“Saxophonist Dayna Stephens is refreshing in his resistance to flash and fanciness. He often plays slowly, preferring to tread a reflective and soberly considered path rather than shoot helter-skelter through the chord changes and more oblique scale choices in order to impress...Stephens’ tone on tenor is a thing of beauty, relatively free of vibrato, and with lovely moulding of notes.
“With over twenty-years of experience performing on the world stage of jazz, there’s little doubt that Terell Stafford is a master...A trumpeter who wields the instrument with versatility and power!
Photo by John Rogers
“Thrillingly high-end level fun...
“[Zenón] has carved out a unique path for himself as an interpreter of the music of his native Puerto Rico through the lens of cutting-edge, acoustic jazz. This isn’t the kind of jazz that is influenced by Afro-Cuban music and percussion. The compositions he writes for his long-standing quartet bristles and pops with the excitement of vision of his peers, a generation that is challenging and changing the aesthetic of jazz.
“The Bad Plus came together at the end of the 20th century and has avoided easy categorization ever since, winning critical hosannas and a legion of fans worldwide with their creativity, unique sound and flair for live performance. The intensely collaborative trio has constantly searched for rules to break and boundaries to cross, bridging genres and techniques while exploring the infinite possibilities of three exceptional musicians working in perfect sync.
The band consists of founding members Reid Anderson (bass) and Dave King (drums) and new member Orrin Evans (piano) — a group of passionate collaborators with no single “leader.” Never Stop II is the first full-length release from this lineup, comprised entirely of original music with each member contributing fresh compositions. The New York Times calls it “an exhilarating document” that sparks an exciting new chapter for the iconic group.
“Named for one of Ornette Coleman’s most evocative compositions, this all-star project honors the Coleman legacy along with the music of Coleman’s fellow Fort Worth native reed players Dewey Redman and Julius Hemphill, featuring the wildly inventive saxophonists Tim Berne and Chris Speed, and the Bad Plus rhythm section of bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King.
“A musician of honesty within the vast field of mainstream post-bop, but never constrained by its parameters...one of the finest saxophonists in the business
A musician of honesty within the vast field of mainstream post-bop, but never constrained by its parameters...one of the finest saxophonists in the business
“The trumpeter Tom Harrell has been doing this a long time, through various schools and vogues: He can play slow and fast and in between, sometimes all within a single line. But his improvising is always temperate and proportionate. He keeps you on the hook, but doesn’t shout, doesn’t stop the clock. Plenty of improvisers are specialists in now-ness, revealing a solo as a series of events, or present-tense flashes. With Mr. Harrell, it’s all one event. He’s always processing ahead and behind, and you feel as if you’re hearing the whole of the narrative at all times, from was to is to will be...Mr. Harrell has been one of the best composers, improvisers and bandleaders in jazz since the late ’80s, and he knows how to make contrasts sound exciting: playing slowly over a fast tempo, playing quietly but with power. But he also uses the contrast of his own sound set against that of the groups he’s playing in.
Photo by Keith Major
“The music is forever moving, riding streams of intriguing, pleasing sounds — ambling grooves, burrowing piano solos and colorful and often unpredictable multi-saxophone lines. All are tributaries of a highly personal music that’s clearly drawn from jazz tradition but headed in new, unexpected directions. It’s brainy, yes, but heavy on emotional content, too.
“The guitarist Gilad Hekselman has a vision of modern jazz that’s harmonically fluent but not averse to simple melody or gentle, approachable effect.