Carrothers is that rarest of creatures — a rural jazz artist. He thrived for five years in the jazz mecca of NYC in the late ’80s and still does a fair share of high-profile gigs and recordings (check out his resume). But 20 years in a small town on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has provided a distinctive dimension to his piano sound; it is in the pace, patience and forlorn stillness of his chords and tone. And the solo piano album Excelsior — 16 evocative impressions about his boyhood hometown outside of Minnesota — is the most fully realized manifestation of that sound to date. The titles telegraph many of the moods, but for every “Amusement Park” or “Bygone Era,” there is also a “Trees,” or “Whoville” or “Bike Ride,” where nostalgia, like rural Michigan, is a countryside best rid of bucolic cliches, and suffused with the same emotional musical jumble — inexplicable blues, uplifting gospel, solemn folk and gorgeously exacting chamber music — that you find in the city. But quiet enough to hear yourself.
By Wondering Sound Staff on 07.29.11 in Lists
Every year, a mountain of records is unleashed on an unsuspecting public. And while many move to "Instant Favorite" status, it's inevitable that even more will fall through the cracks. With five months left in 2011, now...
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By Britt Robson on 02.11.15 in Reviews
The Vijay Iyer Trio set a remarkably high bar with their two prior studio releases, Historicity in 2009 and Accelerando in 2012, each one consensually rated among the top two or three releases of the year in jazz polls a...
By Ron Hart on 02.02.15 in Features
Celebrating Blue Note's 75th anniversary by examining its relationship with hip-hop