Tony Bennett's newest album anthologizes several of the singer's recordings with prominent jazz musicians. Critic Francis Davis isn't sure if the music qualifies as jazz, but it's a pleasure nonetheless.
Sun Ra's recent releases reveal the pianists' enduring interest in free improvisation and spectacle. Jazz critic Francis Davis says one is a prime example of the musician's ensemble work; the other is unlistenable.
Jazz critic Francis Davis says Nigel Kennedy avoids the dilettantism of other classical musicians who want to get down and dirty in other genres. Kennedy's new album features interpretations of Duke Ellington and Bela Bartok.
The prolific Modern Jazz Quartet returns with a new album featuring orchestration written for the New York Chamber Symphony. Jazz critic Francis Davis says the music lives up the Olympian standard to which he holds the group.
Taking advantage of new recording technologies, Ellington's son Mercer leads his father's big band on a new CD. Jazz critic Francis Davis says the performances are excellent in their own right, but the album doesn't offer anything new or surprising.
The free jazz saxophonist's new album features both his original 1950s-era quartet and his more recent electric ensemble, Prime Time. Jazz critic Francis Davis is occasionally frustrated by the production, but nonetheless says the record is one of the most significant releases of the year.
Jazz critic Francis Davis reviews a 7-LP box set, The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz, which was just reissued with additional tracks. He says the selections, curated by fellow critic Martin Williams, are essential but predictable, and often dismissive of more forward-looking artists.