Midnight Jazz

Becky Archibald’s magnificent piano playing filled with color and character

January 29, 2008
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Reviewed by Vivian Fields

Becky Archibald/Mood Swing

You can probably film a movie around Becky Archibald’s piano-based music; filled with color and character, her compositions and magnificent playing take a life of its own. This is perhaps best symbolized by “What Might Have Been,” a dramatic piece that could’ve been a movie score for a romantic tragedy. Such is the artistry of a woman who is skilled in letting the emotions pour through her fingertips. This is not wallpaper piano jazz; it’s music with spirit and feeling.

The opener, “September,” doesn’t prepare you for how good the rest of this CD is. While pleasant and pretty, the record gets better, digs deeper into our heart as it proceeds. “Unspoken” conveys romantic longing while “Spring” captures the glowing beauty of the season which inspired it. Even better is “Spring (duet),” which adds a hauntingly beautiful cello to the arrangement. The title, Mood Swing, is appropriate as Archibald switches gears often, shifting from the playfulness of “Waltz” to the introspection of “Out of the Blue.”



Posted in Piano Jazz

hologramª magically mixes Pink Floyd space rock with Latin jazz

January 28, 2008
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Reviewed by Vivian Fields


As you can probably tell by their enigmatic name, hologramª are not your typical jazz-fusion group. In fact, hologramª are as creatively linked to the space rock of Pink Floyd and Yes as they are with their jazz roots. Maybe psychedelic jazz could be used to label this otherwordly foursome. “Expansion” and “Solarwinds” define the group’s sci-fi bent. “Expansion,” with its intergalactic intro, and “Solarwinds,” powered by gusts that morph into spine-tingling jazz rhythms, are truly extraordinary. The group uses jazz’s lack of stylistic borders to stretch their creativity and raise their consciousness. In doing so, we’re taken on a fantastic journey with them.

While “Solarwinds” crackles with the unbridled energy of falling stars, the band shifts into low gear with “Temple,” evoking a rainy-day environment. A band of truly gifted musicians, hologramª seems to have no artistic limitations, allowing their imaginations to run loose like wild animals. Still, there is craftsmanship here. “Rebirth” is smoothed over by warm sax and “Momentum” is fueled by radiant guitar work.


Posted in Latin Jazz

Vahe’s ‘Inspiration’ is rife with ‘evocative landscapes and exotic textures’

January 28, 2008
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Reviewed by Vivian Fields

Artist: Vahe/Inspiration

The evocative landscapes and exotic textures of Inspiration create a relaxing, blissfully romantic mood that is hard to resist. With spring just around the corner, I can’t think of a better soundtrack for the upcoming season. The emotions that Vahe conjures up are of joy, love, and contentment, and not necessarily in that order. The upbeat “Journey” drives forward with sharply played guitar; the crystal-clear mixing enables the listener to savor each riff. If you suddenly begin to download cinematic images in your brain, that’s because Vahe’s music is painting them.

“Bossa Nova” and “Cha Cha Night” are wonderful dance tunes that will have the blood pumping, especially on large, powerful speakers. The piano on “Bossa Nova” is especially pretty. But Vahe understands the dynamics of Latin jazz, able to switch tones with the self-confidence of a veteran player. “Dream” slows down the groove for mournful introspection between two energetic compositions. From beginning to end this CD should be experienced without interruption, letting Vahe guide your feelings upward.


Posted in Latin Jazz

About author

Julian Wilson, Editor, has been writing about different genres of music, from jazz to techno, for nearly two decades in print.