OA2 Records Reviews

Juli Wood - Synkka Metsa
by Dave Sumner, Bird is the Worm

Wow, what a cool recording. Based on Finnish folk songs, but delivered with a post-hard bop style that sounds equally solemn and tuneful. Tenor saxophonist Wood's quartet flirts with a spiritual jazz sound, but the deep swing of the rhythm section and the earthy blues of Alejandro Urzagaste's guitar gives it more of a Tristano-style cool jazz sound. A real magnetic personality to this recording, which should appeal to both old-school and... read more

Gail Pettis - Here in the Moment
by Chris Delaurenti, The Stranger

Firefox just crashed--blame the two dozen open tabs on my memory-famished laptop--and thanks to the command "Restore Session", every online excerpt from Here in the Moment (Origin), the new disc by singer Gail Pettis, begins streaming simultaneously. I'm agog. Instead of a tangled cacophony of spazzed-out drums and glossolalic singing, Pettis's sure, compact voice darts between an odd snare hit or cymbal that has been simmering a mite too... read more

Wil Swindler - Universe B
by Kyle O'Brien, Jazz Society of Oregon

Saxophonist/composer Swindler's band isn't quite a big band ... call it a medium band. But its eleven members create a wall of sound, with the added textures of bass clarinet, alto flute, euphonium and French horn to make it interesting. From the get-go Swindler, the 2008 Gil Evans Fellowship winner, sets up the band as his tool for delivering smart compositions and arrangements. "Universe B" is a smokin' modern bopper with enough chord changes... read more

Brian Owen - Unmei
by Adam Greenberg, All Music Guide

The debut album from trumpeter Brian Owen shows off a set of original compositions with a fair amount of musical complexity involved. Owen has reasonably sharp chops, and the ability to pull off a solo with high technical skill. The band backing him up here has as much or more ability, with John Hansen playing a particularly skilled piano turn, Jay Thomas on sax, and Phil Parisot and Jon Hamar holding up the rhythm end very capably. The... read more

Gordon Lee - This Path
by Ken Dryden, All Music Guide

Gordon Lee comes from a varied musical background, having played a number of different styles as a sideman before turning his focus to being a leader himself. This Path utilizes two separate rhythm sections (either Dave Captein or Kevin Deitz on bass, plus Carlton Jackson or Ron Steen on drums), both of which work hand in hand with the pianist. The opener, "Pao Ma Shan," is a dramatic interpretation of a Chinese folk song in a post-bop... read more

Danny Green Trio Plus Strings - One Day It Will
by Rick Anderson, CD Hotlist

I've become a passionate fan of pianist and composer Danny Green, whose trio albums have been among my favorite jazz releases of the last five years or so. On his latest, he combines his trio with a string quartet to brilliant effect. This is not actually his first foray into the trio-plus-quartet format-several tracks on the group's last album, Altered Narratives, were similarly configured-and it was his previous experiments along this line... read more

Gustavo Cortinas - Esse
by Chris Spector, Midwest Record

The drummer from Mexico finds a bunch of simpatico players in Chicago while working on his masters at Northwestern and they turn in music that more than just a bunch of notes. With the forward kind of thinking that tempts you to label him as Tito Puente III, you can dance, you can listen and you can enjoy this thoroughly throughout. Soulful enough that you have to call this playing right from the heart, this round of Latin jazz inspired by... read more

Shawn Maxwell - Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow
by Chris Spector, Midwest Record

What's a sax man to do when he wants to do something new and different without seeming precious? Rather than find some new country to exploit for world beat purposes, how about an era mash up? There are passages here when you can hear Louis' Nawlins, mixing with 50s daddio, mixing with Miles pushing his sax man du jour farther in to outer space mixed with a bunch of funk while tipping your toes in the waters of St. Thomas----all at the same... read more

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