Jazz

From The Stacks 2011, Vol. 2: Toots Thielemans, Benjamin Drazen, Brian Landrus, others

Photo from Jos Knaepen/ amsterdamjazzagency.com by S. Victor Aaron When I first started the Stacks series last year, I had two formatting rules about it: each artist was to be allotted one paragraph each and there must be at least six albums examined. I’m bending both rules this time, as only five new releases will get a look, and theRead More

Fred Hersch – Alone At The Vanguard (2011)

Photo by Steve J. Sherman by S. Victor Aaron When reviewing Vijay Iyer’s sublime piano-only disc Solo last year, I tossed out my personal maxim that “when a great, small combo jazz pianist makes a solo record, it usually doesn’t signal that pianist’s arrival, it means he’s solidifying his legacy.” Well, Alone at the Vanguard is Fred Hersch’s fourth solo pianoRead More

Something Else! Featured Artist: Grover Washington Jr.

by Something Else Reviews Credit, or discredit, the late Grover Washington Jr. with setting the template for the whole smooth jazz thing. There was always more to him than that. Really.

Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson – Ella and Oscar (1975, reissue)

Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson – Ella and Oscar (1975, reissue)

by Nick DeRiso Though not the hoped-for third-act triumph, Ella and Oscar still has its enduring charms. See, Oscar Peterson, a hard-banging piano genius as bluesy as he was inventive, should have made the perfect foil for Ella Fitzgerald on this stripped-down date, set for reissue on March 15 by Concord. It seems that too much time, however, had passedRead More

Delfeayo Marsalis – Sweet Thunder (2011)

Delfeayo Marsalis – Sweet Thunder (2011)

Delfeayo Marsalis doesn’t just rediscover Duke Ellington. He reanimates Ellington as a living breathing thing, a collaborative voice.

Forgotten series: Nat ‘King" Cole – Welcome to the Club (1959)

Forgotten series: Nat ‘King" Cole – Welcome to the Club (1959)

The King has been dead for nearly a half century. Not that you’d know it with all the reissues, television specials and creepy rip offs from Nat Cole’s daughter over the last pair of decades. He’s funny that way. Cole has had more output over that period than many living jazzers, and he’s brought more surprises — this album (sinceRead More

Plans set for Gil Evans' 100th birthday celebration – and you can join in

Plans set for Gil Evans' 100th birthday celebration – and you can join in

by Something Else Reviews Composer/producer Ryan Truesdell on Wednesday launched the Gil Evans Centennial Project at GilEvansProject.com. There’s news: Truesdell, the first person outside of the Evans family to have full access to his musical archives, has uncovered a series of rare compositions, from before and after Evans’ celebrated collaborations with Miles Davis. “Gil was an amazingly prolific composer andRead More

Nordic Connect – Spirals (2011)

Nordic Connect – Spirals (2011)

Photo of Ingrid Jensen from http://www.ingridjensen.com by S. Victor Aaron Nordic Connect is a grouping of musicians from Canada (Ingrid Jensen, trumpet; Ingrid’s sister Christine Jensen, alto and soprano saxes), U.S.A. (Ingrid’s husband Jon Wikan, drums), and Sweden (Maggie Olin (piano, Fender Rhodes; Mattias Welin, acoustic bass). The name points up to the Scandinavian ancestry of all its members, andRead More

Mark and Glenn Zaleski – Duet Suite (2011)

Mark and Glenn Zaleski – Duet Suite (2011)

by Mark Saleski One of the markers of high-level instrumental interplay is the perception of intimacy. We see this again & again in review language — that the musicians seemed as though they were “of one mind,” that their communication was “telepathic.” There are plenty of recorded examples that come to mind: Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock’s An Evening With…,Read More

George Shearing Quintet with Nancy Wilson – The Swingin's Mutual (1961)

George Shearing Quintet with Nancy Wilson – The Swingin's Mutual (1961)

George Shearing, the sightless bebop-influenced pianist best known for the 1952 jazz standard “Lullaby of Birdland,” died today of congestive heart failure at age 91. Here’s a look back at a favorite Shearing release, done alongside singer Nancy Wilson … by Nick DeRiso One of the smartest things Nancy Wilson ever did was start singing at the Blue Morocco inRead More

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