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Album Reviews
Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013

Red Hot (Hot Cup)

 Louis Armstrong sitting in with the Art Ensemble of Chicago? Buddy Bolden jamming with McCoy Tyner, with Fletcher Henderson dropping by for a few bars? That’s roughly the idea behind the latest recording by the prolific New York jazz orchestra Mostly Other People Do the Killing. Postmodern juxtaposition runs
Album Reviews
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013

Corazon (Gn Musica)

 As prominent ambassadors of Puerto Rican culture, the band Plena Libre has played everywhere from the Lincoln Center to Morocco. Corazon continues along their familiar groove with music generically categorized as salsa but
Album Reviews
Friday, Feb. 1, 2013

Heritage

 Vocalist-percussionist Angel d’Cuba is, as his name suggests, a native Cuban. But even before defecting to the U.S. and settling in Chicago, he began absorbing myriad influences from beyond his island home. On Heritage, his confident handling of salsa shows d’Cuba’s command of that
Album Reviews
Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012

Elegancia Tropical (Polen Records)

 Echoes of old Colombian rhythms can be heard within Bomba Estereo’s glow-stick electronica and synthetic beats. Elegancia’s tempos run from cool to fiery in colorfully textured dance club mixes. The Bogota-based group has
Album Reviews
Friday, Nov. 2, 2012

Somewhere is Here!

 Israel has been a destination for Jews from many lands and the nation’s multiculturalism is explored by the acoustic guitar duo Isra-Alien. Oren Neiman’s roots are in jazz and Gilad Ben Zvi are in rock, but their music, while echoing
Album Reviews
Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012

LiveSplashes

The music on LiveSplashes begins with the mysterious tinkle of a vibraphone and dives into liquid grooves composed from Third World and jazz influences. The members of Moscow's Exit...
Album Reviews
Friday, June 8, 2012

Twelve (In + Out)

She was born in Azerbaijan but raised in Rotterdam—and that was a lucky thing for jazz musician Amina Figarova. Figarova was fortunate to grow up in a country where jazz is respected as an art form and the scene continues to thrive. Twelve gives no hint...
Album Reviews
Friday, May 4, 2012

Ride

Sara Erde began by rapping with Neneh Cherry and now pairs her urban contemporary vocals with the Andalusian cry of Alfonso Cid in Caramelo. The NYC group brings a jigger of jazz, a touch of klezmer and a heaping serving of flamenco to hot R&B...
Album Reviews
Monday, Feb. 27, 2012

Return from the Unknown

Incredibly, Rick Drumm is actually a drummer. The music industry veteran recently survived chemo for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and decided to focus on “attaining some unfulfilled musical goals.” One of them was making a CD inspired in some way by his...
Album Reviews
Friday, Feb. 17, 2012

Drifting

Chicago's Kmang Kmang sometimes sound like the unanticipated convergence of alt rock and ECM jazz—with a world of other influences distilled into the mix. At the group's core is Barmey Ung, a Cambodian American who studied classical...