OA2 Records Reviews

Florian Hoefner - Songs Without Words
by Skope, Skope,com

Sometimes strengths could be construed as weaknesses, as here, wherein this jazz-piano New Yorker-by-way-of-Germany stretches out in rabidly improv mode on his opening track, then does a 180 and heads in the direction of chill modern prog, stuff that comprises the bulk of the album. Only reason I mention that is the whole continuity thing; most jazz listeners have to be in weird moods to want to zone in to what sounds on the surface like warmup... read more

Danny Green - Altered Narratives
by Mark Corroto, All About Jazz

The old adage, that you know you're a jazz musician when you realize that there are actually two 9 o'clocks in a day, has been replaced with the revelation that jazz is a musical omnivore. It can consume every style of music from classical to pop as sustenance for a performance. Pianist Danny Green's proves that argument with his trio recording Altered Narratives.

The pianist was classically trained before delving into rock, ska,... read more

Rich Pellegrin - Episodes IV-VI
by Andrew Luthringer, Earshot Jazz

Pianist and composer Rich Pellegrin is a somewhat musically elusive figure. During an initial listen to his new album, Episodes IV-VI, I found myself rummaging for reference points, trying to get a handle on how to describe and process his strikingly original music. Episodes IV-VI can be described with the increasingly ineffective label of "jazz," yet it contains very few of the typical elements by which the term is usually defined and... read more

Kronomorfic - Entangled
by Dave Sumner, Wondering Sound

Fascinating release from the tentet led by drummer Paul Pellegrin and David Borgo... Strangely alluring music, where melodic fragments flourish in the soil of odd meters and cross-currents of rhythms. This is music that seems like it should keep people out of reach, but it's so terrifically compelling that it makes friends with great ease... This is like a late-sixties Inside/Out construction, but where the traditional "Inside" is replaced by... read more

Craig Yaremko - CYO3
by George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly

This is not your “Jimmy Smith” styled organ outing; think more “Larry Young” in terms of harmonics and rhythms. Leader Craig Yarenko performs on the soprano, alto and tenor saxes as well as soprano and alto flute along with Matt King/org and Jonathon Peretz/dr on this mix of originals and jazz standards. The trio takes well known material such as “Jitterbug Waltz” or “Little Sunflower” and adds extra textures or changes in tempo to keep you on... read more

Shawn Maxwell - Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow
by George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly

Shawn Maxwell brings his writing skills to team up with his band of Victor Garcia-Chad McCullough-Corey Wilkes/tp, Matt Nelson/key-p, Junius Paul/b and Phil Beale. He switches between alto sax and flute, the latter being used on the Latin "Whole Hearted Half the Time" and soulful and hip "Hitting Streak." Most of the time, he brings his alto to team up with Nelson's funky keyboards, having the team sound a bit fusion oriented on "Responsibility... read more

Electric Squeezebox Orchestra - The Falling Dream
by George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly

The Electric Squeezebox Orchestra is a California based band, and on this album has trumpeter Erik Jekabson and baris saxist Charlie Gurke supplying most of the material. The charts are clever and modern, with chirping horns and guitar teaming with floating flutes on "Gualala" or charging with John Santos' Latin percussion on the extroverted "Jungle Rumble" with vibrant solos by by Darren Johnston/tp and, Marcus Stephens/ts . Gurke's "The... read more

Shawn Maxwell - Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow
by Elaine Hegwood Bowen, The Chicago Crusader

Saxophonist Shawn Maxwell's musicianship has been lauded by fellow musicians and critics alike as he's become one of the pre-eminent performers in Chicago jazz. With several recordings featuring his quartet or his sonically expanded "Alliance," Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow adds the singular trumpet voices of three of Chicago's finest - Victor Garcia, Chad McCullough, and Corey Wilkes - to his working quartet for a set of nine modern,... read more

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