OA2 Records Reviews

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

Daria - Strawberry Fields Forever
by Chris Spector, Midwest Review

After a decade with Dan Hicks, Daria has reinvented herself as a gal. Mixing jazz with southern hemisphere jazz/world and a bunch of swing, Daria comes across as our kind of gal. Do the Beatles need another set of reinvention? Only if it's as smart and sassy as this set. Putting you on the edge of your seat to expect the unexpected, the most hardened Beatles purist will find nothing to carp about here. A winner throughout by a pro who cares... read more

Chris Parker - Full Circle
by Jakob Baekgaard, All About Jazz

Pianist Chris Parker is a musical explorer. He has travelled around the world musically and as his latest album Full Circle indicates, he has reached his destination and found an aesthetic where all the different aspects of his musical curiosity come together.

While Parker travels a lot musically, he doesn't visit the melancholy North on this album, even though he is definitely capable of writing reflective ballad-like compositions like "Free"... read more

Greg Duncan Quintet - Unveiled
by Paul Abella, Chicago Jazz Magazine

It's not too often that you know you're in for a treat of a record within the first twenty seconds. However, that is the case here with Greg Duncan's first release, Unveiled, on OA2 Records.

Over the course of seventy-plus minutes, this disc grooves, swings, bops and just plain rocks out. The songs are well written and well executed. Frankly, the originals are so intriguing that the three non-originals seem somewhat pointless. Not that they... read more

AJ Kluth Quintet - Twice Now
by Dean Christesen, Richmond Jazz

A polished saxophone tone over gritty distorted guitar and heavily metered grooves is the formula, if there is one, for Chris Potter's Underground. Saxophonist AJ Kluth's newest release shows, at times, many similarities to his elder in jazz. At Kluth's age, it's difficult to escape the influence of Potter, one of today's main tenor saxophone heroes. But at 29 years old, he has assembled a formidable ensemble capable of both being inspired by... read more

Craig Yaremko - CYO3
by Elliott Simon, The New York City Jazz Record

Sax players who can realize each of the distinctly gorgeous tones within the soprano, alto and tenor are tough to find. One horn, usually the soprano, suffers. If you add to this a weighty sound on flute and alto flute Craig Yaremko may be the only player left standing. This brawny sound is perfect for going toe to toe with Matt King’s meaty B3 and is the spirit of the diverse CYO3. With drummer Jonathan Peretz deftly navigating a variety of... read more

George Cotsirilos - Mostly in Blue
by Andrew Gilbert, San Jose Mercury News

For much of his career, George Cotsirilos harbored an uncomfortable secret. By night, the veteran jazz guitarist kept company with some of the Bay Area's most revered improvisers, swinging with quiet efficiency while delivering thoughtfully burnished solos.

But he was so scrupulous about keeping his daytime activities on the down-low that many of his musical peers had no clue about his entanglement in the criminal justice system. Now he can... read more

Ben Winkelman Trio - Balance
by GENO THACKARA, All About Jazz

Ben Winkelman's fascinating trajectory has taken him from Australia to New York with a most stimulating detour through Cuba. With world-spanning roots spread over all those territories, his approach to the keys insistently leans bright and rhythmic, which is an absolute delight for listeners who enjoy their tropical sunshine with a hint of the tango.

A dose of Thelonious Monk gets the easy-swinging island treatment, and all-original... read more

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