News, Commentary on Classical Music, Jazz, Theater, Dance & More

Mike Greenblatt

'Father Figure' by Michael Dease

REVIEW: Michael Dease, 'Father Figure,' Posi-Tone Records >>

Michael Dease cuts loose with a wildly swingin' post-boppin' assemblage of talent on vibraphone, piano, bass, drums and two alto saxophones wherein the trombone man serves as 'Father Figure' to some crazily talented youngsters on originals and well-picked covers, or, as we like to say in the music-listenin' business: discreeto pickos.

Steven Lugerner

REVIEW: Jacknife, 'The Music of Jackie McLean,' Primary Records >>

'The Music Of Jackie Mclean' never sounded so good! As upsetting as that may sound to purists, Jacknife, led by San Francisco saxophonist Steven Lugerner, has dragged the late alto sax master into 2016 with these six gems recorded in Los Angeles, mixed in Oakland and released by Primary Records.

Oatmeal Jazz Combo

REVIEW: The Oatmeal Jazz Combo, 'Instant Oats,' LGY Records >>

Digest your Oatmeal Jazz Combo, children, it's good for you, especially 'Instant Oats' (LGY Records). This adventurous quintet started out just for fun in 2009 at Stony Brook University in New York and is now on its fifth CD. Dig how they will play anything and everything including the closing "Transformers" theme.

WorldService Project

REVIEW: WorldService Project, 'For King & Country,' RareNoise Records >>

One cannot possibly describe the action going on during WorldService Project's 'For King & Country' on London's RareNoise Records. It's inexplicable, outrageous and dares you not to like it. But if you're like me, born into rock and raised on fusion, metal, the avant-garde, King Crimson and Led Zeppelin, there's something about these eight blasphemies that will appeal to your sense of rebellion.

The Bill Evans Trio

REVIEW: Bill Evans, 'Some Other Time: The Lost Session From The Black Forest,' Resonance >>

Although just a tad under what finding The Holy Grail would mean to Christian culture, the discovery of 'Some Other Time: The Lost Session From The Black Forest' (Resonance Records) by legendary pianist Bill Evans [1929-1980] is something akin to a revelation.


Blogarrhea: Exclusive Interview With Svetlana of Svetlana & The Delancey Five >>

Right off Delancey Street on the Lower East Side Of New York City stands a bar called The Back Room that used to host such notorious criminals as Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano. It was during prohibition and the room served illegal booze. It's still there. Svetlana & The Delancey Five have been holding court Mondays for the last four years. Their 'Night At The Speakeasy' is one of the best jazz CDs of the year.

Dick Oatts

REVIEW: Dick Oatts/Mats Holmquist New York Jazz Orchestra, 'A Tribute To Herbie +1,' Summit >>

The 2016 big band renaissance marches on with the Dick Oates/Mats Holmquist New York Jazz Orchestra's action-packed Hancock nod, A Tribute To Herbie+1 (Summit Records) in which the legendary piano player's acclaimed '60s and '70s catalog is combed through to pick eight gems. It proves to be a whole new way to dig Herbie Hancock and I, for one, love it.

Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue

REVIEW: Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue, Self-Titled, Electro-Fi Records >>

It's a party. Billed as a "Blues Supergroup," the self-titled Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue debut (Electro-Fi Records) is a stone-cold "Wang Dang Doodle" of epic proportions (although they don't cover that 1961 Howlin' Wolf hit, they just epitomize it) Come to think of it, they should have. Just put this sucker on the box and let her rip over and over again.

Sonny Rollins

REVIEW: Sonny Rollins, 'Holding The Stage:Road Shows Volume #4,' Doxy Records >>

What a rare treasure chest! For the fourth installment of the greatest living tenor saxophonist's look-back at cherished in-concert moments (this one spanning 1979-2012), 'Holding The Stage' by Sonny Rollins, 85, is highlight after highlight until it ends and then you just want to play it over and over again.

Louis Heriveaux

REVIEW: Louis Heriveaux, 'Triadic Episode,' Hot Shoe Records >>

Pianist Louis Heriveaux's 'Triadic Episode' (Hot Shoe Records) with drummer Terreon Gully and bassist Curtis Lundy covers Mulgrew Miller ("From Day To Day"), Cole Porter ("Everything I Love"), Johnny Green ("Body and Soul"), Kenny Dorham ("Blue Bossa"), Jerome Kern ("All The Things You Are") as well as trio originals.

Ehud Asherie

REVIEW: Ehud Asherie, 'Shuffle Along,' Blue Heron Records >>

'Shuffle Along' (Blue Heron Records) by Ehud Asherie is a gas gas gas. Ehud may look like a rock star but he's an excavator. For his 12th CD, he's excavated the music Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle wrote in 1921 for the first all-Black Broadway musical of the same name. Rather than treat it as a a museum relic, he uses it as the root for his playful experimentations.

Roger Davidson

REVIEW: Roger Davidson, 'Live At Caffe Vivaldi Volume #3,' Soundbrush Records [REVIEW] >>

When pianist Roger Davidson wraps his fingers around Cole Porter's "I Love You," it's a sterling moment in time. Davidson has a knack for the romantic. His cover of Joseph Kosma's 1945 "Autumn Leaves" ends 'Live At Caffe Vivaldi Volume #3' (Soundbrush) on a similar misty-eyed note but it's his 14 originals that reek of inventive samba stylings that carry this project.

Christopher Zuar

REVIEW: Christopher Zuar Orchestra, 'Musings,' Sunnyside Records >>

Big bands are making a comeback, if not on tour because of the expense, at least on record. There's been a slew of such recently and 'Musings' (Sunnyside Records) by the Christopher Zuar Orchestra, is one of the best.


REVIEW: Yellowjackets, 'Cohearence,' Mack Avenue Records >>

They said it couldn't last. When Yellowjackets came to be, critics scoffed and Yellowjackets seemed doomed from the start. 35 years later, 'Cohearence' (Mack Avenue Records) makes that thought laughable.

John Hart

REVIEW: John Hart, 'Exit From Brooklyn,' Zoho Music >>

Guitarist/composer John Hart spent 30 years in Brooklyn where he met bassist Bill Moring and drummer Tim Horner. The three reconvene on Hart's 'Exit from Brooklyn' (Zoho Music) for their fourth trio outing since 2000 on a beautiful 10-track project.

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