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Jazz Articles


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 ...


Brian (Shankar) Adler: Binary & Mysteries of the Deep

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For those seeking a bit of metaphysical speculation with their jazz, one could benefit from giving these two new EPs from drummer Brian (Shankar) Adler a careful listen. A thoughtful, creative percussionist, Adler is eager to explore the big questions in his music, and his use of complex rhythmic structures and instrumentation from other traditions (particularly Indian carnatic music) lends an additional layer of interest to his work. The first of the two releases, Binary, is a project ...


Forebrace: Steeped

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Steeped is the second album release from Forebrace, the welcome follow-up to Bad Folds (Copecod, 2013). For those who delighted in that album, the good news is that the quartet's line-up remains unchanged, and the balance between composed and improvised music is as before--composed pieces credited to Forebrace's leader and clarinetist, Alex Ward, alternating with improvisations credited to the whole group. The big difference between Steeped and its predecessor is that this album was recorded live in concert (at Cafe ...


Wadada Leo Smith: America's National Parks

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2016 marks the centennial anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service. In honor of this auspicious occasion, celebrated trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith composed a titular six-part suite for the Golden Quintet, an augmented version of his long-running flagship quartet. Rather than simply attempting to transpose scenic vistas and natural grandeur into pure sound, Smith explains in the liner notes that he is more interested in the parks as an idea--one with socio-political overtones--hence the inclusion of tributes to the city ...


Roland Kirk: Here Comes The Whistleman

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This December, it will be thirty-nine years since Rahsaan Roland Kirk split the scene for good. He was forty-one and about two-thirds of that short life span had been spent as a professional musician. He might not have been around long but he left behind a powerful legacy that may have no parallel in jazz or any other modern music. He might not have courted controversy but somehow it kept finding him. For some critics and musicians, he ...


The Ganelin Trio: Creative Tensions

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Imagine a time, not so very long ago, when a foreign Jazz/Improvising Trio created such a stir in Britain that they made the TV news! Imagine the national newspapers queuing round the block for interviews. And imagine London's Bloomsbury Theatre filled with musicians, journalists and arts administrators--not to mention the odd, very odd, raincoated spook. That noise was the Ganelin Trio in 1984 on their first visit to these shores, from Russia with love. All that noise left ...

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