Category Listening…

Magnificent Regularly: Cécile McLorin Salvant Premieres “WomanChild” at 54 Below

When I arrived at 54 Below in midtown Manhattan on Tuesday night for the New York City release of Cécile McLorin Salvant’s WomanChild (Mack Avenue Records), I had already resolved not to take notes. I was just going to listen and enjoy the show. After spending the last three months listening to the album, researching […]

“A Pleasure to be Saturated”: James Carter Organ Trio Headlines at the Jazz Standard

Last week at the Jazz Standard featured the James Carter Organ Trio with Gerald Gibbs on Hammond B-3 organ and keyboards, Leonard King, Jr., on drums, and Carter on saxophones and flute. I spent Friday evening with them for a charged set that the audience received enthusiastically. Carter announced his setlist immediately after greeting the […]

Album review…Kelly Powers, “The Kelly Powers Project” (self-produced, 2012)

Writing personalized music for a close-knit ensemble of friends, pianist Kelly Nagata Powers draws inspiration from a diverse range of musical influences on her second album, The Kelly Powers Project, demonstrating facility and prowess across multiple musical genres. Featuring intelligent, chromatic, hard-bop compositions, Powers’s album contains a highly varied set of her originals, rounded out […]

Album review…Bennett Paster, “Relentless Pursuit of the Beautiful” (Self-Produced, 2012)

In his latest recording, pianist and composer Bennett Paster presides over a diverse and highly enjoyable collection of engaging compositions that continually evolve and excite. Through well composed ensemble sections, solid group chemistry, and highly proficient individual performances, Paster constructs an album that sounds fresh, entertaining, and spontaneous. Relentless Pursuit of the Beautiful, self-produced, 2012. […]

Album review…Emilio Teubal, “Música Para Un Dragón Dormido” (Brooklyn Jazz Underground, 2013)

Named for the zodiac sign that he and his newborn child share, with his third album, Música Para Un Dragón Dormido (“Music for a Sleeping Dragon”), Emilio Teubal offers an evocative and personal vision for the fusion of Argentinean music and modern jazz. Supported by his long-time trio and some high-powered sidemen, Teubal’s album promises […]

Album review…Aaron Diehl, “The Bespoke Man’s Narrative” (Mack Avenue, 2013)

With a well-balanced album of inventive originals and faithfully executed standards, celebrated young pianist Aaron Diehl debuts with a solidly swinging album on Mack Avenue Records that will appeal to a wide range of listeners. Performed by a remarkably empathetic ensemble, the album champions a classic, historically informed approach to the jazz piano trio that […]

Album review…James Saxsmo Gates, “Gates Wide Open” (804 Jazz, 2013)

Drawing on a long local history of African American music in Richmond, Virginia, and his own history of family music-making and overcoming hardship, newly appointed head of Jazz Studies at Virginia State University James Gates presents Gates Wide Open, an energized and highly personal album ranging across genres and instrumentations, but held together by superior […]

Album review…Stéphane Kerecki, “Sound Architects” (Outnote Records, 2012)

In French bassist and composer Stéphane Kerecki’s latest album, Sound Architects, he presents a profound and unique artistic vision, realized through the leader’s well-crafted, imaginative compositions and enriched by a masterful ensemble whose individual virtuosities are out-matched only by their collective sensitivity, inventiveness, and dynamism. Compelling grooves emerge organically from the group’s improvisatory faculties, while […]

Album review…Antonio Sanchez, “New Life” (CamJazz, 2013)

With New Life drummer Antonio Sanchez confidently presents his artistic vision, characterized by eclectic influences creatively re-imagined through compositional skill and superior musicianship. The album teems with energy, drive, and diversity, executed by a first-rate band whose facility and individuality shine through thanks to the solid foundation of Sanchez’s malleable compositions and organic ensemble direction. New Life. […]

Track reviews…A Dizzy Gillespie Dozen (jazz.com)

Jazz.com ran a feature called “The Dozens” which highlighted twelve iconic, influential, or otherwise important tracks by a particular artist (described in more detail here). In 2008 I contributed one on Dizzy Gillespie. The tracks I reviewed were: 1. “Pickin’ the Cabbage,” with the Cab Calloway Orchestra (1940) 2. “Lover Come Back to Me,” with […]