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REDISCOVERY

Don Byron: Tuskegee Experiments

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For this column I step away from my avoidance of personalization because its roots and intent are, indeed, very, very personal. The germination of this column began as the result of two coinciding events. First, after months of relative inactivity due to a health matter that, while thankfully non- life threatening and treatable, could take several more months to get me back to my usual breakneck speed and has slowed my writing to a crawl, I began to feel like I needed to do something to keep promoting music that moved me, but in ways that required less ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alex García’s AfroMantra: This Side of Mestizaje

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From the word go, this tight band shows its mettle with upbeat lyricism as evidenced in the opener “Believe." A Chick Corea Return to Forever era influence is apparent with “11:11 Spirit," Fender Rhodes to the fore. The title track clearly displays what a drum-led group sounds like, Alex Garcia's intelligent and incisive percussion beating a path for the others to follow. The irresistible theme of “Azul Infinito" burns into the memory banks just as subtle interludes with piano and drums play off one another, succeeded by the lively “Coltranesque" in which Ariel De La ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marco Sanguinetti: 8

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Argentine pianist and composer Marco Sanguinetti had established a solid and unique style with his solo effort Improvisiones (MDR, 2005). His penchant for emphasizing percussive effects and recurring variations of phrases are elements that he has consistently employed in his recordings. With El otro (Acqua, 2011) he placed a stronger prominence on lyricism while maintaining a high-density attack. Taking his skills to a new level is what 8 is about and Sanguinetti raises the bar adding stratums of texture, multiple influences and styles without prolixity.The title 8 comes from both the number of tracks and eight related graphic ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Vijay Iyer/Prashant Bhargava: Radhe Radhe, Rites of Holi

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Vijay Iyer/Prashant Bhargava Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi ECM 2014 Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi is a sumptuous visual and sonic collaboration between Vijay Iyer and film maker Prashant Bhargava. It was commissioned by Emil Kang, Executive Director of the Carolina Performing Arts as part of a wider series of works to celebrate the centenary of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (1913), which in its day, with its avant-garde orchestration, ballet and elaborate stage design was something of a multi-media show-stopper itself. Though Bhargava based his visual narrative on the ...

BEST OF / YEAR END

Jakob Baekgaard's Best Releases of 2014

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2014 proved to be another fruitful year for jazz. The artists on this list represent many different musical directions, but that is the wonder of jazz. It is so many things and the world would indeed be poorer if the idiom was restricted to one particular sound. These artists all have a fresh approach to the music, but, at the same time, they respect tradition. Argentinian pianists Francisco Lo Vuolo and Paula Shocron know the language of the standards and even Danish saxophonist Lars Greve's enchanting dialogues with nature has its predecessor on saxophonist Peter Brötzmann's and drummer Han Benninks ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Per Zanussi 5: Live in Coimbra

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Here, Norwegian master bassist Per Zanussi is the leader and director of operations. Recorded live at a Portuguese jazz festival, the three-man reed section weaves mega contrasts and disparate tonalities into the mix with subtle or pronounced variances, contrapuntal phrasings, and sweltering, rough-hewn ostinatos. They embrace Middle Eastern modalities, free bop, funk and other genres via tempestuous solo spots, tuneful choruses and powerful exchanges, equating to a kaleidoscopic exhibition. On the final track “All Wrath," the band dishes out a manifold array of applications, highlighting its diversity. The musicians launch a mid-tempo Latin tinged vamp, where the reedman ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jean-Luc Petit: Matière des Souffles

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French reed player Jean-Luc Petit mastered his art through extensive, mostly free improvised, solo work with actor and poet Daniel Crumb (including the staging of Charles Bukowski poems) and various duets with double bassist Benjamin Duboc, percussionist Didier Lasserre and sax players Daunik Lazro and Sylvain Guérineau among many other forward-thinking local improvisers. Petit's five solo improvisations may be considered as reed abstractions of Duboc's masterful improvisations on double bass. The latter three pieces were recorded by Duboc in the same church building, Eglise Saint-Martin in Bignac, in western France where Duboc recorded St. James Infirmary ...



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