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Author Archives: Mwanji Ezana

Freedom Art Quartet – Spirits Awake

Given the names of the quartet and the album and the album’s cover art, one could be excused for expecting free jazz with mystical overtones. Instead, one gets hard bop that goes out a bit, which, while firmly rooted in the classic 50s and 60s sound (indeed, the album’s 42-minute playing time is another reminder of the LP era), makes ... Read More »

Louis Sclavis – Napoli’s Walls

At 50, Louis Sclavis is something of an institution in his native France, enough in any case to draw ire from certain quarters. A steady stream of albums on labels like ECM and Label Bleu have assured him visibility and his willingness to embrace rhythm, melody and catchiness have ensured the popular success of his “African” trio with Henri Texier ... Read More »

Brad Mehldau Trio – 02/28/2004, Antwerpen

Concert review Read More »

Jean-Michel Pilc – Cardinal Points

Jean-Michel Pilc is a French pianist who decided at age 27 not to pursue the career his engineer studies had prepared him for. Starting in 2000, he broke into the collective conciousness on both sides of the Atlantic with a string of trio albums, accompanied by bassist François Moutin and drummer Ari Hoenig. Despite being self-taught, Pilc is a virtuoso ... Read More »

Atomic – Boom Boom

Just because Norway is a cold country doesn’t mean the music should be too. It’s not for nothing that Ken Vandermark wrote the over-excited liner notes: Chicago in the winter is probably almost as cold as Oslo. With a name like Atomic and two albums titled Feet Music and Boom Boom, one could be pardoned for expecting electro-jazz of some ... Read More »

Joel Frahm – Don’t Explain

This is the first I’ve heard of Joel Frahm, who aside from a few albums as leader, is also a part of singer Jane Monheit’s working band. On Don’t Explain, Frahm teams up with pianist and high-school buddy Brad Mehldau for nine duets on well-worn standards and one original. Typical blowing session fare, then, that allows the musicians space to ... Read More »