Articles by Karl Ackermann

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Album Review

Pedro Melo Alves: Lumina

Read "Lumina" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


On the burgeoning Portuguese jazz scene, drummer Pedro Melo Alves is becoming one of the more prolific artists. The multiple award-winning composer has accumulated international praise for four unique recordings in the space of a year. On Lumina he has extended his existing ensemble and assembled the Omniae Large Ensemble of twenty-two musicians for a project commissioned by the Guimarães Jazz Festival. Melo Alves' Clean Feed Records debut was a quartet outing (with vocalists), In Igma (2020), a ...

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Album Review

William Parker - Matthew Shipp: Re-Union

Read "Re-Union" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


Matthew Shipp and William Parker are in a space which they arrived at more or less together. The pair first recorded together with the quartet on David S. Ware's Great Bliss, Vol. 1 (Silkheart, 1991). Not long afterwards, in 1994, they released Zo, the first of their duo projects, on the now-defunct Rise label; it was reissued on Thirsty Ear in 2016 during Shipp's tenure as the label's artistic director. In a compact setting, that early effort allowed listeners a ...

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Under the Radar

A Different Drummer, Part 5: Terri Lyne Carrington

Read "A Different Drummer, Part 5: Terri Lyne Carrington" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


In her 2003 Carnegie Mellon University paper Experience West African Drumming: A Study of West African Dance-Drumming and Women Drummers, Leslie Marie Mullins explains that drumming was explicitly the territory of male musicians in West Africa. Mullins reveals that several myths were employed to keep women and drums far apart. Among them, Ghanaian women were thought (by males) to lack the physical strength for the strenuous activity of drumming, and they were taught that drumming would lead to infertility. But ...

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Album Review

Wildflower: Better Times

Read "Better Times" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


The ground-breaking London trio Wildflower features bassist Leon Brichard, saxophonist Idris Rahman, and drummer Tom Skinner of the group Sons of Kemet. Brichard and Rahman are founding members of Ill Considered. Similar in style, the music of Wildflower has the fundamentals of post-minimalism, hard bop, and free improvisation. Spiritual and powerful, Better Times mostly lives up to its title, even while leaving the frustrating sense of an unkept promise. An outstanding reed player on the hot London jazz ...

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Album Review

Barry Altschul and the 3Dom Factor: Long Tall Sunshine

Read "Long Tall Sunshine" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


For a two-decade stretch beginning in 1971, free jazz drummer Barry Altschul was positioned among the most in-demand percussionists. He made his mark in the fleeting but important group Circle, with Chick Corea, Dave Holland and Anthony Braxton. Among the many cutting-edge artists he worked with were Andrew Hill, and Paul Bley. And then, for almost twenty years, the virtuoso musician/composer all but disappeared. Altschul re-emerged with The 3dom Factor in 2013, and the drummer is once again a prolific ...

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Album Review

Jeff Pearring/Pearring Sound: Socially Distanced Duos

Read "Socially Distanced Duos" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


Jeff Pearring's background in jazz, classical, reggae and other genres has informed his creative process in ways that are not always apparent. That turns out to be a good thing as his ability to encapsulate influences without genuflecting is part of his music's appeal. The alto saxophonist, a Brooklyn-based Colorado native, is a Connie Crothers protégé with a similarly independent mindset. Billed as “Pearring Sound," the saxophonist surrounds himself with a rotation of players varying on three previous, self-produced albums, ...

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Album Review

Matthew Shipp / Whit Dickey: Reels

Read "Reels" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


Matthew Shipp has managed his way through the 2020-2021 pandemic nicely, thanks in part to a substantial cache of excellent material. Free-jazz drummer Whit Dickey has been working with Shipp for decades, beginning with David S. Ware's quartet. Since 2012 Shipp and Dickey have worked frequently with Brazilian saxophonist Ivo Perelman. Dickey has been part of Shipp's trio and, in 2020, the pair teamed for a duo/trio release, Morph (ESP Disk). The duo debut was half of a double-disk set ...


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