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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Billy Bang / Bill Cole: Duet

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Among the more daring moments in music is one of the last adventures that violinist Billy Bang shared with double reeds player, the venerable Bill Cole. The intense encounter took place on April 17, 2009 and was captured by Cole who released it on his own label in the winter of 2010. A collection of intriguing compositions by both Cole and Bang, as well as tumultuous improvisations that emerged from the depths of each man's soul, this album will remain one of the most mystical confluences in music to be captured on record. Both men have an equal share in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Cole's Untempered Ensemble: Proverbs of Sam

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Master of semi-exotic Eastern double-reed instruments, Bill Cole has spent most of his professional life as an academic. Criminally under-recorded, when Seasoning the Greens, a 2001 concert of his Untempered Ensemble was released in 2002, fans of freely improvised worldbeat jazz only had to wait one year. So the question raised by Proverbs of Sam is: what took so long? Featuring the three long improvisations that comprised the Ensemble's set at the Vision Festival in June of 2001 and a fourth track from the concert that gave us Seasoning the Greens, it is dedicated to the memory of the late ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Cole's Untempered Ensemble: Proverbs for Sam

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Proverbs for Sam is dedicated to the late saxophonist Sam Furnace, a charter member of double reed master Bill Cole's Untempered Ensemble. The majority of the album is culled from the 2001 Vision Festival in New York, while the majestic finale is drawn from the same 2001 Burlington, Vermont concert documented on Seasoning of the Greens (Boxholder Records, 2002). These live recordings feature some of Furnace's last performances with the Ensemble, who passed away in 2004.

Since the early nineties, Bill Cole's Untempered Ensemble has straddled the tenuous line between East and West, its instrumentation and approach seamlessly ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Cole's Untempered Ensemble: Proverbs for Sam

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Bill Cole has such a typical American name that those unfamiliar with his music could be forgiven for expecting to hear quintessential American jazz on his recorded offerings. Cole, a rare breed of jazz artist who has focused his efforts on uniting Eastern sounds with the American art form, is a musical seeker who has, over the better part of four decades, mastered an array of non-traditional, non-Western instruments: the Chinese Sona, Australian Digeridoo, Indian Shenai, Ghanaian flute, and Indian Nagaswarm.Cole's Untempered Ensemble, heard on the marvelous Seasoning the Greens (Boxholder Records, 2002), is back with an equally ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Coleman: The Complete Philips Recordings

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Trumpeter Bill Coleman (1904-81) played in a host of orchestras (led by Benny Carter, Teddy Wilson, Luis Russell and Don Redman) in the 1930s, with the same vibrato and finesse as his contemporary, Buck Clayton, but not quite the same bravura and vocabulary. To make an analogy using trumpeters from another jazz era, Coleman is to Clayton as Kenny Dorham is to Clifford Brown. Coleman would eventually settle in France, where these recordings were made and recently reissued, and where he would co-found the Marciac Jazz Festival. A geographical serendipity allowed him to entitle his memoirs De ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Cole & William Parker: Two Masters: Live At The Prism

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Bill Cole and William Parker have much in common: belief in the healing and transforming power of music, respect for non-Western musical forms, and a commitment to free improvisation. Cole's Untempered Ensemble, which has included Parker in recent years, as well as Parker's prolific output with his own Little Huey Orchestra and a multitude of other lineups, have done much to challenge Western musical ethnocentricities and blow a fresh wind through creative jazz.

With all those credits behind and around it, Two Masters: Live At The Prism is, it's disappointing to report, unremarkable stuff. This is the first ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Cole & William Parker: Two Masters: Live at the Prism

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Over the years William Parker and Bill Cole have taken improvisation to new plateaus, through both individual projects and Cole's Untempered Ensemble, of which Parker is a member. This is their first full recording as a duo. They play a host of instruments from around the world, and given their credentials, it is not surprising that they have understood the instruments and mastered the technique of playing them as well.

The nageswaram is a double reed used in South Indian music, its counterpart being the shehnai, which is used in North Indian music. Both musicians play the nageswaram ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Cole & William Parker: Two Masters: Live at the Prism

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As much if not better known for his two books on John Coltrane and Miles Davis, Bill Cole has nevertheless etched out a rather singular place in improvised music as an expert on a variety of instruments associated primarily with eastern cultures. And with his Untempered Ensemble, he has managed to embrace these unusual instruments, retaining their cultural roots while applying them to broader improvisational concerns.

Bassist William Parker, a charter member of the Untempered Ensemble, is certainly familiar with Cole's world view. But while Parker's contribution to Cole's ensemble has been on his primary instrument, he is, in fact, ...

MEGAPHONE

Bill Cole: The Path I have Taken and the Instruments I Play

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Submitted on behalf of Bill Cole. On October 11, 2002 I turned 65. To celebrate I took my ensemble the Untempered Ensemble into the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. At the beginning of the second half all the members of the Ensemble played double reed horns that come from Asia. After the performance Anton Reid, long a strong supporter of musicians, mentioned to me that when I first came to New York, playing the instruments I play, people laughed at me. Now I had everyone in the Ensemble playing them. Beside having a good laugh I ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Cole's Untempered Ensemble: Seasoning the Greens

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Jazz fans may be less prone to musical ethnocentricities and preconceived ideas about song than, say, those folks who go out and buy Madonna CDs, but that restrictive mindset lingers.Bill Cole is out to shake things up a bit. Cole has been studying and playing a number of eastern double reed instruments for over forty years, and what he is offering up on his Seasoning of the Greens is something of a sonic world tour, with a solid grounding in American jazz. You'll hear the didgeridoo (Australia), the sona (China), hojok (Korea), the shenai and nagaswarm (India), combined ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Cole's Untempered Ensemble: Live in Greenfield, Massachusets November 20, 1999

It takes a while to get a grip on a recording like this. After having spent such “a while” absorbing this sprawling 2CD set, I’m willing to claim that this is one of the most important documents of Jazz in the past ten years. It represents a virtuosic synthesis of composition and improvisation, and of conventional and unconventional timbres. Each of the participants is a seasoned improviser comfortable with a range of Jazz aesthetics, from the accessible to the abstract. The leader of this ensemble, Bill Cole, plays a large number of wind instruments from various traditions outside Jazz, including ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Cole: Duets & Solos, Volume 1

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Bill Cole’s debut disc for Boxholder described the myriad strengths of his Untempered Ensemble at full muster ranging through a handful of powerful and highly personal compositions. Comprising a formidable roster of improvisers including Cooper-Moore, William Parker and Joseph Daley, and adhering to Cole’s rubric of incorporating non-Western instruments into jazz-based improvisatory settings the group was an ingenious amalgam of new and traditionally grounded sonorities. The 2-disc set turned out to be one of the most original and thought-provoking releases of 2000. This second release is culled from a performance that followed the day after the one issued on the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Cole's Untempered Ensemble: 11/20/99

11/20/99 sounds strange. The music utilizes influences from not only the jazz tradition but also from the music of Africa, the Middle East, and Oceania to tell at least part of the story of the African American experience. Bill Cole and his Untempered Ensemble never resolve this incongruity but they don’t really need to. The music speaks for itself with its wonderful and hopeful tones that outbursts of violence and moments of uncertainty occasionally break through.

11/20/99 is a two disc set of music that Cole and his associates recorded in Greenfield, Massachusetts this past November 20. "Struggles of Fanny ...



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