jazz Archive

Album Review: Nina Simone — Mood Indigo: The Complete Bethlehem Sessions

Nina Simone (born Eunice Waymon) was a classically-trained pianist; she didn’t set out to be a jazz singer. Born in Tryon, N.C. in 1933, she was a musical prodigy, and would study at Juilliard. Her application for further studies at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia was rejected, so she continued studying piano on her own.

Dixie Dregs Answer the Question, “What If?” (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… In the early ’80s, the band made the decision to add vocals. With the benefit of hindsight, was that a mistake? I don’t know that any of us gave it a whole lot of thought. In retrospect, the Dixie Dregs were an immensely successful band as far as being a group

Dixie Dregs Answer the Question, “What If?” (Part One)

Atlanta (by way of Augusta and Miami) band the Dixie Dregs were among the most boundary-pushing acts of the 1970s. Deftly blending styles from hard rock to jazz fusion to country, the instrumental quintet released an impressive string of albums on Macon-based Capricorn Records. In later years, the band would flirt with different directions –

Album Review: Jan Sturiale — Roadmaps

A classically-trained guitarist, Jan Sturiale expertly treads the fine line between tasty guitar instrumentals and ensemble jazz. On Roadmaps, the fourth album by the Italian guitarist/composer, there’s a wide-angle focus to the music. In practical terms, that means Sturiale is quite content to cede lead spots to his fellow musicians. As such, Roadmaps avoids being

2017’s Top Ten You Might Not Have Heard/Heard Of

My brow furrows a bit when I read “Best of” lists published in November or early December; are December releases set aside for consideration in the following year? Or are they ignored? A look at albums released in the last month of 1967, for example, includes Jimi Hendrix’s Axis: Bold as Love, Traffic’s Mr. Fantasy,

Miles Davis’ Electric Jazz Fusion Legacy Lives On

Trumpeter and band leader Miles Davis was one of the most important and innovative musical figures of the last hundred years. He tirelessly explored a wide variety of musical dimensions, changing the rules and pushing the boundaries of every style he touched. Davis died in 1981, but his influence and legacy live on in many

Hundred Word Reviews for January 2018, Part 2

As promised, here are ten more capsule reviews of new music. The Sherlocks – Live for the Moment In an era many define as “post-rock,” it’s refreshing to discover a band that makes high energy, melodic rock that maneuvers the narrow bath between the faux fist-pumping of arena rock and the often slavish and mannered

Hundred Word Reviews for January 2018, Part 1

As we begin another calendar year, now seems like a good time to clear out some of my backlog. All of these albums are new (or at least newish) releases. Paul Moran – Smokin’ B3 Vol. 2: Still Smokin’ As a lover of soulful organ jazz a la Jimmy Smith, I was taken in by

Bonus: A Quick Q&A with John McLaughlin

Virtuoso guitarist John McLaughlin is embarking on a farewell-to-the-USA tour, joined by Widespread Panic guitarist Jimmy Herring. Ahead of the tour, McLaughlin took the time to answer a few questions. Bill Kopp: How did you get to know Jimmy Herring? John McLaughlin: Listen, he’s playing my instrument! Anybody who’s playing my instrument and they get

The John McLaughlin Farewell Interview, Part Two

Continued from Part One… Because McLaughlin is such a painstaking composer and player, it stands to reason that he would look back on recordings he made decades ago and find fault with certain things here and there. “Of course I see faults,” he admits. “I see big, glaring faults.” But he says those things don’t