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Jack Bowers


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

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

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

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

Scott Burns / John Wojciechowski / Geof Bradfield: Tenor Time

Read "Tenor Time" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Tenor Time unveils the talents of a trio of Chicago-area tenor saxophonists, each of whom--presumably—solos on each of the album's eight numbers. The qualifier is necessary because the solo order is not given and, skillful as they are, the tenors sound much like triplets at the same workbench. That is to say that in terms of ...


Article: Album Review

PJ Perry: No Hugs

Read "No Hugs" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The title of Canadian alto saxophone maestro PJ Perry's album does not mean that Perry wants No Hugs, rather that the Covid pandemic that arrived in 2020 meant there would be “no hugs" between Perry and his beloved grandson, Atticus, in the “big brown chair" that served as their hangout until the quarantine was over. On ...


Article: Album Review

Howard University Jazz Ensemble: HUJE 2022

Read "HUJE 2022" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Recordings by the superb Howard University Jazz Ensemble have been surfacing like clockwork each year since shortly after the orchestra was formed in 1975 by its first (and only) music director, Fred Irby III. Sometimes the albums have overall themes, while others (such as this one) are dedicated to one or more of the university's distinguished ...


Article: Album Review

Hinda Hoffman Meets Soul Message: People

Read "People" reviewed by Jack Bowers

When preparing a meal, the balance of ingredients matters. A little too much here, not quite enough there, and any recipe can fall short of expectations. On the album People, Hinda Hoffman, one of Chicago's finest jazz singers, is paired with the splendid quartet Soul Message, a blend which one might expect to produce a tasty ...


Article: Year in Review

Jack Bowers' Best Jazz Albums Of 2022

Read "Jack Bowers' Best Jazz Albums Of 2022" reviewed by Jack Bowers

As the Covid pandemic slowly recedes into America's rear-view mirror, jazz groups of all sizes and shapes have begun performing and recording again, making 2022 a rather good year over-all for fans and reviewers alike. New artists, new sounds and new approaches have combined to lend assurance that jazz remains in good hands and will continue ...


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