Articles by John Sharpe


Album Review

Nate Wooley: Mutual Aid Music

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With Mutual Aid Music, trumpeter Nate Wooley expands the ideas that underlay his Battle Piece series, (heard on three albums on Relative Pitch Records from 2015, 2017 and 2019) to produce a double CD which absorbs and enthralls. To the original cast of accomplished improvisers, comprising saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, vibraphonist Matt Moran and pianist Sylvie Courvoisier, Wooley adds four players, who hail from contemporary classical backgrounds. Of these, pianist Cory Smythe has had the greatest exposure to jazz audiences, not ...


Album Review

Matthew Shipp / William Parker: Re-Union

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Some thirty years after they first recorded together as part of saxophonist David S. Ware's celebrated Quartet, pianist Matthew Shipp and bassist William Parker convened once more in a Paris studio for Re-Union. And though their signature styles have become familiar in the interim thanks to sizeable discographies and frequent collaborations, the pair's ultra-refined chemistry remains as potent as ever. Their intimate dialogue both entices and enthralls on the four snatched-from-the-air inventions here, engendering a smile of recognition and a ...


Album Review

Rodrigo Amado This Is Our Language Quartet: Let The Free Be Men

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Portuguese tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado adds another stunning entry to his discography with the third album from his This Is Our Language Quartet. It was actually recorded live in Copenhagen, three days before the outfit's second studio outing, A History Of Nothing (Trost, 2018) so, unsurprisingly, presents the same starry roster completed by multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee, bassist Kent Kessler and drummer Chris Corsano. The resultant blend of spontaneous free jazz, by turns refined, beautiful, exhilarating, heart-rending and belligerent, remains similarly ...


Album Review

Dominic Lash Quartet: Limulus

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The third outing from British bassist Dominic Lash's Quartet continues in the vein of its predecessors, Opabinia (Babellabel, 2013) and Extremophile (Iluso, 2017), in respect of its eclecticism, but if anything is even more cohesive and successful as a result. Lash's crew remains unchanged comprising Alex Ward on electric guitar, and the Spanish pairing of Ricardo Tejero on alto saxophone and Javier Carmona on drums. The album, presenting a 2019 live performance from north London's Cafe Oto, constitutes the inaugural ...


Album Review

Barry Altschul's 3Dom Factor: Long Tall Sunshine

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Even deep into a career which began with the Jazz Composers Orchestra and pianist Paul Bley in the 1960s, drummer Barry Altschul's music remains vital and compelling. Since 2010 his primary leadership outlet has been The 3Dom Factor, a freewheeling threesome completed by bassist Joe Fonda and reedman Jon Irabagon. Long Tall Sunshine, a live date from an unspecified year and location, constitutes the band's fourth album. While the repertoire might be familiar— four of the five cuts also appear ...


Album Review

Ikizukuri + Susana Santos Silva: Suicide Underground Orchid

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For its second album, the power trio Ikizukuri, comprising German saxophonist Julius Gabriel, Portuguese electric bassist Gonçalo Almeida and drummer Gustavo Costa, joins forces with trumpeter Susana Santos Silva for a brash 40-minute thrash blending free jazz, noise, metal and electronics. While the band's name refers to a gruesome strand of Japanese cuisine which entails seafood so fresh it is still alive, the shock and vitality are happily the only ingredients which inform the music. The album ...


Album Review

Blue Reality Quartet: Blue Reality Quartet!

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Back in 2001 when reedman Michael Marcus' trio waxed a disc under the title Blue Reality (Soulnote, 2002), he could scarcely have imagined the circumstances under which he might resurrect the name. As the four masked faces on the cover of Blue Reality Quartet! show, times are sadly very different. Joining Marcus in the studio in November 2020 are and drummer Jay Rosen from the original date, multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee and percussionist Warren Smith. A plethora of connections informs the ...


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