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Album Review

Sun Ra: Secrets of the Sun

Read "Secrets of the Sun" reviewed by Troy Collins

Another recently unearthed rarity in a seemingly endless discography, Secrets of the Sun documents a fruitful yet somewhat under-represented period in the storied career of iconic keyboardist and bandleader Sun Ra. Recorded in New York in 1962 at jazz workshop sessions, only Blast First's 1996 compilation Out There a Minute contains comparable material.

Originally based in Chicago, Sun Ra's Arkestra underwent a gradual conceptual evolution upon moving to New York City in 1961. Marking a transition in its ...


Album Review

Fire Room: Broken Music

Read "Broken Music" reviewed by Troy Collins

Broken Music is the appropriately titled debut of Fire Room, a collaborative international effort featuring wildly prolific Chicago-based composer and multi-instrumentalist Ken Vandermark. This unconventional trio features Norwegians Paal Nilssen-Love (drums) and Lasse Marhaug (electronics), inceptive members of Vandermark's Powerhouse Sound. Exploring similar territory, Fire Room ventures further into the extremes of brutal cacophony and disquieting stillness.

Where Powerhouse Sound's debut, Oslo / Chicago: Breaks (Atavistic, 2007) focused on primal rhythms swathed in a scrim of invasive electronic ...


Album Review

Peter Brotzmann / Peeter Uuskyla: Born Broke

Read "Born Broke" reviewed by Troy Collins

German multi-reedist Peter Brötzmann, the grandfather of European free jazz, and Swedish drummer Peeter Uuskyla have been playing together in various line-ups for the past ten years. Although Brötzmann's dynamic range has expanded considerably since his early days as the fire-breathing author of the seminal Machine Gun (Atavistic, 1969), he hasn't lost any of his vivaciousness. Guided by the stalwart rhythmic focus of Uuskyla, the duo finds ample territory to explore throughout this double disc set.

Brötzmann's blast ...


Album Review

Vandermark 5: Beat Reader

Read "Beat Reader" reviewed by Troy Collins

Beat Reader is the tenth studio album of all-original material from Chicago's esteemed Vandermark 5. Leading his most resilient and diverse ensemble into its second decade, composer/multi-instrumentalist Ken Vandermark has accomplished a remarkable achievement in a time when regular touring line-ups have vanished.Vandermark's advanced writing reveals a facility for composing interlocking, cellular structures that balance unique arrangements with ample room for individual expression. Stylistically diverse but instantly recognizable, Vandermark's eclectic tunes always bear the unmistakable mark of his ...


Album Review

Sun Ra: Some Blues But Not The Kind Thats Blue

Read "Some Blues But Not The Kind Thats Blue" reviewed by Troy Collins

Pioneering bandleader Sun Ra recorded very few small group recordings in his lifetime. Those existing albums rarely focus on standard material, which makes Some Blues But Not The Kind Thats Blue unique in his vast discography. Taking up where the Evidence label left off in the late 1990s, Atavistic's Unheard Music Series has begun reissuing some of Ra's rarest and most intriguing sessions.

Following the 2007 reissue of the iconic albums Strange Strings (Atavistic, 1966) and The Night ...


Extended Analysis

Fred Lonberg-Holm Trio: Terminal Valentine

Read "Fred Lonberg-Holm Trio: Terminal Valentine" reviewed by Lyn Horton

Fred Lonberg-Holm Terminal Valentine Atavistic 2007

Recalibrating the idea of a piano-less jazz trio by excluding a wind instrument and including a cello takes a certain amount of chutzpah. But in 2000, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm convened such a trio to record music honoring the cellist Fred Katz, who introduced the cello to a jazz context when drummer Chico Hamilton featured him in his quintet during the 1950s.

Riding out personnel ...


Extended Analysis

Peter Br

Read "Peter Br" reviewed by Clifford Allen

Peter Brötzmann The Complete Machine Gun Sessions Atavistic 2007

Almost forty years have passed since the 1968 recording of German reedman Peter Brötzmann's Machine Gun at the Lila Eule in Bremen. The session, now regarded as one of the cornerstone records of European free improvisation, was a combination of several ensembles active on the western European landscape in the late 1960s, as communication and collaboration between small creative-music scenes was starting to ...


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