Articles by Chris May

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Album Review

On Our Own Clock: On Our Own Clock

Read "On Our Own Clock" reviewed by Chris May


The fourteen-strong international ensemble which recorded On Our Own Clock includes, from London, keyboard player Danalogue from Shabaka Hutchings' The Comet Is Coming and tuba player Theon Cross from Hutchings' Sons Of Kemet; from Dakar, percussionist Yahael Camara Onono and kora player Tarang Cissoko; and, from Johannesburg, keyboardist Zoe Molelekwa, bassist Tebogo Sedumede, trombonist Siya Makuzeni and drummer Asher Gamedze.The original plan for the album, back in 2019, was to get the musicians together in London and record ...

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Building a Jazz Library

Wayne Shorter: An Essential Top Ten Albums

Read "Wayne Shorter: An Essential Top Ten Albums" reviewed by Chris May


At the start of September 2021, trumpeter Terence Blanchard released Absence (Blue Note), dedicated to saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter, who for health reasons had recently been obliged to retire from performing, at least temporarily. Some people celebrating their eighty-eighth birthday, as Shorter did the previous month, might not welcome being the dedicatee of an album with such a title. They might consider a more appropriate choice of words to be Presence or even I'm Feeling Fine Thanks For Asking. ...

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Album Review

Joe Harriott Quintet: Free Form & Abstract Revisited

Read "Free Form & Abstract Revisited" reviewed by Chris May


A tiny island, Jamaica has punched far above its weight musically. Dub and reggae are the primary manifestations, but the island has also produced a disproportionately large number of notable jazz musicians, many of whom left during the late 1940s and 1950s to relocate to Britain, Jamaica's so-called mother country during the colonial era. Alto saxophonist Joe Harriott moved to London in 1951. Other early arrivals included flautist Harold McNair, tenor saxophonist Wilton Gaynair, trumpeters Dizzy Reece and Eddie Thornton, ...

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Film Review

Fire Music: The Story of Free Jazz

Read "Fire Music: The Story of Free Jazz" reviewed by Chris May


Fire Music: The Story of Free Jazz Submarine Deluxe 2021 There is much to like about this lovingly put together history of the so-called free jazz of the 1960s and 1970s. Over a decade in the making, the film, directed by self- declared genre obsessive Tom Surgal, is a compilation of interviews with, and archive performances by, many of the luminaries of the movement. Practically every minute of spoken- word content in the 88-minute ...

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Album Review

Mark Kavuma & The Banger Factory: Arashi No Oto

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London-based trumpeter and composer Mark Kavuma was last seen in this parish in July 2019. At the start of that month, Kavuma released his second album with his nonet, The Banger Factory. A couple of weeks later, he led a quintet on the floor of the Barbican Art Gallery, performing Thelonious Monk's Brilliant Corners (Riverside, 1956) on the opening night of an exhibition celebrating the work of Monk's contemporary, the Abstract Expressionist painter Lee Krasner, who was a big Monk ...

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Album Review

Marcin Wasilewski Trio: En Attendant

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The Marcin Wasilewski Trio's seventh ECM album traverses material by such disparate composers as J.S. Bach, Carla Bley and The Doors and brings it all together in a seamless package which also includes three spontaneously created group improvisations. It is a beauty. Pianist Marcin Wasilewski, bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz have been playing together for almost thirty years, first as the Simple Acoustic Trio, then as three-quarters of trumpeter Tomasz Stańko's Quartet, then under Wasilewski's ...

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Album Review

Terence Blanchard featuring The E-Collective: Absence

Read "Absence" reviewed by Chris May


Trumpeter Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective's Absence is dedicated to saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter, who for health reasons has been obliged to retire from performing, at least temporarily. Some people celebrating their 88th birthday, as Shorter did on August 25 2021, might not welcome being the dedicatee of an album with such a title. They might consider a more appropriate choice of words to be Presence or even I'm Feeling Fine Thanks For Asking. But you never know with ...


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