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Roll Call: November 30, 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 do quick hits on the releases of the preceding seven days. it’s a great writing exercise, and a lot of fun, too.

Jeff Ellwood The Sounds Around the House coverYou never get a second chance to make a first impression, the old saying goes. So, when you’re planning your debut CD release, why not surround yourself with some highly accomplished A-listers? That’s what Jeff Ellwood did on “The Sounds Around the House,” and it pays off

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Moving On and Moving Up

For about 35 years I prowled various dark corners of the advertising/PR/marketing world, a place that’s governed by deadlines. To maintain my sanity, and to feel that I might contribute something to the world, I started writing cultural journalism as a newspaper freelancer. Both of those paths have come to an end (though I’m keeping my fingers crossed about my newspaper gig returning), but I still crave the adrenaline rush of a deadline. Like caffeine, a deadline is a stressor I simply can’t seem to live without.

To be sure, I’m still writing. That much can be confirmed by scrolling through this blog, but somehow, blogging didn’t satisfy the way bylines did. So I went looking for some, and I found Rob Shepherd, publisher of PostGenre Media, through my membership in the Jazz Journalists Association. Through Rob’s kindness, I’ve published three reviews there with more on the way. You can read them here.

All About Jazz has been around a long time, but I never thought of asking to write for it. A few weeks ago, with the encouragement of Mark Corotto, an AAJ contributor whose Xeroxed newsletter published my first jazz writing a very long time ago, I joined the AAJ staff. My first review for the site, of Dafnis Prieto’s “Transparency,” can be read here.

I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to publish in places that are not, well, this place. No, I’m not going to give up the blog. And who knows, these new writing assignments might unleash a flood of creativity that will spill over to let’s call this. That’s the kind of motivation a bunch of deadlines can provide.

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Previewing the Noah Haidu Trio at Bop Stop, Sept, 28

The tribute record has a long history in the music business.  Like a Hollywood franchise film or a celebrity-branded product, tribute records work best when they yoke an unfamiliar to the powerful engine of what is known, loved and pre-sold.

By that definition, maybe pianist Noah Haidu’s new Sunnyside Records CD, “Doctone,” which he will premiere at Cleveland’s Bop Stop on September 28, is not a tribute record at all. Haidu’s CD and the book and documentary film that will accompany it, are dedicated to the late pianist Kenny Kirkland, a name that might be unfamiliar to all but the geekiest jazz fans. Mention him to jazz insiders, though, and they will describe him as a genius and a monster player.

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Roll Call: September 11, 2020

I get a lot of music for my consideration, more than 360 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 do quick hits on the releases of the preceding seven days. it’s a great writing exercise, and a lot of fun, too.

Think of Something to Say as a map that leads the listener directly to trombonist Matt Haviland‘s musical heart. He gets you there pretty quick, exploding out of the blocks with Freddie Hubbard’s “Arietis,” the adrenalized hard-bop workout that led off Hubbard’s “Ready for Freddie.” That classic Blue Note session was recorded in 1961, and Johnathan Blake’s muscular, post-Tony Williams drum style excepted,

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Roll Call: September 4, 2020

I get a lot of music for my consideration, more than 345 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 do quick hits on the releases of the preceding seven days. it’s a great writing exercise, and a lot of fun, too.

Trumpeter Michael Sarian was born in Toronto to Armenian parents, grew up in Buenos Aires and has lived in New York since 2012. Yet his sound is closest to lyrical European players such as Enrico Rava, Tomasz Stanko and Kenny Wheeler.

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