JDS Reviews & News

National and international reviews of Charles McPherson’s Jazz Dance Suites.

DownBeat readers poll – #1 Artist of the Year #1 New Release

Jazz Hot la revue internationale du jazz depuis 1935 – Jazz Dance Suites Review

“Great jazz perfectly recorded!”
By Yves Sportis, © Jazz Hot 2021

“Cool Toddcast” Podcast – Episode 7 JAZZ DANCE SUITES

Grammy Award-winning bassist Todd Coolman sits down with the McPherson family in a conversation about a wonderful collaboration between jazz music and dance.
By Todd Coolman, May 2021

JazzTimes Readers’ Poll Jazz Dance Suites Best New Release 2020!

The people have spoken: Jazz Dance Suites is sure enough an amazing addition to McPherson’s pantheon of hallmark jazz recordings. Also within this poll – Charles picked ARTIST OF THE YEAR 2020, and #4 in the ALTO SAX category. Check out all fan picks for 2020.

DOWNBEAT Best Albums of 2020  – Charles McPherson’s Jazz Dance Suites

glide MAGAZINE – The Year’s 20 Best Jazz Albums

“…the music stretches across a much broader palette than bebop, but you’ll inevitably hear those strains as well. For its highly imaginative compositions and the sterling emotive range of McPherson’s playing, this represents a signature work in McPherson’s storied catalog.”
By Jim Hynes, December 2020

WORLD SOCIALIST WEB – Favorite Music of 2020 Jazz Category

“Jazz Dance Suites” named 3rd place
By Hiram Lee, December 2020

90.5 WICN Public Radio PODCAST with Tom Lucci – Listen Here

Tom Lucci spoke with the legendary Charles McPherson recently. Charles has been a leading apostle of the alto saxophone since 1960! Clint Eastwood called him to evoke Charlie Parker’s sound in his acclaimed biopic movie “Bird,” and Jazz at Lincoln Center recently honored him on his 80th birthday. His 28th album as a leader, “Jazz Dance Suites,” is very special. Find out why, plus hear a lot of jazz history and wisdom from one of the greats in this in-depth conversation.

bebop spoken here, England – album review: Charles McPherson’s Jazz Dance Suites

“Inspired by and dedicated to his daughter Camille of the San Diego Ballet, the original music had me entranced. Magnificent sounds somewhat inadequate!
We knew he could blow alto to match the greats, we didn’t realize just how well he could write, not just write but how well he could write to suit the terpsichorean activity in these two dance suites.” More…
Tuesday, August 04, 2020

DOWNBEAT Review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“…bright, citrusy tone on alto saxophone, alluring lyricism and graceful improvisations are in splendid form on Jazz Dance Suites. …he leads a nimble septet through a dynamic range of compositions that move from sumptuous ballads to spirited sambas.” more…
John Murph

DOWNBEAT – Charles McPherson Straddles The Artistic Fence

By J.D. Considine October 2020

San Diego Union-Tribune – Jazz Master Charles McPherson releases new album, launches record label and preps for a drive-in concert

By George Varga October 10, 2020

JAZZIZ –  Album Review

“Those who have followed the career of alto-sax master Charles McPherson will find this latest release something of a departure from his bop roots, and a charming one at that…”
By – Sascha Feinstein Winter, 2021

JAZZIZ – 10 Albums You Need to Know

“Saxophonist Charles McPherson continues to expand on his bebop roots on Jazz Dance Suites. Here, he renews the marriage of jazz and dance via three suites he composed for the San Diego Ballet, documenting an association that began in 2015. These works balance improvisational brilliance with compositional prowess and are inspired by his daughter Camille, a soloist in her eighth season with the prestigious dance company. “
BMATT MICUCCI September 3, 2020

WBGO 88.3FM: Fall Preview: From Auspicious Debuts to Unearthed Gems

“Jazz Dance Suites -….the compositions fall within programmatic parameters….contemplative, best to be digested in one sitting. Moods blend into one another, anchoring a story appreciated on the record while we eagerly await a stage production.”
Alex Ariff / NPR Jazz Night in America – September 14, 2020

New York City Jazz Record – Charles McPherson Jazz Dance Suites: “No Expiration Date”

“One of the most salient aspects of the new record is the gorgeous sound that McPherson coaxes out of his instrument. It’s captured in exquisite detail at the Van Gelder Studio….Jazz Dance Suites is a top-shelf production, with sterling photography and an uber informative liner booklet written by McPherson scholar Dr. Donnie Norton. It could be a major-label production…”
By Robert Bush, December 2020

London JAZZNEWS – Charles McPherson –JAZZ DANCE SUITES

“… his arranging and compositions demonstrate a unique and successful blend of genres. These are fresh, new and powerful sounds from a legendary alto saxophonist. Even more beautiful is that he was inspired to create these Jazz Dance Suites for his talented daughter.”
By Frank Griffith, September 2020

JazzTimes – An Overdue Ovation for the man who was Mingus resident alto

“Michael J. West learns how someone who’s often regarded as a dyed-in-the-wool bebop purist wrote music for a ballet in this Overdue Ovation.”
By Michael J West, November 2020

The San Diego Reader – Charles McPherson dedicates Jazz Dance Suites to ballet-star daughter

By Robert Bush, October 15th, 2020


“McPherson’s robust, emotive tone carries the listener to a place where, even without the visual element of dancers, the music facilitates such visualization. For its highly imaginative compositions and the sterling emotive range of McPherson’s playing, this represents not only a signature work in McPherson’s storied catalog but one that should receive high consideration on year-end lists.”
By Jim Hynes, September 2020

San Diego Troubadour – Album Review

“Jazz Dance Suites was recorded at the world-famous Van Gelder Studios by Maureen Sickler, and it is a sonically beautiful session that captures McPherson and company in vivid detail… …About that tone. Whatever they were doing at the Van Gelder studios was working at every level. On “Heart’s Desire” McPherson sets a sumptuous growl into motion and he builds his solo with Zen-like patience that yields to a cathartic climax like only a true master of his art could achieve. Jazz Dance Suites demands and rewards repeated listening and is highly recommended.”
By Robert Bush, October 2020

L.A. Jazz Scene – Album Review

“McPherson plays beautifully on his showcase “Heart’s Desire,” and there is also a happy samba (“Wedding Song”), a haunting ballad (“Hear My Plea”), the joyful “Thinking Of You,” an impressive feature for guest pianist Randy Porter (“After The Dance”)…” “As both an altoist and a composer, Charles McPherson is featured at the top of his game throughout Jazz Dance Suites.. I would love someday to see how dancers interrupt this music.”
By Scott Yanow – October 2020

All About Jazz – Album Review: Charles McPherson Jazz Dance Suites

“McPherson has a reputation as one of the last true followers of the bebop tradition but this release shows that his talents stretch beyond that… the music was intended to accompany ballets but it stands strongly on its own… demonstrates that McPherson is as talented a composer as he is a saxophonist.”
By Jerome Wilson, November 2020

Occhi Magazine – Album Review

“McPherson’s ‘Reflection on an Election’ is his reaction to the 2016 election in the United States of America….. Taking up the mantle of many composers such as Beethoven, Shostakovich, Duke Ellington, and Charles Mingus, McPherson brilliantly voices his opinion with no words needing to be spoken.”
by Jonathan Blackman, October 2020

Musicalmemoirs’s Blog – Blues is the Root of Jazz

“McPherson’s arranging and composition demonstrates his genius blend of musical genres and his artistic prowess used to embrace ballet stories and the concept of creating music for dance. Here is fresh, new, and powerful music by the legendary Charles McPherson. Even more beautiful is that he was inspired to write and create these “Jazz Dance Suites” for his artistic and talented daughter.”
By Dee Dee McNeil, September 3, 2020

Black Grooves (hosted by the Archives of African American Music & Culture) Album Review

“McPherson’s Jazz Dance Suites delivers fresh, new, and imaginative arrangements and compositions in an incredibly enjoyable package. Moods blend, art-forms are shifted, and inspirational stories are told throughout this signature work.”
By Jared Walker, October 2020

San Diego Troubadour – Charles McPherson: Weathering the Pandemic with New Album and Ballet Project

By Jim Trageser, September 2020

Canción a quemarropa, Spain – Charles McPherson publishes his new album, Jazz Dance Suites

Jazz Dance Suites demonstrates a decidedly fresh and exciting relationship between jazz and dance art forms and speaks to McPherson’s stellar range as an artist. More…
August 12, 2020

ROOTSVILLE, Netherlands

“Jazz Dance Suites” showcases a decidedly fresh and exciting relationship between the jazz and dance art forms and speaks as an artist to the amazing range of McPherson. Since 1972, McPherson has toured internationally as a band leader and sideman with the upper echelons of jazz greats such as Billy Eckstine, Nat Adderley, Dizzy Gillespie and Wynton Marsalis. During his six decades of being an integral performer of the music, Charles has not only stayed true to its origins as bebop, but expanded it. Jazz Dance Suites deviates from the traditional bop sensibilities of most of his earlier works. It contains numerous examples of improvisational brilliance…more
September, 2020

Jazz Square, Israel

“Yes, jazz has become different, but dance has also become different. And at this level, they can be together again.. More…
By Leonid Auskern, July 7th, 2020

Broadway World – Charles McPherson Collaborates With San Diego Ballet on New Recording

Jazz Dance Suites demonstrates a decidedly fresh and exciting relationship between the jazz and dance art-forms and speaks to McPherson’s stellar range as an artist. More…
By BWW News Desk, June 26, 2020  

“All That’s Jazz” PODCAST with Allen Scott

“In this episode, we talk with both Charles, Camille, and Lynn – Charles’ wife and Camille’s mother who is not only a concert pianist and educator, but also manager, promoter and agent for her husband.”
By Allen Scott, October 2020

JAZZ WEEKLY /RINGER OF THE WEEK/ Charles McPherson Jazz Dance Suites

“…McPherson shows that music that is “new” doesn’t have to equate with cacophony. This is beautiful, organic and original.”
By George Harris, October 2020

JAZZthing –  Jazz Dance Suites Review 

“At the age of 81, saxophonist Charles McPherson is one of the great veterans of American jazz history. His new album “Jazz Dance Suites” (Chazz Mack Music), on which he conquered new territory, proves that he is not resting on his laurels….” 
By Rolf Thomas  November, 2020