Thomas Cunniffe

Wes Montgomery: “In the Beginning” (Resonance 2014)

While Wes Montgomery was not well-known in the jazz world before 1960, he had been a semi-professional musician in his home town of Indianapolis since 1944. Following on their acclaimed album Echoes of Indiana Avenue, Resonance Records has issued a new collection called In the Beginning which traces Montgomery’s playing back to 1949. Thomas Cunniffe offers his thoughts on the set in this Retro Review.

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Manhattan Transfer/Take 6 Vocal Summit in Boulder (November 11, 2016)

Back in 2011, the Manhattan Transfer and the New York Voices joined forces for a pair of concerts. The vocal summit concept was so successful (artistically and commercially) that several of today’s best vocal groups have staged these performances all over the world. One of these concerts, featuring the Manhattan Transfer and Take 6, finally came to Colorado, and Thomas Cunniffe was there. He details their combined performance at Macky Auditorium in Boulder.

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Tubby Hayes: “A Man in a Hurry” (Mono Media/Treatment/Proper)

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of Tubby Hayes’ birth, there’s been several new CD reissues, a long-awaited full-length biography and now a documentary on the British tenor sax giant. Hayes lived a fast and full life before his passing at the age of 38, which makes the documentary’s title, A Man in a Hurry all the more appropriate. Thomas Cunniffe offers his thoughts on the film in this month’s DVD review.

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Voices of Experience

The three veteran singers spotlighted in this month’s vocal CD reviews bring their wealth of personal and professional experiences to the music. Freddy Cole eclipses the shadow of his famous older brother Nat on the tribute album He Was the King; Barb Jungr offers a salve for the world with Shelter from the Storm, and the late Mark Murphy performs a stunning collection of Miles Davis standards on Live in Athens, Greece. Thomas Cunniffe reviews the discs.

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Vocal Potpourri

Vocalists from all over the globe highlight this month’s vocal CD reviews. Swiss vocalist Beat Kaestli offers a wide range of songs on his disc Live in Europe, Australian vocalist and pianist Sarah McKenzie draws from a rich set of vocal and instrumental influences on We Could Be Lovers and from here in the US, Kurt Elling joins Branford Marsalis for a brilliant collaboration on Upward Spiral. Thomas Cunniffe notes the highlights in his reviews.

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With A New Voice

One of the greatest challenges for young jazz vocalists is how to stand out among the competition. In this month’s vocal CD reviews, Thomas Cunniffe examines the music of Allegra Levy, whose first album is entirely comprised of original love songs written in the form of standards, and Lara Solnicki, whose second album features an eclectic playlist including pieces by Henry Purcell, Maurice Ravel, Jimmie Rowles, Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell.

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