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Jazz Articles | Blog

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Frith Trio: Another Day in Fucking Paradise

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The album title may equate to what a disgruntled co-worker may utter at the office on a Monday morning. Yes, some of us have used this line, but master improviser, guitarist Fred Frith's prowess and boundless creativity is the antithesis to anything that may cause a semblance of drudgery. Jason Hoopes' bursting e-bass lines and Jordan Glenn's vigorous drumming and colorful accents supply all the ammo Frith needs via his speed riffing, unearthly effects and keen use of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joëlle Léandre - Urs Leimgruber - Fred Frith - Alvin Curran: Oakland/Lisboa

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Under the moniker MMM Quartet a crew from diverse points of the compass assembled for a concert at the 2014 Jazz Em Agosto in Lisboa (Lisbon, Portugal). Three of the four principals have associations with Mills College in Oakland (the MMM acronym improbably stands for Mills Music Mafia), while the Swiss saxophonist Urs Leimgruber is the solitary interloper. With constituent parts like French bassist Joëlle Léandre, English guitarist Fred Frith and veteran American pianist, composer and electronics whizz Alvin Curran, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Frith / Darren Johnston: Everybody's Somebody's Nobody

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Here's a West Coast entrant to the slim body of guitar/trumpet duets from iconoclastic strummer Fred Frith and trumpeter Darren Johnston. It collects 11 short cuts from two studio sessions into a three-quarter hour program. They're not averse to co-opting rhythms (Frith) or melodic figures (Johnston), meaning that what we have here can be termed the accessible avant-garde. Each jointly crafted extravaganza explores a different mood. They ring the changes both between numbers but also within them, especially in some ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joëlle Léandre - Urs Leimgruber - Fred Frith - Alvin Curran: Oakland/Lisboa

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This multinational dream team's second album was recorded live at a venue in Lisbon, Portugal. MMM stands for Mills Music Mafia, alluding to the respective artists' tenure or residency at Mills College in Oakland, CA. As anticipated, the quartet embarks upon a course of ingenuity that would be difficult to top within global improvisational circuits. Indeed, active minds are on the loose here. They navigate through jarring pathways and even integrate off-center folk into a few choruses; whereas, ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Brilliant Corners Jazz Festival 2015

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Brilliant Corners Jazz Festivaljny:Belfast, Ireland March 25-28 , 2015 Brilliant Corners may not be the biggest jazz festival in Northern Ireland--that accolade belongs to the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival--but in just three editions it can already lay claim to being the best. Eschewing the populist acts that characterize jny:Derry's sprawling jazz festival, promoter Moving On Music has quickly established Brilliant Corners as the home of new and cutting edge ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Two Sides of Fred Frith

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From the very start of his musical career, guitarist Fred Frith has been equally at home as an improviser, a songwriter or a combination of the two. His first group, the legendary Henry Cow, always featured a balance between songs that were used as a springboard for improvisation and free improvisations. In contrast, his debut solo album Guitar Solos (Caroline, 1974) featured eight tracks of unaccompanied improvised guitar, including prepared guitar; Frith's innovative, experimental approach to his instrument was highly ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fred Frith: Clearing Customs

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Over the decades of his solo career, Fred Frith's music has grown more reflective of the range of his musical interests. As well as being an improviser of significance he has also shown an interest in a diversity of folk musics, with initial signs showing up already, in his work of the late 1970s. Clearing Customs might, in a sense, be a culmination of the process started back then. An unusual instrumentation enhances the singularity of the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cosa Brava: Ragged Atlas

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There's a lot to a title as far as Ragged Atlas is concerned. The members of Cosa Brava have long been skilled in avoiding the obvious and their music incorporates influences from disparate sources. The range of their musical activities and affiliations in the past result in a coherence that is notable. When allied to the self-evident depth of intelligence at work here it amounts to something special.

There's impishness about the music, a sense of fun that maybe stems ...


All About Vince Guaraldi!

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