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What Others Are Saying

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  • The Soul Rebels Bring the Bounce With Big Freedia-Assisted ‘Good Time’ Video: Premiere 08.13.19

    As New Orleans natives, The Soul Rebels naturally know how to have a good time. With the brass band heading for the release of their Poetry in Motion album this fall, the eight-piece ensemble teams with a couple of fellow Big Easy residents in Denisia and bounce pioneer Big Freedia for the sun-drenched "Good Time" visual.

  • Julian Lage: Love Hurts 05.21.19

    Julian Lage is a tremendously talented acoustic guitarist and by all accounts a polite, mild mannered kind of guy. Though this might not be the whole story. The cover picture of his album is of twenty used matches, which is thought to refer to his worries of becoming burnt-out after being hailed as a child prodigy then burdened with the lofty expectations of his admirers. 

  • Jazz Organ Master Joey DeFrancesco Collaborates with Pharoah Sanders on ‘In the Key of the Universe” 05.21.19

    The first track on the latest recording from Joey DeFrancesco is what you might expect from the organ expert and swinging veteran. "Inner Being" is a graceful, upbeat tune that layers DeFrancesco's organ colors with both Sammy Figueroa's percussion and the organic drumming of veteran Billy Hart. The passages of the composition in which the organ plays in melodic sync with the soprano saxophone of Troy Roberts (the native of Perth, Australia who has made New York his home in recent years) are lovely, launching an engaging set of solos...

  • Julian Lage winner of the Paul Acket Award 2019 05.21.19

    Julian Lage is the winner of the Paul Acket Award 2019. This prize is granted annually by the festival and presented to an artist deserving wider recognition for their extraordinary musicianship.

  • Herlin Riley’s Swinging, Modern Style Shines On ‘Perpetual Optimism’ 05.21.19

    The New Orleans drummer produces jazz with its own distinct character on his new album. Critic Kevin Whitehead says Perpetual Optimism is marked by Riley's upbeat nature and attention to detail.

  • Herlin Riley: Perpetual Optimism (Mack Avenue) 05.19.19

    Following his previous recordings Watch What You’re Doing, Cream of the Crescent, and New Direction, Riley’s Perpetual Optimism is infectious, engaging, and irresistible.

  • Herlin Riley: Perpetual Optimism review – good-natured ease, brilliantly done 04.21.19

    The tunes are lucid, the rhythms catchy, and the bright ideas keep on coming. 

  • Standards, Old and New 04.04.19

    Cyrille Aimée, whose initial experience with singing Sondheim came only six years ago during a series of City Center performances in New York, has taken a fresh look at this music, setting it in new and exciting arrangements.

  • REVIEW: Joey DeFrancesco’s New Album, “In The Key Of the Universe” 04.01.19

    Though there’s plenty of bounce and swing in play throughout the 10-track program, DeFrancesco’s self-professed embrace of spiritual jazz employs the kind of contemplative aura that gave so many of yesteryear’s exploratory efforts their personality. Functionally, it can come from the use of dreamy long tones and pensive phrasings. At several points here, a simmering heat, rather than a roiling squall, shapes the record’s temperament.

  • Joey DeFrancesco: In The Key Of The Universe 03.22.19

    Joey DeFrancesco has stretched himself regularly throughout the course of thirty-plus albums. Just since Project Freedom(Mack Avenue, 2017) he's collaborated very productively for two albums with the Irish soulman Van Morrison—You're Driving Me Crazy (Sony Legacy, 2018) and The Prophet Speaks(Caroline, 2018). And, on In The Key of the Universe, the organist/trumpeter reaffirms his connection with jazz history through fruitful work with estimable musicians including saxophonist Pharoah Sanders and drummer Billy Hart.
    DeFrancesco himself sounds effortless as he applies a light touch in play on "Inner Being," but that approach extends to the collective, incorporating the solid rhythmic presence of percussionist Sammy Figueroa. "Vibrations in Blue" is suitably atmospheric, but the ensemble swings nonetheless: on this record, metaphysics are no less important than the earthy side of life. Accordingly, the droning of sitar for the intro and outro of that latter cut resides right next to the high-stepping excursion that is "Awake and Blissed; " as with its surrounding tracks, the musicians are so fully engaged the visceral impact of this music equals the cerebral.

  • Recent Listening: Chucho Valdes 03.21.19

    Valdes’ Jazz Batá was considered a departure into the avant garde when he made it in 1972. That trio recording was a preview of advances to come from the great Cuban pianist and composer. Nearly half a century later, the followup finds him as adventurous as ever, heading a quartet that concentrates on mastery of the batá tradition of West Africa, long a major component of Cuban music. In their rhythmic power and harmonic acuity, Valdes’ piano solos throughout are riveting, none moreso than his work on “Ochún,” a Haitian merengue that recalls Chucho’s father Bebo because of the elder Valdéz’s close association with Haiti.

  • Cyrille Aimée: Move On-A Sondheim Adventure 03.21.19

    It was a wise and courageous choice, exemplified by this strong collection of interpretations of the Stephen Sondheim songbook.