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Jazz Articles

BAILEY'S BUNDLES

Jazz Quanta January: Chris Kelsey and Tomas R. Einarsson

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There are two jazz traditions represented in Jazz Quant January, the freedom principle of saxophonist Christ Kelsey and cool complexity of Latin jazz by way of Icelander bassist Tomas R. Einarsson. Two traditions transplanted and allowed to flourish. Chris Kelsey Duets | NYC / Woodstock Tzazz Krytyk 2015 What happens with free jazz stalwarts saxophonist Chris Kelsey meets one Dom Minasi, the guitarist of the future past? A freedom ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chris Kelsey/Lewis Porter: Free: Kelsey/Porter Duo Plays Ornette, Vol. 1

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Intrepid saxophonist and recovering jazz journalist Chris Kelsey went to his longtime friend, renowned author-educator-pianist Dr. Lewis Porter, with the idea of recording some of Ornette Coleman's music. That's how Free came to be, plain and simple. But nothing is really that simple. Kelsey and Porter worked through this material for a year, allowing the music to have ample time to settle into the mind and soul, and then they recorded these seldom-performed pieces in March of 2015. The album ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Chris Kelsey & What I Say: The Electric Miles Project

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Trumpeter Miles Davis' post-Bitches Brew (Columbia, 1970), pre-hiatus (1975-1981) electric music--dense, loud, dark, funky, vast--has posed problems for musicians. The Yo Miles! collective, led by trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and guitarist Henry Kaiser, gamely approached it as a repertoire: these are songs, they seemed to say; let's just play them (and so they did, on albums like Upriver, Cuneiform, 2005). Bassist/impresario Bill Laswell, meanwhile, approached the releases of the period as post-performance collage, woven together from miles of Ampex tape; ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chris Kelsey & What I Say: The Electric Miles Project

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Chris Kelsey and What I Say say it all. The Electric Miles Project is definitely well thought-out, projected, masterfully arranged, and meticulously performed. Contrary to Miles Davis' school of thought, improvisation on this project seems not to have been part of the agenda. Kelsey clearly knows exactly how to pay tribute to the late legend and, to this purpose, avoids messing with the master: no trumpeter is featured on the album. To play in Miles Davis' shadow or to do ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chris Kelsey & What I Say: The Electric Miles Project

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It takes no shortage of fortitude for contemporary artists to take on the electric Miles Davis. Banking off of his seminal Bitches' Brew (Columbia, 1970), the trumpeter headed for looser, louder and funkier fare, culminating in the twin two-disc releases, Agartha (Columbia, 1975) and Pangea (Columbia, 1976), two shows performed in the afternoon and evening of February 1, 1975 at Japan's Osaka Festival Hall. Laden with electric guitar, seditious percussion and an assortment of effects, Davis spins noisy magic off ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Chris Kelsey 4: Not Cool {. . .As In, "The Opposite of Paul Desmond"}

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Growing up as the son of a jazz saxophonist, saxophonist Chris Kelsey was influenced by his father's tastes in jazz. Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins were among those favorite artists, but Paul Desmond was not. Kelsey first heard Desmond on Bridge Over Troubled Water (A&M, 1969), his ode to Simon and Garfunkel, which was played just once in the Kelsey household. Desmond did not stir any emotions, though Kelsey admits that Desmond was “a fine player in his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chris Kelsey Quartet: Renewal

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Sometimes a hiatus is the best answer to impending burnout. Soprano saxophonist Chris Kelsey recognized such signs and decided to shelve his horn in response to the stressors that were closing in. Also a writer, he seems to have hung up his quill for a spell as well. Time away from the rigors of creative improvised music allowed for the sort of perspective and focus that's encapsulated in his new album's single word title.

Kelsey's no neophyte to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chris Kelsey's Ingenious Gentlemen Quartet: Situational Music

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From a purely financial perspective choosing improvised music as a profession has to rank among the most foolhardy and frustrating. Along with other artistic gigs like acting and writing improvised music is not widely regarded as a viable means of making ends meet. To take the argument further and generalize it a little, in the logical scheme of things, being an artist in America simply doesn’t pay. This is a sad certainty of life that saxophonist Chris Kelsey is intimately ...


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