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Ocote Soul Sounds: The Ocote Way

Ocote Soul Sound is the brainchild of two incredibly accomplished musicians, who continue to operate just under the radar;one more project to occupy the diminishingly available time of guitarist Adrian Quesada and flautist Martin Perna. With roots in the otherworldly grooves of label mates and benefactors Thievery Corporation, Ocote Soul Sounds' Coconut Rock (ESL, 2009), builds on the band's “Chicanos in Outer Space" groove by adding a cinematic quality reminiscent of David Axelrod, Weather Report and other fusion era powerhouses. From left: Martin Perna, Adrian QuesadaM

Adrian Quesada is the man behind the bombastic funk of ...

INTERVIEWS

Ben Neill: Starting a Dub War

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To say that Ben Neill plays the trumpet--the instrument of such jazz legends as Miles Davis and Clifford Brown--is an epic understatement. “I think electronica is like a new form of jazz--it's an instrumental form of music that plays out in popular culture but has musical ideas that go beyond the expectations of pop music," says Neill, a student of the electro-acoustic innovations of Robert Moog and minimalist aesthetic of LaMonte Young. Neill specifically plays the mutantrumpet, a self-designed instrument that he's been slowly perfecting since the mid 1980s. His latest album, Night Science (Thirsty Ear, 2009), is a heady, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Grupo Fantasma: Sonidos Gold

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When you've got Prince's seal of approval, little else matters. Austinites Grupo Fantasma have long been the Purple One's band du jour, logging a two-month residency at his Las Vegas nightclub 3121, a Golden Globes after party performance that saw the band joined by Prince, Talib Kweli, Will.i.am, Mary J. Blige, and Marc Anthony, as well as other performances alongside the icon in London, Miami and the Capital City itself. Sonidos Gold is the best document of Grupo's cumbia-salsa-funk fusion to date. Led by guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada, the Grupo orchestra is in fine form on the dozen ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ocote Soul Sounds: The Alchemist Manifesto

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Ocote Soul Sounds was born of strange conditions--a failed biodiesel-fueled road trip that lead to jam sessions in Austin, TX, that in turn lead to the cross country trade of mp3s and song ideas, that gave birth to a surprising debut, last years' independently released Electric Tides. Masterminded by two of the freshest voices in new music today, Ocote Soul Sounds is in top form on The Alchemist Manifesto, a worldly mix of sounds found “at the intersection of the downtown dance floor, the sweaty basement bembé, and the smoldering campfire on a remote beach." Martin Perna ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Spring Heel Jack: Songs and Themes

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Songs and Themes is a visionary fusion of jazz, electronica and chamber music. With its eighth contribution to the Thirsty Ear Records catalog, the production team of Ashley Wales and multi-instrumentalist John Coxon has truly outdone itself. Songs and Themes is ambient and atmospheric while still maintaining a link to the avant-garde. Songs and Themes is as much trumpeter Roy Campbell's record as it is Coxon and Wales.' Beginning with “Church Music," which marries the psychedlia of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1969) with the symphonia of the trumpeter's Sketches of Spain (Columbia, 1959), it's abundantly clear ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey: Lil Tae Rides Again

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Jacob Free Jazz Odyssey's Lil Tae Rides Again unfolds more like an eclectic indie-rock album than the jam band romps they've been known to fashion. A marriage of instrumental post-rock-infused jazz in the vein of Tortoise's brilliant TNT (Thrill Jockey, 1998) and hyperactive avant-funk and digital illbient a la DJ Spooky, Lil Tae is the ultimate in accomplishments, a near perfect reinvention of direction and sound. And perhaps that has more to do with the way this record was fashioned: with electronics fanatic Tae Meyulks locked away in a century-old warehouse in the oldest part of Tulsa ...

INTERVIEWS

Marco Benevento: A New Form of Fusion

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With his work has one-half of the Benevento-Russo Duo, Marco Benevento has helped fuse elements of indie rock, improv jazz and jam band aesthetic, exciting nationwide audiences in clean concert halls, smoky bars, and muddy, open-air festivals like Bonnaroo and Austin City Limits. Benevento is a student of the piano, trained at Berklee School of Music, but he seems most comfortable when surrounded on all sides by a collage of black and white keys, assorted buttons and knobs, trigger pads, guitar pedals, and an intriguing mix of circuit bent toys.Invisible Babies is a collection of Benevento-penned tunes that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Free Form Funk Freqs: Urban Mythology Volume One

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Guitarist Vernon Reid, bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma and drummer G. Calvin Weston give the power trio new meaning with Urban Mythology Volume One. Released under the moniker the Free Form Funk Freqs, the album is less jazz and more improvisational rock, powered by Weston's double bass drum and heavy crash, hard rock approach and Reid's space-bending, delay-loving fretwork.

The awesome impact of the trio is also shaped by Tacuma's ability to take a repetitive funk form and keep it interesting--by finding new ways to interpolate the same idea, flipping patterns on their heads, adding and subtracting, dividing and conquering ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Normal Love: Normal Love

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Normal Love is a beautiful mess--I'm sure we can all attest to that. But seriously, Normal Love, the band, is a five-piece ensemble from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that straddles the seemingly distant divide between thrash-metal noisecore and 20th Century composition. Their self-titled debut, on boundary busting record label High Two, is a nerve-tingling exposition, as dissonant chords and meandering anti-melodies tug, tear and torture the soul of the listener. It's important to note that the six compositions found on Normal Love are, in fact, just that--compositions. Normal Love exclusively performs composed music, usually reading from ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

U2's The Joshua Tree Gets Deluxe Multi-Media Treatment in 2007

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U2 The Joshua Tree Eagle Vision USA

What can you really say about U2's The Joshua Tree that hasn't already been said? Released in 1987, Joshua Tree propelled the band to international stardom and saw the band move further away from their post-punk roots by introducing blues, R&B, gospel and soul to their sound. Joshua Tree is arguably the most quintessentially American rock album ever recorded, full of adoration as well as antipathy toward the great nation that birthed the Irishman's main influences. Joshua Tree, as testified by this deluxe 2007 ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

My Name is Albert Ayler: A Documentary

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My Name Is Albert Ayler (2005) Directed by Kasper Collin Screenings November 8 and 9, 2007Anthology Film Archives New York City, New York

My Name is Albert Ayler is a documentary that needed to be made. Directed by Swedish filmmaker Kasper Collins, the film is a spellbinding look at one of jazz' most misunderstood geniuses. With contributions from drummer Sunny Murray, Mary Parks, Don and Edward Ayler, and a host of Scandinavian musicians influential upon Ayler throughout his career, My Name Is Albert Ayler captures the beauty as well ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

William Parker: Corn Meal Dance

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William Parker Corn Meal Dance AUM Fidelity Records 2007

William Parker's Corn Meal Dance showcases the enigmatic figure's best attributes--not as bassist but, instead, as band leader and poet. The release finds Parker again working with his Raining On The Moon Quintet, first featured on Raining On The Moon (Thirsty Ear, 2002). An overall more pop and blues-oriented record than some of Parker's more eclectic excursions, Corn Meal Dance is refreshing and Parker's words thought provoking. Joining Parker is Rob Brown (alto sax), Hamid Drake (drums), Lewis ...

INTERVIEWS

Steve Lantner: An Introduction

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Steve Lantner's current run of creative output may be below the radar, but the quality of his recordings is off the charts. His debut as bandleader came in 1997 alongside longtime cohort/violist/violinist Mat Maneri in an adventurous set of duets that had Lantner playing both acoustic piano and a synthesizer set ninety degrees apart [Reaching (Leo)]. Lantner furthered his exploration of microtonalities on Voices Lowered (Leo 2001), where he played two pianos tune ¼ pitch apart alongside Joe Maneri and Joe Morris playing electric violins. Notably, the multi-talented Morris' first recording as a bassist--a debut Lantner prefers to take no ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

ARP of the Covenant: ARP of the Covenant

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Somewhere between electro-jazz and avant-prog-rock rests Minnesota's ARP of the Covenant. The trio's self-titled debut marries electronic and acoustic sounds, eschewing categorization, at times proving to be a rather exciting glimpse at what this band is capable of. Other times... not so much. The band, as its name would suggest, is wholly obsessed with the ARP synthesizer--a 1970s-era analog synthesizer--and, it seems, any other synthesizer, keyboard or laptop; anything electronic capable of sound manipulation. Led by keyboardist and electro-geek Mark Siegenthaler, the trio is rounded out by drummer Nick Ziealinski and bassist Brad Townsend, who also employs ...



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