instrumental Archive

Album Review: Alchemy Sound Project – Afrika Love

Jazz differs from rock in some important, fundamental ways. While there are exceptions, one is the manner in which jazz ensemble tend to be collectives of equals rather than stars with backup. So it is with Alchemy Sound Project, a septet in which at least five of the musicians are composers. On Afrika Love, each

Album Review: Lennie Tristano — The Duos Sessions

Strictly speaking, jazz is uncommercial music. Not that the artists eschew the possibility of commercial success; it’s simply that jazz is a specialist genre. From the perspective of sales revenues, it’s among the least popular forms of music. Of course that has precisely nothing to do with its quality. And even within the genre, there

Virtuosity on display: Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers

In the classic music idiom, concert violinist Anne Akiko Meyers is the equivalent of a rock star. Debuting onstage when she was only 7 years old, she has gone onto international acclaim, crossing into other genres while maintaining the rigor and finesse of her classical training. Meyers has been featured on more than 30 albums;

Album Review: Stephan Thelen — Fractal Guitar 2

Stephan Thelen is a modern classical composer; he has been commissioned by Kronos Quartet to write a piece. His creative worldview encompasses a wide vision, as this new release demonstrates. Working with a staggeringly impressive assortment of guitarists, he has created a work that’s most assuredly not classical. The moody, vaguely sinister album has solid

Album Review: True Loves — Sunday Afternoon

If you have an appreciation for – heck, even an awareness of – the sort of kinetic soul jazz that formed the musical component of late ‘60s and early ‘70s crime film and television, then ohmygoodgracious do I have something to tell you about. True Loves’ Sunday Afternoon is a 21st century answer to that

Album Review: WRD — The Hit

Far more often than not, the term supergroup is hype. Even when it isn’t use of the word can create unfairly high expectations. The members of Blind Faith understood that, and named their (short lived) group thusly. But in the world of jazz, a different sensibility took hold long ago. Artists receive co-billing, and get

Album Review: Three-Layer Cake – Stove Top

Bassist Mike Watt is one busy guy. He lends his talents and skills ot myriad creative collaborative projects, and here’s another one. Three-Layer Cake is a trio featuring Watt plus guitarist/banjoist Brandon Seabrook and drummer/keyboardist Mike Pride. Is this avant garde? Americana? Electronica of a sort? Jazz? I honestly can’t tell you; Seabrook’s banjo doesn’t

Album Review: Humanbeing – Humanbeing

Rossano Baldini has a background in soundtrack work and scoring as well as jazz. This new release takes his music somewhere that’s both consistent with those pursuits and pushing the boundaries of his styles. Wholly instrumental, Humanbeing is an album of gentle soundscapes, often realized using electronic instruments yet wonderfully organic in its realization. The

Album Review: Scott Helland — Guitarmy of One

I’m very much a fan of spy/detective/crime/noir-style music. I was over the moon when I discovered someone – Derrick Bang – had written a book about it. I was every bit as pleased when nearly as pleased when Jean-Michel Bernard crated an album-length tribute to one of its chief practitioners, Lalo Schifrin. And I was

Album Reviews: Two featuring Fernando Perdomo

In this post-major-label era when many of the so-called barriers to entry have been swept away, the fact that a recording artist is prolific doesn’t provide a reliable indicator as to the quality of that output. When you get right down to it, anybody can “release” anything they want, whenever they like. So it’s important