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Roll Call: December 25, 2020

 

I get a lot of music for my consideration, more than 460 new releases so far this year. Almost all of them are notable for something, and I’d like to give them their due. So every week, I’ll offer hot takes on the releases of the preceding seven days. Understandably, this week wasn’t a strong one for new releases, but can’t stop won’t stop.

 

For years, I’ve been touting Toronto as the next jazz hot spot. With its large, diverse and cosmopolitan population, thriving immigrant communities from the Afro-Caribbean diaspora, concentration of media outlets and, like it or not, affluence, Toronto looks a lot like London. The Old Grey Lady is grey no more. Representing the funkier side of this scene, drummer Joe Bowden offers “Roots – Tales Of The Urban Yoda,”

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Roll Call: December 18, 2020

 

I get a lot of music for my consideration, more than 450 new releases so far this year. Almost all of them are notable for something, and I’d like to give them their due. So every week, I’ll offer hot takes on the releases of the preceding seven days. it’s a great writing exercise, and a lot of fun, too.

 

Alto saxophonist David Bixler recently emerged from a nearly decade-long recording silence following a family medical emergency. The title of his third post-return release, “Inside the Grief,” points to that experience, but it is a response to the horrific events of the year that is mercifully about to end. Like a lot of new recordings we’re likely to hear in 2021, “Inside the Grief” keeps the instrumental forces lean, but strong.

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