Tag Archives: Jazz music

Various Artists’ Ragas Live Retrospective, 2012-2017

The ancient musical form of the Indian subcontinent known as raga is experiencing a renaissance in New York. It’s been going on for at least a decade now, and in 2011 performers descended on a New York City radio station … Continue reading

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Jakob Bro at The Old Church, Portland, Oregon, October 28, 2018

The music that Danish guitarist Jakob Bro makes with his trio is paradoxical, such that much better music writers than I have difficulty describing it. He’s currently working with two Americans, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Joey Baron, with whom … Continue reading

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Jakob Bro’s Bay of Rainbows

One of my favorite recordings of 2016 was the Jakob Bro trio’s Streams, which made me a big fan of this Danish guitarist. It also introduced me to the up-and-coming American bassist Thomas Morgan, who lately is on seemingly everybody’s … Continue reading

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Mark Turner & Ethan Iverson’s Temporary Kings

I was sad and a little concerned in 2017 when pianist Ethan Iverson left The Bad Plus, the modern jazz trio he helped found nearly 20 years ago. Not to worry, though. He left that ensemble in good hands with … Continue reading

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Valeria Matzner’s Anima

Uruguayan-born singer-songwriter Valeria Matzner has been a musician for most of her life. It wasn’t until after she moved to Canada as an adult that she studied jazz, and it was there that she also eventually reconnected to her roots … Continue reading

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Duende Libre’s Drift

Drift is the sophomore release from the Seattle-based Latin-jazz/world music trio Duende Libre. It builds on the elements displayed on their self-titled debut, which was one of my favorite recordings of 2017. Duende Libre is composer and bandleader Alex Chadsey, … Continue reading

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Steve Tibbetts’ Life Of

If you’re looking for a deeply contemplative album of meditative music, look no further than Steve Tibbetts’ Life Of. As with much of the Minnesota-based guitarist’s body of work, his latest release draws on world, ambient, jazz and experimental musics, … Continue reading

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Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin, Awase

I was immediately smitten by the music of Nik Bärtsch when I first heard it via Continuum, the 2016 ECM release from his all-acoustic project Mobile, and a show I saw from that tour was probably my favorite from that … Continue reading

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Elina Duni’s Partir

“We’re all leaving. Bound to be torn away, one day or another, from what we love.” With those words Elina Duni welcomes her audience in to her latest project, a cycle of songs from around the world about love, loss … Continue reading

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Kristjan Randalu’s Absence

About two minutes into “Forecast 1,” the first track of Kristjan Randalu’s Absence, the Estonian pianist takes a brief pause after a gently improvised introduction, then leaps into a Lisztian whirlwind of arpeggios and it seems this is going to … Continue reading

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Birch Pereira & the Gin Joints’ Western Soul

Birch Pereira, Oregon-grown and now based in Seattle, leads his band the Gin Joints through a set of hot jazz, rockabilly, bluesy folk and more on their sophomore album Western Soul. It’s a tour through Americana in the era of … Continue reading

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Anouar Brahem’s Blue Maqams

There’s a moment a couple of minutes in to the title track of Anouar Brahem’s exquisite new album Blue Maqams that is the kind of moment I long for, like a thirsty person in the desert longs for a cool … Continue reading

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Björn Meyer’s Provenance

The energetically strummed funk of a tune called “Squizzle” is more or less what I expected when I approached an album of solo bass guitar music. It’s a quick in-and-out of a tune, just the electric bass and some subtle … Continue reading

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Saffron Ensemble’s Will You?

I can’t get enough of the music made by Shujaat Husain Khan and Katayoun Goudarzi. Fortunately, they make a lot of music, whether as a duo or in ensembles with other musicians. The thread that runs through their music is … Continue reading

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NYConnection’s Urban Griot

A griot is a member of a class of traveling poets, musicians, and storytellers who maintain a tradition of oral history in parts of West Africa. A bit presumptive, perhaps, for a quartet of white guys from Finland and Israel … Continue reading

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Karl Seglem’s Nordic Balm

I was initially leery of this album titled Nordic Balm with its whiff of New Age, but because I was very favorably impressed with Karl Seglem’s 2012 release NyeSongar.no, I resolved to set aside my prejudices and approach it with … Continue reading

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Helge Lien Trio’s Guzuguzu

In my little corner of the world, a new album by the Helge Lien Trio is always cause for (quiet) celebration. Their 2017 release Guzuguzu is a particular treat of lyrical melodicism, playful, sometimes angular rhythms and sonic surprises. From … Continue reading

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Vijay Iyer Sextet’s Far From Over

In the middle of the most turbulent year in America since 1968, the Vijay Iyer Sextet steps forth with an hour of jazz that roars and soars and sings with defiance and joy. Iyer in the liner notes makes clear … Continue reading

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Quercus’s Nightfall

I was gobsmacked when I came across Quercus’s first, self-titled, album a couple of years after its 2013 release. The combination of June Tabor’s husky-silky delivery of largely traditional songs in a jazz setting that was somehow lush but also … Continue reading

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Martti Vesala Soundpost Quintet’s Helsinki Soundpost

Finnish trumpeter Martti Vesala attempted to capture the sounds and flavors of his home base Helsinki with a classic jazz quintet. The aural picture that emerges on Helsinki Soundpost is a delightful tour. This talented young horn player fronts the … Continue reading

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Bill Frisell & Thomas Morgan’s Small Town

Bill Frisell, one of the elder statesmen of the electric guitar in America, and young acoustic bassist Thomas Morgan team up for a sublime set of tunes on Small Town. It was recorded live in 2016 at the storied Village … Continue reading

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duende libre’s Duende Libre

Alex Chadsey, Farko Dosumov and Jeff Busch live in Seattle, where they make music. Solid, groove-filled Cuban jazz, to be precise. How that came about is probably a pretty good story, but the result is duende libre’s superb self-titled debut … Continue reading

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Jenny Scheinman’s Here on Earth

American fiddler Jenny Scheinman has created an album of music to accompany a film that celebrates the legacy of North Carolina Photographer H. Lee Waters. Here on Earth consists of 15 tunes, all of which stand securely on their own, … Continue reading

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Daymé Arocena’s Cubafonía

There’s a lot more to Latin music than the cumbia, salsa, samba and Cuban son that North Americans are familiar with. Cuban diva Daymé Arocena covers a lot of sonic territory on her second album, Cubafonía. Drawing on the rich … Continue reading

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Craig Taborn’s Daylight Ghosts

For his third outing as a leader on ECM, pianist Craig Taborn is fronting a quartet and playing more within the contemporary jazz idiom than on his previous releases with that label. The quartet includes Chris Lightcap on bass and … Continue reading

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Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge’s Mount Royal

I’m still wringing major bits of pleasure out of last year’s electric Julian Lage Trio release Arclight, when here comes this splendid acoustic offering from Lage and Chris Eldridge. Mount Royal is the second full-length by this duo, following Avalon … Continue reading

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Colin Vallon Trio’s Danse

Danse is the Colin Vallon Trio’s third outing on ECM since 2010’s Rruga, although the Swiss pianist has been leading his own ensembles since 1999. This group, with bassist Patrice Moret and drummer Julian Sartorius, emphasizes cooperative exploration of melody, … Continue reading

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John Abercrombie Quartet’s Up and Coming

The re-release in 2015 of the original John Abercrombie Quartet’s trio of albums from the 1970s and ’80s whetted my appetite for more of this lyrical guitarist’s music. He obliges with a new release by his current quartet that emphasizes … Continue reading

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Stefan Aeby Trio’s To the Light

Swiss pianist Stefan Aeby and his trio’s third outing, their first on the German label Intakt, is a largely low-key affair that, to me, reflects the current holding-its-breath mood of much of the Western world. The Trio’s Utopia was one … Continue reading

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Wolfgang Muthspiel’s Rising Grace

Austrian-born guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel has expanded the trio with which he cut his 2014 ECM debut as a leader, into a top-shelf quintet for Rising Grace, which has become one of my favorite jazz albums of 2016. To the rhythm … Continue reading

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Pentangle’s Finale

Pentangle will always be an autumnal group for me. Probably because I first heard them when I visited the University of Oregon in the fall of my senior year of high school. And also maybe because I bought my first … Continue reading

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Jakob Bro’s Streams

Streams by Danish guitarist Jakob Bro’s trio, is a beautifully flowing project featuring the young American bassist Thomas Morgan and the veteran drummer Joey Baron on the skins, replacing Jon Christensen, who played on Bro’s previous trio outing Gefion. Even … Continue reading

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Peter Erskine Trio’s As It Was

This wonderful set reprises the rich legacy of the Peter Erskine Trio’s four albums for ECM between 1993 and 1999. It’s four hours of music that covers nearly all the bases of contemporary piano trio possibilities, from sublime ballads and … Continue reading

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Mats Eilertsen’s Rubicon

The tune “March” on Mats Eilertsen’s Rubicon is one of the most delicious bits of atmospheric noir jazz I’ve heard in some time. It’s unexpected coming from this Norwegian bassist’s septet, on an album that draws on various styles and … Continue reading

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Nils Økland Band’s Kjølvatn

Kjølvatn is an acoustic tradition-based project by Norwegian hardanger fiddler Nils Økland. His most recent release on ECM was by his psychedelic, distortion-drenched drone-rock band Lumen Drones. In contrast, Kjølvatn sounds like ancient music, sometimes drawn from folk sources and … Continue reading

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Various Artists’ American Pop: An Audio History

Brendan Foreman penned this review. American Pop from Minstrel to Mojo: On Record 1893 to 1957, Allen Lowe’s amazing examination of the origins and nature of American popular music. To accomplish such a daunting task, Lowe sifted through his obviously … Continue reading

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Miroslav Vitous’s Music of Weather Report

So this is kind of a big deal in the jazz world. Bassist Miroslav Vitous is once again revisiting the ensemble for which he is probably best known, the 1970s progressive jazz-rock fusion group Weather Report, which he co-founded with … Continue reading

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Wolfert Brederode Trio’s Black Ice

Two things stand out on Black Ice, the debut disc from the Wolfert Brederode Trio: The Dutch pianist’s strong melodic sense and the ease of interplay among the musicians, particularly Brederode and Icelandic bassist Gulli Gudmondsson. No surprise the latter, … Continue reading

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Victor Prieto’s The Three Voices

Victor Prieto was born in the town of Ourense in Galicia, an ancient Celtic homeland in Spain. But he grew up partially in Venezuela and has lived in New York for the past 20 years. His mother insisted that he … Continue reading

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Eivind Austad Trio’s Moving

The Eivind Austad Trio has spent the past 15 years working out on the Norwegian jazz scene, particularly in Bergen, which is apparently Norway’s jazz hotbed. (Good to know, should I ever make it to my ancestral homeland!) Their debut … Continue reading

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Various artists’ Hungarian Noir, A Tribute to the Gloomy Sunday

If you’re familiar with the song “Gloomy Sunday” it’s probably from Billie Holiday’s version of it, which popularized it in the U.S. in 1941. The BBC banned that record from the airwaves because its mood was deemed too somber for … Continue reading

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Jack DeJohnette, Ravi Coltrane and Matthew Garrison’s In Movement

“We are on a journey and in movement at all times,” says Jack DeJohnette in the liner notes to this amazing album. It’s a statement of the drummer’s philosophy for sure, and it also applies to the musicians in this … Continue reading

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Bill Evans’ Some Other Time

The year is not half-over yet, but this could very well be the jazz release-from-the-vaults of 2016. The folks at Resonance, particularly musical sleuth Zev Feldman, have upped the ante with this beautifully produced and presented gem of a previously … Continue reading

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Nik Bärtsch’s Mobile’s Continuum

Swiss pianist and composer Nik Bärtsch makes what he refers to as “ritual groove music,” in at least a couple of different settings. One is his highly regarded electronic jazz ensemble Ronin or the Ronin Rhythm Clan, and the other … Continue reading

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Michael Formanek’s The Distance

This is an absolutely fabulous release of the kind not many musicians are making any more. Michael Formanek, better known for his quartet work, seems to have a huge and unusual musical vision. Inspired by the expansive jazz orchestrations of … Continue reading

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Ralph Alessi’s Quiver

Quiver is New York trumpeter Ralph Alessi’s second outing as a leader for the ECM label, following his highly successful 2013 title Baida. His quartet here keeps the same rhythm section, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Nasheet Waits, both of … Continue reading

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Jackalope’s Dances with Rabbits 

Let me start this review off by saying that most of what the musician who created Jackalope, R. Carlos Nakai, plays leaves me terribly bored. Yes, bored. Bored quite stiff. Even the other Jackalope albums that I’ve heard over the … Continue reading

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Sarah Vaughan’s Live at Rosy’s

Sarah “Sassy” Vaughan and her trio booked a run at Rosy’s Jazz Club in New Orleans in May 1978. The renowned producer Tim Owens recorded two sets of that run for National Public Radio’s weekly syndicated program Jazz Alive! and … Continue reading

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Stan Getz’s live recordings from the vaults

Resonance Records continues its unparalleled string of historic jazz releases with two packages that document a week of shows at San Francisco’s Keystone Korner in 1976 by Stan Getz and his quartet, with special guest João Gilberto. Stan Getz and … Continue reading

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Avishai Cohen’s Into The Silence

Israeli-born jazz trumpeter Avishai Cohen’s first ECM outing as a leader is this meditative album inspired by the death of his father in late 2014. This recording was one of those that slowly grew on me as I listened to … Continue reading

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