jazz Archive

Hundred-word Reviews for December 2019, #3

Here’s the final installment of the year (and the decade!) of my quick, condensed album reviews. Ten titles, 100 words each. Seven are new releases; the remaining three are archival and/or reissue releases. There are some SERIOUS gems in here. Sweet Lizzy Project – Technicolor When most people think of Cuban music, their thoughts turn

Hundred-word Reviews for December 2019, #2

With the end of 2019 on the horizon, I figure now’s as good a time as any to bring things up to date with another batch of quick reviews. In this edition: all new music, ten titles. Blues, powerpop, jazz and more. All worth your time. Maybe even a Great Gift Idea™. Happy holidays! Coco

Free Planet Radio: In Pursuit of Modern Jazz

When Free Planet Radio debuted in 2001, the Asheville-based trio was often described as a world music group. And while by definition that label casts a wide net, it was never quite expansive enough to get to the heart of what Free Planet Radio does. The three creatively adventurous musicians have always explored many styles,

Holiday Music for 2019

‘Tis the season for holiday music. It’s a genre that often gets a bad rap, for good reason: a lot of it is pretty dire. Though there are classics (like Roy Wood’s “I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day,” ELP’s “I Believe in Father Christmas” and the Kinks’ rocking “Father Christmas”) it remains a

Hundred-word Reviews for December 2019, #1

As 2019 heads toward its end, there’s time for one more house-cleaning set of quick reviews. Here’s a look at notable new releases in jazz, blues rock and even country. Junior Watson – Nothin’ to it But to Do it Let’s not hold it against the artist that the cover art for this album is

Joseph Hasty: Learning, Teaching, Working and Playing

Originally from Hickory and currently settled in Morganton, multi-genre multi-instrumentalist Joseph Hasty is immersed in a life of music. By day he’s a schoolteacher, but when class lets out, he’s off to a gig. Audiences might find him playing guitar or upright bass, and – depending on the venue – the sounds they’ll hear could

Righteous Jazz: A Conversation with Jeff Lorber and Mike Stern (Part 2 of 2)

Continued from Part One … [To Jeff Lorber] What is the most significant difference between your approach to your instrument today as compared to the way you played at or near the beginning of your career? Jeff: It’s funny you should mention that because I’ve just been listening a bunch lately to this recording I

Righteous Jazz: A Conversation with Jeff Lorber and Mike Stern (Part 1 of 2)

Nominally a jazz fusion keyboardist and composer, Jeff Lorber is known for a particular kind of highly melodic and accessible jazz. Detractors might cal lit “smooth jazz,” a term that – unsurprisingly – Lorber dislikes. But there’s no denying the wide appeal of Lober’s music; his debut, 1977’s The Jeff Lorber Fusion, reached #30 on

Kamasi Washington: Can You Hear Him?

The career of saxophonist and composer Kamasi Washington bubbled under for a number of years before the Los Angeles-based artist broke through on a national and worldwide level. Hints of his potential were there early for those who paid attention: in 1999 Washington won the prestigious John Coltrane Music Competition. While a student at UCLA’s

Diana Krall: Here to Stay

While she is popular the world over, contralto Diana Krall got off to a modest start. Her official debut release, 1993’s Stepping Out earned positive reviews, but it didn’t initially sell in large numbers. Yet that release did bring her to the attention of producer Tommy LiPuma. He produced her second album, Only Trust Your