Category: Music

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Francisco Pais: Verde

Guitarist Francisco Pais comes from a small town in Portugal where every shade of green seems to burst forth from the land. On his new album “Verde,” numerous threads from guitar history comprise the compositions, weaving an aural quilt of engaging sounds. You hear shades of Hendrix, Waters, Clapton — and all the jazz titans...

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Naftule’s Dream, “Blood”

Klezmer. Jazz. Acid rock. Dixieland. Got the picture? Better question: got the sound? “Blood,” the new CD by the progressive Klezmer band Naftule’s Dream, is a delicious jambalaya of musical ingredients that sounds distinctly like, well, Naftule’s Dream. The group’s instrumentation might be the key to their sound: clarinet, cornet, guitar, drums, accordion and, crucially, tuba....

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Ehud Asherie’s “Shuffle Along”

The Israeli-born, New York-based pianist Ehud Asherie is a mainstay of the mainstream modern jazz scene, a collaborator with some of the most respected musicians alive. His new solo recording, “Shuffle Along,” however, looks back — to 1921, when Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle’s all-Black Broadway musical premiered. Improvising on the show’s chewy melodies —...

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Honor Thy Fathers

The pianist Laurence Hobgood, celebrated for decades as one of the world’s finest accompanist of singers, currently is stepping out into the light, leading his own trio. Of superstars. On drums, Kendrick Scott. On bass, John Pattitucci. Their album, “Honor Thy Fathers,” dedicated to the musical titans who inspired Hobgood’s virtuosity, contains several cover songs,...

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Harmonizing Every Thread

Five jazz musicians walk into the living room of our house, the music room. They’re getting ready for a gig the following night at an area college. A concert. They each bring their own vibration to the rehearsal, their individual tone. Some cats are lighter and some are darker than others. Some project calm and...

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Aaron Irwin: “A Room Forever”

This one could haunt you. On his new disc “A Room Forever,” Aaron Irwin, a jazz saxophonist from central Illinois and now living in New York City, has composed 12 original songs based on the short stories of the late West Virginian author, Breece Pancake, whose hardscrabble tales celebrate an American pastoral slowly receding into...

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I’ll Be Me

“I’ll Be Me,” a documentary about music legend Glen Campbell’s decent into Alzheimer’s is a deeply affecting, often painful portrait of an artist slowly going away. Director James Keach successfully tiptoes the line between education and exploitation, between truthfulness and vulgar voyeurism. The film has many of the hallmarks of a stylishly produced “Reality” show — confessional...

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Katie Bull

On her fifth album, “All Hot Bodies Radiate,” Katie Bull continues to redefine the concept of “jazz vocalist.” She’s no chick singer. Bull’s instrument, her voice, isn’t extraordinarily powerful, plangent or peculiar, and she doesn’t project conservatory-trained technique and tuning. Yet her work mesmerizes and invites repeated listening. That’s because Bull is a singing poet, a writer...

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MOPDTK’s “Mauch Chunk”

Mostly Other People Do the Killing’s latest iteration, a quartet, is led by bassist Mopppa Elliott, whose modern bop compositions are featured on the band’s new album, “Mauch Chunk,” a rollicking, raucous  dash through jazz history that’s firmly in the right now. MOPDTK’s sax man is Jon Irabagon, one the most exciting players in the world....

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The Better Angels Soundtrack

It’s been nearly five years since our favorite singer, Charmaine Clamor, released a new album. In the interim, she’s taken her much-noted talent and made it deeper, stronger, richer, imbuing her expressive voice with enhanced gravity. On “The Better Angels,” Charmaine sings 11 songs of hope, all of them connecting in  some way to the higher...