Origin Records Reviews

Thomas Marriott - Romance Language
by Raul da Gama, JazzDaGama

In the recent history of music, the term "mainstream" when associated with playing in the style of Jazz has attracted somewhat negative connotations which, although sometimes justified, is probably just as well especially in the case of this Thomas Morgan recording entitled Romance Language. His music certainly prepares the way for something we might suggest is a trend towards the "neo-Romantic" - even, that is, when "swing" becomes a part of... read more

Greta Matassa - Portrait
by Paul Rauch, Earshot Jazz

It has been nearly a decade since vocal artist Greta Matassa has spoken to us via a new recording. With Portrait, Matassa covers the best of the songs she has performed with her working band of the past 10 years. The result is a solid, swinging collection of tunes steeped in intimacy.

Whether diving into Michel LeGrand's "Pieces of Dreams," or reimagining Bob Dylan's late 90's jewel, "To Make You Feel My Love," Matassa takes on each piece... read more

Phil Kelly & The SW Santa Ana Winds - My Museum
by Joseph Blake, Times Colonist, January 14, 2007

Fans of little Port Townsend, Washington's celebrated jazz festival will recognize L.A.-Seattle jazz stars like Pete Christlieb, Bill Ramsay, Jay Thomas, Lanny Morgan, Gary Foster and Greta Matassa from this fine, 18-piece band directed by Bellingham-based Phil Kelly. Kelly has semi-retired from an L.A. studio life that included writing music for 700 commercials, film and TV work, and compositions and arrangements for a host of acclaimed big... read more

Chris Walden Big Band - No Bounds
by David Franklin, Jazz Times, November 2006

Although he ended up losing to Dave Holland and Gordon Goodwin, respectively, the German-born composer-arranger Chris Walden was recently nominated for Grammy Awards for best large jazz ensemble album and best instrumental arrangement. No Bounds is the follow-up to Home of My Heart, the album that brought him such acclaim. A compositional virtuoso has also scored dozens of films and provided charts for numerous performers in pop... read more

Bill Anschell - Shifting Standards
by George W Harris, Jazz Weekly

Veteran pianist Bill Anschell joins together with Jeff Johnson/b and D'Vonne Lewis/dr for some original readings of jazz standards. A slower than expected "A Night In Tunsia" has Anschell probing deeply while he plays hide and seek with Johnson on "Cheek to Cheek." Lewis' cymbal dances on a bluesy and chiming "Jitterbug Waltz" while the team paints a impressionistic spaciousness on "Soul Eyes." Anschell has a gorgeous touch throughout, working... read more

Kiki Valera - Vivencias en Clave Cubana
by Paul Rauch, Earshot Jazz

The legacy of Cuban cuatro master Kiki Valera began with one of the most influential bands in the history of Son Cubano—La Familia Valera Miranda. The current Seattle resident has released an album of twelve original compositions on the highly regarded Origin Records label.

Valera's innovative approach to improvisation is well within the Son tradition, the music and dance of the eastern hill country of Cuba. There is however, a freedom and... read more

John Stowell - Resonance
by John Henry, Audiophile Audition

Portland, Oregon-based guitarist Stowell has a super-cool approach to his instrument but with a minimum of fuss can tear up the strings with some complex improvising that seems to occur at almost the speed of light. He plays here acoustic-electric guitars made by Portland custom guitar-maker Mike Doolin, and using nylon strings. Doolin invited Stowell over to try out his latest creations and in the process taped him playing a tune on each... read more

Cuong Vu - Leaps of Faith
by Steve Greenlee, Jazz Times

When not collaborating with top-ranking improvisers like Pat Metheny and Myra Melford, trumpeter Cuong Vu has spent the past 10 years making ethereal, languorous, cinematic music of his own writing. Standards? Not his thing. Not until now, anyway.

At first blush, Leaps of Faith appears to be an about-face for Vu, whose previous albums have featured original tunes and nothing else. But it takes all of a few seconds to realize that when... read more

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