Sunrise (ECM) The partnership between enigmatic pianist Masabumi Kikuchi and drummer Paul Motian resulted in a remarkable — though fairly obscure — body of work. Their collaboration culminated with the trio album Sunrise, Motian’s final recording for the ECM label before passing away in November 2011. It’s easy to see [...]Read more >>
Bending Bridges (Firehouse 12) Mary Halvorson’s music is tough to pin down. Jazz, avant-garde rock, punk and classical are all in evidence. The guitarist’s second disc with her quintet, Bending Bridges, is even more adventurous than their previous outing, 2010’s excellent Saturn Sings. The only constant is Halvorson’s relentless experimentation, [...]Read more >>
Be Good (Motéma) Although he was born and raised in California, and cut his teeth in the jazz clubs of San Diego, Gregory Porter strongly identifies with the jazz and soul history of his adopted hometown — New York City. In fact, the versatile vocalist and songwriter actually refashions his [...]Read more >>
Elastic Aspects (Thirsty Ear) Matthew Shipp’s standing as the leading light in experimental jazz is well-deserved. The pianist’s latest trio offering, Elastic Aspects, is a concise, focused set that displays his full range of abilities and will further burnish his reputation. The 13 tracks work as a suite, though only [...]Read more >>
The Music of America (Sony/Masterworks Jazz) No one’s ever accused Wynton Marsalis of false modesty. So it should come as no surprise that the trumpeter and composer titled a two-CD compilation, featuring chunks of his most ambitious works, The Music of America. Quibbling about what qualifies as such — swing, [...]Read more >>
Ode (Nonesuch) Listeners have come to expect a certain harmonic density from the music of Brad Mehldau, and his latest album doesn’t disappoint. The pianist’s second recording with his “new” trio (drummer Jeff Ballard replaced Jorge Rossy in 2005), Ode follows their 2008 live album, which documented performances at the [...]Read more >>
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