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Album Reviews
Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014
Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn are mainstays on the debut album by Five Plus Six, a skillful multi-generational outfit led by arranger-trumpeter Vance Thompson. The Knoxville, Tenn., big band handles the complex orchestrations with aplomb, staying straight ahead while adding a hint of
Album Reviews
Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014
Simo Lagnawi came to attention busking on London streets. Even in that polyglot capital he must have stood out for his colorful tribal garb and music. The Moroccan Berber expatriate maintains a thrumming, hypnotic groove throughout his latest album, whether accompanied by a chorus of polyrhythmic percussion or
Album Reviews
Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014
A feast of beautiful women’s voices is served in the latest release by Moira Smiley & VOCO. With the inspiration of polyphonic chorales such as the Bulgarian Women’s Choir, Smiley began as a Balkan song collector and has only widened her grasp. On Laughter Out of Tears, Smiley and company bring virtuosic vocals to
Album Reviews
Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014
Guitarist-composer Tom Chang opens Tongue & Groove loud with the appropriately named “Spinal Tap/Goes to 11,” whose whirling jazz is amped up by electric guitar and a heavy touch on the drum sticks while fierce soloing is heard in the sax section. But much of the latest album from the New
Album Reviews
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
 The award-winning pianist Fred Hersch returns with a new album of jazz a la Dave Brubeck. Intricately knotted melodies, angled sideways to the rhythms, are delivered with cool panache throughout Floating. Hersch focuses on his own compositions but includes a pair of standards and concludes the disc with Thelonious
Thursday, June 19, 2014
 An extraterrestrial phenomenon impacts the lives of three otherwise unconnected people in widely spaced parts of the Earth—Los Angeles, London and a Japanese forest. With Celeste, graphic novelist I.N.J. Culbard lets the visual aspects of the medium tell the story through the arrangement of
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
 Many Wisconsinites have tossed a freshly caught fish into the frying pan or gone hunting for mushrooms. John Motoviloff explores the forest-to-table concept in his

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