Tiny Reviews: Jerome Sabbagh, Miles Okazaki, Chicago Underground Duo & The Kentucky Derby

Tiny Reviews, featuring:  Jerome Sabbagh Plugged In, Miles Okazaki Figurations, Chicago Underground Duo Age of Energy, Various Artists The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved.



Jerome Sabbagh – Plugged In

Tenor saxophonist Jerome Sabbagh gets around.  Capable of thriving in all types of jazz environments, he’s worked with a disparate group of artists (Ben Monder to Guillermo Klein, to name one such range), not to mention albums under his own name.  On this current release, Sabbagh leads a quartet that rounds out with Fender Rhodes/keyboards, electric bass, and drums.  Inclusion of electric keys and electric bass might give the impression that this album is heavy on groove.  In fact, it’s a practical dissertation on how an artist can create hazy melodies while still resting the entire foundation of the composition upon its back.  Beautiful.

Your album personnel:  Jerome Sabbagh (tenor sax), Jozef Dumoulin (Fender Rhodes, keyboards), Patrice Blanchard (electric bass), and Rudy Royston (drums).

Released on the Bee Jazz label.  Jazz from NYC.

Available at eMusic.


Miles Okazaki – Figurations

Guitarist Miles Okazaki albums feel like a definitive road map for distractible drivers.  What begins as a set course often includes several tangential paths taken on the way to the destination.  The result is  thrilling ride full of diversity and change.  Figurations is the third in his planned trilogy of albums, and performed live.

Your album personnel: Miles Okazaki (guitar), Miguel Zenon (alto sax), Thomas Morgan (bass), and Dan Weiss (drums).

Released on the Sunnyside Records label.  Jazz from the Brooklyn, NY scene.

Available at eMusic.


Chicago Underground Duo – Age of Energy

Sixth release as the Chicago Underground Duo from Chad Taylor and Rob Mazurek.  A mix of free jazz, world jazz instruments, and a Sonic Boom dose of electronic effects.  Cornet, drums, mbira, drum machine, and electronics are the arsenal of choice.  Much of the album was recorded live with no overdubbing.  Switches seamlessly between music of fire, air, and water.  Really a wonderful album that throws enough curveballs to keep the album perpetually interesting and uncategorizable.  The sort of avant-garde music that could appeal to a wide cross-section of genre fans.

Released on the Northern Spy Records label.  Jazz from the Chicago scene.

Available at eMusic.


Various Artists – The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved

A mixed set of spoken word and music.  Based on the Hunter S. Thompson piece on the Kentucky Derby, various actors (and artist Ralph Steadman) read sections of the story with the accompaniment of Bill Frisell and frequent collaborators Curtis Fowlkes (trombone), Ron Miles (trumpet), Eyvind Kang (viola), Doug Wieselman (woodwinds), Jenny Scheinman (violin), Hank Roberts (cello) and Kenny Wollesen (drums, percussion).  Hal Willner is involved in this project, which should give many of you an idea of how strange and alluring this project is.

Released on 429 Records label.  Visit their site for streaming samples and free tracks.

Available at eMusic.



Portions of these reviews were originally used in my Jazz Picks weekly article for eMusic, so here’s some language protecting their rights as the one to hire me to write about new jazz arrivals to their site…

“New Arrivals Jazz Picks“ and “New Arrivals Jazz Picks“ and “New Arrivals Jazz Picks”, reprints courtesy of eMusic.com, Inc.
© 2012  eMusic.com, Inc.

As always, my sincere thanks to eMusic for the gig.  Cheers.