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Black Diamond - 'Mandala'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Compellingly making a swinging post-bop sound is a bit of an accomplishment these days. A music that can get a bit cerebral always needs an anchor but knows when to drift. Maintaining a delicate balance requires a steady hand at the wheel; it's fascinating hearing a quartet that has two, yet in Mandala, the new album from the group Black Diamond let by tenor saxophonists Artie Black and Hunter Diamond, this is a configuration that is certainly driving places.

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Portico Quartet - 'Art in the Age of Automation'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

It's always been hard to peg down the precise sound of the Portico Quartet. The group with the baddest hang (the steel drum, not the conceptual loitering full of camaraderie) in the game has always had electronica elements melded into jazz sensibilities, and with previous efforts to swing the pendulum away from the jazz genre, it's been even more difficult to know what exactly these guys have been up to. However, they've always been master craftsmen and their return back to an earlier sensibility as the Portico Quartet after their 2015 excursion into a more electronic direction, the staid discipline of their sound remains but the jazz sensibility persists nevertheless in their latest album, Art in the Age of Automation, out now on Gondwana Records.

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Rotem Sivan Kicks Off Texas Tour at Aptly Named Jazz, TX

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

As a guy who mostly covers jazz music in the recorded form, much of my attention doesn't tend toward the local scene. When introducing myself to other San Antonians and telling them about what it is I do, I'm often asked if I ever checked out Jazz, TX, the relatively new jazz club that at the famed Pearl Brewery. Up until last night's Rotem Sivan trio set, I hadn't. It would take something like the Israeli-born, New York guitarist making another run through Texas in support of his new album, Antidote for me to finally make the effort to see the glitzy underground spot.

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Aaron Parks - 'Find the Way'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Aaron Parks has never left us. It's been a while since he has released a major album as a leader, but he's been around. Upon his return to the for in his 2013 ECM debut, Arborescence, he improvised solo, feeling as passionately through his fingertips as always, but it's his new release with the fantastic trio of bassist Ben Street and the powerful force that is drummer Billy Hart that we can really be glad Aaron Parks is back with his new album, Find the Way.

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Psychic Temple - 'IV'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Over the years, I've found myself eagerly devouring each album guitarist/vocalist/bandleader/cult leader Chris Schlarb releases with his group, Psychic Temple. His progressive melding of jazz, folk, and hazy rock has a laid back sensibility that can only come from Long Beach, California. In that regard, it's hard to nail down exactly what kind of music Psychic Temple makes, especially as each successive album embarks on new territory, yet it is also in this regard that Psychic Temple continuously dazzles. The group's fourth official album together maintains this same excellence.