Multiple Reviews

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Three From Intonema

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When the ninth and tenth releases on St. Petersburg's Intonema label were released, it was noteworthy that neither of them featured a Russian musician, despite the label's catalogue previously featuring such notable Russians as saxophonist Ilia Belorukov, bass guitarist Mikhail Ershov and pianist Alexey Lapin alongside a distinguished cast of fine overseas players. Happily, the label's three subsequent releases, below, have not continued that trend, as two of them feature Russians, including one solely by the Russian Andrey Popovskiy. And, ...

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The Art of the Guitar: Samo Salamon, Christer Fredriksen, Rez Abbasi & Juan Pablo Hernández

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The guitar is an instrument that continues to inspire musicians around the world and since early pioneers like Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian showed the endless possibilities of the instrument, the guitar has also been an important part of the evolution of jazz. One can certainly speak of a genre called jazz guitar, with characteristic chord shapes and patterns, but the thing that is noticeable about many of the new jazz guitarists is that they break away from standards and ...

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Eric Hofbauer Quintet: Prehistoric Jazz – Volumes 1 & 2

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With sure workmanship and untamed inquisitiveness, Boston-based guitarist Eric Hofbauer is no stranger to confronting unusual yet stimulating music. Examples include 2008's uncharacteristic guitar duo The Lady of Khartoum with Garrison Fewell or the striking American solo series--American Vanity (2004), American Fear (2010) and American Grace (2013)--which crossed distinctive terrains of improvisation and covers of iconic pieces such Louis Armstrong's “West End Blues," Cindy Lauper's “True Colors" and a raucous take on rock group Van Halen's “Hot for Teacher."

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Martin Speake: The Unquiet Mind

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We have here three very fine CDs from British alto saxophonist, Martin Speake. Speake is classically trained and when I first heard him in the late 90s, he brought to jazz a tone that emphasised the clarity of each note and the purity of the melodic line that was quite unusual in a music more used to the personalised sounds of a Hodges, a Bird, a Desmond or an Ornette. Over the years, his alto playing has perhaps become more ...

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Dave Rempis: Zen Master

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The best application of philosophy to improvised music is the Chinese concept of “wu-wei." The best translation of this is “no trying." Many listeners have the false impression that it takes a sophisticated ear or at least years of listening to “get" improvised music. Actually, the opposite is true. The key is wu-wei or the art of trying not to try. That's why children effortlessly absorb and assimilate free jazz; they simply have no blocks to the spontaneity of the ...

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Where Is Home: Janel & Anthony and Palo Colorado Dream: Anthony Pirog

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Modern era guitar heroes such as Nels Cline, Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell are expressive stylists, possessing distinct ways of conveying a narrative amid branded and well-defined stylizations. No need to compare, but from a fundamental standpoint, these gents and other elite craftsmen bear the goods that often transcend the norm or anticipated methods of spinning a tune or two. However, members of the elite are students of more than one genre. They absorb the merits of Americana, classical, jazz, ...

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The Rich Musical Vision of Japanese Double Bass Player Tetsu Saitoh

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Japanese double bass master Tetsu Saitoh is one of the most original players of the bull fiddle. He is a resourceful and inventive free improviser but also feels at home when is playing Argentine tango, Brazilian music, Korean shaman music, obviously jazz or collaborating with poets, painters, dancers or theatre groups. All enrich his musical world and solidify his belief about the power of music. For Saitoh music is about believing. As he explains: “believe in ...

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A New Look at the Blues

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A release of remastered albums on vinyl by the European jazz label Storyville provides a welcome chance to re-evaluate the blues and the black artists who introduced the musical form to Europe. The albums are pressed on 180 gram virgin vinyl, individually numbered, and with old and new liner notes. Each record comes with the possibility of a free digital download. The albums may well become collectors' items. Storyville obviously expects a big international ...



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