Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bruce Barth


My review of Bruce Barth's new album, "Three Things of Beauty," was just published in The New York City Jazz Record.

Here's the first half:

The pianist Bruce Barth wrote six of the ten songs featured on his new album, including the title track, a dream-like waltz more noteworthy for its long, lyrical, cascading solos than its melody. Most of the tracks on this album are like that, shaped by the drama of a soloist’s decisions. In this case, Barth and the vibraphonist Steve Nelson make some really good ones.

They’re backed by bassist Ben Street and drummer Dana Hall, who put down sure, swinging rhythms. The music is relatively straightahead, but it doesn’t feel perfunctory nor do the musicians submit to the vice of jazz jam egalitarianism. This means that Nelson and Barth act as arbiters, in the forefront. (Street takes two short solos by this reviewer’s count while Hall is featured once toward the end of the second track, “Final Push”, a Barth original.)

Read the rest here (page 18).

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dr. Lonnie Smith


I wrote a listing! It’s appearing in the July issue of Hot House Jazz magazine, alerting readers to the organist Dr. Lonnie Smith’s upcoming run at the Jazz Standard.

You can read half of it here, if you’d like:

The organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, a living testament to the durability of the soul jazz tradition, turns 70 this month. Dr. Smith comes from Buffalo, a jazz organ town, and he has never abandoned his roots. He is a commanding improviser and a master of dynamics on his hulking B-3, digging deep into simmering ballads with feline grace or coming at you with a gritty, gutbucket phrase on a scorching funk number.

Dr. Smith is performing at the Jazz Standard on July 3 and 5-8.