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Reviews (CDs and Recorded Media)
cd_angle_100.pngThis category covers reviews of jazz material including CDs, DVDs, and other recorded material.   Reviews are not necessarily directed at the most recent releases.   If you would like to submit a review, please get in touch with us via the 'contact us' button.   Your review need not be of the artist's 'latest' material - it could be one of your favourites that you would like to tell us about....

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'I Can't Get Started'
jackson_img'I Can't Get Started' performed by Julian Jackson.
Personnel: Julian Jackson (ldr/harmonica), Tim Lapthorn (pno), Tom Herbert (bass), Patrick Levett (drs)
Category: Quartets/Quintets
Reference: 33JAZZ129
You only have to listen to the first few seconds of this album to realize that Julian Jackson is a true master of the harmonica and that he has a tone to rival that of his heroes, Larry Aldler and 'Toots' Thielemans. ............ click on the header to read the full review....

'The Lyric'
lyric_img'The Lyric' performed by Jim Tomlinson (with Stacey Kent).
Personnel: Jim Tomlinson (ldr/tnr), Stacey Kent (voc), David Newton (pno), Dave Chamberlain (bass), Matt Skelton (drs).
Category: Vocal.
Reference: Token 0501
There is a story of Ben Webster, that he once stopped playing, right in the middle of a ballad.   When asked 'why?', he replied 'I forgot the words'.   The story is probably apochryphal, but the fact that it exists is an indication that jazzers recognise the importance of the lyric and its poetry for phrasing and mood.   This album is a dedication to it.

Supplying the lyrics, beautifully enunciated, on this CD is Stacey Kent, ............ click on the header to read the full review....

'From This Moment On'
ftmo_img'From This Moment On' performed by Diana Krall.
Personnel from: Diana Krall (ldr/voc/pno) and rhythm
The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.   (All personnel listed on main review).
Category: Vocal.
Reference: Verve 1705042
This album must be jazz because it was nominated for a Grammy for 'best jazz vocal'.   All the ingredients are there – a singer, who can turn a nifty pianistic jazz phrase, supported by a star-studded, west coast big band.   Does it cook?   Read on.

Anyone who can fill the Albert Hall on more than one occasion and sells an album to 7% of their native Canadian population has a track record .......... click on the header to read the full review....

cloudburst_img'Cloudburst' performed by Trudy Kerr.
Personnel from: Trudy Kerr (ldr/voc), Tom Cawley (pno), Sam Burgess (bass), Steve Brown (drs), Alan Skidmore (tnr), Dick Pearce (tpt), Derek Nash (bari).
Category: Vocal.
Reference: Jazzizit JITCD0538
The job title 'jazz singer' has been so ill-used that it is a real pleasure to come across someone who really merits the description   This CD is a jewel - a set of jazz standards, beautifully sung, played and improvised.   Ms. Kerr doesn't scat on this album but she delivers a stream of vocalese with incredible insouciance, that is a delight.

For novitiates, 'scat' is a sung melody or improvisation ........... click on the header to read the full review....

'Noted', 'Until The Stars Fade' and 'Straight Ahead'
noted_img'Noted' performed by Anita Wardell.
Personnel: Anita Wardell (ldr/voc), Robin Aspland (pno), Jeremy Brown (bass), Steve Brown (drs), Alex Garnett (tnr).
Category: Vocal.
Reference: Specific Jazz SPEC006
utsf_img'Until The Stars Fade' performed by the Anita Wardell Quartet.
Personnel from: Anita Wardell (ldr/voc), Robin Aspland (pno), Jeremy Brown (bass),Mark Taylor (drs), Gene Calderazzo (drs).
Category: Vocal.
Reference: Symbol Records SR20010101.
straight_ahead_img'Straight Ahead' performed by Anita Wardell.
Personnel: Anita Wardell (ldr/voc), Jason Rebello (pno), Arnie Somogyi (bass), Marc Meader (drs).
Category: Vocal.
Reference: 33Records 33JAZZ044.
Three albums together, which show the development of a jazz singer over 20 years.   The oldest recording is 'Straight Ahead' recorded in 1998 and which the singer says, 'showed what she had been working on for the previous 10 years.   In 2001, Ms. Wardell recorded 'Until The Stars Fade' and, more recently, the album 'Noted', in the process winning the BBC 'Best Of Jazz' award in 2006.

A problem for any artist is that, having scaled the heights,........... click on the header to read the full review....

'How My Heart Sings'
 how_my_heart_sings_img'How My Heart Sings' performed by Mark Crooks .
Personnel: Mark Crooks (ldr/ten/clt), John Pearce (pno), Matt Miles (bass), Steve Brown (drs)
Category: Quartet/Quintet.
Reference: Mac 251.
The clarinet is an often unfairly maligned instrument in the jazz world.   Frank Wess, the eminent octogenarian saxophonist, was reputed to have said, 'the clarinet was invented by two guys who didn't know each other'.   Another standout saxophonist, George Coleman, was one of many to have uttered the quip 'the only time Woody Allen made me laugh was when he picked up the clarinet'.   These glib and offhand remarks aside, there is a difficulty........... click on the header to read the full review....

'Urban Groove'
urban_groove_img'Urban Groove' performed by Saxtet .
Personnel: Andy Tweed (ldr/bari/clt), Jamie Anderson (tnr), Luke Annesley (sop/alto), Richard Exall (alto/clt), Karen Street (tnr/acc)
Category: Quartet/Quintet.
Reference: JPVP127.
Saxophone quartets have been all the rage ever since The World Saxophone Quartet started in 1976.   This phenomenon has spawned many groups, such as Saxtet, which seems to have an unending grasp of styles and versatility, exemplified in looking back to early 20th century saxophone repertoire, to post-1970s inspired funky tenor honks and wails in improvisational cacophony.   This versatility impresses........... click on the header to read the full review....

'Lucky Boys'
lucky_boys_img'Lucky Boys' performed by the Tim Whitehead-Giovanni Mirabassi Ouartet .
Personnel: Tim Whitehead (co-ldr/tnr), Giovanni Mirabassi (co-ldr/pno) Oli Hayhurst (bass), Milo Fell (drs)
Category: Quartet/Quintet.
Reference: HomeMade Records 050.
Tenor saxophonist Tim Whitehead and pianist Giovanni Mirabassi have collaborated on their first CD together Lucky Boys, released on Tim's own label HomeMade Records.   This effort includes a variety of recording locales as well as both original and standard repertoire.   While both leaders contribute spirited and distinguished compositions, those by the pianist resonate the most with this listener........... click on the header to read the full review....

'Heart of the Sun'
heart_of_the_sun_img'Heart of the Sun' performed by Theo Travis .
Personnel from: Theo Travis (ldr/saxes/flt), David Gordon (pno/org), Stefan Weeke (bass), Andy Hamill (bass), Palle Mikkelborg (tpt/flugel), Stewart Curtis (clt), Mark Wood (gtr), Daevid Allen (gtr), Björn Lücker (drs), Marc Parnell (drs)
Category: Small Band.
Reference: 331au063.
Theo Travis possesses a dark, sonorous and engaging tone, especially on the tenor sax.   It is easy on the ear, and consistent with itself throughout the registers.   On his newly released Heart of the Sun, his largely British group is enhanced by the efforts of a few Scandinavian musicians, most notably Palle Mikkelborg............ click on the header to read the full review....

symbiosis_img'Symbiosis' performed by Tommy Smith and Brian Kellock .
Personnel: Tommy Smith (tnr), Brian Kellock (pno)
Category: Sax-piano duo.
Reference: Spartacus Records.
This CD features a set of mostly vintage "Standards" from the 1930s and 40s by the top practitioners of this art form today in the UK.   It was recorded in 2004 on Spartacus Records, which appears to be Mr Smith's own label............ click on the header to read the full review....

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  • Performers  ( 9 items )
    pork_pie_1_100.pngThis category selection provides access to stories, inteviews, analyses and other literature dealing with Performers in jazz.   The current material covers interviews with Sir John Dankworth and Pete Cater and a retrospective of Bill Evans.   If you would like to submit an article or an item of a relevant nature, please get in touch with us via the 'contact us' button. Tell us about your jazz.....
  • Aspects of music practice and performance  ( 4 items )
    saxHands_1_100.pngItems in this category deal with the 'nuts and bolts' of practising your music and finding outlets for your product.   Subjects covered to date are 'getting gigs', 'developing improvising skills from a 'classical' background' and 'potential physiological problems of being a practising musician'.   Contact us to make a contribution....