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Debbie Burke

Jazz Author

Living the Brassy Fantasy

  The next-gen iteration of Earth, Wind and Fire funkadelia has arrived with the uplifting energy of NYC-based 3D Rhythm of Life. The band honors the classic EWF songs – most notably, the blockbuster “Fantasy” – adding fresh changes in... Continue Reading →

New Book Covers First Half-Century of Swingin’ Sound in New York City

50 Years at the Village Vanguard: Thad Jones, Mel Lewis and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra by David Lisik and Eric Allen (2017, Skydeck Music) A joyful onslaught of graphics, photos and posters; sidebars, indented quotes and other neat features add... Continue Reading →

Upright is the Closest Thing to Heaven – Musical Musings with Bassist Mark Wade

From the thrum of electric bass guitar to the statuesque upright, Mark Wade has advanced his ear for the basement-level notes. What is subsonic to some, he is able to tend with a gardener’s hand; giving depth to his trio.... Continue Reading →

Hats off to Hard Bop: Sheer Energy from the Jamie O’Donnell Quartet

Fingers fly and notes explode into the air; this is Jamie O’Donnell’s sax singing the plaintive theme from “Star Eyes.” His solo is exuberant, tasty, abstract and hurtles into space. The other members of his quartet add a jungle mood;... Continue Reading →

Hard-Bop Noir from The Michael Lauren All Stars

Lush horn work and harmonies make the Michael Lauren All Stars’ “Once Upon a Time in Portugal” swing and sway. The vibes provide smooth, round stones of notes followed by a light, joyous beat from Michael on percussion, making this... Continue Reading →

Getting Into Your Head: Experimental Jazz From Told Americans

An ear for the political and social drives the band Told Americans. Their spoken word approach conveys the frustrations, laments and struggles of everyday life. Like “Traffic” – you feel precisely as if you are wedged in on the interstate,... Continue Reading →

From the Inside Out: Sam Newsome’s Uncanny Grasp of the Soprano Sax

If you only have a few minutes to listen to one song by Sam Newsome…try “Sakura, Sakura.” Sam’s inventiveness shines on, and in fact, you’re going to need sunglasses. Performing solo on the skinniest of saxes, the soprano, Sam’s affection... Continue Reading →

Rising to Mountaintops – Jazz Talk with Elon Turgeman

The twin opening chords of “It Plays By Itself” establishes the groove and funk that Israeli guitar master Elon Turgeman is known for. With vibrant color reminiscent of chimes and an uplifting, echo chamber-like quality, the song drives to his... Continue Reading →

Unconventsch and Worth Mentioning: Some Words with Kat Lee-Ryan

Beyond the theatrics of make-up that’s just a little extra, peacock feather 'n’ tie-dye shirts and rainbow-emitting disco balls lies a voice with the call of the sirens and a hot handle on the blues. Kat Lee-Ryan, from the saucy... Continue Reading →

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