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WOMAD 2017

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WOMAD Charlton Park Malmesbury, England July 27-30, 2017 The WOMAD global music festival has mostly been immune to bad weather during its 35 year history. World Of Music, Arts & Dance traditionally occupies the last weekend of July, which mostly guarantees a good scorching. There was the notorious WOMUD of 2007, its debut at the Charlton Park estate, close to Malmesbury in the West Country of England. Then, there was heavy downpouring ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chicago / London Underground: A Night Walking Through Mirrors

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Rob Mazurek is a remarkable musician, with a rare breadth and depth of expression. Off-hand, the only artist I can think of who possesses a similar emotional profile is Wadada Leo Smith. Like Smith, Mazurek can sear your ears and nerves one minute and soothe your soul the next, without any sense of strain or contrivance in the transition. This capacity was displayed in an especially emotional way with his 2014 release Return the Tides: Ascension Suite and Holy Ghost ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joshua Rager Nonet: Jondo

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It's hard to decide what to make of this. Canadian-based composer / pianist Joshua Rager has assembled a splendid corps of musicians, nine in all (plus trumpeter Andy King on the three-part “Prodigal Son Suite"), to perform seven of the leader's original themes, one by Andre White and another by the Hollywood songwriting team of Al Dubin and Harry Warren. Rager writes well, perhaps a touch too well, as much of the music veers more toward scholarly than spontaneous, almost ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nestor Torres: Jazz Flute Traditions

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Born in Puerto Rico in 1957, Néstor Torres began learning the flute at the age of 12. Moving with his family to New York when he was 18, he studied jazz and classical music at the Mannes College of Music in New York and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. Following in the wake of over fifteen albums, including the Grammy and Latin Grammy-nominated Nouveau Latino, released in 2008, Jazz Flute Traditions is an homage to early pioneers ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Attias: Nerve Dance

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Like many, Michaël Attias cultivates multiple outlets for his vibrant alto saxophone. Having moved to NYC in 1994, Attias is now inescapably associated with that city's downtown scene. What unites his Quartet with his other outfits like Renku and Spun Tree is quality. In part that's down to the variety and imagination of the frameworks Attias provides, but also down to the rich pool of players he calls on for their realization. This time out pianist Aruán Ortiz, bassist John ...

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Mike Stern: What A Trip

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"I never trip. I just don't. But then, it just happened." This is how Mike Stern began his story as he explained to my wife and I how it happened. If you somehow missed it, “it" refers to the tumble Stern took in July of 2016. This accidental fall resulting in both shoulders being shattered. In addition to the broken humerus bones and broken arms, he suffered serious nerve damage in his right arm and right hand.

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Jeong Lim Yang: Déjà Vu

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On her excellent debut record, Déjà Vu, bassist Jeong Lim Yang proves that there's more than one way to make a first impression on a listener. Rather than taking the obvious route with up-tempo workouts or deviously complex compositions, Yang is content to carve out plenty of open space for her music to breathe. Her graceful melodies take shape with subtlety and a quiet assurance that stems both from her skill on her instrument and from the nuanced contributions of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Various Artists: Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts

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Tribute concerts are often a mixed bag, especially if the idea is to bring a group of stars together to pay homage to an influential musical figure. The recent tribute to the wonderful singer, Tony Bennett, Tony Bennett Celebrates 90 (Columbia, 2016) is a sad case in point. There is no shortage of stars on that particular album, but the aesthetic understanding of Bennett's music is so limited that it reduces rather than expands the scope of his musical legacy. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Dan Banks Quintet: Two in a Box

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On Two in a Box, British pianist Dan Banks' quintet revisits a Golden Age in jazz when hard bop was king and record labels like Prestige and Blue Note delivered the latest sounds to an astute and appreciative audience. Without mimicry, Banks reimagines the indomitable spirit of such masters as Red Garland, Wynton Kelly, Bobby Timmons, Horace Silver and their peers, while trumpeter Paul Higgs bares his inner Lee Morgan /Donald Byrd / Woody Shaw / Freddie Hubbard and tenor ...


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