Author Archives: Mel

Circuit Rider Embraces the Mystery

Circuit Rider: Bill Frisell, Ron Miles, and Brian Blade. Photo by John Spiral.

Circuit Rider comprises three of the most accomplished—and most generous—musicians on the planet: cornetist Ron Miles, guitarist Bill Frisell, and drummer Brian Blade. They ride into Albuquerque on February 25 for an Outpost fundraiser, and they bring with them a timely musical message that is reflected in both their material and their approach to it. Continue reading

Pianist Leslie Pintchik Charms with Deep, Accessible Feeling and Sly Humor

Leslie Pintchik. Photo by Jimmy Katz.

Pianist/composer Leslie Pintchik has done it again, turning out yet another elevating musical experience on her latest album, You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl! (available 2/23). The album’s title comes from a snatch of overheard conversation on a Manhattan street, and its humor, underlaid with angst, perfectly suits the funky title track, a new Pintchik composition, which opens the album. Continue reading

Excursions into the Heart of the Matter—Releases from Kate McGarry/Keith Ganz/Gary Versace and from Oliver’s Cinema

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Music can be put to many uses, from washing away the dust of everyday life, as Art Blakey put it, to stirring martial resolve on the battlefield. I submit that its highest calling is to expand our consciousness, elevate our spiritual awareness, foster compassion both for ourselves and others. That requires musicians of exceptional skill and daring who are willing to unmask themselves. The personnel of the two trios reviewed here—Kate McGarry, Keith Ganz, and Gary Versace; and Eric Vloeimans, Tuur Florizoone, and Jörg Brinkmann—meet all the requirements. The two albums—respectively, The Subject Tonight Is Love and Act 2—make excursions deep under the skin, into the heart of the matter. Continue reading

Omar Sosa Goes Big Band, and Kit Downes Goes (Almost) Solo

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Cuban pianist/composer/shaman Omar Sosa has once again teamed up with arranger Jaques Morelenbaum and the formidable NDR Bigband to project his compositions on a wide orchestral screen, and Kit Downes plumbs the orchestral capabilities of three pipe organs on a spacey collection of improvisational performances. Continue reading

Stocking Stuffers

The latest releases from Tom McDermott and Chloe Feoranzo, and from Don Messina deserve consideration for the stockings of friends and family with eclectic musical tastes. Continue reading