OA2 Records Reviews

Ben Winkelman Trio - Balance
by Dee Dee McNeil, Musical Memoirs

Pianist/composer, Ben Winkelman was born in Eugene, Oregon, but grew up in Melbourne, Australia. He's been living and working in New York City since 2010. This is his fifth album release and his goal is to find balance between composition and improvisation; planning and spontaneity. His music is wrapped in the originality of his compositions as he and his trio strive for balance between the intellectual and the intuitive. I am drawn into his... read more

Ben Markley - Basic Economy
by Rudolf Radnai, muszeroldal (Budapest)

After last year's big-band, Cedar Walton's work, Clockwise honored another new and now completely self-made album featuring Ben Markley , the outstanding pianist-composer who this time Greg Osby saxophone. Fresh, crisp, contemporary jazz, if it's not all easy music, but it's so loose that it does not look annoyingly tight or dim. The saxophone sets certain rhythms playfully crossed, the piano back, hold backs may even hesitate for the... read more

Tom Dempsey / Tim Ferguson - Waltz New
by George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly

Guitarist Tom Dempsey and bassist Tim Ferguson deliver a tribute to the cool tones and textures of Jim Hall on this seductive session. Tenor saxist Joel Frahm and drummer Eliot Zigmund round out the team as they mix originals with Hall compositions and a couple standards. Of the latter, Frahm is warm and lyrical on Skylark" and the team bounces with delight on Ron Carter's "Receipt Please, while "Alone Together" (famously recorded by Hall) has... read more

Jeremy Levy Jazz Orchestra - The Planets: Reimagined
by Chris Spector, Midwest Record

What's going on here? I was just saying that somebody sounded like they were recycling Tomita and here comes a protean entertainment composer/arranger going right to the source and redoing "Planets" itself. Bristling with the kind of energy Deodato brought to his classical reworkings, Levy makes his mark with this big band jazzed up version of "Planets" . With it's spare no expense presentation, he's left a work that's going to take some... read more

Dan Cavanagh - Heart of the Geyser
by Andrea Carter, Jazz Police

The only reason I did not review this recording weeks ago is that I kept listening to it. I left it in the CD changer and let it sing to me at least once each day for the two months. Needless to say, this unpretentious trio release will surely be among my top picks of 2012. But who is Dan Cavanagh? An honors graduate of the music program at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where he studied under vibraphonist/composer Dave Hagedorn, pianist... read more

The Vocal Jazz Collective - Redefinition
by C. Michael Bailey, 100 Degrees at Midnight Arts Blog

One need only read the producer's name of this fine multi-vocalists disc to understand its daring and probing personality. Jeff Baker has recorded several releases for the OA2 imprint of OriginArts, including Baker Sings Chet (2004), Monologue (2005), Shopping For Your Heart (2007), and, most recently, Of Things Not Seen (2009).

Baker is a durable, talented vocalist, who also has a talent for teaching and... read more

Stan Bock & The New Tradition - Feelin' It
by Jerome Wilson, Cadence

Feelin' It demonstrates that there is still a lot of life in the notion of marrying strong funk and r'n'b grooves to Jazz. Tim Gilson's bubbling electric bass is crucial in maintaining the drive. He grounds both the strutting funk of "Feelin' It" and "It's Not That Easy" as well as the broad, crawling pace of "Let's Fall In Love", a tune enlivened by Stan Bock's and Renato Caranto's soloing. "Up In The Air" has a choppy New... read more

Michael Kocour - East of the Sun
by Jack Bowers, All About Jazz

4-STARS Here's another well-planned and immaculately recorded solo album by pianist Michael Kocour, his second such enterprise for OA2 Records (the first, Wherever You Go, There You Are, was released in 2015). As its title suggests, East of the Sun consists almost entirely of gems from the Great American Songbook with one zircon (guitarist Don Gibson's "I Can't Stop Loving You," a signature song for the late Ray Charles) thrown in at the... read more

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