Daily articles including interviews, profiles, live reviews, film reviews and more... all carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. You can find more articles by searching our website, see what's trending on our popular articles page or read articles ahead of their published dates on our future articles page. Read our daily album reviews.
by Ty Cumbie
Jazz artists who adhere strictly to a free improvising agenda are generally doomed to sacrifice wider recognition. Here are two perfect examples: Ellen Christi is among the finest jazz vocalists in New York. She's made a lovely, intimate duo recording with Gary Hassay, a saxophonist who has all the technique of his best contemporaries, plus a creative sensibility that sets him apart as an artist worth noting. At times on these improvised pieces the connection between the ...read more
by John Eyles
To record an album dedicated to another musician--especially one as recently dead and as revered as Steve Lacy--is a risky business. The risk is greater if it is also an album of unaccompanied playing. If you're too reverential, you may be accused of cashing in and/or plagiarism; if you're too individualistic, you may be accused of disrespect ... and cashing in. Damned if you do, damned if you don't!
So, hats off to Joe Giardullo, who has expertly navigated his ...read more
by Trevor MacLaren
Rules of Engagement Vol. 2 is the first recording by this duo in roughly five years. Though they often play together, it is still a rare treat to get a collaborative disc out of them. Dominic Duval makes a great choice for his second volume in the Rules of Engagement series by choosing a familiar player who can work within his style.
The record lacks the punch of Rules of Engagement Vol. 1, which featured Mark Whitecage; still, McPhee proves ...read more
by Javier AQ Ortiz
In the case of any abstract interpretation of human experience, it is not necessary to get--or even know--the author's point of view in order to assail it at any level. In the case of Let Them Pass (laissez-passer), the first recording by the John Heward Trio, it does help to be aware of the collective spur for this outstanding work: the worldwide experience of immigration. Mulled over seven avant jazz movements, reedist and flutist Joe Giardullo, bassist Mike Bisio, and ...read more
by Dan McClenaghan
BassX3, reedman Gebhard Ullmann's exploration of soundscapes dwelling in the lower end of the sonic spectrum, huffs in on on a low tone, a bass flute rumination joined shortly by the elastic sound of a bowed bass.Two basses--Chris Dahlgren (Jazz Mandolin Project), and Peter Herbert, internationally known for his film and dance scores--join Ullmann, who plays bass clarinet and bass flute here. The mood throughout has a brooding and introspective feel--darkly passionate, hypnotic at times, and always deeply ...read more
by Rex Butters
This international trio of skilled improvisers reflects on the experiences of their expatriating pater familiae, some moving to Canada, some moving to the US. They explore their ancestors' leap into the unknown by leaping into these seven different impressions of passage. Drummer/leader John Heward and reedman Joe Giardullo share an association with Joe McPhee. Seattleite Bisio counts Andrew Hill, Vinny Golia, Sonny Simmons, and John Tchicai on his resume.
Heward's solo drums give a ceremonial then free swing introduction to ...read more
by John Kelman
Spontaneous composition, as opposed to free improvisation, finds a group of musicians working towards creating some kind of recognizable construct; sometimes, in fact, as in the case of the title track from Marilyn Crispell's '01 release, Amaryllis , what begins as a free improvisation becomes an actual piece with a thematic form that, in this case, Crispell continues to perform in concert to this day. But purely free improvisation has no such lofty goal. Its purpose, rather, is to create ...read more
by Clifford Allen
With Invisible Cities, trombonist Steve Swell and clarinetist Perry Robinson have created a unique snapshot of duo improvisation that, as much as it sounds like a Saturday afternoon loft rehearsal when the rhythm section was too busy, is a compelling document of the affinity between improvisers.
Robinson, of course, is the veteran of the two, having recorded his first LP, Funk Dumpling, with Henry Grimes for Savoy over forty years ago, as well as working with Gunter Hampel, Archie Shepp, ...read more
by Matthew Wuethrich
Before recording the seven pieces on Let Them Pass, bassist Mike Bisio, drummer John Heward, and mulit-reedsman Joe Giardullo reflected intensely, Philip Egert’s liner notes tell us, “on how their parents and grandparents had immigrated to Canada and the United States...(coming) with little more than a ‘Laissez-passer’ in their pockets.” Liner notes do not often provide anything of import besides historical and recording information, but such direct honesty about the intellectual process that shaped this stunning recording speaks of the ...read more
by Clifford Allen
You would not be faulted for raising an eyebrow at the appearance of a Burton Greene solo record. It is not without precedent, of course, for 1998’s Shades of Greene (Cadence Jazz) and It’s All One (Horo, 1975) set a worthy course. Nevertheless, Greene’s music has been fruitfully explored in ensemble recordings, from the classic open-communications music of the Free Form Improvisation Ensemble (featuring Alan Silva and Jon Winter) and his great quintet with master saxophonists Marion Brown and the ...read more