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MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space

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There are guitarists, and then there are sound sculptors who use the guitar as one tool among many (and of course there's no small overlap between the two). Tim Motzer happily resides in both camps but tends to lean toward the latter description most--when running a single axe through a continually changing array of jerry-rigged technology, it's not unusual for him to spend as much time twiddling knobs as he does fingering frets. With such a range of sonics to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Quercus: Nightfall

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It may have taken seven years for the innovative British trio featuring singer June Tabor, saxophonist Iain Ballamy and pianist Huw Warren to find a label and release their first album together, but they sure landed on their feet. Not only was the trio's 2013 debut, Quercus, released on the renowned ECM imprint; it was also enthusiastically received by critics and fans alike, winning that year's prestigious German record critics' Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Jahrespreis (Album of the Year). And ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Verneri Pohjola: Pekka

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The highly-anticipated follow-up to Verneri Pohjola's widely acclaimed 2015 album Bullhorn consolidates his position as Finland's foremost jazz musician. His prodigious talent is hardly surprising given that his late father was the internationally acclaimed jazz-influenced prog-rock bassist and composer Pekka Pohjola, who died in 2008 aged just 56. This album is a reworking of some of Pohjola senior's tunes, but integrated into his son's vibrant compositions. It necessarily takes a different turn from Pohjola's previous album, harnessing elements of jazz ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Calabria Foti: In the Still of the Night

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With In the Still of the Night, vocalist Calabria Foti joins the ranks of Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Oscar Peterson, and many others -vocalists and instrumentalists -who have dived deeply into the Cole Porter canon. It takes a very special talent to deftly probe the poetic and pithy romantic lingo that the Classic material offers. So, while that ocean is Trench deep, how is one to pluck new musical perspectives and give old ones a novel patina? Foti, along with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mihaly Dresch Quartet with Chris Potter: Zea

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Hungarian reedman Mihaly Dresch is one of the more prominent jazz artists in Eastern Europe and generally sets high standards for his work. On this beautifully crafted live outing with American sax great Chris Potter, the ensemble melds tuneful melodies with Hungarian folk, dirge-like balladry, hyper-mode bop and progressive jazz via an uplifting mode of operations amid high-flying motifs and buoyant storylines. Potter contributes 2 tracks, but the opener “Togo," is a composition by famed drummer Ed Blackwell, ...

REASSESSING

Shorty Rogers: Short Stops

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In the 1980s, trumpeter and Kenton alum Mike Vax put together a Supersax-type group called TRPTS. It released an album of harmonized trumpet classics, one of which was “Short Stop." There are lots of great tunes including “Night in Tunisia," “Trumpet Blues and Cantabile," and “Heckler's Hop." Oh yeah, one I never heard, Shorty Rogers' Short Stop. Really? How do you get to 35 years of age, listen to jazz almost daily, and not know about Shorty Rogers? I vaguely ...

INTERVIEW

Bobby Zankel: The Soul of Jazz - Past, Present, and Future Tense

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[This is the first of an All About Jazz series of interviews and articles on “The Many Faces of Jazz Today: Critical Dialogues," in which we will explore the current state of jazz around the world. Jazz has expanded in many directions. The business, educational, geographical, recording, and entertainment aspects have undergone major transformations. Today, there are myriad ways of playing and understanding the music. So what is jazz all about today, towards the end of the second decade of ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Robbie Robertson: Testimony and Michael Nesmith: Infinite Tuesday: an Autobiographical Riff

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Robbie Robertson's Testimony and Michael Nesmith's Infinite Tuesday are both illuminating books, but only in decidedly constricted fashion. The insight each man offers into their respective timelines, as part of and apart from their famous groups, passes through filters of which neither author are wholly cognizant. The lead guitarist and chief songwriter for the Band sounds almost as guileless as his counterpart from the Monkees, but both men (and/or their respective editors) evince artful means in devising a particular slant ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Louis Sclavis / Dominique Pifarély / Vincent Courtois: Asian Fields Variations

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Few artists on the ECM roster reinvent themselves as regularly--and with such consistent success--as Louis Sclavis. While it is true that the French clarinetist (and occasional soprano/baritone saxophonist) often draws (and re-draws) from a gradually expanding pool of musicians, there are few label mates who have released as many albums as Sclavis, where the lineups literally change with each and every album. In fact, the closest he's come to repeating the same lineup back-to-back has been with his most recent, ...


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