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Jazz Articles


bigBANG Jazz Gang

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bigBANG Jazz Gang The Falcon Underground Marlboro, NY October 13, 2016 Last night I drove to Marlboro, NY, a sixty-five mile trek, to check out a band and a venue. The band was the bigBANG Jazz Gang, one of the local groups (a term I loosely use for a distance of seventy-five miles or less from my home in Northern New Jersey) that have escaped my notice. They are an ongoing enterprise, playing in ...


Jarrett Cherner Trio: Expanding Heart

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Forget about “the art of the trio." It's undoubtedly a topic worth discussing when you look at this album, and one that automatically comes up when you look at any piano-centric threesome, but it's a phrase that's been overused. Instead, let's talk about the heart of the trio--how it beats, what it feeds, where it leads, and the manner in which it expands (and contracts) to forward life and development. That's a topic that's more apropos here, as pianist Jarrett ...


Henrik Jensen's Followed By Thirteen: Henrik Jensen's Followed by Thirteen: Blackwater

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What does it mean to be 'Followed by Thirteen'? It immediately conjures pictures of some cold war spy thriller--Orson Welles in Greene's “The Third Man," Matt Damon in the Bourne films maybe, as the protagonist is followed by shadowy agents through decaying European cities in defence of unspecified freedoms. Good though it is, it seems unlikely that Henrik Jensen's splendid new album of modern jazz could be construed by our governments as a threat to our comfortable western liberal democratic ...


The Big Shake-Up: The Big Shake-Up

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On first hearing Rusell Bennett's opener, the boisterously funky “Don't Block The Box," it's seems tempting to compare this tight brass heavy British octet with the considerably larger Loose Tubes ensemble. But the comparison is inaccurate for several reasons. The compositions (three are by Bennett) are relatively straightforward and certainly make less demands on an audience than Django Bates's more cerebral and labyrinthine inventions. That's not to say this band offers purely simplistic music, which they most certainly do not. ...


Mark Dresser Seven: Sedimental You

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Bassist Mark Dresser has had a long, distinguished career in jazz and new music working with a long list of musicians that includes Anthony Braxton, Tim Berne, Anthony Davis and John Zorn but he hasn't recorded much lately as a leader. This project sees him leading and writing for a diverse group of familiar and relatively new players in an unusual front line combination of clarinet, flute, violin and trombone. The group has a unique sound, like some 1920's society ...


According To Adorno: A Portrait Of Jazz's Harshest Critic, Part 2

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Part 1 | Part 2 Though Adorno had many points of criticism regarding the technical aspects of jazz, his contempt for the music genre was fuelled by something else. Given the fact that Adorno was best known for his critical theory of society, it is far from surprising that jazz would not escape a social deciphering in his essays."Jazz is not what it 'is,'" he claims in Über Jazz; jazz is defined by the role it plays in ...


Bill Frisell's "Guitar in the Space Age" at the Blue Note

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Bill FrisellBlue Note New York, NY October 4, 2016 It's one month before what is shaping up to be an epochal presidential election; the national mood is tense, nerves are fraying, anxiety is high. And just in the nick of time, here comes guitarist Bill Frisell to save our sanity! He's presenting the Blue Note (NYC) audiences with a week of coolly poignant interpretations of some of his favorite vintage pop tunes, most of which ...


The Core Trio featuring Matthew Shipp: The Core Trio Live, featuring Matthew Shipp

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What we have here is no-nonsense free improvisation where the track titles are chronologically functional but the music has a mind of its own. This is the Core Trio, who in direct opposition to that kind of pragmatic naming convention, have consistently performed and recorded as a small combo with an additional guest. Robert Boston, Steve Swell, and Tim Hagans) have each joined the “core" trio being at the heart of a quartet. For the second time, on The Core ...

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