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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Slumgum / Hugh Ragin: The Sky His Own

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The third release of the young Los Angeles-based, Cal Arts-educated Slumgum attempts to expand its musical universe. This inventive quartet already defined its rich aesthetic, drawing from diverse influences like jazz, free improvisation, world music and modern classical music, stressing a vivid sense of exploration and adventure with close and supportive interplay. On The Sky His Own, the quartet hosts veteran cornetist Hugh Ragin, who has collaborated with such important musicians as Roscoe Mitchell, Clark Terry, David Murray and Sun Ra. Ragin deepens Slumgum's tendency to explore freer sonic territories. After the playful and melodic introduction of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Slumgum / Hugh Ragin: The Sky His Own

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Slumgum exhibits a sophisticated voice and thematic cohesiveness on this, its third release, The Sky His Own. These characteristics are a testament to this innovative Los Angeles-based quartet's camaraderie and shared ideology, as all members of the group, including guest cornetist Hugh Ragin, contribute unique compositions. Ragin's expansive “Silver Cornet News" starts off hinting at hard bop, with drummer Trevor Anderies energetically driving the melody. Known for the breadth of his ingenuity, Ragin does not disappoint, as his mellowed cornet weaves an imaginative improvisation that flirts with freer sounds. After a brief and advanced duet with saxophonist ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hugh Ragin: Revelation

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With his virtuosic quartet in a session of his own compositions, trumpeter Hugh Ragin retains the tradition of jazz history while forging ahead in an avant-garde direction. The quartet lays down a heavy, walking bass foundation and a constant, surrounding, drum texture over which trumpet and tenor saxophone explore. Ragin's trumpet tone employs an edge that keeps his audience off- kilter throughout. Similarly, Assif Tsahar's saxophone cries come spontaneously, and hold a dramatic spirit to the music. Together, the four artists create dissonance and unleash their powerful energy freely.

Harmony can be constructed in such a way that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hugh Ragin: Revelation

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Houston-born and Colorado-based trumpeter Hugh Ragin long ago grasped the essential connections between modern jazz sophistication and soulful energy, but he has never articulated them as clearly and comprehensively on record as on Revelation. Ragin has been responsible for a recent string of releases on Justin Time, in addition to his recognized association with David Murray. He's joined on this all-original program by multi-reed player Assif Tsahar (on whose Hopscotch label he released Sound Pictures for Solo Trumpet two years ago), bassist William Parker, and drummer Hamid Drake.

Listening to Revelation brings to mind a range of similar ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hugh Ragin: Revelation

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While he has recorded less frequently as a leader than some his age, trumpeter High Ragin's career as a music educator in Denver, Colorado certainly hasn't prevented him from wider exposure with a variety of artists including Roscoe Mitchell, David Murray and, oddly enough, even Maynard Ferguson. But it is with the Creative Music Studio in the '70s that he whet his musical teeth and, consequently, his musical affiliation with the Afro-centric concepts of the Art Ensemble of Chicago will come as no surprise. Revelation finds Ragin in a brash quartet that demonstrates all the freedom of the Art Ensemble, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hugh Ragin: Feel The Sunshine

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Hugh Ragin's title track reminds us that music communicates expression. His passion shines through warmly. By adopting the classic jazz quintet format for his third Justin Time release, the trumpeter has retained a mainstream sensibility. However, his adventurous nature remains evident from start to finish. Standards and originals swing, while introducing flights of fancy throughout. The ensemble interprets with clarity and a natural ease. Their session combines avant-garde thrills with picturesque impressionism, sullen blues and joyful swing. Ragin's trumpet attains a wide range of emotions through his buoyant, conversational style. He and Assif Tsahar make a fruitful front line. Their ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hugh Ragin: Fanfare & Fiesta

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Recorded last June, this session moves in three distinct directions. Two cameo appearances by Clark Terry invite a lighthearted swing element. The title track moves toward creative improvised music, and yet is still in line with the mainstream. The remainder of the album invites unpredictable behavior through composed counterpoint and exciting solo performances.

Hugh Ragin, 50, cites the World Saxophone Quartet as his inspiration. A varied career has allowed the trumpeter to befriend different musical themes. With David Murray, he's responsible for providing fresh ideas in a forward-leaning environment. As a teacher, Ragin follows a time honored approach toward what ...



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