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ARTIST PROFILES

Milford Graves: Time Piece

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"Don't tell me how many years you've been doing something." Milford Graves's delivery is surprisingly restrained given the directness of his statement. “I want to know how completely you're filling that time, how you're spending each nanosecond." The statement defines the energy and vitality that this extraordinary musician brings to every aspect of his artistic life. To label Graves as one of the pioneers of free jazz is to define his work in far too narrow a scope. Leaving aside, for the moment, his contributions to herbology, the martial arts, acupuncture and to the healing characteristics of music, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anthony Braxton / Milford Graves / William Parker: Beyond Quantum

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An unprecedented free jazz summit meeting of the highest order, Beyond Quantum features composer/multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton, percussionist Milford Graves and bassist William Parker in an impromptu blowing session recorded at Bill Laswell's studio.

Anthony Braxton has been enjoying a well-deserved resurgence in popularity, courtesy of a growing discography that features collaborations with former students turned rising stars including Taylor Ho Bynum, Mary Halvorson and Jessica Pavone. William Parker has been a galvanizing force in the international scene as key organizer of the Vision Festival, one of today's most important jazz festivals.

In comparison, the legendary Milford ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Milford Graves: Percussion Ensemble

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Fulfilling Bernard Stollman's prescient request to record for his label, Milford Graves decided to enlist Sunny Morgan as a drumming partner for Percussion Ensemble. Graves did so purposefully; the duo percussionists were making more than music. They were calling up their heritage at a time when Black Americans were teetering on the fulcrum of American cultural consciousness.

The music defies stereotyping. It is not concerned with keeping time or playing riffs. Rather, the two players are just talking in “drum" using their hands as mouthpieces. The continuation of their movement not only exhales a tonal diversity, which unfolds unpredictably and ...

INTERVIEWS

A Fireside Chat with Milford Graves

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If you like the 'free jazz' or 'avant-garde' or 'loft' or 'downtown' or whatever other bullshit name they give this music, you are a fan of Milford Graves. You may not know it, but you are. Much like Henry Grimes, Graves is one of those musicians that those in the know, know and those in the, well, not know, don't. Albert Ayler's Love Cry, that's Graves. The killing ESP sessions, New York Art Quartet, Barrage, Giuseppi Logan Quartet, and Lowell Davidson Trio, that's Graves. And Sonny Sharrock's Black Woman, you get the picture. I was honored to speak with Graves, ...



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