OA2 Records Reviews

Wil Swindler - Universe B
by David Kane, Cadence

Wil Swindler has produced a new CD, [Universe B], filled with sophisticated and beautiful small-big band music. I was knocked out by both the playing and, in particular, the writing. Although the music remains tonal throughout, the harmonic language is intriguingly complex while remaining utterly accessible. Swindler's writing evokes Gil Evans, with its use of unconventional instruments such as the French horn and euphonium as well as... 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

Shawn Maxwell - Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow
by Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

Chicago-based saxophonist Shawn Maxwell has produced an excellent run of straight ahead CD releases in the past decade, sets like his two self-produced discs, Originals (2006) and Originals II (2008), and Maxwell's House (Chicago Session LTD, 2010) before he changed his game up with Shawn Maxwell's Alliance (Chicago Sessions LTD, 2015), a shift away from mainstream quartet - sax and rhythm section - to a walk-on-the-mini-big-band wild side,... read more

Carrie Wicks - Barely There
by Carol Banks Weber, Examiner.com

The Doors/Jim Morrison fascination is all over Carrie Wicks' Barely There. But there's also a Billie Holiday in this modern-day, Seattle-based jazz vocalist. Wicks flies under the radar among the bigger names and flashier associations in a city that never gives an inch. But she's worth a listen in her sophomore album, the 2012 gem Barely There.

She's certainly different, the way Lady Day was different in the 1930s. And... read more

Ben Markley - Second Introduction
by Jay Collins, Cadence

Denver pianist/composer Ben Markley offers his second discographical entry on the fine (and aptly-titled), Second Introduction, comprising seven of his own modern Bop compositions side by side with one standard. Markley has also assembled a superlative quintet, including his rhythm team from his self-released debut (Spealio), bassist Evan Gregor, and drummer Jordan Perlson, alongside top-shelf vets, trumpeter Greg Gisbert, and tenor Jim Pisano.... read more

Carrie Wicks - Maybe
by Rotcod Zzaj, Improvijazzation

It's amazing (to me, anyway) that there are so many splendid artists so near to me (Carrie is based in Seattle, only a few miles from my abode)... her vocal work on this October 2015 release is full of life and the joy of living it! After listening to her sweet & loose vocal on the haunting "Desolation Moon", it's clear that I need to carve some time out of my busy (retirement, lol) schedule & get on up North to hear her live, & maybe do a live... read more

Idit Shner - Tuesday's Blues
by Thomas R. Erdmann, Jazz Review

Saxophonist and composer Idit Shner, who grew up in Israel, joined the faculty of the University of Oregon as Instructor of Saxophone and Jazz Studies in 2006. Her education includes a Bachelor of Music degree from Oklahoma City University, a Masters degree in Music Education from University of Central Oklahoma, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from University of North Texas. Tuesday's Blues is her debut disc. Her background includes work... read more

Daria - Strawberry Fields Forever
by Michael Doherty, Michael's Music Log

Strawberry Fields Forever, is her tribute to The Beatles. There are a lot of Beatles tribute albums out there, as you know, in basically every musical genre you can think of. What Daria does on this album is focus mostly on the band's later years, with songs from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band ("When I'm Sixty-Four," "Fixing A Hole"), Abbey Road ("Come Together") and The White Album ("Blackbird," "Julia," "Helter Skelter"). Apparently... read more

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