OA2 Records Reviews

Gordon Lee - This Path
by Kyle O'Brien, Jazz Society of Oregon

Pianist/arranger/composer Lee is always good for a listen. His distinct style is engaging, with thick, layered chords and a robust feel. On this disc, he acknowledges his many travels and influences, and the result is a global jazz sound that remains cohesive, thanks to Lee's arrangements. It begins with "Pao Ma Shan," a modal Chinese folk song that Lee transforms into a pensive jazz tune. It's played by the first of two trios on this album,... read more

Daria - Strawberry Fields Forever
by Bruce Crowther, Jazz Mostly

With this album, Daria takes up a demanding challenge, because in common with many latterday composers of pop songs, John Lennon and Paul McCartney did not customarily follow the 32-bar AABA pattern for popular songs that has supplied so much material to the jazz repertoire. One result of this is that with only scattered exceptions the songs of the Beatles, for the most part composed by Lennon and McCartney, have not been widely used by jazz... read more

Gordon Lee and the Gleeful Big Band - Flying Dream
by Tim Duroche, Willamette Week

Big bands (and good ones at that) are rare these days. This release, Lee's first foray into large band work, is a delectable entry equally indebted to the modern big bands of Thad Jones-Mel Lewis, Bob Brookmeyer or Maria Schneider and modern classical music (that's where Lee's "friendly dissonance" gets its genes). Like Schneider, Lee dabbles in a rich Gil Evanescent color palette-particularly in the low brass writing. Lush, patient use of space... read more

Ben Neuman - Introductions
by Brad Walseth, Jazz Chicaco

Young pianist Ben Neumann arrives on the scene with a stirring and surprisingly assured debut. Paying tribute to pianists like Horace Silver ("Peace"), Oscar Levant (the lovely ballad "Blame it on My Youth") and Herbie Hancock ("Riot") the grad student at the U. of Chicago (in philosophy, no less!) announces that his intellect isn't limited to the study of Plato. In fact, Neuman has studied piano with people like the legendary Dr. Billy Taylor... read more

Florian Hoefner - Songs Without Words
by Staff, BR-Klassik, Bavarian Radio (Germany)

When a young European jazz musician gains ground in the USA it is for a reason. And in this case you will immediately hear the reason.

Pianist, Florian Hoefner, born 1982 in Nuremberg (also known as a member of the very successful German group Subtone) who has been living in New York City since 2008 does not only play the piano in a clear, concise and atmospherically dense way but also writes amazingly beautiful compositions. Both is... read more

Shawn Maxwell - Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow
by Carol Banks Weber, AXS

Back in September of last year, Chicago jazz saxophonist and composer Shawn Maxwell told AXS about a new quintet he intended to put together after successfully changing the genre with his 10-piece, pseudo-big band, Alliance, on two releases, the Feb. 18, 2014 all-original, self-titled album and a 2014 quickie EP, Bridge.

Maxwell's New Tomorrow comes out Sept. 16, a little earlier than promised, featuring a little more than a quintet, thanks... read more

Daria - Strawberry Fields Forever
by Lance Liddle, BeBop Spoken Here (UK)

Am I the only person who prefers many of the Beatles' songs when they're performed by someone else? I gave Kenny Ball's version of When I'm 64 the nod over the original and I like Daria's version even more than that although the gender reversal implied by the lyric does feel strange to an old chauvinist like me!

When I get older losing my hair, or You can knit a sweater sitting by the fire or Doing the garden, digging the weeds etc... I... read more

Mark Buselli - Untold Stories
by George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly

Ah! The hard bop quintet! The apotheosis of modern jazz is well represented here under the hands of leader/trumpeter Mark Buselli and his team of Danny Walsh/sax, Steve Allee/p, Jeremy/b and Steve Houghton/dr. The tunes are composed by either Allee or Buselli, sans a nifty reading of the rarely heard Ellington piece “Angelica.” Allee’s pieces such as “What About Me?” and “Slider” have snapping rhythms and display the composer’s sleek touch on... read more

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