Music Reviews

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.

Veteran jazz bassist Dave Holland is back with one of his boldest sessions in years. Fans of his straight ahead jazz recordings may be startled to hear the relentless intensity of Prism, but it shouldn't be surprising given Holland's roots in the electric jazz explosion of the late 1960s.

Our CD of the Month at KIOS is from legendary pianist and bandleader Chick Corea. His latest release, The Vigil, features a new lineup of players along with the keyboard legend in an energetic program that recalls Corea's legendary group Return To Forever.

Certainly one of the most potent dates in recent years by some of the today's top Chicago avant-garde players. Frank Rosaly leads this group of top notch instrumentalists in a program of dense rhythm and unusual musical conversations.

Etienne Charles is a trumpeter from Trinidad whose three previous albums have featured calypso music as interpreted through an engaging post-bop focus. Charles continues to grow as an artist as evidenced on his latest, Creole Soul.  His latest recording reflects his interest in Carribean music and the music of New Orleans.

One of the most eclectic guitarists in jazz is back with his associates for another enjoyable journey into music. Big Sur is the new recording from Guitarist Bill Frisell and his band.  Composed by the guitarist at Glen Deven Ranch in Big Sur, California, the new effort presents a kaleidoscope of musical colors listeners have grown accustomed to expect from the veteran guitarist. Frisell is joined by Eyvind Kang, viola; Hank Roberts, cello; Jenny Scheinman; violin and Rudy Royston, drums.

A new release by a Chicago-based outfit headed by tenor saxophonist
Shelly Yoelin is an intoxicating mix of straight ahead bop, ballads and Latin
sounds. Five of the seven members provide material.The highlights include
Diddley Dance, the Bo Diddley beat would be right at home in New Orleans.
Beautiful Sweetheart, composed by pianist Bobby Schiff is a lovely ballad
dedicated to his wife Natasha. Eastern Fun incorporates Klezmer music into
the mix. One of the highlights of the year so far.

In the last ten years a number of jazz artists have released recordings that attempt to fuse jazz and country music; these efforts have yielded results of varying success.  Guitarist Corey Christiansen's latest effort is without doubt an exception.

Nicole Mitchell's Ice Crystal project is at the forefront of the discs we're featuring this month on the Last Call. Nicole Mitchell is a veteran, award-winning flutist.

Vocalist Gretchen Parlato will perform in Omaha at the 1200 Club at the Holland on May 11th. This is the first Omaha concert for the rising vocal star, whose 2011 effort "The Lost And Found" was the #1 Jazz CD of the year as awarded by this program. Click on the link to listen to an interview with Gretchen Parlato.(Recording Engineer: Mike Hansen.)

For more information about Parlato's concert in Omaha you may visit

Here is the review of the record from our archives: