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Articles | Featured | Future

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andrew Lisle Alex Ward: Doors

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The pairing of clarinetist-guitarist Alex Ward and drummer Andrew Lisle dates back at least to 2014 when the pair recorded the album Red Kite (Raw Tonk, 2014) in a trio with saxophonist Colin Webster. As Ward is kept busy as a member of quite a few other groupings of various sizes, it is no surprise that Doors is their first duo release. Recorded on two separate days in August and September 2016, the album consists of four tracks of similar ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rudi Mahall / Alexander von Schlippenbach: So Far

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The raw materials with which pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach and clarinetist (chiefly bass clarinetist) Rudy Mahall work on the free improvisation recording So Far, are best described as untreated, as opposed to unrefined, the other definition of raw. Their music is reduced to its essential components of sound, pulse, and interplay. The two German musicians are equally versed in traditional jazz and free improvisation. It is always fascinating how both can switch from covering Thelonious Monk's entire oeuvre ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alexis Cole with One For All: You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To

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Vocalist Alexis Cole hasn't found a setting or theme that doesn't suit her. Since arriving on the scene near the turn of the century she's covered a tremendous amount of ground and delivered a good number of well-conceived and beautifully executed albums. Cole teamed up with dozens of A-listers for a charitably-driven Christmas outing, explored the sultry side of the jazz canon, gave voice to the music of baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, put her own spin on Paul Simon's work, ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Nels and Alex Cline at The Jazz Bakery

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Nels Cline / Alex Cline Jazz Bakery (Moss Theater) Santa Monica, CA January 13, 2018 Nine years ago, Nels and Alex Cline played live as a duo for only the third time ever. On January 13, just nine days after their collective 62nd birthday, they made it the fourth. The brothers Cline performed together at the Moss Theater in Santa Monica, near where they grew up. The event was partly instigated by ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alexander Hawkins / Elaine Mitchener Quartet: UpRoot

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Taking risk is--among other things--the essence of free jazz and experimental music. It is by taking risk that musicians can develop their own identity and push further the too many musical borders. With the possibility to take risk, a sense of freedom emerges--whether this sense of freedom refers to something real is not important here--and a range of new possibilities are now being unleashed. A sure sense of freedom emanates from UpRoot, and The Alexander Hawkins / Elaine Mitchener Quartet ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eric Alexander: Song of No Regrets

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Eric Alexander, who has been wielding as impressive a tenor saxophone as anyone on the scene for more than two decades, returns to the studio for what seems the umpteenth time with an abundant stockpile of point-blank pleasures on Song of No Regrets, an essentially Latin-grooved session that leaves room on the first two numbers for the superlative trumpet work of guest artist Jon Faddis. One of Alexander's strengths, and perhaps the one that has caused him ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alexander Hawkins / Elaine Mitchener Quartet: UpRoot

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Since the mid-2000s, British pianist, composer, Alexander Hawkins (Evan Parker, Chicago/London Underground) has become a force to be reckoned with, largely within Europe's exploratory progressive jazz and improvising circles. As a collaborator and solo artist, the pianist transmits a distinctive line of attack, where melody and free-form extrapolations enjoy a happy coexistence. On this studio set, he teams with notable performance artist, abstract vocalist and fellow Brit, Elaine Mitchener (Phil Minton, George Lewis) for a semi-structured set highlighted by the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Say Bok Gwai: Trio / Chinese Jesus

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If you ever wondered what an angst-ridden, scaled back version of Sonic Youth would sound like if the musicians were overdosing on energy drinks, then the core duo of Say Bok Gwai may represent that notion rather mightily, and then some. Based in San Francisco, the unit is billed as a Chinese American hardcore rock band. Noted as a double EP, and the first time they've employed a bassist (Josh Martin), the musicians cover the social condition via an extremely ...

CATCHING UP WITH

The Dazzling Alexis Cole

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Jazz singer Alexis Cole's career has been anything but conventional. She's done residencies in far-flung places like Ecuador, India, and Japan. She fronted the Army's big band for several years as a soldier herself. And now she's a faculty member in the jazz program at SUNY Purchase. With a dozen critically acclaimed albums under her belt, some big awards on her shelf, and more good stuff to come, Alexis distinguishes herself a leader in the ever-evolving world of vocal jazz. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joey Alexander: Joey.Monk.Live!

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The late Thelonious Monk is most certainly the toast of the town these days. With the High Priest of Bop's centennial upon us, he's being saluted from all corners of the jazz world. Pianist John Beasley is leading the charge on the big band front with his MONK'estra, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith is reflecting on the great pianist-composer all by his lonesome, and New York's Jazz Standard has given over Monk's birth month to a broad swath of tributes to ...