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Lyn Horton's Top Releases of 2010

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William Parker Quartet Uncle Joe's Spirit House(AUM Fidelity) Matthew Shipp 4D(Thirsty Ear) David S. Ware Saturnian, Volume One(AUM Fidelity) Vox Arcana Aerial Age(Allos Documents) David Rempis and Frank RosalyCyrillic(482 Music) Joe McPhee / Dominic Duval / Jay Rosen / Mikolaj Trzaska Magic(Not Two) Wadada Leo Smith / Ed Blackwell Blue Mountain's Sun Drummer(Kabell) Hamid Drake and Bindu Reggaeology(RogueArt) Mike Pride and From Bacteria to Boys

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Scanner with the Post Modern Jazz Quartet: Blink of An Eye

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From the very first sounds heard on Blink of An Eye's “Shadow Splice," a ground is gradually established with bass piano chords, a minor-key string bass arco line, a floating vibe resonance and steady pulse rising from the cymbals. As the Ellingtonian “Blues In C" evokes, the source of improvisational music is the tradition of jazz. No argument. But over time, the tools feeding into that tradition change and become a go-to part of the instrumental inventory, more so now than in the nascent application of electronics by Miles Davis or Ornette Coleman. British musician, Robin Rimbaud, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

William Parker Organ Quartet: Uncle Joe's Spirit House

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Defining his direction is one recognizable talent that composer/musician William Parker constantly demonstrates, though not in so many words; but within his art, the direction is clear as day. The musicians he chooses to fulfill his intentions are also exactly whom he needs, for he understands how they operate to blend in joyous confluence that is the realization of his music. In Uncle Joe's Spirit House, Parker's Organ Quartet constructs an aural Space addressing his own personal history. Dedicated to his Aunt Carrie Lee Edwards and Uncle Joe, wed 65 years, the recording is replete with Parker's ...

ARTIST PROFILES

David S. Ware: Planetary Musician

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On Sunday, June 27th, 2010, about a half-hour after its scheduled 9:30 pm appearance on the Abrons Art Center main performance stage in New York City, the David S. Ware Trio was setting up. The audience for this night of Vision Festival XV was its usual wandering and low-hum conversational self. William Parker stood by his upright bass way over on the left and, on the right, drummer Warren Smith settled down on a seat behind a larger than normal drum set, placed on a platform a couple of feet off the stage. Ware walked slowly to center stage to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vijay Iyer: Solo

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On the heels of being named Musician of the Year in June, 2010, by the Jazz Journalists Association, Vijay Iyer has released his first solo piano recording. Solo comes after the critical success of his trio's Historicity (ACT Music, 2009) and quartet's Tragicomic (Sunnyside, 2008). Iyer is a kind of Renaissance man, with a jaw-dropping biography on his website; it is a wonder how he can accomplish so much. But the much-ness in his life seems to distract from the kind of focus necessary to shape a solo presentation. Iyer likes covers, writing that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nicole Mitchell's Sonic Projections: Emerald Hills

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All four of flutist Nicole Mitchell's groups reveal specific tangents which her music can follow. One of those groups--Sonic Projections, whose evolution grew out of paying tribute to George Lewis' book A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music (University of Chicago Press, 2008)--shows what Mitchell believes to be her rebellious side. Mitchell is herself a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Music (AACM).

Sonic Projections consists of Mitchell, pianist Craig Taborn, tenor saxophonist David Boykin, and drummer Chad Taylor. There is no bass. Emerald Hills projects a thinking person's music.

The music is ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Wadada Leo Smith: A Vital Life Force

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“To teach and create and not expect or demand anything in return."--Wadada Leo Smith, quoted in an article printed in The Houston Chronicle, November 4, 2006

On the nine-by-eleven inch cover of the February, 2010, issue of Wire magazine is a full-page photo of trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith. Only the upper half of his body is pictured. He is wearing a dark blue, nearly black, Mandarin collar jacket, which stands out against the dimly lit, grey stucco wall that acts as the photo's background. His black dreadlocks drape softly over his shoulders and behave like a hood covering his head. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Musillami: Old Tea

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Guitarist Michael Musillami has seized onto the meaning of irreplaceable moments with Old Tea, dedicated to his 29-year-old son, who took his own life on March 10, 2009. In an extraordinarily touching story, Musillami's liner notes say what cannot be said musically. But the music, executed by his outstanding regular trio, expresses more than can be verbalized. Bassist Joe Fonda and drummer George Schuller take on Musillami's music with a sensitivity befitting the celebration of human life. The record is concerned with continuity and the transformation of colors. Only one break between tracks is noticeable; the music ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Swallow / Ohad Talmor / Adam Nussbaum: Playing in Traffic

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Recorded at the 2008 Xopana Festival in Madeira, Portugal, Playing in Traffic begins with its title tune and a rhythmic walking line from electric bassist Steve Swallow's nimble fingers. Drummer Adam Nussbaum follows with rapid stick and brushwork and tenor saxophonist Ohad Talmor folds into the rhythm with precise staccato phrases. This bouncy cut introduces a body of music that becomes nostalgically tuneful, simultaneously demonstrating focus and integrity. Talmor is a master at making melody his subject matter. He exhibits complete confidence in his improvisations as he moves through a lilting expressive spectrum, touching only occasionally on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David S. Ware: Saturnian (Solo Saxophones, Volume One)

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In a 2003 interview, reed player David S. Ware talked about “a revelation which changed his musical life." It occurred while performing in Boston, where he suddenly could “witness" himself playing the music. When that happened, he cultivated the epiphany as meaning that he, alone, is the channel for the music which comes out of his horn. Nothing could be embodied more clearly than in Saturnian, a solo release recorded live at the Abrons Art Center in New York City on October 15 of 2009; a concert celebrating his return to his art after a long-in-coming kidney transplant and, more ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Allison Miller: Boom Tic Boom

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Opening with a set of cymbal crashes amid a tight-knit kit rumble that segues into the rhythmic pulse, drummer Allison Miller begins her second album with “Cheyenne," one of four original compositions written for this group. Joining Miller in her trio are Myra Melford (piano) and Todd Sickafoose (bass). Violinist Jenny Scheinman does a sprightly guest spot for Miller's “CFS (Candy Flavored Sidewalks)." The leader's music is infectious. Its multiple chorus structure brings with it an orientation that is unselfish. The character of her drumming is positive and sensitive to timbre. Furthermore, she makes every attempt to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Haney Trio: Blue Flint Girl

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Pianist David Haney pulls together a trio with two bassists--Michael Bisio and Adam Lane--on Blue Flint Girl. Not only does this unusual instrumentation peak curiosity, but it also leads to an uncommon sound. The beauty of recording for CIMP is that the music grows like a flower. The seeds are planted before the music starts and then it just goes. The water pours from the imaginations of the musicians. In the liner notes, Haney describes Blue Flint Girl as the second of two sessions recorded in the summer of 2006 with this group. His improvisational ideas for both albums center ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rakalam Bob Moses: Father's Day B'hash

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Accepting the offer of a fellow instructor at the New England Conservatory for free studio time, drummer Rakalam Bob Moses assembled a band of evolving musicians and longtime collaborator Stan Strickland (tenor saxophonist and clarinetist), to record, on June 16, 2006, Father's Day B'Hash. Moses proposed ideas for saxophonists Strickland, Ommudra Thomas Arabia, Nick Videen, Luis Rosa and Petr Cancura, violinist Andrei Matorin, bassist Justin Purtill and trumpeter Nicole Rampersaud yet asked that free expression be the guiding force. The music travels forward, uninhibited, in a straight line. Moses' drumming lays down a tight even-handed support in ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Matthew Shipp: Traversing The Regions of the Mind

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On May 17, 2009, at 6 pm, Matthew Shipp walked through the front door of Roulette, a performance venue on the Lower East Side in New York City. His face appeared no more or less expressive than it normally does. He is wont to demonstrate his feelings facially, except through laughter and an occasional smile. On this day, his life was predetermined. He had arrived for a recording session for his sixth solo album, and his second for Thirsty Ear. The only people present for the session were the recording engineer; the record producer, Peter ...



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