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Radio & Podcasts

Susan Alcorn: Nueva Canción on Pedal Steel

Read "Susan Alcorn: Nueva Canción on Pedal Steel" reviewed by Lawrence Peryer

Today, the Spotlight shines On the innovative pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn.While Susan got her start playing in country & western bands in Texas, she has taken the pedal steel into new and uncharted territories, exploring 20th-century classical music, improvisational jazz, and various world musics.On her latest project, CANTO (Relative Pitch Records), Susan explored Chilean folk music and nueva canción, which translates as “new song" and refers to an intertwined musical and leftist social movement so ...

Album Review

Susan Alcorn, Patrick Holmes and Ryan Sawyer: From Union Pool

Read "From Union Pool" reviewed by Troy Dostert

The inimitable pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn seemingly knows no bounds when it comes to the range of textures, tones and timbres she can coax out of her instrument. She is also a consummate improvisational partner, whether working in free or composed contexts. And she has forged a terrific partnership with Relative Pitch Records, which has now released four albums with Alcorn featured prominently—the most recent being her outstanding Pedernal, from 2020. Here she is part of a free-improv trio, ...

Radio & Podcasts

From Sergio Mendes to Susan Alcorn

Read "From Sergio Mendes to Susan Alcorn" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

This show covers a wide swath of creative music, going from Sergio Mendes and Julie Driscoll to June Tyson and Susan Alcorn. Don Byron and Ryan Keberle are among the others who appear on the program. Playlist Henry Threadgill Sextett “I Can't Wait Till I Get Home" from he Complete Novus & Columbia Recordings of Henry Threadgill & Air (Record Label) 00:00 David Hazeltine “Face to Face" from The Classic Trio Vol. II (Sharp Nine) 00:56 Danilo Perez ...

Album Review

Columbia Icefield: Ancient Songs of Burlap Heroes

Read "Ancient Songs of Burlap Heroes" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

Trumpeter Nate Wooley can create impressive large-scale compositions. His Seven Storey Mountain VI, (Pyroclastic, 2021) is a massive work, dealing with the rights of women, that used fourteen musicians and singers. His group, Columbia Icefield, achieves similar results with just four members, Wooley himself on trumpet and amplifier, Mary Halvorson on electric guitar, Susan Alcorn on pedal steel guitar and Ryan Sawyer on drums plus Mat Maneri and Trevor Dunn guesting on some tracks. This music moves at a glacial ...

Album Review

Columbia Icefield: Ancient Songs of Burlap Heroes

Read "Ancient Songs of Burlap Heroes" reviewed by Troy Dostert

Nate Wooley refuses to make trivial music. Whether the endlessly creative trumpeter and composer is rethinking the relationship between artistic production and community, as on Mutual Aid Music (Pleasure of the Text, 2021), or pursuing ways to re-envision music's spiritual potential, seen most recently on 2020's Seven Storey Mountain VI (Pyroclastic Records), he always provides his listeners with a lot to ponder. This is no less evident with his Columbia Icefield project, which dives headlong into humankind's fraught relationship with ...

Catching Up With

Susan Alcorn: Another Way

Read "Susan Alcorn: Another Way" reviewed by Dom Minasi

If you are not into improvised music, you may not know Susan Alcorn. Take it from someone who has listened and played with her, she is a giant I never heard of Susan till one Sunday night at the legendary CBGB's Sunday Night Avant-Garde series where she performed with tenor saxophonist, Joe Giardullo. I have never heard pedal steel guitar played like that. I thought you only heard them in country bands. That night, Susan proved me wrong. ...

Album Review

Susan Alcorn / Leila Bordreuil / Ingrid Laubrock: Bird Meets Wire

Read "Bird Meets Wire" reviewed by John Sharpe

Three accomplished improvisers of different generations meet in the studio on All Fools Day 2018 to explore some common and not so common ground. Although pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn started out in C&W, she takes her instrument to realms never envisioned by its originators. One could make the same claim for Brooklyn-based French-born cellist Leila Bordreuil, though here the precedents are more numerous, while the similarly domiciled German saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, one of the brightest stars in the New ...


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