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Articles by Matt Rand


Saxophonist Tony Malaby

Read "Saxophonist Tony Malaby" reviewed by Matt Rand

Tony Malaby is wearing running pants and sandals. His window is wide open to the street out front and the chilly air that the sunset is bringing in. He has just gotten off the phone with the Knitting Factory, working out the particulars for the June 30th CD release party for his upcoming album, Apparitions. Across the room from his desk with the phone is a drum set that he and his wife, pianist Angelica Sanchez, keep in ...

Album Review

Dave Douglas: Freak In

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Dave Douglas, whose 40th Birthday Celebration week at the Jazz Standard in March featured the trumpeter with many of his diverse ensembles, requests you put on headphones when you listen to his latest, Freak In. Well, it may not be Douglas himself, but someone requests you put on headphones, and also that you “call on world leaders to do the same."

What Douglas (and Bluebird's art department) is picking up on--with goofy phrases and deadpan pictures of ...


Pianist Dave Burrell

Read "Pianist Dave Burrell" reviewed by Matt Rand

"I just played at the Philadelphia Art Museum ," says pianist Dave Burrell. “It was a white tablecloth kind of night. It was right after the big snowstorm, and everybody was just wanting to relax. So I played ballads. I knew from the clientele that it wasn't a kind of audience that wanted to go into too much of exploratory energy kinds of situations. They just wanted to relax and hear the material played straight. I was playing Cole Porter, ...

Album Review

Eivind Opsvik: Overseas

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Considering its rotating cast of characters, the music on Eivind Opsvik's Overseas has a surprising consistency. The leader's bass is a helpful anchor thoughout the disc. Aside from Opsvik, though, are nine musicians who spread their talents across a variety of subgroupings, many which have been known to create all kinds of sounds. Perhaps best known for this is Craig Taborn, whose body of work on the piano, Fender Rhodes and organ ranges from colorful handfuls to impromptu freakouts. Here ...


Billy Taylor: The Keys to Jazz Education

Read "Billy Taylor: The Keys to Jazz Education" reviewed by Matt Rand

If you drop by the mythology section of your local bookstore, you will probably find at least one version of the epic of Sundiata next to Homer's Odyssey and Virgil's Aeneid. But the story of Sundiata, who founded the ancient kingdom of Mali, was not written down thousands of years ago for safe keeping. Instead, the epic was passed down orally, sung by one generation to the next, sung by Mali's griots.

Dr. Billy Taylor learned about griots, ...

Record Label Profile

Hyena Records

Read "Hyena Records" reviewed by Matt Rand

The first thing you notice about a Hyena Records release is just that - you notice it. A bright red cover announces each disc, along with a snarling (or is it laughing?) hyena, and the label eschews the traditional jewel case in favor of a plastic Q-pack. “I want people to walk into record stores and ask, 'what do you have on Hyena?'" says industry legend Joel Dorn, who takes a hands-on approach to running the label.

Inside is a ...

Album Review

Art Blakey: A Night in Tunisia

Read "A Night in Tunisia" reviewed by Matt Rand

Recorded in 1957, Art Blakey's A Night in Tunisia jumps right into powerful rhythms, pounding through a full two-and-a-half minutes before a melody begins. But once begun, the melody, the chord changes, and even the solos, are all just an afterthought to the music's driving force. The force is unrelenting: when the young bassist, Spanky De Brest, cannot keep up, Blakey keeps moving forward. Included on this particular reissue are alternate takes of the first three cuts ...

Album Review

Billy Bang: Vietnam: The Aftermath

Read "Vietnam: The Aftermath" reviewed by Matt Rand

After a particularly intense solo, Frank Lowe slung his tenor saxophone over his right shoulder and looked toward the floor. Covered by a large knit cap, Billy Bang's tenor player held the pose throughout the trumpet solo, seemingly unaware of the machine gun his instinctive stance suggested he was carrying. It was a private moment that he offered the audience, a glimpse at the enduring distress of the accidental soldier. The evening's performance was filled with such moments, ...

Album Review

Craig Taborn: Light Made Lighter

Read "Light Made Lighter" reviewed by Matt Rand

The decision to form an acoustic piano trio for his latest release, Light Made Lighter, offered an interesting challenge for Craig Taborn. Although he has years of experience with the instrument, he's also spent every one of those years fiddling with the dials on his Moog. Whether on synthesizer, sequencer, Fender Rhodes or Hammond B-3, he’s made a career of the beauty of sound as its own end. Yet when stripped of the nuanced current that electricity grants him, Taborn's ...

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