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Kevin Lynch

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Award-winning and Pulitzer-nominated Kevin Lynch is a former staff arts writer for The Milwaukee Journal and The Capital Times and has written for No Depression: The Quarterly Journal of American Roots Music, NoDepression.com, Down Beat, The Chicago Tribune, New Art Examiner, The Antioch Review and American Record Guide. He blogs at Culture Currents (Vernaculars Speak) and is the author of the forthcoming book Voices in the River: The Jazz Message to Democracy.

The group describes itself as three “sonic storytellers" on a “restless search." These storytellers weave a web of enlightenment with melody and rhythm. Harmony is spare, recalling Ornette Coleman’s decree to liberate oneself from the... more

Aug 22, 2017 3:33 PM Album Reviews

Father Sky, featuring young Milwaukee pianist-singer-composer Anthony Deutsch, releases its self-titled album more

Aug 8, 2017 3:01 PM Album Reviews

Among the world’s most ambitious and gifted singers, Kurt Elling pursues what philosophers call the life examined on Passion World. He examines the concepts of passion and romance among various cultures, including songs in English, Spanish,... more

Dec 22, 2015 5:53 PM Album Reviews

Milwaukee’s Opus is more than 40 years old yet this music sounds like the first breeze of spring. Definition redefines jazz-fusion as grownup music. There’s plenty of youthful élan but it tastes like a vintage chardonnay more

Sep 1, 2015 6:00 PM Album Reviews

For Wiegel Room, Richard Wiegel, leader of the popular Madison area roots-rock band The Midwesterners, highlights his lonely guitar and just a bit extra. The less-is-more strategy plays like a royal flush and one tune, “Richard’s Rondo,”... more

Aug 25, 2015 6:20 PM Album Reviews 1 Comments

The Chicago Yestet is a 13-piece heartland jazz band that strives to bridge America’s huge political divide by universalizing the group’s social values. more

Mar 31, 2015 9:06 PM Album Reviews

Right from the opening blast of horns and stealthy walking bass on Still Out to Lunch! Russ Johnson transports listeners to modern jazz at its peak, Eric Dolphy’s 1964 Out to Lunch. more

Mar 11, 2015 10:18 PM Album Reviews

The crystal-clear Nashville-recorded session, Understudy, stands as the strongest-ever album of original work by Wisconsin’s Bill Camplin. more

Feb 17, 2015 5:37 PM Album Reviews

No Chicago blues star burned brighter or flamed out faster than Magic Sam Maghett, “The King of West Side Blues.” In 1968, he electrified Milwaukee’s East Side Avant more

Aug 18, 2014 1:08 AM Album Reviews

Ernest Ranglin can claim to be one of the fathers of Jamaican music. As a guitarist in the late 1950s at Kingston’s Studio One, Ranglin is credited with more

Aug 5, 2014 9:21 PM Album Reviews

The audience laughed at the line: “You know when they assign you a social worker you’re in trouble.” But humor often hangs uneasily in American Players Theatre’s staging of Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical more

Jul 2, 2014 5:45 PM Theater

Minneapolis’ muscular alt-jazz trio bravely delves into Igor Stravinsky’s transformative epic, yes, boiling it down; yet Ethan Iverson brilliantly funnels Stravinsky’s glittering, dissonant orchestration through his keyboard. Bass and drums... more

May 22, 2014 1:15 AM Album Reviews

Finland seldom races to mind as a center for avant-garde jazz, yet the nation on Europe’s northeast corner has been home to a thriving scene. Prominent among Finnish improvisers is saxophonist-flutist Juhani Aaltonen, 78 years old but undim... more

Mar 15, 2014 4:28 AM Album Reviews

Heart-plucking Americana pictorial art, brash abstract expressionism, impishly ironic pop art and postmodern spin-offs can all make claims as “real American art.” more

Mar 12, 2014 12:21 AM Visual Arts

Alejandro Almenares rides a comfortable, lilting Cuban groove throughout Casa De Trova more

Feb 12, 2014 4:21 AM Album Reviews

From a son’s massive saga of his father, Civil War firebrand John Brown, to his incisive new story collection, Russell Banks’ fiction has demonstrated acute insight into human relations in a myriad of intensely pressurized, comic and tragic... more

Feb 2, 2014 9:47 PM Books

Thomas Garver understands O. Winston Link as a genius who “seduced” viewers with the romance of billowing smoke, thundering pistons and clattering train tracks. The analogy is apt given Link’s background more

Jan 22, 2014 1:48 AM Visual Arts

Remember Antler’s acerbic epic “Factory”? He no longer rails, but his middle age still emits an eagle’s cry for vivid dreams and hope. The former Milwaukee poet laureate’s sly statistical research swirls into billowing “what ifs.” The... more

Sep 4, 2013 12:16 AM Books

Few Milwaukee-born singers—Al Jarreau aside—have had as auspicious a career as Jackie Allen. But what is she? Ostensibly a jazz vocalist, Allen is sophistication and soul, a romancer and a restless stylistic roamer more

Aug 28, 2013 12:20 AM A&E Feature

The Austin concert setting intensifies musical storyteller Mary Gauthier’s fine-grained witnessing and unaffected recitative. She finds equipoise between tough clarity and generous compassion: “Everybody says you look real good / Ah think y... more

Aug 22, 2013 1:12 AM Album Reviews

The great contemporary country-blues artist Charlie Parr manages a trick of sly self-portraiture on Dog, which feels like his most personal album yet while his empathic picture painting always rings authentic. more

Dec 12, 2017 2:32 PM Album Reviews

Their first collaborative album reveals the sister singer-songwriters as artists mature enough to transmute tragedy into a broad array of poignant expression. more

Nov 14, 2017 4:33 PM Album Reviews

Milwaukee-born jazz singer Jackie Allen has released a personal and original album—her best yet. more

Oct 24, 2017 4:54 PM Album Reviews

The group describes itself as three “sonic storytellers" on a “restless search." These storytellers weave a web of enlightenment with melody and rhythm. Harmony is spare, recalling Ornette Coleman’s decree to liberate oneself from the... more

Aug 22, 2017 3:33 PM Album Reviews

Father Sky, featuring young Milwaukee pianist-singer-composer Anthony Deutsch, releases its self-titled album more

Aug 8, 2017 3:01 PM Album Reviews

Like snake-oil healers, Old Crow Medicine Show lays hands on the temples of Bob Dylan’s myriad metaphoric symptoms of unrequited or forsaken love, as detailed in his genre-transforming 1966 double album. more

Jul 3, 2017 3:28 PM Album Reviews

On Araminta, guitarist Brandon Ross leads his jazz-black rock trio Harriet Tubman with bravura and unabashed love of vivid distortion, evoking what Sonny Sharrock might be doing if still alive, but with a more poetic control of sonics. Ross... more

Feb 21, 2017 2:48 PM Album Reviews

Sing Me Home is Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble’s best-yet cultural convergence and is a companion album to Music of Strangers, a documentary of Ma’s pan-cultural troubadours by Oscar- and Emmy-winning director Morgan Neville. more

Sep 6, 2016 3:00 PM Album Reviews

Among jazz’s freshest voices, Larry Young’s organ swam like a shadowy dolphin, unfurling McCoy Tyner-esque fourths for a more expansive, mysterious sound. The two-CD set, In Paris: The ORTF Recordings, includes two excellent tunes by trumpe... more

Jul 19, 2016 4:13 PM Album Reviews

Off the Cuff interviews Mark Davis, Milwaukee’s premier jazz pianist, director of the Wisconsin Conservatory’s Jazz Institute and member of the faculty jazz ensemble We Six, which can be heard on the recording Bird Say. Davis has also autho... more

Mar 8, 2016 4:31 PM Off the Cuff

The music on Ches Smith’s The Bell is about the interplay of the subtlest of overtones, not unlike the layered harmonic convergences of multiple bells when played on a steeple. That’s a way of imaging and accessing this chamber jazz, which ... more

Feb 16, 2016 3:48 PM Album Reviews

offthecuff_jimdevita_(courtesyofbradenmoran).jpg.jpe

Courtesy of Braden Moran

Actor, playwright, children’s author and volunteer EMT James DeVita discusses his debut adult novel, A Winsome Murder: a “cheap crime paperback novel” formula hoisted into a Shakespeare-haunted, blood-adorned whodunit. more

Dec 22, 2015 7:31 PM Off the Cuff

Among the world’s most ambitious and gifted singers, Kurt Elling pursues what philosophers call the life examined on Passion World. He examines the concepts of passion and romance among various cultures, including songs in English, Spanish,... more

Dec 22, 2015 5:53 PM Album Reviews

Milwaukee’s Opus is more than 40 years old yet this music sounds like the first breeze of spring. Definition redefines jazz-fusion as grownup music. There’s plenty of youthful élan but it tastes like a vintage chardonnay more

Sep 1, 2015 6:00 PM Album Reviews

For Wiegel Room, Richard Wiegel, leader of the popular Madison area roots-rock band The Midwesterners, highlights his lonely guitar and just a bit extra. The less-is-more strategy plays like a royal flush and one tune, “Richard’s Rondo,”... more

Aug 25, 2015 6:20 PM Album Reviews 1 Comments

The Milwaukee Art Museum’s new exhibit “Van Gogh to Pollock: Modern Rebels” includes major artists from the late-19th through mid-20th centuries. more

Jun 16, 2015 8:45 PM A&E Feature

On Complicated Game James McMurtry’s grainy voice adorns perfectly his vivid, powerful American writing, like a shabby jacket, collar turned up against the wind. more

May 26, 2015 7:00 PM Album Reviews

The Chicago Yestet is a 13-piece heartland jazz band that strives to bridge America’s huge political divide by universalizing the group’s social values. more

Mar 31, 2015 9:06 PM Album Reviews

Right from the opening blast of horns and stealthy walking bass on Still Out to Lunch! Russ Johnson transports listeners to modern jazz at its peak, Eric Dolphy’s 1964 Out to Lunch. more

Mar 11, 2015 10:18 PM Album Reviews

The crystal-clear Nashville-recorded session, Understudy, stands as the strongest-ever album of original work by Wisconsin’s Bill Camplin. more

Feb 17, 2015 5:37 PM Album Reviews

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