I'm always a bit wary of guitar albums. Will a jazz guitarist really show up? Certainly one did in George Cotsirilos. He plays gimmick-free guitar, and his trio, with Robb Fisher on bass and Ron Marabuto on drums, cooks up several nicely conceived originals, moving with ease between swinging post bop to shimmering ballads. And always using space effectively, surely the sign of a veteran player. Three standards played wonderfully well included... read more
EDITOR'S PICK For more than 100 years, music fans have been swooning over The Planets. The first public concert of Gustav Holst's seven-movement masterpiece occurred in 1920, when the London Symphony Orchestra performed it under the direction of conductor Albert Coates. It would become one of the most recognizable works of Western classical music, generating numerous landmark recordings, including conductor Herbert von Karajan's... read more
Jazz, much like life, is an art of balance, a forever dance on the scales which keep our sanity and existence in check. Form must always reckon with freedom, scripts and spontaneity are bound by mutual understanding, and intellect blossoms truest as it holds the heart in high regard. Only in a state of relative equilibrium can the music find its real footing, its foundation, a place to grow.
On his fifth album to date, pianist Ben Winkelman... read more
Finally, how about some excellent local jazz from drummer Gustavo Cortiñas and his group Snapshot, who have just released the disc Esse, a tribute to Philosophy and the philosophers who have philosophized. This is a really wonderful disc, filled with some young heavy hitters from Chicago's jazz scene, namely Roy McGrath (tenor sax), Justin Copeland (trumpet), Adam Thornburg (trombone), Hans Luchs (guitar), Joaquin Garcia (piano) and Kitt Lyles... read more
The sax man leads an organ trio with plenty of yummy organ playing but leaving the sax front and center. Giving a bunch of chestnuts a new fire down below and letting some originals shine as well this is tasty stuff with a progressive tip. This is a good bet whether organ or sax... read more
The "almost all" women's orchestra - a few brass players, the drummer and musical director are guys - draws upon a cadre of 29 musicians who live, work and perform in the Seattle area. They utilize a standard 17-piece unit for this album and their concerts.
Most of the musicians also play with other groups in that locale, so they certainly qualify as professionals.
This CD is the ensemble's second release. Unlike the first, which consisted... read more
She's not quite a torch singer, but you're likely to get that sense from the album cover and the American songbook selections. For her fourth album (and first in 10 years), Katie King plunges through some admittedly torchy pieces, but also includes a few rather catchy original numbers and adaptations of a few pop (primarily the Beatles) pieces. The album opens with an original that comes out a bit stuttered, almost in the realm of a slow rap... read more
I'd think this type of ensemble would be a huge kick for all the players. Imagine you're a well-schooled reader and sit down in your section to play charts with a Gil Evans kind of vapor. That's what Swindler has here. The only musician with whom I'm familiar is the startlingly good trumpet/flugelhorn player, Al Hood. He's from Denver, so I assume this is a Mile High City aggregation. The original music touches on all musical corners. Sometimes... read more
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