by Mark Saleski I’m not one to quote Wikipedia, but this time around it makes perfect sense: “Smooth jazz is a sub-genre of jazz which is heavily influenced by R&B, funk, rock, and pop music styles (separately, or, in any combination).” This is an interesting definition because it highlights the point of contention: Is smooth jazz actually jazz? For theRead More
Post Tagged with: "Jazz"
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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