Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged jazz

Come Over

Patty Carpenter and the Dysfunctional Family Jazz Band (PCATDFJB) are a troupe of musicians who are also family members. Singer Patty was married to saxophonist Scotty, and they had daughter (who is also the band’s other singer) Melissa. Patty and Scotty broke up, and Patty married the band’s manager, Charles, and together they had son Travis who plays bass. This album is essentially like being trapped on a couch in the living room of your new neighbors watching an endless slide-show of their family’s summer vacation.

Small Source of Comfort

Full disclosure: Bruce Cockburn (COE-burn) is Canadian; I’m Canadian. There aren’t that many of us. We’re the world’s second largest country, with a population smaller than California. So we back our homeys when they’re world-class: Angela Hewitt, Frederick Banting, Sandra Oh, Denys Arcand, Jim Carrey, Diana Krall, Leonard Cohen, Karen Kain, Tom Thomson, David Suzuki, Cirque du Soleil.

Pandora's Box

Conventional wisdom says that every young popster or rocker, no matter how devoted, will one day grow into a consumer of smooth jazz. How else to explain Rod Stewart's resurgence as a tuxedo-clad, Bing-style crooner (aside from a mid-seventies deal with Beelzebub himself)?

Dancing on the Moon

Lisa Bell delivers the goods on her third album, mixing blues, jazz, pop, and roots into a bright, sparkling mix.

Experiments In A Jazz Aesthetic: Art, Activism, Academia, and the Austin Project

In June 2009, I participated in a writing workshop with Sharon Bridgforth, not knowing what to expect and not knowing what I was expected to give. I only knew that I loved music, having already pledged my undying love for jazz at a young age, and that I loved writing; but I never intended to leave with a blueprint for the foundation of how I would put pen to paper from that point on.

As It Turns Out

Melanie Flannery fronts a New York-based jazz ensemble called the Mel Flannery Trucking Co. Backed by bassist Matt Aronoff, drummer Danny Sher, and keyboardist and songwriting collaborator Lee Pardini, Flannery cultivated a sound that bridges pop, cabaret, jazz, and soul. Their latest offering, As It Turns Out, remains consistent with previous releases. It also has little to recommend itself. While not unpleasant, the album did not capture my imagination.

The Great Silence: Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age

The Great Silence starts out with a story that is never fun to tell—the story of a war—the First World War. Nicolson writes of a part of life that divides humans like no other, but also remedies that story with one that is incomparable in drawing us together—that of music.

Xenogensesis II: Intergalactic Beings (4/30/2010)

I purchased a copy of Octavia Butler’s Bloodchild at a secondhand bookstore and let it rest on my shelf for years as next-to-read. Fortunately, it was in my bag when I was shuttled from the ER to a hospital for a week-long stay: I possessed a means of transport away from a battered attempt at sterility and the monotony of crisis to an intense, sparse yet beautifully rendered world. I was reading Octavia Butler.


A few weeks back, Sabrina Chap (born Chapadjiev) contacted me to see if I wanted to review her new album, Oompa! Never one to turn down a free meal from female musicians, I obliged and she mailed me a copy (with a handwritten letter, no less — thanks, Sabrina!).

Levantine Indulgence

Singer and composer Gaida’s debut album Levantine Indulgence is named for Levant, the Fertile Crescent’s desert oasis. Aptly named, this album offers listeners an abundance of vocal and instrumental styles that even the most resistant listeners can find nourishing and enchanting. The opening track, “Dream,” begins with rhythmic clapping and percussion and a chorus of male voices who share vocals with the lead singer.

The Rest of Your Life

As an avid jazz fan, I was delighted to review Debbie Cunningham’s album of standards. I was even more delighted when I received the CD in the mail and found that Cunningham is from my native Tennessee. A blurb on the back of the jewel case read that it was a “great CD to just kick back with a glass of wine and relax,” so I prepared accordingly. The verdict? It was, indeed, quite an enjoyable experience. The professional, smooth sound of the trio first caught my attention.

Princess Noire: The Tumultuous Reign of Nina Simone

Lately, I’ve been reading about artists, creativity, and the psychological eccentricities that draw the two together and force them into a lifelong bond. It is typical for artistic greats to be different from the mainstream, for they tend to be blessed with innovation, perseverance, and, well, a great deal of futuristic talent. If it were to have been different with Nina Simone, I would have been immensely disappointed.

Songs for a Sinking Ship

Not many people have heard of April Smith, but I’ve become quite the enthusiastic fan. Her music combines elements of pop and rock, but her voice has more of a jazz quality that gives the end result a great mix and unique style. I loved her previous album, loveletterbombs, and I saw Smith perform live a couple of times, so when I heard she was raising money for a new album through Kickstarter, I signed right up to contribute.

Malaikat dan Singa

The music of Arrington de Dionyso (also of the band Old Time Relijun) lies somewhere in a crazy Venn Diagram where Sonic Youth, Nick Cave (circa [The Birthday Party](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004T0N7?ie=UTF8&tag=feminrevie-20&linkC

Devil’s Halo

I have always admired the artist who is not afraid to spotlight the daily catharsis we call life, and put it into an artistic pill that the masses will not sicken themselves on if left to process with their own devices. Some examples of this type of artist are Marvin Gaye, James Baldwin, and Stevie Wonder. I am not comparing or contrasting; I am simply stating personal observations and opinions. People generally do not get criticized by those closest to them for their growth—be it emotionally, spiritually, or even physically.

The Jazz Baroness

It is not difficult to be unconventional in the eyes of the world when your unconventionality is but the convention of your set. - William Somerset Maugham The preceding quote could very well be used to describe the Baroness Pannonica ("Nica") Rothschild de Koenigswarter’s attitude toward her decidedly eccentric lifestyle. The Baroness is the subject of The Jazz Baroness, which premieres tonight at 8 p.m. ET/PT on HBO2.


Playing in subway stations wasn’t that fun for us At first it was, but now it’s getting old First it was, but now I’m getting cold - “Playing in Subway Stations” I owe my fascination, adoration, and patronage of Anticon artists to my friend Nick. The most taciturn person I know, he is also the reason I became vegan. Not particularly conversant, he may not even know either of these things, though his quiet example has been profound and influential.

Abnormally Attracted to Sin

It’s a sinful world out there, and Tori Amos wants to talk about a few sins not included in the Ten Commandments. Her tenth studio album, Abnormally Attracted to Sin, tackles themes of oppression, shame, intolerance, and abuse of power.

Morning Music

I'm one of those music nerds who, because of my incredibly broad tastes, finds herself taunted by other more self-conscious music nerds. I will give anything a chance. Anything. For example, I have no shame in admitting that I like those slightly contentious sub-genres known as free and avant-garde jazz.

Songs from the Heart

I’ve listened to Songs From The Heart a number of times now since first receiving it in the mail.


Lush, sonic waves are a departure from the four-track loving woman who previously sang about an anonymous character—“Person Person”—and this is where we must weigh in on what I’ll call the Jefferson debate. Perhaps you’re old enough to have been a Jefferson Airplane fan back when Grace Slick’s voice hadn’t been co-opted by '80s synth. Perhaps you don’t think it was fair for the band to switch directions and keep the Jefferson moniker when Starship was born.

From the Heart

Discovering new music from a classic artist makes you feel like you’re getting to know an old friend a little bit better. The picture of them in your mind feels more complete and well-rounded.

Hazel Scott: The Pioneering Journey of a Jazz Pianist from Café Society to Hollywood to HUAC

Sometimes when I read autobiographies and biographies of revered artists, pioneers, and notables, I often become absorbed in their beginnings as if they were happening in the present moment and their endings as if they had just passed. This is done easily when the writer blends eloquence with knowledge as is the case with Karen Chilton.

Chicago: The Musical (4/1/2009)

A few years ago, I took my two twenty-something nieces to see the Oscar-winning movie Chicago and was aghast at the plot. I thought, to borrow their words, “OMG!” Surely, my nieces would tell my family their “radical” aunt took them to see a movie where women imprisoned for killing men belt out, “He had it coming!” while doing the fiery Cell Block Tango.

From the Heart

Legacy Recordings released digitally remastered versions of fifteen Billie Holiday songs for Valentine’s Day, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate. From the Heart is a collection of some of Holiday’s loveliest work: classics such as Ray Noble’s “The Very Thought of You,” Marks’ and Simon’s “All Of Me,” Cole Porter’s “Night and Day,” and my personal favorite, J.

Rocket Science For Dummies

It does not take a rocket scientist to realize that Rocket Science for Dummies is a great album. Astronauts of Antiquity’s singer, India, and guitarist, B. Rhyan, are a musical match made in heaven. They travel further, taking listeners on a well-designed trip of cosmic rhythms. Astronauts of Antiquity’s influence list is long, but they have managed to make an individual, well-crafted sound that, although resembling many, is like none.

From the Heart

Think back to a time when the art of "wooing" someone was appreciated, a skill that was improved and mastered over time. This was a time when walking hand-in-hand with your beloved was considered a milestone in a relationship. In this era—mid-twentieth century America—From the Heart was born, traveling through time, space, and dimension to sweep us off our feet. This is the loveliest assemblage of Sinatra's early work.

From the Heart

If you are a hardcore Miles Davis fan, you won’t get much satisfaction from this 12-track nostalgic tribute to Davis classics like “Round Midnight” and “Blue In Green.” Groundbreaking Kind of Blue is Davis’s milestone killer album and *[From the Heart](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001M6FW90?ie=UTF8&tag=feminrevie-20&linkCod

Saint Dymphna

Saint Dymphna is the patron of those stricken with mental illness or nervous system disorders, epileptics, mental health professionals, happy families, incest victims, and runaways. The saint was martyred by a recently widowed father. He’d made advances at her and she ran away to Belgium with her confessor, the court jester, and his wife. The elderly priest and Dymphna were slaughtered, but they don’t say what happened to the jester. St. Dymphna’s attributes include appearing praying in a cloud surrounded by lunatics wearing golden chains.

Fabric 40

Mark Farina, a San Francisco-based DJ, is a mainstay on the electronic scene. What began as an exploration of the house genre has now become Farina’s inimitable musical echo. The globetrotting performer is known for his genre versatility, but also his distinctive cocktail of Chicago urban, jazzy reverberation with San Francisco sound. While he’s also known for his down tempo grooves, Fabric 40 is nothing of the sort.