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Julius Hemphill / Peter Kowald: Live at Kassiopeia

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Julius Hemphill / Peter KowaldLive at KassiopeiaNo Business Records2011 Out of the blue comes this double disc set featuring two distinguished alumni, both sadly now departed, of two parallel streams of musical pioneering. German bassist Peter Kowald was one of the authors of European free improvisation. Though initially in the shadows of his more assertive compatriots, saxophonist Peter Brotzmann and pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach, he came into his own through giving full rein to his open spirit and almost obsessive desire to communicate, culminating in his Global Village concept and appearances with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Julius Hemphill: Dogon A.D.

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Dogon A.D. has long been revered as a classic among jazz connoisseurs; Julius Hemphill's relatively obscure but highly influential debut is widely considered the missing link between the avant-garde and populist forms such as blues, funk and soul. The 1972 recording session for this historic masterpiece originally produced four unique compositions, but Hemphill only issued three on his Mbari Records imprint due to time constraints. Arista/Freedom Records eventually bought the master tapes, using the fourth cut, “The Hard Blues," as the lead-off track to the saxophonist's 1975 LP, 'Coon Bid'ness, before reissuing the Mbari set two years later. Long out ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Julius Hemphill Sextet: The Hard Blues

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The Julius Hemphill Sextet celebrates its namesake on The Hard Blues, a funky and groovy outing by this all-saxophone group. Released by one of the more ambitious labels currently on the jazz scene, Portugal-based Clean Feed, the album features thirteen of the late saxophonist's memorable compositions. As with the World Saxophone Quartet, drum and bass are missing, leaving the generation of rhythm and its infectious byproducts to the group's interactions. They achieve a unique counterpoint and call-and-response cadence that surprises and delights.

Of the six players on The Hard Blues, three recorded with Hemphill on 1991's Fat Man and The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Julius Hemphill: One Atmosphere

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The late Julius Hemphill is pictured on the front of One Atmosphere nattily dressed and looking like someone you might meet at the crossroads, but he's holding sheet music. It's this combination of blues roots and classical formalism that was his stock and trade, both qualities represented to wonderful effect on this CD of rarely heard compositions. The title track, composed in 1992, is the most overtly classical. Ursula Oppens' piano mimics the sharp, vibrato-free Pacifica String Quartet as they repeat successive ostinato phrases. Recorded live in concert, a slight echo on the piano reinforces the piece's overall ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Julius Hemphill Sextet: At Dr. King's Table

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A 1997 release of note, “The Julius Hemphill Sextet” under the artistic direction of woodwind specialist Marty Ehrlich is a celebration of the late great saxophonist-composer Julius Hemphill and also features Ehrlich performing with his usual arsenal of saxophones, clarinets and flutes. Along with the top-flight sax section of Sam Furnace, Andy Laster, Andrew White, Gene Ghee and Alex Harding, the band take 16 Hemphill compositions under their wing while capturing the spirit of the late artist yet also performing as if these pieces were written specifically for this outing. Throughout, the Sextet maintains a personal if not thoroughly sonorous ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Julius Hemphill: Blue Boye

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Julius Hemphill was the original leader of the World Saxophone Quartet (WSQ). He is also remembered for his extraordinary recordings with his own sextet, and for his work with the cellist Abdul Wadud to mention only some of his accomplishments. Hemphill died of diabetes in 1995.

Screwgun Records, a small label operated by the saxophonist Tim Berne, has recently released an early recording (1977) of Hemphill's entitled: “Blue Boye." This is a 2CD set of solo, and layered solo work, of this master musician/composer who accompanies himself on a variety of instruments. Hemphill is most known for his alto and ...



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