Articles by Matt Marshall

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Album Review

The Black Butterflies: Luisa

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On their two previous releases, 1 de Mayo (2010) and Rainbows for Ramon (2012), The Black Butterflies built soulful, searching jazz with dense, kinetic layers of Latin and African rhythms. Using both group improvisation and individual statements, they freely, yet unhurriedly, explored the boundaries of their music, often lingering in spots to let the tonal palette shift organically. With Luisa they've tightened their focus, strongly favoring tango and other Argentinian folk forms, while keeping solos brief and holding most tracks ...

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Album Review

Banda de los Muertos: Banda de los Muertos

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It is common practice among groups that play Sinaloan banda music--a style that emerged from small village brass bands in Northwestern Mexico after the Revolution, typically featuring a few clarinets, trumpets, trombones and saxhorns, plus a tuba, snare drum and tambora--to link their name to their place of origin. Thus we get Banda El Recodo and La Arrolladora Banda El Limón, two of the music's most popular groups. This village association, and the broader regional identity of the music, is ...

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Live Review

Atomic at Nighttown

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Atomic Nighttown Cleveland Heights, OH February 10, 2015 Fresh in the glow of its 50th anniversary celebration, kicked off by a party a few nights earlier and extending through the end of the month, Nighttown put its eclecticism fully on display February 10, presenting powerful Scandinavian free-jazz group Atomic. The Nighttown faithful are, by and large, a straight-ahead crowd (two Manhattan Transfer shows set for Friday, February 13, sold out well in advance, for example), ...

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Album Review

Bob Dylan: Shadows in the Night

Read "Shadows in the Night" reviewed by Matt Marshall


After spending the past 50-plus years mining the traditional music of what Greil Marcus has termed “old, weird America," and expanding it into the contemporary worlds of folk, rock, country, gospel and other singular hybrids thereof, on Shadows in the Night Bob Dylan gives us his take on the Great American Songbook. Thankfully, Dylan doesn't jettison the weirdness for the trip, choosing (unlike so many other rock and pop stars) to interpret these standards in his own idiom; choosing, that ...

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Extended Analysis

The Nels Cline Singers: Macroscope

Read "The Nels Cline Singers: Macroscope" reviewed by Matt Marshall


With the release of this album by The Nels Cline Singers, Detroit's Mack Avenue Records takes a bold leap into the outer fringes of jazz. Their impressive slate of artists already included the likes of Kenny Garrett, Sean Jones and Christian McBride, who are open to pushing jazz boundaries, but the label had no one who goes as far afield as guitarist Cline. In fact, it's probably best to think of Cline, whether leading the Singers or any of his ...

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Year in Review

Matt Marshall’s Best Releases of 2013

Read "Matt Marshall’s Best Releases of 2013" reviewed by Matt Marshall


Rudresh Mahanthappa Gamak (ACT) Ivo Perelman/Joe Morris/Balazs Pandi One (RareNoise) Chris Potter The Sirens (ECM) Joe Lovano Us Five Cross Culture (Blue Note) KAZE Tornado (Circum-Libra) Ketil Bjørnstad La notte (ECM) Howie Smith/Mike Nock Opal Dream (Open Blue) Matthew Shipp Piano Sutras (Thirsty Ear) Cécile McLorin Salvant WomanChild (Mack Avenue) Gordon Grdina/Mark ...

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Album Review

Chicago Jazz Orchestra: Burstin' Out!

Read "Burstin' Out!" reviewed by Matt Marshall


Covering the Great American Songbook can be tricky, thankless work for a singer. The options for handling the material just aren't as numerous (i.e., nigh infinite) as they are for instrumentalists. Severely warping a melody, chopping it up or getting rid of it altogether work perfectly well if you're blowing through a horn. But such abstractions of voice can seem forced or simply too weird within a straight-ahead format. There's scatting, of course, and other forms of nonverbal vocalization, but ...


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