OA2 Records Reviews

Stan Bock Ensemble - Night Grooves
by J. Robert Bragonier, All About Jazz

The Stan Bock Ensemble | OA2 Records Trombonist Stan Bock grew up with the music of horn bands like Blood, Sweat and Tears, Chicago, and the Motown groups. Although exposed early to classic jazz, swing, and the big bands by his music teacher father, he gravitated away from his early heroes (Tommy Dorsey and Urbie Green) and towards Wayne Henderson (Jazz Crusaders), Fred Wesley (James Brown), and James Pankow (Chicago). In those years, it was R&B... read more

Electric Squeezebox Orchestra - Cheap Rent
by Andrew Gilbert, San Jose Mercury News

When trumpeter Erik Jekabson started a regular big-band session at the Musicians Union building in San Francisco with trombonist Jeanne Geiger a few years ago, he had no plans or ambitions about seeking out any gigs.

But union president David Schoenbrun took note of the combo's adventurous spirit, and when New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars accordionist Glenn Hartman mentioned that he was looking for a house big band for the new North Beach venue... read more

Alex Budman and the Contemporary Jazz Orchestra - Instruments of Mass Pleasure
by Dick Crockett, Sacramento Radio

ALEX BUDMAN AND THE CONTEMPORARY JAZZ ORCHESTRA is next on the agenda with something so nice and free, called INSTRUMENTS OF MASS PLEASURE, much like the Joe Henderson Big Band with arrangements that are so very original and progressive and West Coast. We played "Little Prayer" and "Mood For A Time." These are all west coast guys and they play so very well, Alex Budman, Leonard Thompson, Tod Dickow, etc. And the Leonard Thompson. Trio with... read more

Ben Markley Quartet - Slow Play
by Bobby Reed, Downbeat

EDITOR'S PICK In the liner notes to his new quartet album, Slow Play, pianist Ben Markley proudly cites pianist Cedar Walton (1934-2013) as one of his key influences. The disc is a follow-up to the Ben Markley Big Band's Clockwise: The Music Of Cedar Walton (OA2), which received a 4-star review in the July 2017 issue of DownBeat. On his current project, Markley incorporates Walton's strong sense of melodicism into a program of eight... read more

Unhinged Sextet - Clarity
by Rotcod Zzaj, Improvijazzation Nation

What a fantastic jazz album to close out this issue with... the energy levels are far beyond the pale, as pianist Michael Kocour leads the talented sextet into jazz that just won't stop! On tunes like the opener, "Unhinged", you'll find yourself trying to (mentally) direct the sextet via your tapping toes - I'll tell ya', this is some of the best jazz I've listened to (yet) this year! If you're yearning for something with a more funk-i-fied... read more

Craig Yaremko - CYO3
by Rotcod Zzaj, Improvijazzation Nation

I’m not sure why saxophonist Craig (soprano/alto/tenor, flute & alto flute) called this an “organ trio”, though Matt King’s organ work is absolutely fine, so I’m glad Craig did that! On the other hand, his reed & wind work is among the best I’ve heard (yet) in 2014 – just scope out the excellent “Blue Fontaine“… shows the tightness of the trio (Jonathon Peretz does drums, with guest guitarist Vic Juris on tracks 3 & 5). My personal favorite of... read more

Afro Bop Alliance - Una Mas
by Adam Greenberg, All Music

Una Más is an outstanding set of Latin jazz from the D.C. area's finest Latin big band. The band makes use of surprisingly complex arrangements of largely new compositions, both Latin pieces transformed into somewhat jazzier arrangements (as in the opening "Golpe de Cumaco") and jazz pieces given a Latin flavor (as in main arranger Vince Norman's "El Otoño"). Rounded out with a few Latinized classic pieces from the likes of Cal Tjader and Benny... read more

Carrie Wicks - Reverie
by Paul Rauch, All About Jazz

Seattle-based vocalist Carrie Wicks is back with her fourth effort on the Origin label, and while there are many similarities stylistically with her previous efforts, Reverie more draws from the original compositions of Wicks and her partners Ken Nottingham and Nick Allison.

One of the commonalities between the recordings is Wicks' insight into putting together a top shelf unit on her behalf. Even more so, including pianist Bill Anschell in... read more

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