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Achim Kaufmann Trio

German-born pianist Achim Kaufmann started his career in the 80s, working in a variety of free-improv, fusion, and mainstream jazz contexts, but it wasn’t until 1996, when he moved to Amsterdam, that his playing truly took flight. The city has long been a springboard for creative musicians, and its anything-goes scene demands a focus and […]

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All Ears, Jim Baker

Technical skill and spontaneity are essential in a strong jazz soloist, but the ability to listen and process information on the fly is just as crucial. Amsterdam’s aptly named ALL EARS embodies this talent: led by pianist Michiel Braam and tenor saxophonist Frans Vermeerssen, the sextet plays from a repertoire of pithy, carefully arranged themes […]

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Aaron Moore

Pianist Aaron Moore moved to Chicago in 1951, and he’s since played as a sideman for everyone from B.B. King and Little Milton to local figures like Clarence “Sonny Boy Williamson Jr.” Anderson; he even claims that Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters both tried to recruit him. Though he relocated to Milwaukee a few years […]

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Ahmad Jamal

The silky dynamics of pianist Ahmad Jamal’s music haven’t really changed throughout his career; parceling space and measuring notes in a way that echoes Count Basie and Miles Davis (whose respect for Jamal’s music led him to name a tune for the pianist), he remains among the foremost jazz minimalists. Although he gained his fame […]

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Alfred Brendel

At age 62 Alfred Brendel is arguably the most respected and beloved pianist in the generation of performers whose careers took off in the 60s. He gained this distinction, however, partly by default. There were more brilliant technicians and more soulful interpreters than he at the starting gate, but some of them, like Leonard Shure, […]

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Abraham Stokman

Abraham Stokman is one of the city’s best-kept musical secrets. For years the Israeli-born pianist has zealously championed new works, particularly those of local composers; I still remember vividly his performance in the late 70s of Ralph Shapey’s Fromm Variations, in which he played nonstop for more than an hour and managed to make sense […]

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Akio Sasajima Trio

Akio Sasajima avoids fads and trends, and we’re all better for it: his gracious yet fiery guitar work fits firmly in the mainstream jazz tradition, but at the same time, he keeps pulling in newer influences and pushing at the seams, slowly stretching his art. (A solid melodist, his compositions have a distinct fingerprint, as […]