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Hitting the high notes

Leave the improv to the musicians — plan ahead for the Jazz Fest
You wanted more, you got more.
By: JIM MACNIE  |  July 30, 2014


New voices and sublime veterans

An insider's guide to the Jazz Fest
The kickoff to the Newport Jazz Festival often brings us superb vocalists, and this year is no different.
By: JIM MACNIE  |  July 31, 2013


Ten best bets at the Newport Jazz Festival

High notes
The Newport Jazz Festival has been on a roll these last few years, blending the commercial clout of big names with the creative cred of adventurous newcomers.
By: JIM MACNIE  |  August 01, 2012


20 discs you need

Listen up!
Astoundingly intricate notions rendered with a glowing attack on this solo disc by the NYC pianist. Perhaps its real triumph is the array of approaches it brokers throughout the program — each distinct, yet related.
By: JIM MACNIE  |  December 21, 2011


The Beach Boys | Smile

Capitol (2011)
Never doubt the impact of whimsy as it applies to Brian Wilson's art. At the peak of his powers — 1965-'67, let's say — the Beach Boys boss was a sage arranger/composer and bona fide pop innovator.
By: JIM MACNIE  |  November 02, 2011


Interview: Patrick Norton has a knack for mixing it up at the Narrows

Where the music comes first
The Narrows Center for the Arts — the bastion of blues, folk, jazz, rock, and various stripes of singer-songwriter fare — has a decade of action under its belt.
By: JIM MACNIE  |  October 25, 2011


Foo Fest headliner Andrew W.K.

On creating a safe place to go crazy, translating the subconscious, and finding support and inspiration in providence
Andrew W.K. is a wild man who wails through songs that usually boast a blitzkrieg temperament.
By: JIM MACNIE  |  August 10, 2011


Various Artists | Johnny Boy Would Love This ... A Tribute to John Martyn

Hole In The Rain (2011)
If Nick Drake was Britain's ultimate forlorn folkie, John Martyn was his jazzier bro, a pub crawler with an intoxicating way of creating richly desolate moods.
By: JIM MACNIE  |  August 10, 2011


Some must-see acts at this weekend’s Newport Jazz Festival

Horns of plenty
To kick off the 2011 edition of the NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL , MICHAEL FEINSTEIN harks to the Voice's classic 1958 date, essaying a handful of Tin Pan Alley chestnuts in his own bravura-flecked style.
By: JIM MACNIE  |  August 03, 2011

TJO list

Tara Jane O'Neil and Nikaido Kazumi | Tara Jane O'Neil and Nikaido Kazumi

K (2011)
From whispered coos to plinked strings to fuzzed dissonance to thumping drums, the 13 tracks trickle along, offering a haphazard feel while simultaneously wooing with irrefutable design integrity.
By: JIM MACNIE  |  June 29, 2011


The articulate melodic eloquence of Bill Frisell

Rolling with the changes
Many of us have embarrassing moments in our past, but when one of the hippest jazz dudes around admits to donning a leisure suit and playing in a show band, you prepare for a wince on the seismic level.
By: JIM MACNIE  |  June 14, 2011


Do the funky pot roast! The triumphant (three-night only) return of the Young Adults

Still complex after all these years
The shorter gent was balding, hirsute, and on the plump side. While bellowing lyrics about Broderick Crawford's machismo and the joys of being a carnivore, he occasionally wore a "brain hat" and was dolled up in a form-fitting muumuu.
By: JIM MACNIE  |  May 25, 2011


Max Creek celebrate 40 years of creativity

Still jamming after all these years
Imagine if the guys who started Max Creek never went to the famous Watkins Glen Summer Jam in 1973.
By: JIM MACNIE  |  April 27, 2011


10 jazz discs you need

Listen up
There was a big field in 2010, with lots of titles vying to jump into the winner's circle. Here are the 10 jazz discs I truly wouldn't want to do without.
By: JIM MACNIE  |  March 19, 2013


Top 10 records of 2010

From button-down brainiacs to primal chic
2010 was full of riches: plenty of terrific albums came down the pike. There are more pop and rock discs I want to make note of, and maybe I'll do so next week if there's room after listing the year's Top 10 jazz titles.
By: JIM MACNIE  |  December 22, 2010


Whole lotta Foo Fest going on!

The best plan: get there early, stay late
There's a little bit of everything in the music segment of AS220's annual Foo Fest — inventive folk, arty hip-hop, girl grooves, brass bands.
By: JIM MACNIE  |  August 13, 2010


Post-millennial swing

Darcy James Argue's genre-stretching Secret Society
It's not the solos, though they're usually as inviting as they are bracing. And it's not the charts, though they're often as persuasive as they are unpredictable.
By: JIM MACNIE  |  August 04, 2010


Music for the love of it

From the Schemers to the Men of Great Courage, Mark Cutler’s songs have always gotten to ‘that special kind of place’
Whether driving his Men of Great Courage on a tune about a spooky midnight stroll, or gently declaring a deep camaraderie with “We Shall Always Remain Friends,” Cutler’s concocting a soundtrack to the feelings in the room.
By: JIM MACNIE  |  May 05, 2010


Reeling in the years

John Pizzarelli keeps jazz moving on
Call John Pizzarelli a mensch — he's smart, chatty, and a hot ticket. Hell of a guitarist, too.
By: JIM MACNIE  |  February 25, 2010


Heart keeps beating

Novelist (and RIC professor) Thomas Cobb recalls the origins of Bad Blake
Storytelling is largely about character, and writer Thomas Cobb came up with a doozy when he conceived Bad Blake.
By: JIM MACNIE  |  January 27, 2010
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