Seasonal electricity: jazz “fusion” in NYC

Fusion, fission, energy and virtuosity reign supreme over coming holiday weeks as jazzers beyond genre constraints fill New York clubs. Starting tonight (Dec. 9) double-necked guitar madman Dave Fiuczynski fires up Iridium with ripping alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and jam-band idol John Medeski on keybs; jazz sambas and tangos, ex-Milesian Mike Stern and smooth trumpeter Chris Botti, soul-drench organist Dr. Lonnie Smith and the Bad Plus follow. Details here, at my new column for City Arts-New York. And below -- Fuze, vocalist Dean … [Read more...]

South Asian-American jazz from New York

Rudresh Mahanthappa -- an extraordinary American jazzman of South Asian descent -- has a critical fave with Kinsmen, his album featuring his own alto sax coupled with that of Indian Carnatic master musician Kadri Golpanath, supported by Karachi-born but L.A.-bred former surfer/electric guitarist Rez Abassi, violin, bass, traps, mridingam from East and West. They all talk and play in my NPR production on last night's "All Things Considered." … [Read more...]

Ten top of 2008 and many more recommendations

So much music, so little time -- it's absurd to whittle down this year's "best" recordings to 10, an act that merely bows to convention. Why not 15? 25? 50? -- if there are that many albums that reward repeated listening with enjoyment and revelation.I make no claims for the following list being definitive -- I haven't yet had a chance to hear once many of the some 1100 promising cds that arrived for consideration of review since November 1 2007. But I guarantee that none of these recommendations are made on the basis of anything except my … [Read more...]