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LIVE REVIEWS

AAJ's Guide to NYC Jazz Venues in the New Decade

In its nearly eight years of existence, All About Jazz has become the foremost chronicler of live jazz in New York City. Our monthly issues, like bibles in hotel rooms, have found a place in nearly every jazz venue in the city and concertgoers have looked to its pages to keep them abreast of new arrivals. At the dawn of a new decade, it seems fitting to take a look back at the venues we've covered in our first 92 editions and over the next three issues, look to the future of a scene that is as ephemeral as it ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Industrial Jazz Group: Leef

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It's hard to take anything about the Industrial Jazz Group for granted. Even the LA-based ensemble's name is misleading to the point that its leader, Andrew Durkin, feels the need to address it in the header of the group's website. “So we're not really industrial. Were The Beatles really insects?" As explanations go--humorous as they might be--it rings a little hollow. It does, however, speak volumes about IJG and its singular approach to music-making. Just when you think you've got it, when the form becomes clear, the beat insatiable, a song implodes and you're left to sift through the wreckage ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Charlie Parker: Bird in Time & Washington, DC, May 23, 1948

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Charlie Parker Bird in Time 1940-1947 ESP-Disk2008 Charlie Parker Washington DC, 1948 Uptown Jazz2008 In the liner notes to Washington, DC, 1948, Ira Gitler reaffirms an assessment made in his 1966 classic The Masters of Bebop: “The period of 1947-48 was the zenith of Charlie Parker's career and the time of his greatest influence," due in part, he goes on to explain, to a “shift" in the New York “club scene" that produced venues ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lee Konitz / Martial Solal: Star Eyes

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Lee Konitz and Martial Solal were in the 15th year of their recorded relationship in the fall of 1983 and their easy rapport is evident within the first notes of “Just Friends," the breezy opener of Star Eyes. After a cursory harmonic introduction by Konitz, Solal enters with a characteristically buoyant counterpoint that sends the altoist to the height of his register. The liberties the duo take with the familiar standard sound every bit as fresh today as they must have sounded to the audience in Hamburg 25 years ago. In the notes to this reissue, writer ...

RECORD LABEL PROFILES

Brooklyn Jazz Underground

With a name that conjures smoky clubs in cab- forsaken neighborhoods, the approachably progressive ethnic and global appeal of Brooklyn Jazz Underground (BJU) might surprise the uninitiated. The association, which has thrived on the practical notion of collective strength and shared PR, has also served as another example of the musical microcosm its namesake borough has become. Its members share ZIP codes, but hailing from Spain, France, Denmark and Southeast Asia, the group rarely treads on common musical territory. “We're a collective of bandleaders," remarked bassist and BJU cofounder Alexis Cuadrado. “I'd say that we share an attitude more than ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Mark Turner & Fly

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From the first authoritative notes of Sky & Country, the trio Fly's new release on ECM records, saxophonist Mark Turner lays out a conundrum. Over the ambling underpinnings of bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, the saxophonist conjures a sense of ease while unleashing a stream of ideas that take him from the middle to the stratospheric heights of his instrument's range. It's a technique that frequently draws gasps from live audiences and has become a hallmark of Turner's playing in his 15-year recording career. The wiry saxophonist's penchant for precise lines and Zen-like concentration carry over ...

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Henry Grimes: Like He's Never Been Away

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Henry Grimes The Call ESP Disk 2008

The disappearance and re-emergence of Henry Grimes after almost 30 years is one of jazz music's great resurrection stories. The Juilliard-trained double bassist, who began his career in the late 1950s with the likes of clarinetist Benny Goodman and saxophonist Gerry Mulligan before becoming an avatar of the avant-garde in the bands of saxophonist Albert Ayler and pianist Cecil Taylor, vanished at the height of his acclaim to a life of obscurity on the West Coast, to return in 2003 through the assistance of fans ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Das Hammerklavier Trio: Now I Know Who Shot J.F.K.

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Pianist Boris Netsvetaev's Das Hammerklavier Trio (archaic German for Grand Piano Trio) is a throwback in name only. The fleet, youthful ensemble is deeply entrenched in jazz's 21st century incarnations, embracing genre-hopping styles, global influences and a devotion to collective freedom. The group is also aptly named in that Netsvetaev's piano occupies the foreground for the vast majority of Now I Know Who Shot J.F.K., unleashing eighth-note runs and thundering fourths over the nimble, more reserved rhythmic underpinnings of bassist Phillipp Steen and drummer Kai Bussenius. Born in St. Petersburg, Netsvetaev views the jazz tradition through the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charles Mingus: Mingus Ah Um

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Drop the needle on Charles Mingus' bluesy call to prayer on “Better Git It In Your Soul" and Legacy's decision to include Ah Um in its vinyl series comes into sharp focus. There's simply no better way to hear the 1959 Columbia masterpiece than on 12" vinyl and, while it may be hard to detect the business logic behind the series, the meticulous remastering by Allan Tucker makes clear the aesthetic motive. During the last decade, the major jazz labels have essentially been in the reissue business. Archival photos and historical essays have cluttered CD liner notes ...

INTERVIEWS

Bob Stewart: Brassy Bass Lines

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Over his 40-year career, tubaist Bob Stewart has redefined his instrument's role in modern jazz. His thundering, breathy grooves and fluid improvisations have been integral to the work of a who's who of creative musicians, including Arthur Blythe, David Murray and Carla Bley, as well as to Stewart's own impressive discography as a leader.

All About Jazz: For those who aren't aware, would you talk a little about your background?

Bob Stewart: Well, my father was in the air force and playing in the Negro League, for a baseball team in South Dakota. My ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Frisell: History, Mystery

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For an artist rooted in sound and atmosphere, change occurs, more often than not, through Re-contextualization. Miles Davis embodied this over a career of brilliant juxtapositions and, in this way, Bill Frisell is his closest contemporary. The 58 year-old guitarist chooses collaborators carefully, employing them as foils to revolve around the swirling gravitation of his haunting, twang-inflected telecaster. This is the only way to reconcile the newness inherent in History, Mystery. The collaborators are the same; the material is familiar, yet this is a new direction for Bill Frisell. “Imagination" opens with a solo exposition by the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dave Douglas and Keystone: Moonshine

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Dave Douglas is not your typical iconoclast. The progressive trumpeter--a mainstay of John Zorn's Masada and more typically avant-garde groups--favors an understated upheaval in his efforts as a leader, courting, in the words of writer Andy Battaglia “tradition and progression without puzzling over the difference." On Moonshine, his second album with Keystone, a sextet featuring Marcus Strickland (saxophone), Adam Benjamin (Fender Rhodes), Brad Jones (bass), Gene Lake (drums) and DJ Olive (turntables and laptop), Douglas once again focuses his modernist vision through the lens of silent-era cinema. The resulting work is a striking amalgam of improvisation and compositional effects, recalling, ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Sara Shoenbeck: One Dance Alone & Ostinato And...

Wayne Horvitz Gravitas Quartet One Dance Alone Songlines 2008 Diana Wayburn Ostinato And... Self Published 2008

Wayne Horvitz' Gravitas Quartet has come a long way in the two years since its exquisite debut Way Out East. The group has refined its genre-bending chamber music to where composed passages melt seamlessly into improvisations in moments of striking intimacy. One Dance Alone perfectly balances Horvitz' composing skills and his bandmates' creative prowess.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Adam Rudolph's Go: Organic Orchestra: Thought Forms

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About a minute and a half into “Mirrors," track two on Thought Forms, the distinct voices of Adam Rudolph's Go: Organic Orchestra begin to blend. Percussive tongue slaps, growling flutes and slashed cymbals collect in a glowing sonic aggregate; overtones arch up, out and over the thirty-plus member band. The effect is otherworldly and, like everything else on Thought Forms, fleeting. Rudolph describes the music on the orchestra's fourth album as “a suite with interludes of calligraphic bridges. Romances, that [express] emotional colors and a moving picture for the mind's ear." The percussionist, composer, conductor achieves this ...



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