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Article: Album Review

Santi Debriano & Arkestra Bembe: Ashanti

Read "Ashanti" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Panama-born bassist Santi Debriano's Arkestra Bembe is a nonet whose centerpiece is the bembe music of west Africa. During the Coronavirus pandemic, Debriano began hosting weekly bembes (musical celebrations) in the basement of his Staten Island, New York home, gradually assembling a group of musicians who would comprise the Arkestra and perform Debriano's compositions and arrangements. ...


Article: Album Review

Ann Hampton Callaway: Fever: A Peggy Lee Celebration

Read "Fever: A Peggy Lee Celebration" reviewed by Richard J Salvucci

Peggy Lee was a remarkable singer and songwriter, but to some listeners, deeply enigmatic. Her time, often well behind the beat, conveyed a subtle sense of irony. “Are you getting this?" she sometimes seemed to say, “or am I going too fast for you?" She could be exuberant and world weary almost in the same breath. ...


Article: Album Review

Neil Swainson: Fire In The West

Read "Fire In The West" reviewed by Jack Bowers

It's hard to believe that 35 years have flown by between the release of bassist Neil Swainson's debut album, 49th Parallel (Concord Jazz), and his second, Fire in the West, recorded in November 2021 and released nine months later. But Swainson was hardly in hibernation during those years, as he has been one of Canada's busiest ...


Article: Album Review

Wasteland Jazz Ensemble: S/T

Read "S/T" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Some releases should come with a warning label. We are not talking about Tipper Gore (remember her?) Parents' Music Resource Center (PMRC) stickers warning of the dangers of ”Raising PG Kids in an X-Rated Society" of the late 1980s. No, the alert that should be attached to S/T by the Wasteland Jazz Ensemble might read something ...


Article: Album Review

Millennium Jazz Orchestra: Bleeding Amazonia

Read "Bleeding Amazonia" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Bleeding Amazonia, the latest album by The Netherlands' superb Millennium Jazz Orchestra, offers clear proof that “music with a message" need not be barren nor bland. Amazonia is a vibrant and colorful eight-part suite by composer / arranger Joan Reinders, whose disheartening theme is the loss of the Amazon rainforest. Four of its movements have lyrics ...


Article: Album Review

Matt Greenwood: Atlas

Read "Atlas" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

There are a lot of jazz guitarists out there, and competence in the art of the guitar is common. Mature excellence is less so. But we expect that when we spin a CD. Matt Greenwood, born in Zimbabwe and now home-based in Canada, displays that rare-for-a-debut mature excellence on his axe-- and more importantly in his ...


Article: Album Review

Jim Self: My America 2: Destinations

Read "My America 2: Destinations" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Tuba maestro Jim Self's My America 2: Destinations is a successor of sorts to the album My America, recorded and released some twenty years before, also on Self's Basset Hound label. While personnel has inevitably changed (only trombonist Bill Booth returns from that earlier album), Self has employed the services of the same arranger, Kim Scharnberg—and ...


Article: Album Review

Mountain Coast: Phases

Read "Phases" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Mountain Coast is a Denver-based collective which comes out of a 15-year partnership between guitarist Dave Devine and synthesist Michael Bailey. Phases follows their debut recording Watch Peak (Self Produced, 2021), with Devine and Bailey joined by new band mate trumpeter Kenny Warren. It is a true pandemic album, recorded remotely but with some interaction between ...


Article: Album Review

Eri Yamamoto Trio: A Woman With A Purple Wig

Read "A Woman With A Purple Wig" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

Pianist Eri Yamamoto was born and raised in Japan. but she has been a resident of New York City for over twenty years. She was there in March 2020 when COVID-19 shut down the world and then-President Trump began to call the disease a “Chinese flu." One day, while waiting to start an outdoor concert, she ...


Article: Album Review

Willliam Carn: Choices

Read "Choices" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

The short tune “Breathe" opens Choices, sounding like something holy, in a futuristic, science-fiction way. This is how Canadian trombonist William Carn introduces his album. It is a “do it from home," mostly remotely recorded set, reminiscent—to go back over half a century— of Paul McCartney's first solo album McCartney (Apple Records, 1970). McCartney's impetus for ...


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