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Album Reviews

Hazel Leach / Composers' Orchestra Berlin: Postcard Collection

These picturesque "postcards" from composer / arranger m: Hazel Leach's well-appointed Composers' Orchestra Berlin are addressed to various locales in Europe and South America, presumably designed to echo musically the special nature of each site. Oddly enough, as there are only eight c... [ read more ]
 
Laura Schuler: Der Dichter Spricht

Der Dichter Spricht (translation: The Poet Speaks is a graceful, romantic affair, conjuring moments of restfulness and playfulness, very often within the framework of the same composition. Produced like a hushed yet invigorating ECM session, this second album from the German trio Esche, comprised of... [ read more ]
 
The Rempis / Daisy Duo and Guests: Dodecahedron

Saxophonist m: Dave Rempis and drummer m: Tim Daisy have been performing together in Chicago for decades. Their voices have been heard in m: Ken Vandermark's Audio One, Resonance Ensemble and The Vandermark Five, Triage (with Jason Ajemian), and their own projects... [ read more ]
 
Dead Composers Club: The Chopin Project

We have a pretty clear case of truth in advertising here; this top-notch recording offers exactly what it says on the tin. With the first installment of their Dead Composers Club project, m: Noah Preminger and m: Rob Garcia pay affectionate respect to a well-known oeuvre whil... [ read more ]
 
Eric Sierveld: Walk The Walk

m: Eric Sierveld's debut outing with the newly formed Organic Quintet is, true to its name, an organ driven affair which shares many similarities with some of the most traditional organ-based endeavors of the past five decades. Even the smoky production values of soaring brass and organ... [ read more ]
 
Tucker Antell: Grime Scene

Tucker Antell knows how to make an entrance. The two-minute solo stand that opens Grime Scene finds his stentorian saxophone blowing brusque and fluid across a wide swath. It plays like a strong man's lament-cum-catharsis, but what follows on the same track is something else: a bluesy shuffle with f... [ read more ]
 
Anthony Braxton Quartet: (Willisau) 1991 Studio

Picture m: Miles Davis finishing a solo and stepping off the bandstand to smoke, while m: John Coltrane steps up to the microphone to play. I'll bet that never happened with the legendary m: Anthony Braxton Quartet (1985-1994). His quartet with pianist {{m: Marilyn C... [ read more ]
 
Soothsayers: Tradition

To describe London's Soothsayers as a group of jazz musicians who get together to play a blend of roots reggae and Afrobeat is true--but potentially misleading. It could suggest that the musicians are taking time out from serious music-making to engage in something more ephemeral, of lesser importan... [ read more ]
 
Michael Musillami Trio + 2: Life Anthem

One day in June 2016, guitarist m: Michael Musillami woke up with a massive headache. Tests soon revealed that he had a brain hemorrhage and also an unrelated brain tumour. He slowly recovered from his illnesses and is now in good health. Life Anthem is his musical testament to his ordeal... [ read more ]
 
Robert Kennedy: Closer To Home

m: Robert Kennedy has an interesting story: by day he works for Google; by night he is an organist in the San Francisco jazz scene. Though it is not unusual for musicians to have two careers these days, as let's face it, musicians are still being paid rates from the '70s for playing musi... [ read more ]
 
: The Song Poetry of William Parker

The voice is close to the essence of what it means to be human. Through the voice, we express ourselves and sing our sorrow. It goes back a long way to hymns, blues, arias and standards. Through the tunes we tune in to ourselves and forget our daily strife. When songs are best, they become poetry. A... [ read more ]
 
This Is It!: 1538

Pianist/composer m: Satoko Fujii's June 2018 edition of her CD-release-a-month celebration of her sixtieth birthday introduces a new trio, called This Is It!. The group's debut recording takes its name from the Celsius melting point of iron. The group is a variation on the Satoko Fujii Ne... [ read more ]
 
Johannes Wallmann: Love Wins

The depths to which some factions of "civil" society will sink in order to deny others their equal rights, respect, and acknowledgement is downright depressing. But the height to which love can rise and overcome is heartening, to say the least. Pianist m: Johannes Wallmann is better acqu... [ read more ]
 
This Is It!: 1538

At the half-way point of Satoko Fujii's year-long celebration of her sixtieth birthday, she presents a new trio configuration--This is It!--with familiar figures. Her sixth of twelve releases for the year is titled 1538 and features her almost ubiquitous musical partner and spouse Natsuki Tamura and... [ read more ]
 
Alain Mallet: Mutt Slang

Pianist/keyboardist m: Alain Mallet has been known as much for his work as a producer as for his pianistic accomplishments. Having served as a sideman for Madeleine Peyroux, m: Phil Woods and m: Paul Simon, he's also produced music by vocalists {{m: Jonatha Brooke... [ read more ]
 
Lee Konitz: Prisma

Though m: Lee Konitz has played in a wide variety of settings and styles since his first professional engagement with m: Teddy Powell in 1945, recordings with full-blown orchestras have been few and far between. Recorded in Frankfurt in 2000, with the Brandenburg State Orchest... [ read more ]
 
: A Six-String Travelogue

Leni Stern 3 e: Leni Stern Recordings 2018 If it's an exaggeration to say that m: Leni Stern's gone native after her life-shaping time in Senegal, it's probably not by much. 3 isn't the result of merely studying and and learning a few new forms, but an unrestrained immersion in... [ read more ]
 
Pablo Ziegler Trio: Jazz Tango

Jazz Tango--winner of the 2018 Grammy for "Best Latin Jazz Album"--is a distillation of pianist m: Pablo Ziegler's vision. Leading a trio of American-based Argentinians, Ziegler delivers a program that perfectly encapsulates the titular hybridized form that he knows so well. This exhilar... [ read more ]
 
Angelika Niescier - Christopher Tordini - Tyshawn Sorey: The Berlin Concert

For almost twenty years, German saxophonist m: Angelika Niescier has been creating forward-thinking jazz that expertly straddles the line between intricate structure and freewheeling energy. Nowhere was this aesthetic vision realized more acutely than on NYC Five (Intakt Records, 2016)... [ read more ]
 
Meg Okura: IMA IMA

Heritage isn't merely defined by blood and DNA. It's about who we are, who we choose to become, and what we take from the past to bring to our individual present and presence. So says this most personal of albums from Meg Okura and The Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble. "Ima"--the Hebrew word for "mothe... [ read more ]
 

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