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Ruth Price: LA's Jazz Jewel Keeping the Jazz Bakery Alive

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The LA jazz scene has endured immeasurably painful blows over the years, from the post-World War II death of the once vibrant action on Central Ave (unequivocably among jazz history's most significant locales) to the more recent shuttering of memorable clubs like Shelly's Manne Hole, Donte's and, most recently, Charlie Os. Intrepid jazz entrepreneur Rocco Somazzi tried at least three times: with Rocco's, up on Beverly Glen; then Cafe Metropol, downtown when there barely was a downtown; and finally, in Culver City with Royal T, before giving up on jny: Los Angeles and setting up stakes at Duende in jny: ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ruth Wilhelmine Meyer and Helge Lien: Memnon

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Helge Lien is a contemporary Norwegian pianist principally known for work on his own and with his trio, for which he has been awarded Norway's 2008 DnBNor Musicians Award. Despite extensive exposure to the more mainstream music created with his trio, however, Lien has long been associated with more experimental projects, like the HERO duo, from 2005-6, with saxophonist Rolf-Erik Nystrøm; with Tri O'Trang, where Lien plays alongside saxophone, trumpet and/or tuba; and his more recent solo piano outing, Kattenslager (Ozella, 2012 ) This album of duets with singer Ruth Wilhelmine Meyer is not easy listening either. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Naked Truth: Ouroboros

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With apologies to the late guitarist Pete Cosey (who led a band by the name), the members of Naked Truth are bona fide “children of Agharta." That is, the group--led by bassist-guitarist Lorenzo Feliciati--has absorbed and adapted the lessons of trumpeter Miles Davis's exhausting, tectonic live recording Agharta (Columbia, 1975) so well that Davis' disc can be revisited with fresh ears and new appreciation.What does it mean to be children of Agharta? The brooding Ouroboros would not be mistaken for Davis' record in any blindfold test. Nor is it likely that Naked Truth has consciously imitated its trumpet-playing ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stevens / Rutherford / Parker / Guy: One Four and Two Twos

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This release brings the very welcome return of an August 1978 studio session involving four legends of British improv: drummer John Stevens, trombonist Paul Rutherford, saxophonist Evan Parker and bassist Barry Guy. The first four of its five quartet tracks were originally released on LP in 1980 by View; all five were rereleased on CD in 1994 by Konnex, accompanied by a 1992 Spontaneous Music Ensemble (SME) track. Here, all five are accompanied by three unreleased 1979 duo tracks from trombonist Paul Rutherford and bassist Barry Guy, and two unreleased 1992 duo tracks by drummer John Stevens and saxophonist Evan ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Naked Truth: Shizaru

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Naked Truth is the brain child of Italian bassist Lorenzo Feliciati, who has made a name for himself throughout Europe since 2005 as both a leader and collaborator. Feliciati has said that Naked Truth came from his desire to create a band where “each voice is equal and contributes to the musical conversation," and where no instrument dominates the melodies or solos. Instead, each composition is based upon a riff or sonic motif, with the players all responding with improvised layers of their own. In this spirit, all songwriting is credited to Naked Truth. Feliciati has assembled ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Thomas Zehetmair / Ruth Killius: Manto and Madrigals

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The husband and wife team of violinist Thomas Zehetmair and violist Ruth Killius is best known for its work in the Zehetmair Quartet and, more specifically, for that group's award- winning recording of Schumann's First and Third String Quartets (ECM, 2001). On Manto and Madrigals the creative pair assembles an equally creative recital of duet miniatures from the 20th and 21st Centuries. This is difficult music, requiring something between attention and careful study. Darkly dissonant, the disc's repertoire is challenging and rewarding. A brief spring morning does exist among the brooding consideration--an early piece by Béla Bartók, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Vanore & Abstract Truth: Contagious Words

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John Vanore & Abstract Truth's Contagious Words has the qualities of either a small big-band date or a big small-band date, depending on the perspective. There are twelve musicians listed on every track, and five more who show up for a few tracks each. That certainly has the instrumental mix for a full big band sound, but Vanore, who plays trumpet and composed most of the tracks on the album, uses the full power of the orchestra judiciously. The writing is complicated enough to sound modern and highly crafted, but remains accessible enough to retain fans of ...



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