Mike Greenblatt, Aquarian Weekly

Alex Clough – Near Far Beyond

Touched By A Spaceman Pianist/Composer/Producer/Arranger Alex Clough’s self-released near, far, beyond is a delightful and captivating romp with sax/trumpet/bass/drums. Half is piano trio. Half is quintet. It’s been over a decade as a sideman for Clough. Graduating from the State University of New York, and planting his musical seed in the hotbed of jazz activity that is Brooklyn, these eight originals bespeak an elegance rare for a debut. David Smith and Steve Kortyka are monsters on trumpet and sax and when they tussle and play in their hot soloing, it’s akin to two puppies going at each other so lustily you’d think they’re fighting. But they’re not. The twin highlights have to be the 8:45 “Incantation” and the 8:17 “Leaps And Bounds.” Get ready to be touched by a spaceman.

Ralph Peterson’s GENNEXT Big Band – I Remember Bu

Dedicated To Art “Bu” Blakey I Remember Bu (Onyx Production) is the two-fisted action-packed storm of a debut CD by Ralph Peterson’s Gennext Big Bandas recorded live in Boston at Sculler’s, one of the best jazz rooms in the country. It features Big Chief Donald Harrison, 58, the New Orleans saxophonist who got his start in Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers. Like Blakey , Gennext features two drummers. Unlike Blakey, it also has rapper Ryan Easter rhyming in doubletime. These are some of the Berklee College of Music’s most impressive players and their nine tracks pack a Major League wallop, especially on Wayne Shorter’s 1965 “Free For All” and Joanne Brackeen’s 1981 convoluted “Egyptian Dune Dance.” Peterson was the last Messengers drummer, on the stool from 1983 until Blakey’s death in 1990 at 71 from lung cancer. His sole original is the title track. Highly Recommended.

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