Music Reviews

Legendary Chicago Drummer & Bandleader Kahil El'Zabar continues to add fine recordings to an already impressive discography of discs firmly in the jazz avant-garde but rooted in straight-ahead jazz. Zabar's latest effort with his longstanding Ritual Trio band, Follow The Sun, continues in that direction. 

Here's a release that is going to write it's own review, a session so inspired and intuitively right-there that it all bubbles to the surface propelled by the buoyant trombone sound of Steve Davis. This quintet session is Davis's seventeenth album as leader and a gem among a steady succession of strong recordings.

Creativity, innovation, and artistry help define the rich body of work that cornetist Rob Mazurek has released. Mazurek's relentless exploration of the frontiers of jazz in recent years has put him at the forefront of adventuresome music. In a career spanning over 25 years, Mazurek has written nearly 200 original compositions. His latest work may be his most ambitious yet. Mazurek has returned with his Exploding Star Electro Acoustic Ensemble on one of the most profound discs in recent memory, The Space Between(Delmark Records).

Shauli Einav is a saxophonist from Israel based in New York. His new cd, Generations, captures him and his band burning brightly on a varied program of jazz standards and two original tunes from Einav. The sound harkens back to the Blue Note sessions of the 1960's and if you didn't know this was a new album, you might think you were listening to some long lost Blue Note bop session from the vault.

Miles Davis Quintet/Live In Europe 1969/Columbia/Legacy
Rob Mazurek Exploding Star Electro Acoustic Ensemble  / The Space Between / Delmark
Dr. Lonnie Smith / In The Beginning Volumes 1 & 2 / Pilgrimage
Etienne Charles / Creole Soul /Independent Release
Nicole Mitchell's Ice Crystals/Aquarius/Delmark
Jeremy Pelt / Water and Earth / High Note
Gretchen Parlato / Live In NYC / ObliqSound
Frank Rosaly / Cicada Music / Delmark
Corey Christiansen / Lone Prairie / Origin Records
Dave Holland / Prism / Dare 2 Records

Janis Siegel - Nightsongs: A Late Night Interlude-Palmetto Records
Brian Lynch- Unsung Heroes Volume 2 – Hollistic Music Works
Kathy Kosins- The Space Between-Resonance Records
David Weiss-Endangered Species: The Music of Wayne Shorter-Motema
Steve Turre- Bones of Art- High Note
Andy Bey- World According to Andy Bey-High Note
Kenny Garrett -Pushing The World Away- Mack Avenue
Giacomo Gates- Miles Tones- Savant
Ted Nash Big Band- Chakra- Plastic Sax Records  
Gregory Porter-Liquid Spirit- Blue Note


Dec 2, 2013

Yes, it's that time of year when we take a fond look back at some of the delightful releases of the year and attempt to whittle so many worthy contenders to a dozen, because only ten was just too difficult. Come to think of it, twelve is kind of tough – so here's our baker's dozen at the Jazz Junction:

Jim Alfredson's Dirty Fingers – A Tribute to Big John Patton – Big O Records – Nothing like good meat and potatoes Hammond organ music and here's an outing that encompasses the thrill and energy of the genre in this savory dedication to organist Big John Patton.

The pantheon of jazz trumpet players includes familiar names such as Davis, Gillespie, Brown, Hubbard and Morgan. There are, however, numerous lesser known trumpet players whose music comprises an essential part of jazz history. One of our contemporary trumpet masters, Brian Lynch, embarked upon a project focusing upon some of the unsung heroes – and thus the title for this project, the second volume of which is our album of the month for December.

Dr. Lonnie Smith's Hammond B-3 wizardry has dazzled this listener for years. Smith's first live recording on his own Pilgrimage imprint, The Healer, was a deeply powerful organ trio experience. On the new release,  In The Beginning Volumes 1 & 2,  the liner notes declare that "Dr. Lonnie Smith revisits, recontextualizes and reimagines a dozen songs from his first decade as a recording artist."

Phil Woods’ soulful brilliance glows everywhere you turn in this 2013 release from Chiaroscuro Records . His soloing on alto, his compositions and arrangements sparkle throughout, enhanced by a fine array of soloists hailing from parts of the U.S. east. But, be warned; listening to it all at one sitting could diminish the effect.  It’s like trying to consume too many slices of a superb and rich birthday cake when the party’s just started. Don’t take in too many pieces at once. Savor the flavor gradually.