Traditional Reviews

Traditional Reviews2020-02-23T01:54:55+00:00

    In Duo

    April 2, 2024

    O's Notes: This is an atypical pairing featuring drummer Jeff Williams with saxophonist David Liebman In Duo. They perform two extended free bop, compositions that are vibrant, melodic, and loaded with energy. It was a spontaneous session recorded at Bar Room 432 in Manhattan in 1991 and released in 2023!

      J Town Suite

      April 2, 2024

      O's Notes: Saxophonist and composer Shawn Maxwell pays homage to his hometown, Joliet, IL on J Town Suite. Joliet is the 3rd largest city in IL and form home of a large penitentiary. It has seen the ups and downs of a large midwestern city. Maxwell leads a quartet with Michael Barton (b), Collin Clauson (keyboards), and Greg Essig (d). They open with the mysterious sounds of “Steelman March “. A lot of the music sounds ominous but it’s all a part of Shawn’s love and pride coming out in an accurate musical story. “Jerry”, the heavily syncopated “Hickory Street”, and the haunting finale “Ghost Mall on Jefferson” are highlights.

        Pastor’s Paradox

        April 2, 2024

        O's Notes: Cuban-born, Brooklyn native, pianist, vocalist, Aruán Ortiz celebrates the 60th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech with his reflective Pastor’s Paradox. We’ve had some change, some resistance and backlash. Don Byron (cl, voice), Pheeroan Aklaff (d, voice), and Lester St. Louis (cello) are the primary accompaniment. The music reflects the frustration, the anger, and the pain that many of us feel. This is free jazz, with a chaotic, desperate backdrop. There is cascading improvisation throughout the session, notably on “Turning The Other Cheek No More”. You can feel it!


          April 2, 2024

          O's Notes: Pianist, composer Michael Ragonese leads a trio with bassist Luca Alemanno and drummer Mark Ferber. Ragonese produced and arranged the session including writing six of the eight songs. Stracci means rags. It was Michael’s childhood nickname, and the album is a tribute to his Italian heritage. “La Pioggia”, “Escape”, “I’ll Be Seeing You”, and the live version of “La Pioggia” are the best tracks.


            April 2, 2024

            O's Notes: Aurallaura is vocalist, composer Laura Chuck Wiens. She assembles a fine team of musicians to support her including arranger, multi-instrumentalist Greg Lutz, Nick Costa (d), John Dahlman (b), and Ellen Perkins (g). My first impression of Laura’s nasal tone is that it sounds like cartoon voices. The lyrics paint stories that are the core entertainment of the session. Among the best are “Mind The Gap” and “Zapjevala Sojka Ptica” featuring violinist Nashwan Abdullah.


              April 2, 2024

              O's Notes: New York-based vocalist Audrey Silver is a well-articulated artist performing the works from the classic musical Oklahoma. She performs jazzy arrangements like “The Surrey With The Fringe On Top” featuring guitarist Peter Bernstein and “Kansas City”. The string quartet shines on three selections notably “Oh What A Beautiful Morning”. It’s a good refresher of music by Rogers and Hammerstein.