live At Kargart

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Breathe, just keep breathing, you tell yourself as the latest offering from the free jazz saviors spins on the turntable. Pressed in an edition of just 200 LPs, The Message: Live At Kargart is a treasure of sound. Actually it is more than just sound, it is an independent self-contained space craft carrying music from a future. A time once prophesied by the likes of John Coltrane & Rashied Ali, Frank Lowe, Sunny Murray, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Naked Truth: Avian Thug

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Avian Thug is this multinational quartet's third release and was recorded in England after the completion of a 2013 tour and offers more of the band's explorative powers, intimating similes of treks into mysterious galactic corridors. Comparisons to the electric Miles Davis era and so on are in order, but this unit gels to heavyweight cadences amid electric trumpeter Graham Haynes' stark pronouncements; brisk modern jazz flurries and succinctly stated melodic choruses. No doubt, they straddle a contemporary electronics-induced jazz ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Formanek’s Ensemble Kolossus: The Distance

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Jazz composers writing for large ensembles have often avoided the label “big band," going back to the Jazz Composer's Orchestra in the '60s, not to mention Sun Ra's Arkestra and the many Swing Era bands that called themselves orchestras. It's an understandable choice, given the unavoidable--and potentially limiting--stylistic associations that come with the big band name. Bassist/composer Michael Formanek playfully calls this 18-piece group Ensemble Kolossus: it represents a bold creative leap forward from his previous quartet recordings Small Places ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Avishai Cohen: Into the Silence

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Trumpeter Avishai Cohen makes his ECM leader debut with Into the Silence, an album dedicated to the memory of his late father. Cohen composed the melodies over six months following his father's passing in November 2014, inspired by an album of Rachmaninoff's solo piano music. It's not always sad music--this is not a collection of dirges--but it does maintain a contemplative mood throughout. Cohen says “The title of the song and album refers to the silence of absence, the way ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Blind Willie Johnson: God Don't Never Change: The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson

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As time moves on and the genuine bluesmen slip into historical archives, it is a cause for celebration when someone makes the effort to reconstruct the music of one of the true innovators in the blues genre. Produced by Jeffrey Gaskill, God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson, is a contemporary tribute to this seminal slide guitarist who was also unique in his imaginative vocal interpretations and compositions of gospel blues. Blind Willie Johnson (1897-1945) recorded thirty ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tomás Doncker: The Mess We Made

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Prolific New York based guitarist/vocalist/composer Tomás Doncker's work can be recognized by its organic, soulful quality, it's true, but what sets him apart is the way his musical identity comes across in the wide variety of projects he conceives. Whether it's a tribute to blues legend Howlin' Wolf, or a collaboration with an award winning poet, Doncker's albums retain his unique compositional voice which can be described as groove-centric and bluesy but never predictable. His latest record, The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ken Peplowski: Enrapture

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How on earth do you successfully bind the music of Duke Ellington, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Fats Waller, Herbie Nichols, Bernard Herrmann, Peter Erskine, and Noël Coward into one coherent statement? The answer is simple: You don't, unless you're Ken Peplowski. Over the course of ten tracks from the aforementioned composers and other well-known tunesmiths, Peplowski manages to simultaneously express his love of myriad sounds and styles, a fondness for days gone by, and an ability to move ever ...


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