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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Konstrukt and William Parker: Live At NHKM

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Let me propose the notion that American poet Emily Dickinson was a free jazz fan. Sure, you have to look past the fact that she died in 1886, when Buddy Bolden was but nine years old. But consider her words: “The worthlessness of Earthly things/The Ditty is that Nature Sings -/And then -enforces their delight/Til Synods are inordinate." She wrote about, and lived in a world much like that of a free jazz musician. Stowed away in her little house, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Henry Kaiser & Ray Russell: The Celestial Squid

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The Celestial Squid is an unprecedented summit meeting between two renowned guitarists: legendary British session ace Ray Russell and idiosyncratic Bay Area experimentalist Henry Kaiser. Although best known as a veteran studio musician, Russell's groundbreaking early records revealed a penchant for unbridled free jazz, culminating in his 1971 masterpiece Rites and Rituals (CBS). Since then, Russell has enjoyed a lucrative freelance career, working with artists ranging from Gil Evans to David Bowie, but other than a few recent fusion-oriented endeavors, ...

DVD/VIDEO/FILM REVIEWS

Abbey Rader Get Free

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Artist Abbey Rader Abbey Rader: Get Free Swampvalve Pictures 2015 Drummer Abbey Rader is one of the most relentlessly explorative and idiosyncratic improvisers in jazz. He has a unique approach that stems from his rich and multifaceted experiences that has shaped his overall life outlook. So how can all this be told in only 20 minutes? Filmmaker J.L. Rubiera manages it poignantly and with elegant flair. His Abbey Rader: Get Free distills the essence ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Henry Kaiser and Ray Russell: The Celestial Squid

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Jazz fusion guitarist Ray Russell and polystylistic experimentalist Henry Kaiser have never previously recorded together. Kaiser's recorded output is prodigious whereas Russell's is more modest. His debut album Turn Circle(1968) was swiftly followed by a clutch of critically acclaimed but more challenging ones such as Dragon Hill (1969) and Secret Asylum (1973) prior to Russell changing tack to more fusion based recordings. It is these “challenging" works to which The Celestial Squid invites most comparison. “Gutken Limpo" opens ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Han-earl Park: Anomic Aphasia

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The music on Han-earl Park's third CD for Slam, Anomic Aphasia, derives from two similar but significantly different Park projects. The first is Eris 136199, an improvising trio consisting of guitarists Park and Nick Didkovsky (leader of Doctor Nerve) plus saxophonist Catherine Sikora. Described by Park as “the noisy, unruly complexity of the ensemble Eris 136199" they are responsible for the opening and closing tracks, “Monopod" (seen, on the actual day of this recording, in the YouTube clip below) and ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Three From Intonema

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When the ninth and tenth releases on St. Petersburg's Intonema label were released, it was noteworthy that neither of them featured a Russian musician, despite the label's catalogue previously featuring such notable Russians as saxophonist Ilia Belorukov, bass guitarist Mikhail Ershov and pianist Alexey Lapin alongside a distinguished cast of fine overseas players. Happily, the label's three subsequent releases, below, have not continued that trend, as two of them feature Russians, including one solely by the Russian Andrey Popovskiy. And, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anna Webber: Simple

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If things aren't just right, listening to complicated music can be like doing your taxes. There has to be chemistry, there has to be a narrative, and--even though you don't know what's coming next--the music's got to be on. The players have to be free to speak in a new language; often one divorced from the world of spang-a-lang and rhythm changes. This is the case on Anna Webber's new recording, Simple. Don't let the title fool you! Ms. Webber, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Variable Density Sound Orchestra: Evolving Strategies

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The constituent parts of guitarist Garrison Fewell's Variable Density Sound Orchestra shifted gradually between its eponymous inception (Creative Nation, 2008) and sophomore effort on Sound Particle 47 (Creative Nation, 2010). Inevitably there will be further changes in the future if the unit continues, as both trumpeter Roy Campbell and reedman John Tchicai have passed on since the session which yielded Evolving Strategies in January 2012. Such losses will make a big difference as the group has developed a distinctive ethos ...



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