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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Donny McCaslin: Fast Future

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Saxophonist Donny McCaslin brought a fresh perspective to the acoustic-electronic jazz soundscape with 2012's Casting for Gravity (Greenleaf Music) which earned a Grammy nomination for “Best Instrumental Jazz Solo" for the track “Stadium Jazz." Thankfully it was not a one-off as McCaslin reassembles the tightly knit band and savvy production from saxophonist David Binney in Fast Future, a release that continues the groove factor. Like its predecessor, the music pulsates with energy as McCaslin's tenor powers over ...

INTERVIEWS

Donna Lewis: Brand New Day

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Pop culture's love-hate relationship with its artists presents an interesting conundrum. Music created for mass-consumption must be easily digestible, yet the public is quick to retaliate against content that lacks substance. Gifted musicians are often pigeonholed into a certain style or sound that may not reflect their true range. This myopic point of view focuses on one marketable facet of an artist's talent without taking into account the fact that most recording musicians tend to compose in a variety of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

B. J. Ward & Donn Trenner: Double Feature

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Actress, film animator, narrator and prolific singer, B.J. Ward reunites with pianist Donn Trenner an old musical partner, to record their second album together forty years after their first collaboration. The film-themed Double Feature takes a trip down memory lane offering eleven love songs from old movies and one original. Ward and Trenner are no strangers to each other as they actually use to be married, parted ways and have been the best of friends ever since. The duo released ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brandon Seabrook: Sylphid Vitalizers

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Guitarist Brandon Seabrook (Andrew Drury, Anthony Braxton) is justifiably garnering considerable press as a burgeoning firebrand who terrorizes or perhaps, atomizes the banjo and guitar with punk metal, free jazz and anarchistic rock proclivities. With his third solo release he conjures otherworldly and brain-bending propositions via an array of highly disciplined supercharged performances on banjo and guitar. He's also a frequent collaborator on the jazz improvisational front amid first-call session duties for new wave jazz productions that our largely outside-the-box. ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Lou Donaldson: Alligator Bogaloo – Blue Note 4263

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Alligator Bogaloo is very much a product of its time--1967--and it is extremely groovy. Start with the cover. A woman with crazy eye makeup wears a nutty hijab-like getup and is waving her arms like an early-day Bangle walking like an Egyptian. Tres psychedelic. Well, no surprise there. It's April 1967. The Summer of Love is about to begin. In two months, Sly and the Family Stone will burst into the public's consciousness and create modern ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Don Pullen: Richard's Tune

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Idiosyncratic pianist Don Pullen's debut as a leader, Richard's Tune (Sackville, 1974) already bore marks of his unique style and singular improvisational approach. Delmark reissued this superb solo outing in 2014 augmenting it with previously unreleased material from the same session making it all the more satisfying.Pullen peppers “KaDiJi," one of the bonus works on the CD, with his signature circular phrases. Edgy dissonance and dulcet spirituality coexist as the tightly woven harmonic lines flow towards the ringing, ...

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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tomás Doncker Band: Big Apple Blues

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Close on the heels of his first full-length album, a tribute to Howlin' Wolf, guitarist Tomàs Doncker released his second collaboration with Pulitzer prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, Big Apple Blues (True Groove 2014), on October 21. Their first collaboration, The Mercy Suite (Future Roots Music 2009), featured the likes of Meshell N'degeocello among others. Their latest effort features original music by Doncker and his band as well as an interesting blend of lighthearted bluesy tunes alongside more thought-provoking cuts ...



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