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Articles | Featured | Future

BEST OF / YEAR END

John Kelman's Best Releases of 2018

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Once again, the chronic health problem that has reduced my writing pace to a crawl continues without any respite. My best of the year lists have traditionally been predicated upon having reviewed the releases chosen, but with only a relative handful of reviews to choose from this year (and with those choices, more than ever now, always representing music that moved me in a big way), there's simply no way to come up with the big lists I used to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mauricio Pessoa: Without You

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There's an urbane aura surrounding the music of Mauricio Pessoa. From the mournful string strains that introduce a dewy-eyed “Saudade I" on through to the high society swing of the “Without You" closer, his writing proves evocative both in drawing attention to times past and highlighting the influence of past masters--Moacir Santos, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Lindolpho Gaya, and Egberto Gismonti, to mention a few. However, it need be noted that, despite those backward glances and nods, his compositions aren't mired ...

BEST OF / YEAR END

Notable Hi-Res Releases in 2018

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2018 has been a good year for jazz music in hi-res audio formats. ECM, Songlines, Intakt, ACT Music, Firehouse 12, Foné, Mack Avenue, TRPTK, and other independent labels released newly-recorded and recent catalog albums in high resolution through download vendors, Bandcamp, and the labels' own websites. One US music vendor lists more than 300 jazz titles that became available as hi-res downloads in 2018. High resolution audio has become increasingly affordable and widespread, with hi-res DACs included in portable and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lawful Citizen: Internal Combustion

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The Montreal-based quartet Lawful Citizen has come up with an unusual subject on which to pin its theme. Its debut disc's title, Internal Combustion, contains the four part “Internal Combustion Suite" that addresses, in part, the power that has driven our cars (and motorcycles, and lawnmowers...) for the better part of the last century. The suite opens with this saxophone and a guitar/bass/drums quartet's dreamy and foreboding groove--tranquil and and eerie at the same time, with a metallic, egalitarian sound ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Fulcarragh Winter Jazz Festival 2018

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Fulcarragh Winter Jazz Festival Various Venues Falcarragh, Ireland December 7-8, 2018 It only rained twice during the inaugural Falcarragh Winter Jazz Festival--all day Friday, and then all day Saturday. Still, no amount of rain or wind could dampen the spirits of those who turned out to support this bold initiative by local lads Conor and Micheal Murray. Bold because jazz doesn't have any footing in this small town seeped in Irish folk music, country ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chris Trinidad: Chant Triptych II

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Bassist/composer Chris Trinidad (based in the San Francisco Bay area) presents the second in a series of albums that place Gregorian chant melodies in new contexts. The arrangements combine instruments from a wide array of musical traditions: Indian tabla drums and bansuri flute; Caribbean bongo, congas and other percussion; accordion influenced by Argentinian tango and other folk traditions; Bulgarian tambura (which has double-coursed strings like a mandolin); and guitar, bass guitar and saxophone from Europe and North America.

RADIO

Makaya McCraven's Universe

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Drummer Makaya McCraven's new double album Universal Beings mixes the artistry and experimentation of jazz with the irresistible dance beats of hip-hop. It also brings together a dream team of collaborators from London, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, including Shabaka Hutchings, Nubya Garcia, Brandee Younger and Jeff Parker. This episode of Mondo Jazz celebrates Makaya McCraven's musical universe and its brilliant stars from around the world. Happy listening! Playlist Ben Allison “Mondo Jazz Theme ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lisa Hilton: Oasis

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Like whispers of a better place just around the corner if you're prepared to take the ride, the tunes on West Coast mainstay and prolific pianist/composer Lisa Hilton's exciting, well paced Oasis work their way into your listening space and take up residence. They hop, bop and bounce along her keyboard. Hilton, who has enlivened stages across the continent and counts among her jazz influences Horace Silver, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington as well bluesman Muddy Waters, rockers ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ron Caines - Martin Archer Axis: Les Oiseaux de Matisse

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The founder of this UK-based label, reedman/multi-instrumentalist Martin Archer and many of his longtime or more recent cohorts radiate a seemingly eternal sphere of invention. Other than ongoing projects with specific artists or ensembles, no two albums are distinctly alike. Hence, the element of surprise is a recurring element. Here, Archer and saxophonist Ron Caines co-lead the septet for a multidimensional jazz-tinged bash amid colorific textures, pulsating free-form sprees, quaint oddities and other captivating attributes throughout the 77-minute runtime.

RADIO

Wayne Horvitz, Kamil Piotrowicz and More

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This week we focus on a number of intriguing 'firsts.' The playlist includes acclaimed saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock's first foray into composing orchestral works, Wayne Horvitz' first traditional piano trio format recorded in the mountains of Montana, as well as Polish rising star pianist Kamil Piotrowicz and his sextet, Krzysztof Komeda's compositions interpreted by a top Australian ensemble led by Andrea Keller and Miroslav Bukovsky, Satoko Fujii's new trio Amu with a tap dancer, and Francois Houle, Alexander Hawkins and Harris ...