Conversation (Heads Up) The terrestrial smooth-jazz radio format continues to shrink, freeing genre artists from the requirement to score hit singles. And with that, smooth jazzers have been creating more adventurous works. Chris Standring crossed over to classical, Rick Braun sang with strings and Jeff Golub played the blues. Enter [...]Read more >>
Spirit Fiction (Blue Note) For Ravi Coltrane, good things apparently come in pairs. The saxophonist’s latest disc features two lineups: his long-term quartet with pianist Luis Perdomo, bassist Drew Gress, and drummer E.J. Strickland, and a quintet with trumpeter Ralph Alessi, pianist Geri Allen, bassist James Genus, and drummer Eric [...]Read more >>
Wisteria (ECM) Among the most sympathetic collaborators that 74-year-old pianist Steve Kuhn has played with during his six-decade jazz career are bassist Steve Swallow, a trusted associate of 50 years standing, and drummer Joey Baron, who has 20 years of experience with Kuhn. Yet this is the first time that [...]Read more >>
Sounds of Space (Mack Avenue) To the list of young jazz musicians who have left Cuba of late, add the spectacularly talented 26-year-old pianist Alfredo Rodríguez. Sounds of Space is his debut release, and it’s the work of an advanced jazz improviser and composer. Classically trained in Havana conservatories, Rodríguez, [...]Read more >>
Big Drum/Small World (JazzReach/The Orchard) Music lovers of every stripe tend to resist recordings advertised as educational. (Who wants to listen to something because it’s good for us, as opposed to simply being good?) As such, Metta Quintet, the resident ensemble of JazzReach — a New York City-based nonprofit organization [...]Read more >>
Secret Canon Vol. 1 (Kismet) It makes sense that Dayna Kurtz would release a disc of hidden gems. It’s a description that fits her perfectly, as well. Interpreting mostly obscure tracks from the early- and mid-20th century, Kurtz demonstrates that she’s a vocalist unafraid to take roads less traveled. Kurtz’s [...]Read more >>
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