Acoustic Sounds

Music Reviews: Jazz

This charming, mood enhancing television special soundtrack has for decades been a favorite Christmas album. Lighthearted and breezy, sometimes sentimental and occasionally deep—as when the children's chorus of San Raphael's St. Paul's choir so innocently sings "Hark, The Herald Angels Sing". How the television special came to be and a soundtrack album produced is almost as charming as the end product itself. It's told in the gatefold... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

With eleven previous album releases to his credit as leader, recording with some of the best known names in contemporary jazz, it's not as if Elan Mehler is new to this, but if you didn't know and relied solely on his very personal annotation, you might think otherwise.He dedicates the album—the music—to his late mother who was a religious adventurer and traveler who he describes as "a mystic" whose collection of Sufi Mystical Islamic texts he... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

Monty Alexander's long association with the Montreux Jazz Festival produced many stellar musical moments. This double LP set culled from performances from 1993 through 2016 highlights many of them. There's a video interview with Alexander conducted by TrackingAngle editor Michael Fremer the day this review posts.

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genre Jazz Reggae format Vinyl

“David Bowie in Jazz"'s Aladdin Sane-era cover art might lead you to believe this Bowie tribute record is tied in with or is somehow connected to Bret Morgen’s feature-length "Moonage Daydream" documentary released September, 2022 in IMAX and standard theater formats and currently available for streaming and purchase on Amazon, itunes and other sites.The scant credits, however, indicate that the French Wagram Music label marketed and distributed... Read More

genre Jazz Jazz Fusion format Vinyl

Formed near the sunny sands of Rio De Janeiro in 1973, Azymuth is a Brazilian funk-jazz trio though they manage to sound like a much larger group, especially when hosting guest players. The band features Jose Roberto Bertrami (unfortunately, deceased in 2019) on an array of keyboards, Alex Malheiros on bass and Ivan Conti on drums. These three musicians initially connected with one another in a previous band called Group Projeto 3 which later became Grupo Seleção. The... Read More

Though the pianist Mal Waldron recorded more than 110 albums as a leader or co-leader, he is known mainly as a sideman to the likes of Coltrane, Mingus, Dolphy, Blakey, and, in her final few years, Billie Holiday. In 1963, he collapsed in a drug OD, took more than a year to recover, during which time he moved to Europe, where he would for the most part stay (he died in 2002 at the age of 77) and where he also crafted a new style, built less on chords and more on... Read More

genre Jazz format CD

It’s tragic that, in the past decade, physical catastrophes have struck two of our greatest jazz masters in their prime. Pulmonary thrombosis stopped Sonny Rollins from blowing the saxophone; two strokes prevented Keith Jarrett from ever again playing the piano. At least Rollins was in peak form for an 80th birthday concert (captured on "Road Trip, Vol. 3)"; Jarrett stayed active barely past his 70th. (Both are still alive, at 89 and 72, respectively.) Lucky... Read More

genre Jazz ECM Style Jazz format CD

Recorded in 1977 but not released until 1981 after Evans passed away September 15th, 1980 at age 51, You Must Believe In Spring was kind of "the great lost Bill Evans album". For those who bought it when it was first released as a single LP mastered by Doug Sax (Warner Brothers HS 3504) the question always was "Why was this not released immediately upon its completion?" The music is certainly up there with Evans' best on record and on a more... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

(Revised Sept 17, 2022)Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking: “What’s this now, another audiophile reissue of Kind of fu*king Blue?!” But here’s the thing: not only is this new one—pressed by Acoustic Sounds at 45rpm across two slabs of 200-gram UHQR Clarity vinyl—the best of the bunch; there almost certainly won’t be a better one for the foreseeable future.Not much need be said at this point about the 1959 Miles Davis classic: the best-selling jazz album of all time;... Read More

genre Jazz Cool Jazz format Vinyl

Charles Lloyd is a force of nature. At 84, he’s not only active but very nearly at the top of his game, blowing blues, ballads, and up-tempo rousers—holding whole notes and raining sheets of sound—with grace, verve, and beauty. He has also been a superb gatherer of talent over the decades. His breakthrough album as a leader, Dream Weaver, featured Keith Jarrett, Cecil McBee, and Jack DeJohnette, in 1966, before any of them were known. In the past decade, unlike some... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

October 1st, 2022

Tangled Up In "Blue Train" The new reissue is the one to have

By: Michael Fremer

Blue Train is old enough to be on Social Security, yet this reissue (with an additional album of alternative takes) seems to have created a stir probably greater than when it was first released January, 1958. Rudy Van Gelder recorded it in his Hackensack, New Jersey home studio, September, 15th 1957, 65 years ago to the day I’m writing this.Blue Train is the only album Coltrane recorded for Blue Note. He’d signed with Prestige and did this “one off” built upon a... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

The drummer Tyshawn Sorey has made his mark mainly as an experimental musician, composer, and conductor—a McArthur Genius Grant winner who spans the gamut between contemporary classical and avant-garde jazz, with stints as sideman to the likes of Marilyn Crispell, Roscoe Mitchell, and Anthony Braxton. But lately he’s taken small steps toward the mainstream, playing in Vijay Iyer’s trio and now, with Mesmerism, leading his own trio on an album of standards. Except for... Read More

genre Jazz format Vinyl

(This review originally appeared in Issue 7, Spring 1996.)Joni Mitchell may have written “The Circle Game,” but it took Cassandra Wilson to grab pop by the throat and drag it around in one of the widest, deepest grooves of an unlikely circle you’ll ever hear, reconfiguring it as simmering, steamy jazz/blues. If you start this disc on the third track, “Solomon Sang”—a Wilson original—you might even be fooled into thinking it was Joni in her most recent smoky... Read More

genre Jazz Vocal Jazz format CD