Jazz Institute of Chicago

Reviews

School Days: In Our Times

School Days: In Our Times

While their first opus maintained some ties with the eponymous Steve Lacy/Roswell Rudd group, In Our Times finds the band severing them and bringing some changes. The quartet is now a quintet with Kjell Nordeson—a member of the AALY Trio—joining the crew. Recorded live in a club in Norway , the music feels rawer and more reckless, especially in Ken Vandermark’s case. There is definitely a bigger stress on improvisation but the musicians forgo self-indulgence to stay concise and focused.

Nicole Mitchell/Black Earth Ensemble: Afrika Rising

Nicole Mitchell/Black Earth Ensemble: Afrika Rising

The very much anticipated follow-up to Vision Quest does not disappoint and shows growth and maturity with, this time, a focus on orchestration. She succeeds in shaping a full-bodied and luxuriant sound. In the process, the Black Earth Ensemble seems larger than its actual size.

Bobby Broom: Stand!

Bobby Broom: Stand!

We often tend to forget where jazz standards come from. Popular songs culled from Broadway musicals or Tin Pan Alley were transformed and adapted to the jazz idiom. One might then wonder why more modern popular tunes never received a comparable treatment. Purposefully or not, guitarist Bobby Broom corrects this situation with "Stand!", a collection of hits from the 60's and early 70's which follows in the steps of the recent "Modern Man" where one can find jazz versions of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" and Eric Clapton's "Layla."

John McLean: Easy Go

John McLean: Easy Go

Scott Rosenberg: IE

Scott Rosenberg: IE

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, reedist Scott Rosenberg relocated to Chicago a couple of years ago, and has been very active in promoting his music since. "IE" is an ambitious project for a 27-piece orchestra which focuses on Scott Rosenberg as a composer (as an instrumentalist, he is only featured on contrabass clarinet on the opening track).

The Flying Luttenbachers: Alptraum

The Flying Luttenbachers: Alptraum

Kyle Bruckmann: Entymology

Kyle Bruckmann: Entymology

No, you read it right. There is no misspelling because in exploring his instrument's vocabulary, Kyle Bruckmann produces at times sounds that evoke the flight of an insect. Kyle Bruckmann is a young oboe player who just released what is probably the first solo recording on this instrument (two other double reed instruments are featured as well: the English horn and the Chinese suona).

Eric Roth Trio: Program 16

Chicago has a lot of new talents who are working hard to get heard. This is the first release of a trio led by a young and versatile drummer, Eric Roth.

Jon Menges: Changes Within

Jon Menges: Changes Within

Jazz has certainly always been about change and on his first CD as a leader, Jon Menges seems to celebrate the concept on a variety of levels. Considering the contrast of the two standards within this collection of mostly original tunes, this collection could easily be about transitional change. But if we consider the alternating palette of bright and dark tones between guitar and trumpet, soprano and flugelhorn to be found here in abundance, we might well be dealing with a different kind of change.

The Phil Mosberg Quartet: Forest Through the Trees

The Phil Mosberg Quartet: Forest Through the Trees

The Phil Mosberg Quartet consists of some find young musicians who are bringing some freshness to the Chicago jazz landscape. On "Forest Through the Trees", the band goes through a well-balanced program of original compositions.

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