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IN PICTURES

Umbria Jazz 2017

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Founded in 1973, Umbria Jazz is Italy's most important jazz music festival and one of the first international jazz festivals of its kind. This year's festival ran from July 7 to July 16 with events primarily held at the Arena of Santa Giuliana in Perugia, the capital of the Umbria region. Other participating venues included the Santa Giuliana Arena, the Morlacchi Theater, the Podiani Hall within the National Gallery of Umbria, the Piazza IV Novembre, the Carducci Gardens, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bob Merrill: Tell Me Your Troubles – Songs by Joe Bushkin, Volume 1

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There are several arcs of history and experience intersecting on Bob Merrill's Tell Me Your Troubles--Songs by Joe Bushkin, Volume 1. The first is that of Joe Bushkin (1961--2004). Bushkin was a swing era pianist and composer best known for his association with trumpeter Bunny Berigan's band, guitarist Eddie Condon, Max Kaminsky, Joe Marsala, and Muggsy Spanier before World War II and Louis Armstrong, Bud Freeman, and Benny Goodman after the war. His style of composing, as evidenced on his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kosi: I Know Who I Am

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With a resolute commitment to her art, singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer Kosi (Akosua Gyebi) has recently released various acclaimed records, culminating with a superb tribute to Abbey Lincoln, Ghosts Appearing through the Sound in 2015. The aptly titled I Know Who I Am is a personal odyssey through love, guilt, and absolution, leading to self-acceptance and validation, expressed with a voice that flows impeccably from jazz to spirituals, that never wanders far from the blues. Accompanied by the musicians that have ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stanton Moore: With You In Mind

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The title of Stanton Moore's homage to Allen Toussaint suggests the affection at the heart of this project. With You In Mind symbolizes the achievements of the latter NOLA icon as ongoing inspiration for generations of musicians to come and not just those with their roots in New Orleans like this great drummer and bandleader with top billing here. Beginning with the celebratory called “Here Come The Girls," Moore's quasi-martial beat underscores the rhythm inherent in Cyril Neville's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Plucky Strum: Departure

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Guitarist Sheryl Bailey and bassist Harvie S have clearly learned the first rule of getting ahead in show biz in these days of glitz and hype: find a clever and distinctive name--in this case Plucky Strum (after all, Lady Gaga was going nowhere as Stephani Germanotta). Departure is the duo's second album under that name for Whaling City Sound, one on which they show that pluck or strum by any name can be charming and persuasive. Musically ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Jay Phelps at the Harrow Arts Centre

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Jay Phelps Harrow Arts Centre Hatch End, London July 7, 2017 Harrovians don't know what they're missing. The Harrow Arts Centre, tucked away in Hatch End off the teeming Uxbridge Road in London's north-western suburb, has an adventurous booking policy--most such enterprises seem unwilling to recognise any jazz other than trad or dinner-jazz--but whenever I have been there the audience has never exceeded 50. In an area that includes a large South ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Grant Stewart Trio: Roll On

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Add Grant Stewart's name to the growing list of tenor saxophonists who are gaining broad approval by reanimating exemplary yet by and large overlooked songs from the Great American Songbook and elsewhere and lending them a fresh coat of paint that not only accentuates their timeless charm but does so while swinging in the grandest jazz tradition. Others who have championed that cause in recent years include (but are not limited to) Harry Allen, Ken Peplowski, Scott Hamilton and fellow ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Cunliffe: BACHanalia

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This is another entry in the durable “jazz meets the classics" subgenre with pianist and bandleader Bill Cunliffe leading a large ensemble through a fun program featuring mostly classical works and familiar standards.The classical adaptations start off with Johann Sebastian Bach's “Sleepers Awake" played with crisp, muscular drive by the band. Cunliffe and trombonist Bob McChesney provide tight, intricate solos and Denise Donatelli follows the melody on top with a bubbly wordless vocal that recalls The Swingle Singers. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joanna Weinberg: Pandora's Bag

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Joanna Weinberg is an Australian songwriter, piano and accordion player, actress and film star. She has been nominated for an Australian critics circle award; the composer and writer of Every Single Saturday (the soccer parent musical); she is also the composer and writer of the musical, Lifeforce, which won the pick of the Fringe at the 2013 Sydney Fringe Festival. Weinberg specializes in writing and performing one woman shows, she has written over ten of them, including the critically acclaimed ...


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