Mark Masters Ensemble – Everything You Did (2013)

Steely Dan has long implicitly and sometimes explicitly paid tribute to jazz through their own music. Bandleader, arranger and American Jazz Institute Board of Directors President Mark Masters thought it would be a cool idea to pay back the favor.

Gimme Five: 1980s smooth jazz albums that don’t, you know, suck

How do you react when you hear or read the term “smooth jazz”? Does it conjure up visions of Kenny G flittering up and down scales as he’s swaying with his long, curly locks tousling about and holding his straight sax off to the side of his mouth?

The New Gary Burton Quartet – Guided Tour (2013)

Having turned seventy this year with an ample legacy stretching more than fifty years, Gary Burton could be excused if he kicked back and coasted by this time. No dice.

(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny, “Omaha Celebration” (1976)

(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny, “Omaha Celebration” (1976)

Last week I said that Unquity Road came the closest to what we think of as a traditional jazz tune. With “Omaha Celebration,” we might as well conclude that this particular trio is just not going to approach “normal.”

Exclusive stream: The Jeff Lorber Fusion featuring Larry Koonse, “Solar Wind” (2013)

A fresh new funky tune with a percolating groove, twisting sax/keyboard lines, and bubbling, tasty jazz guitar licks. That can only mean one thing: The Jeff Lorber Fusion is set to return

Gimme Five: More 1980s fusion albums that don’t, you know, suck

Gimme Five: More 1980s fusion albums that don’t, you know, suck

A couple of years ago I set out to shine a light on stellar fusion records in a decade where the genre started running out of ideas, passion and gumption.

Jean-Luc Ponty – King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa (1970)

Months before Miles Davis entered the studio with an impressive assemblage of jazz musicians to create his signature jazz-rock masterwork Bitches Brew, a fringe rock star and an little-known jazz violinist from France got together to make some proto-fusion

Christian McBride Trio – Out Here (2013)

Christian McBride Trio – Out Here (2013)

Still going on a tear following his widely-acclaimed Kind Of Brown (2009), the prodigious bassist Christian McBride has since produced two records in 2011 and soon to be two in 2013;

Dick Hyman and Ken Peplowski – Live at the Kitano (2013)

The collaboration of two artists like Dick Hyman and Ken Peplowski is almost always going to warrant sublime results, but the magic of Live at the Kitano is a little like sitting in on an altogether remarkable meeting of the minds.

Drew Gress – The Sky Inside (2013)

Drew Gress is a first-call bassist and has certainly earned the caché to have first-call players on his own albums.