Post Tagged with: "Jazz"

Half Notes: Carolyn Leonhart and Wayne Escoffery – Tides of Yesterday (2010)

by Mark Saleski Normally, I’m not a particularly skeptical person. But when I see things in album credits like “hair,” “makeup,” and “dresses,” it’s tough to not tighten up a little. The good news is that Leonhart and Escoffery can bring it. She has a voice that manages to seem almost crystalline while retaining all sorts of texture. A perfectRead More

One Track Mind: Richard Nelson Large Ensemble, "Strive" (2011)

In most big bands, the guitarist functions as nothing more than a member of an expanded rhythm section — and for a while it seems like Richard Nelson (even though it’s his band, and all) had fallen into the same role on his forthcoming album

Gonzalo Rubalcaba – Fe’ … Faith (2011)

Intense and beautiful, Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba’s new Fe’ … Faith, is this meditative wonder. Like the earth making its inevitable yearly circle, Rubalcaba returns time after time to themes and thoughts — but never approaches things exactly the same twice.

Half Notes: Marc Cary – Focus Trio Live (2009)

by Mark Saleski Dude is wearing a porkpie hat on the cover. Dude is making “jazz face.” Dude can play his ass off. Skip right to the end and check out “CD Changer.” It’s not often that a pianist will apply so much torque to the percussive nature of the instrument. Also check out the emotionally explosive “Slow Blues ForRead More

Keith Jarrett – Radiance (2005)

by Mark Saleski Some musicians have the ability to transcend their physical talents to put on display their thought processes, a sort of direct conduit between the hands and that mysterious inner pool of music. Or … in Keith Jarrett’s case, the lack of thought

Half Notes: Jae Sinnett – It's Telling … A Drummer's Perspective (2007)

by Mark Saleski Wow, sometimes you just stumble onto a little gold. Jae Sinnett’s kit work manages to channel bits of my favorite drummers (Jeff Watts, Tony Williams) while retaining his own thing. It’s very inspiring to be witness to a player who can muster great power when necessary and still dial back to great levels of sensitivity on theRead More

Dapp Theory – Layers of Chance (2008)

by Mark Saleski Some people really have the wrong idea about jazz. They think that most of it falls into two very broad categories: traditional, where guys in suits play an introductory theme before taking turns soloing over the developed chord changes; and avant-garde, also known as “cats-on-piano” jazz, where everybody just plays whatever the hell they want because, reallyRead More

Half Notes: Dave Glasser – Evolution (2010)

by Mark Saleski Sax, piano, bass and drums — staples in the jazz world. Sometimes, that combination can be bland. If the players don’t add a little spice to the proceedings, you quickly realize that you’ve been here before. (“What? Intro-head-solos-head again?!”) Thankfully, Dave Glasser knows how to apply the leverage to that alto and his band knows how toRead More

Half Notes: Earl MacDonald – Re: Visions (2010)

By Mark Saleski Subtitled “Works for Jazz Orchestra,” this album showcases the arranging talents of Earl MacDonald as well as a stellar cast of cohorts. I have to be honest here and say that big-ish bands are not usually my thing. That is, unless they’re doing something “odd” (see: Carla Bley, The Either Orchestra). This recording grabbed me from theRead More

Half Notes: Charles Evans/ Neil Shah – Live at Saint Stephens (2009)

by Mark Saleski Baritone sax (Evans) and piano recorded live at a church. The room gave just the right amount of natural reverb, which is a great thing because too much echo can muddy all of those wonderful details my ears parts expect from the bari sax: clacking valves, breathy passages. The improvisations range from simple call and response motifsRead More