Ben Markley

Embracing the Unexpected

Theoretically, surprise should be part of every jazz performance, but this month’s instrumental CDs offer plenty. Thomas Cunniffe and Ben Markley offer reviews of a Harry Allen/Scott Hamilton tenor duets that eschews the fever pitch of other such efforts, a rhythmically rich album by Joe Lovano’s Us Five and an understated interactive album by Ron Miles, Bill Frisell and Brian Blade.

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Contemporary Stylists of the Hammond B-3

The Hammond B-3 organ designates its own subculture in the jazz world. Yet, in the proper hands, it can fit into many different musical environments. Ben Markley reviews a trio of varied albums featuring the organists Pat Bianchi, Tony Monaco and Jared Gold.

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Jazz Pianists: Emerging and Established

Jazz piano covers a multitude of styles and sounds. This month, Ben Markley reviews recent albums by the intense and poetic Dan Cray, the classically-trained and Latin-influenced Ari Erev, the powerful and creative Orrin Evans, and the exuberant and passionate Arturo O’Farrill.

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Solo Flights

Performing solo can be both liberating and challenging for a jazz musician. Yet solo performances tend to expose new dimensions of a player’s identity. This month, Ben Markley focuses his attention on new solo releases by guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and pianists John Medeski and Frederick Moyer.

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