One of the remarkable things about jazz is how elegant it can sound at its most minimalist. When Duke Ellington, Max Roach and Charles Mingus created the legendary Money Jungle in 1963, they made magic with nothing more than piano, bass and drums. And in 2016, pianist Vijay Iyer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith created a sparse yet breathtaking set of music with no percussion or additional instrumentation titled A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke,... read more
Currently based in New York, the German pianist Florian Hoefner launches his stateside debut, “Songs Without Words,” (OA2 Records) a sturdy, involving recording of original tunes that showcases Hoefner’s lyrical style and impressive band mates. Mike Ruby on tenor and soprano saxophones, bassist Sam Anning and Peter Kronreif on drums (each of them are deserving wider recognition as their reps rise) have a tight sound as if they’ve performed as a... read more
[...taken from a double review of Nelda Swiggett's This Time and Debbie Poryes]
Where Nelda Swiggett performs smart jazz within angular if mainstream parameters, Debbie Poryes colors more outside the lines than Swiggett, her quartet's style bleeding into avant-garde and high-IQ adult contemporary. Expanding the trio to a quartet with the addition of a horn, Poryes bounces between the sharp post-bop of her composition "Catch Your... read more
Welcome Chicago trumpeter/composer Greg Duncan to the growing list of jazz artists. His compositional style, paired with his astounding playing will send Duncan toward the top of the list in a short time. Duncan studied at Washington State University and at the University of North Texas. He has toured with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and is a regular performer at Chicago's Green Mill and Mercury Theater.
Duncan's quintet mixes thoughtful... read more
Bassist Will Goble delivers the blues in many dark and light hues here on a mix of originals, covers and traditional. He teams up with the thick tenor of Gregory Tardy, nimble piano for Louis Heriveaux and Dave Potter's simpatico drumming for some clever arrangements and deliveries. The post bop original "Johnson's Magic Umbrella" has some Monkish corners for Tardy to veer around, while Heriveaux's modal touch on "The Ant's Went Marching..." and... read more
IMMIGRATION NATION [OA2 Records 22177] is CHARLIE PORTER's compelling work dedicated to immigrants. The work is divided into two sections â€” Leaving Home and New Beginnings. Each part is comprised of six pieces [78:52]. It reminds me of Freddie Hubbard's "Song of Songmy" , but performed with a smaller ensemble. Hubbard employed a large group whereas Porter relies on five players â€” Nick Biello [ts], Oscar Perez [p], David Wong [b],... read more
The vibes player comes in with a date that has a vague Brazilian patina to it that you can't put your finger on. That's because it's jazz inspired by Bulgarian folk music. Bristling with the kind of energy you enjoy when you make a zesty, new discovery, this set is sure to be always welcome in your ear the more you play it. The kind of jazz that gave you your light bulb moment when you really made the turn to jazz in college, this is a fast ball... 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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