All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 (or more) and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

Jazz Articles

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

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

Read "Everybody's Somebody's Nobody" reviewed by

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

Read "Oakland/Lisboa" reviewed by

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

Read "Brilliant Corners Jazz Festival 2015" reviewed by

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

Read "Two Sides of Fred Frith" reviewed by

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

Read "Clearing Customs" reviewed by

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

Read "Ragged Atlas" reviewed by

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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cosa Brava: Ragged Atlas

Read "Ragged Atlas" reviewed by

Probably the most curious reaction guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Fred Frith's Cosa Brava, when it debuted at the 2008 International Festival International Musique Actuelle Victoriaville, was that it was “too melodic." Detractors of that show will likely be equally nonplussed by the group's overdue debut disc, Ragged Atlas, but it'll be their loss, as Frith's first “rock band" in far too many years may possess a decidedly lyrical bent, but is no less profound for it. Cosa Brava finds the perfect nexus between ...

INTERVIEWS

Fred Frith: Mapping the Further Reaches

Read "Fred Frith: Mapping the Further Reaches" reviewed by

Multi-instrumentalist/composer Fred Frith occupies a unique niche. As a charter member of Henry Cow, a band for which improvisation was always an integral part of musical expression, he was partly responsible for some of the most radical music ever to have emerged from beneath the rock umbrella.So much so, in fact, that the discontinuities between that band's albums will always be more pronounced than their continuity. Any notion of music in a state of flux that ...


Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.