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Jazz Articles

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Coltrane: Meditations

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One man's meditation can be a migraine to another. By the early '60's, John Coltrane found himself moving ever further away from traditional forms of musical expression, and into what could be described as uncharted territory, even for jazz. So much so that the saxophonist's influence and ability to break down barriers not only within his own relatively elite circle extended itself into the ever growing rock fraternity, to the extent that bands such as The Byrds and Santana cited ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Coltrane: Interstellar Space

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As the '60s dawned it would seem that John Coltrane was determined to permanently turn his back on being an accessible artist. Often considered as one of his most influential works, Interstellar Space is certainly not for everyone. Fans of My Favorite Things and Blue Train may struggle with its seemingly random and “multidirectional" explorations. Also, those who might be expecting this half solar system suite to be based on Gustav Holst's The Planets will be sorely disappointed. Because Coltrane's ...

HI-RES JAZZ

Blue Note On Blu-Ray

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Jazz music is best appreciated with “big ears" and an open mind. Just as exposure to new music casts older, familiar works in a different light, newer formats can expand a listener's perspective on the strengths and limitations of the original recordings. SACDs, Blu-Ray discs and hi-res downloads accurately represent the affective details of jazz performance: the swish of brushes on a snare; the subtle inflections of a trumpet player's phrasing; the timbre that distinguishes one bassist's instrument--and ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

The Virtues of Jazz

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Any jazz aficionado knows the musical virtues of jazz, whether they are a musician, a jazz writer, or simply a committed jazz listener. In classical Western thought (that is, in the musings of cats like as Aristotle and Plato), a virtue is a kind of excellence in performance that flows from a settled habit. One who plays the flute as it ought to be played--the proper tone, pitch, and timing--displays a virtue or sharp skill in that musical instrument. One ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Free Jazz / Black Power

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Free Jazz / Black Power Philippe Carles and Jean-Louis Comolli 256 Pages ISBN: ISBN 978-1-62846-039-1 University Press of Mississippi 2015 Forty four years after its publication in French, Philippe Carles and Jean-Louis Comolli's thought-provoking, fiercely intellectual book Free Jazz/Black Power finally finds its way into English, thanks to Grégory Pierrot's translation and the good folk at University Press of Mississippi. The four words of the title reference four histories that ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Coltrane: A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters

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For many a jazz fan John Coltrane's A Love Supreme is their personal desert island pick, the one recording they would not hesitate to live their days out listening to. Recorded on December 9, 1964, the session has endured as a document of the saxophonist's faith, as it was the proclamation of his rebirth from the jazz life of alcohol and substance abuse. The 33-minutes that are A Love Supreme come as close to a musical paragon as ...

BOOK EXCERPTS

Spirits Rejoice! Jazz and American Religion

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Spirits Rejoice! (Oxford University Press, 2015) presents a critical study on jazz and American religion from the 1940's to the present, and engages the religiosity and spirituality of America's foremost jazz musicians. The book features over 200 jazz musicians and is the first book solely dedicated to unpacking the history of jazz and religion in America. The author is Dr. Jason Bivins, a well-respected professor of philosophy and religion at North Carolina State University. This excerpt is from chapter five ...

THE BIG QUESTION

If Coltrane emerged today, would he receive recognition and appreciation?

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A while ago I had a chat with Vytautas Labutis, an influential Lithuanian saxophonist, educator and, at the time, curator of jny: Vilnius Mama Jazz Festival. He said: “The list of players with top skills is almost endless. Today we have kids who can do amazing things on their instruments, but the world is waiting for a new Coltrane." This phrase set my mind to thinking about this nearly religious aspect of contemporary jazz reality. If He arrives, how will ...


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