OA2 Records Reviews

Idit Shner - 9 Short Stories
by Hobart Taylor, KUCI - Irvine, CA

Saxophonist/composer Shner working in a quartet format with pianist Josh Hanlon, bassist James Driscoll, and Stockton Helbing on drums has a deft and quasi classical touch, e.g., "Like Satie". Her tunes are carefully crafted and subtly insinuating. Utilizing a tightly controlled high pitched vibrato on the one cover tune, the Billy Strayhorn miracle entitled "Pasion Flower", she demonstates remarkable virtuosity. That would be enough for a lot... read more

Glenn White - Sacred Machines
by Chris Spector, MidwestRecord.com

GLENN WHITE/Sacred Machines: There's a sax playing jazzbo that's one of those cats whose done everything with everybody. Playing with much more skronk than an educator should be allowed to have, White is one of those cats that has the chops to play progressive jazz and mainstream soul with equal style. While you can certainly hear the echoes of a Dave Holland group going on here White never shies away from adding his own special sauce and... read more

Daria - Strawberry Fields Forever
by Raul DaGama, Jazz DaGama

Beatles repertoire, you might think, at the very outset, has been done to death by vocalists from every spectrum of the musical rainbow: Beatle-sy, jazzy, orchestral, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and more... How differently could anyone hack the songs out once more? Well perish that thought. You haven't heard Daria yet. You'll 'blow your mind out', as the Fab Four, once sang in 'A Day in the Life' - not in a car, this time, but in your seat. So... read more

Gustavo Cortinas - Esse
by Roberto Paviglianiti, Strategie Oblique (Italy)

"Esse" è l'album che dà seguito alla discografia da leader di Gustavo Cortiñas, dopo l'apprezzato "Snapshot" del 2013. Per il batterista e compositore messicano, di base a Chicago da diversi anni, si tratta di uno snodo importante del suo percorso artistico, perché propone una scaletta di soli originali - lontani da un immediato incasellamento stilistico - legati insieme da uno sviluppo tematico che fa riferimento all' «evoluzione della... read more

Markus Rutz - Blueprints - Figure One: Frameworks
by Editor, Jazziz

Markus Rutz plays trumpet with bluesy, soulful style and a tone that has been called exquisite. Capturing the same spirit as his dynamic live performances, 2019 marked the release of his third album, Blueprints - Figure One: Frameworks. The first of two volumes in partnership with OA2 Records, the majority of this album is comprised of his own compositions and ranges from duet to sextet, incorporating pieces featuring Cuban percussion,... read more

The Kora Band - Cascades
by Philip Booth, Jazziz

"World jazz" is the label that often gets slapped on any project that dares mix post-bop music with grooves and instrumentation not native to North America. And those projects fequently come off as gimmicky. Not so with the Kora Band, a group of Portland and Seattle musicians - several by way of New Orleans - who successfully incorporate West African rhythms and textures into their otherwise mainstream jazz sound. The quintet, led by keyboardist... read more

Ben Winkelman Trio - Balance

Melbourne-raised, New York-based pianist/composer Ben Winkelman, an adept of the trio format, odd meters, and Latin scents, teams up for the first time with bassist Matt Penman and drummer Obed Calvaire on his fifth album as a leader.

Balancing composition and improvisation, he crosses the lines between Latin, jazz, and classical, bestowing a distinct feel to each of the 10 tunes that compose the album, which appropriately got the title... read more

Jihee Heo - Are You Ready?
by George W Harris, Jazz Weekly

Pianist and erstwhile vocalist Jihee Heo leads a trio of originals with bassist Marty Kenney and drummer Rodney Green on this album that mixes many a style. She gives a spoken intro to the post bopping title track, and allows Saidu Ezike a chance to rap through Green's backbeat of the R&Bish Trust". Her touch is highlighted on her lovely solo track "Letter To A Little Girl" and is rich for the elegiac "Dark and L ight", relaxing with Kenney on... read more

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