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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tony Oxley: A Birthday Tribute--75 Years

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As its title indicates, this album was released to mark the occasion of drummer Tony Oxley's seventy-fifth birthday (which occurred on June 15 2013.) Fittingly, it is released on Incus, the ground-breaking label that Oxley established in 1970 with Derek Bailey and Evan Parker, frequently cited as “the first independent musician-run record label in Britain" (just about true because of the inclusion of “independent"--which rules out The Beatles' Apple label--and of “in Britain," which rules out Debut set up by ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cecil Taylor / Tony Oxley: Leaf Palm Hand

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If music criticism is difficult and jazz criticism is most difficult of all (how can any writer capture the essence of a form so elastic and alive?), well, what then to do with Cecil Taylor, the tireless 78-year-old avant-garde piano eminence whose iconoclastic style remains so singular and uncompromising that it defies any attempts at definition, much less explanation? It's enough to make any self-respecting critic retire permanently from the business. Structurally, Taylor's music is essentially motivic ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tony Oxley: The Baptised Traveller

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Though in hindsight many followers of British jazz and free improvisation are well aware of the impact that artists like Evan Parker, Derek Bailey and Tony Oxley have had on the course of modern creative music, the original liner notes on this, Oxley’s first album as leader, point to a presentation of new music by none other than Ronnie Scott’s preferred house drummer. Indeed, shortly before The Baptised Traveller was released, Oxley appeared alongside Kenny Clare on Scott’s Live at ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frank Gratkowski - Fred Van Hove - Tony Oxley: GRATHOVOX

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Recorded in Germany, these improvisational giants align their very special talents for what may appear to be a most unusual yet largely gratifying set. The trio commences with an open-ended sequence of interlacing movements on “Tartar.” As the musicians explore microtonal sounds and subliminally constructed mini-themes. Drummer/percussionist Tony Oxley uses his darkly hued cymbals for accents, while pianist Fred Van Hove and multi-reedman Frank Gratkowski implement parallel tonalities. The band occasionally veers off into circularly devised motifs amid manically developed ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cecil Taylor/Bill Dixon/Tony Oxley: Cecil Taylor/Bill Dixon/Tony Oxley

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I have a confession to make. One night at the Hotel Colibri in Victoriaville, Quebec, after a resoundingly disdained set by Cecil Taylor, Bill Dixon and Tony Oxley, I rode up in the elevator with Oxley and Victo festival promoter Michel Levasseur. My room was on the first floor, but I wanted to hear what they had to say. At best, most people I spoke to called the set a disappointment. The trio went on over an ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Howard Riley Trio with Barry Guy & Tony Oxley: Synopsis

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Synopsis represents material originally issued on the “Incus” LP along with one additional and previously unreleased track, performed by the venerable trio of pianist Howard Riley, bassist Barry Guy and percussionist Tony Oxley who also utilizes live electronics on this outing. Essentially, this recording resides within the classic and oft pioneering British free-jazz style of improvisation, and as some of us might surmise, the band delivers the goods in artful and curiously interesting fashion.

Throughout these five pieces, the “Howard ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Dixon with Tony Oxley: Papyrus Volume I

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The under-recorded yet highly regarded trumpeter/composer/writer Bill Dixon teams up with renowned free-jazz, improvising drummer Tony Oxley on Papyrus Volume I. Here, Dixon extracts unusual sounds from his horn via sparse, irregular lines as he shapes spacious themes while affording the listener an opportunity to contemplate time and motion throughout these 12 pieces. The ever-inventive Oxley possesses a signature style and is revered for his unorthodox employment of the drum kit, percussion instruments and array of multicolored cymbals. The duo ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paul Bley Furio Di Castri and Tony Oxley: Chaos

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Chaos is a new collaborative effort from experimentalists Paul Bley (p), Furio Di Castri (b) and drummer Tony Oxley. What we have here is a series of duets, solos and trio settings.

The Bley composition “Poetic Justice” typifies some of the trio’s introspective pieces which generally reside within the free jazz realm. Bley provides the melodic interludes while Oxley and Di Castri explore various rhythmic structures. Oxley’s inventions on the kit are legendary. His arsenal of odd sounding percussion instruments ...



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