Posts Tagged ‘Terence Blanchard’

BEST OF 2013: J Hunter’s Best Jazz Albums, Part II

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Reviews by J Hunter

Having given credit where credit was due in our last episode… let’s count ’em down:

ETIENNE CHARLES: Creole SoulNumber Ten…
ETIENNE CHARLESCreole Soul (Culture Shock Music)
Want some impressive numbers? This native son of Trinidad has four discs to his name, all on his own label – and he’s still in his 20s! Heeding the words of mentor Marcus Roberts that “going backwards is the only way to go forward,” Etienne Charles mixes the Afro-Caribbean beats of his native land with modern jazz idioms to create a set that makes you dance as much as it makes you think. Along with tasty originals like “Creole” and “Doin’ the Thing,” Charles re-shapes Monk’s “Green Chimneys” and Bo Diddley’s “You Don’t Love Me (no no no).” George Allen said, “The future is now” in the ’70s, but with young players like Charles on the scene, it’s jazz’s future that’s now!

ANTONIO SANCHEZ: New LifeNumber Nine…
ANTONIO SANCHEZNew Life (CamJazz)
Many artists try to do too much on their first release as a leader, and it usually turns into a train wreck in short order. But Antonio Sanchez – a big-time sideman who’s visited Greater Nippertown with Pat Metheny and the New Gary Burton Quartet – threads the needle perfectly, serving up 8 superb originals that are just complex enough to make the brain bubble but not boil over. Next-level keyboardist John Escreet joins sax monsters David Binney and Donny McCaslin on the front line, and Sanchez teams with bassist Matt Brewer to drive this beautiful machine up and up and up. Maybe next time we see Sanchez in these parts, it’ll be with his own band.

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JAZZ 2K: CD Releases of the Month

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Reviews by J Hunter

EDITOR’S NOTE: J Hunter’ Jazz2K columns are leaping off your computer screen and onto the airwaves with his new “Jazz2K” radio show, heard weekly on Skidmore College’s WSPN-FM at 6pm on Tuesdays… including tonight.

Now that you get to hear this stuff as well as read about it, here are five discs that I’ve played before or will be playing soon:

Terence Blanchard: MagneticTERENCE BLANCHARD
Magnetic
(Blue Note)
He’s baaaaaaaaak! Skidmore’s favorite visiting scholar (and all-around monster musician) releases his first disc in four years, and from the sound of it, the trumpeter hasn’t been hanging about. The first notes of the title track bubble and squeak with the dark energy Blanchard’s been pumping out since he made writing soundtracks a secondary occupation. Tenorman Brice Winston makes a triumphant return to Blanchard’s front line, and his work on the bouncing closer “Time to Spare” and the aptly titled “Hallucinations” is like hearing an old friend walk through the door. Winston’s not doing all the saxy work, though, as Blanchard fulfills his wish to play with Ravi Coltrane on “Don’t Run” and Fabian Almazan’s classical gas “Pet Sitter’s Theme Song.” Almazan has not only grown into the piano chair once populated by Aaron Parks, but he may soon be another graduate of the Terence Blanchard School for Genius Musicians, taking his place next to cutting-edge alums like Parks, Lionel Loueke and Eric Harland. (Loueke’s ghostly guitar returns to spice up – and space out – “Pet Sitter” and Kendrick Scott’s drum opus “No Borders, Just Horizons.”) Almazan’s brilliant “Jacob’s Ladder” not only gives Blanchard a platform to shine as in days of old, but it gives guest bassist Ron Carter the best outlet he’s had to get phat in some time. With Blanchard, it’s always the whole and the sum of its parts, and Magnetic is another brilliant calculation that leaps off the blackboard and moves jazz forward once again. NOTE: The Terence Blanchard Group makes a tour stop at Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall in Lenox at 8pm on Friday (June 28), making the concert the perfect warm-up for this weekend’s Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival at SPAC.

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This Week’s Hit Parade

Monday, May 9th, 2011

PICKS OF THE WEEK: Jazz Appreciation Division, Part I

April 30th marked the end of Jazz Appreciation Month, a ten-year-old campaign by the Smithsonian to get more recognition for what the late Dr. Billy Taylor called “America’s classical music.” And that’s all well and good… except where I live, EVERY month is Jazz Appreciation Month, so why wait ‘til next year? With that in mind, here are a few things to look for the next time you think your iPod’s not stuffed enough:

Ryan Cohan: Another LookRYAN COHAN – “Another Look” (Motema, 2011)
This Skidmore Jazz Institute alum’s compositional skills have been well-documented; the title suite of his 2007 disc “One Sky” is a soaring soundtrack for the way life should be. “Another Look” delivers another set of great tunes, but most importantly, Cohan trims back his arrangements and shows the world what anyone familiar with him already knows: He’s also one kickass piano player! The funny-but-serious “Monkin’ Around” is a perfect tone-setter, the deconstruction/Latinization of Ellington’s “Caravan” is suitably epic, and Cohan’s two-part “Song for my Grandfather” is the kind of tribute everyone would want. GO, SKIDMORE!

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The Cock'N'Bull RestaurantHolly & EvanJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysCaffe LenaCartoonist John CaldwellAdvertise on Nippertown!Artist Charles HaymesThe LindaBerkshire On StageHudson SoundsAlbany PoetsLeave Regular Radio BehindMohawk Hudson Humane Society