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Fred Woodard: Reviews

About Urban Garden

"Veteran Boston jazz guitarist Fred Woodard comes from the Wes Montgomery and Grant Green schools of elegant post-bop funk — thumb-picked, tensile lines spun from crafty tunes — with a contemporary spin of hip-hop and avant-garde. He conjures multiple voices simultaneously — either with his call-and-response between single-note phrases and chords or in his quick jumps among registers — in conversation with himself.. --Jon Garelick , The Boston Phoenix (read the full review)

As a composer, Woodard laces his straight-ahead jazz with other styles from his eclectic career.... The disc's second track, "Grant Like," pays tribute to jazz guitarist Grant Green. "It explores a theme based off a lick transcribed from a solo of his, borrowed from him," Woodard says. "'Island Birdie' is calypso-flavored. 'Jingles' is a Wes Montgomery tune where the tempo is really fast. It's the most energetic tune on the CD. Mixed in is my composition 'Deniece,' dedicated to my daughter."--Diana Nollen, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, IA (read the full review)


"I find Fred's tone to be warm and inviting, making you want to hear more from him. No matter if he's playing a ballad or an African American Spiritual, like Joshua Fit De Battel ob Jericho, that warmth shines through. --Eric D. Jackson, WGBH Radio, Boston (read the full review)

"...1715 reveals a performer who's mastered both schools — jazz with strong blues feeling. He plays a thumb-picking style in the manner of Montgomery, but with a surprisingly hard edge — on the aggressive, fast take of Green's "Miss Ann's Tempo," you could swear there's a plectrum biting into the strings. The originals "Now" and "Surfin' the Changes" allow for movement in and out of the chord progressions, setting up and deferring expectation, refreshing the ear on every chorus.. --Jon Garelick , The Boston Phoenix (read the full review)

I had to stop the CD player while I was listening to Fred Woodard's new album, Arrival!!, the other day. The album's forth tune, "Iceman," features a six piece band playing a classical hard bop arrangement. It is so strong I had to push the eject button to make sure I had the right CD in the slot. --Ron Netsky, Rochester City News (read the full interview)

Arrival!! is a classy, eloquent beginning for Woodard, overlaying youthful energy on a rock-solid bed of time-tested jazz tradition. What air-conditioning does for the body, this disc does for the mind -- and these old days, that's every bit as important. --Iowa City Press-Citizen (read the full review)

He is an innovative guitarist who executes in a clear, lyrical way while still managing to bring significant improvisatory texture ot the set. --Frank Rubolino, Cadence, February 2001 (read the full review)

About 1715

1715 shows Fred is facing the challenges of the musical changes while never loosing that earthiness that seems to be so characteristic of his playing. Blues and bop are key to his playing and writing. ----Eric D. Jackson, WGBH Radio, Boston (read the full review)

... It is always great to have local artists making a name for themselves and if you're looking to jazz up your CD collection, there is no need to go too far afield. ----Cheryl Hamilton-Smythe (read the full review)

... [Woodard] takes the classic sound of many a Blue Note soul-jazz record and updates it with modern touches. --John Kenyon (read the full review)

... [Woodard] continues to expand his impressive, blues-informed chops on the follow-up to his excellent 1999 debut, "Arrival." ... Woodard is developing a distinct, tone cool style that makes forays into disparate genres go down smooth as silk. --Jim Musser (read the full review)

Fred Woodard is a master at combining jazz and blues in an electric guitar style that never fails to engage. --Ron Netsky (read the full review)

Salim Washington: Reviews

Clawing at the Limits of Cool

Clawing at the Limits of Cool: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and the Greatest Jazz Collaboration Ever
The new book by
Farah Jasmine Griffin and Salim Washington

This is a well-written, informative book.... Clawing at the Limits of Cool is wonderful for the musician who seeks a greater understanding of the legacies of two of jazz's most important figures. - Karen Hogg, AllAboutJazz.com
(read the entire review)

Editor's Pick for June 10, 2008
This is a readable and important addition to the growing body of literature on these key figures. Necessary for all music collections; a good choice for both academic and public libraries. - Mark Woodhouse, Library Journal (LibraryJournal.com)
(read the entire review)

About Harlem Homecoming

For the scant few recording dates Salim Washington has been offered, there has been a sense that he portends to be the John Coltrane of now. His ribald yet strident tone on tenor has always marked him as one of the contemporary players who most closely resemble Trane. This CD of Washington's Harlem Arts Ensemble has them collectively assimilating Coltrane's Africa/Brass bands, employing various-sized ensembles ranging from eight to 12 pieces.... --Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide (May 6, 2007) (read the full review)

Bostonians may remember multi-reedman Salim Washington for his leadership in the 1990s of an esteemed, inspired local ensemble called the Roxbury Blues Aesthetic.... The same bittersweet brew of urban exhilaration and melancholy pervades the work of Washington's new venture, the Harlem Arts Ensemble... four of the most distinct and exciting voices on their instruments, Kuumba Frank Lacy (trombone), Waldron Ricks (trumpet), Melanie Dyer (viola), and Kurtis River (reeds)... --Siddhartha Mitter, Boston Globe (May 6, 2007) (read the full review)

The horn section of the Harlem Arts Ensemble dates back nearly two decades, when they formed as the Roxbury Blues Aesthetic. Currently, the group, which includes a violist among the six "horns," performs weekly at Harlem's St. Nick pub, which accounts for the rapport felt in the hard-hitting performances on Harlem Homecoming. ...Salim Washington leads them through a set of creative originals that establishes the Ensemble's flight patterns. An equally unique soloist, he writes in a manner that requires a cohesive group to develop the music... --Mike Shanley, Jazz Times Magazine (Jan/Feb 2007) (read the full review)

Harlem Homecoming is a celebration of what this music ought to be all about. It's also some kind of antidote to all the technically proficient but ultimately clinical modern mainstream stuff, and its uninhibited joyfulness brings a smile to the face and a fire to the heart... Anyone eager to have their faith in this music restored - and those who suffer from jaded ear syndrome - will be doing themselves a favour by hearing this one. -- Nic Jones, AllAboutJazz.com (read the full review)

Reedist Salim Washington's Harlem Arts Ensemble is a medium-sized band with a large sound, mixing Blues, Jazz, and improvised realms into a potent whole. --Frank Rubolino, Cadence, January 2007 (read the full review)

Harlem Homecoming is a breath of fresh air, a powerful musical statement that will surely give hope to those who bemoan the future of jazz. These ten original songs were mostly composed by Washington and executed by the formidable Harlem Arts Ensemble; the CD is a heady mix of first-rate musicianship with positive intention and emotional warmth.... this music is grounded in values such as family, community, national unity and world peace. Washington's vision is strong and true, and he has found the perfect vehicle of expression in jazz. -- Florence Wetzel, AllAboutJazz.com (read the full review)

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