jazz Archive

EP Review: Sister Ivy – Plecia

Sister Ivy is an Asheville-based project, the nom de musique of Rachel Waterhouse. Sister Ivy has had a relatively lengthy gestation period: the group played its first gig some three years ago at the old Sherwood Music. But quality takes time, and the refined, sultry character of Waterhouse’s original music has surely benefited from the

Fifty-word Reviews for July 2018, Part 2

Here’s ten more quick reviews of new music worth your time. Beth McKee — Dreamwood Acres This lovely clutch of original songs features the sultry, soulful vocals of McKee, and the rich instrumentation is built around McKee’s classic electric piano (Wurlitzer, Rhodes), which she plays in a straightforward, non-fussy manner. Imagine Bonnie Raitt playing keys

Liner Notes News

I’ve been extraordinarily busy lately. After devoting a large chunk of 2017 to the writing of my first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon, in 2018 I’ve been focusing on writing liner note essays for albums. Here’s a summary of recent and upcoming releases with which I’ve

Album Review: Gideon King & City Blog — Upscale Madhouse

Sophisticated, jazzy pop is the order of the day on Upscale Madhouse, the latest album from Gideon King & City Blog. With a sound that instrumentally recalls Steely Dan, King’s group leans a bit more in a jazz direction. The vocals are silky-smooth, almost veering into yacht-rock territory. Fans of Hall & Oates with a

Album Review: Mel Henke — 77 Sunset Strip-per

For a lot of Americans in the late 1950s and ‘60s, jazz wasn’t something they went to clubs to hear. If they heard it at all, jazz was often presented in the context of television and film theme music. The brash, hard-swinging sounds of big band jazz lent an exuberant (and wordlessly carefree) vibe to

Jazz Great Henry Threadgill on Accessibility, Artistry and Expectations

Henry Threadgill has a well-deserved reputation as a jazz innovator. Working with unusual ensembles that included instrumental combinations not often thought of in a jazz context, Threadgill has made a series of boundary-pushing albums beginning in the 1970s and continuing to present-day. For his efforts, the composer/saxophonist/flautist has earned many accolades and awards, including the

Album Review: Disaster Relief — s/t

Nominally classified as jazz, the Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Disaster Relief occupies a musical space halfway between Leeds and New Orleans. The Leeds connection is the band’s funky like-mindedness to New Mastersounds, reliable purveyors of soulful boogaloo. The Crescent City vibe comes from the group’s deep-groove jazz sensibility. Honking saxophone dialogue atop a rubbery

Hundred-word Reviews for May 2018

There’s so much great new music that it’s difficult to keep up with it all. I’m here to help, but it’s tough for me to keep pace as well. To streamline things a bit, I do these occasional blocks of brief reviews, limiting myself to 100 words for each. Think of it as the music

Album Review: Miles Davis & John Coltrane — The Final Tour

Miles Davis’ 1960 tour with John Coltrane ranks among the most historically significant series of concerts by either of those artists. And that’s saying something, in light of each musician’s landmark importance. The Davis estate has, in recent years, been releasing sets of recordings under the banner of “The Bootleg Series,” because many of these

Album Review: Joan Torres’ All is Fused — Of the Musical

The golden age of jazz-rock fusion was a relatively brief period; arguably it began with Miles Davis’ In a Silent Way, released in 1969. The new form enjoyed a number of highlights: Davis’ Bitches Brew and Jack Johnson, Larry Coryell’s albums with Eleventh House, as well several albums from Chick Corea’s Return to Forever, Weather