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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tania Chen, Henry Kaiser, Wadada Leo Smith, William Winant: Ocean of Storms

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In between stints as a videographer of below-ice underwater regions in Antarctica, guitarist Henry Kaiser maintains a remarkably busy agenda as an improvising musician. Here he's joined by Wadada Leo Smith, an occasional partner going back to their mutual connection with Eugene Chadbourne in the 1970s and later collaboration on their Yo Miles! album from 1998. Pianist Tania Chen and percussionist William Winant, both of whom have recently worked with Kaiser as well (on Megasonic Chapel, from 2015), round out ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Harriet Tubman and Wadada Leo Smith: Araminta

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Things are urgent now. Actually, they have been critical for some time, but you might have chosen to ignore them. Politics, racism, sexism, war, inequality, and xenophobia are now issues that you must confront at home, work, in social media, and even within your bowling league. Everyone must have an opinion, and maybe that is the good news. This consciousness of social justice has long been the well that artists and musicians draw from. Half a century ago ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tania Chen, Henry Kaiser, Wadada Leo Smith, William Winant: Ocean of Storms

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If, for no other reason than Wadada Leo Smith rears his predominant head, this recording should be considered. Within the electronic walls of All About Jazz, one can forgive me for having not paid proper tribute to Smith's exceptional America's National Parks (Cuneiform Records, 2016) since no less than five colleagues did. I am a late comer to Smith, whose pan-artistic approach is so enormous I have shied away from taking it on. We have lived in a post-John Cage ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pauline Oliveros/Roscoe Mitchell/John Tilbury/Wadada Leo Smith: Nessuno

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In 1991 the label I Dischi Di Angelica was founded solely for the purpose of documenting the performances of its namesake music festival in Italy. The non-profit label has grown--but only marginally--releasing a compact catalog of global music, typically related to artists that have some association with the annual event. Fortunately for fans of creative music, producer Massimo Simonini captured this unique event at AngelicA Festival in Teatro San Leonardo, Italy in 2011 and rendered here as Nessuno.

BEST OF / YEAR END

John Sharpe's Best Releases Of 2016

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Here are ten new releases, reviewed at All About Jazz, which stood out among those I heard this year. Wadada Leo Smith America's National Parks (Cuneiform Records) While the title might conjure up a string of luminous tone poems, the reality of trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith's magisterial collection goes far beyond that on his most outstanding release since the monumental Ten Freedom Summers (Cuneiform, 2012). Not coincidentally, it's also the product of his ...

BEST OF / YEAR END

Dan McClenaghan's Best Releases Of 2016

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The music keeps moving forward, evolving to higher levels. My search for the best jazz recordings of 2016 led me to these marvelous CDs. Wadada Leo SmithAmerica's National Parks Cuneiform Records Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith has attempted in, the new millennium, to create his magnum opus. He may have succeeded with America's National Parks, a sprawling, dark-hued masterpiece celebrating the Mississippi River, New Orleans, Yellowstone, Yosemite and more. Adam PieronczykMonte Alban

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wadada Leo Smith: America's National Parks

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While the title might conjure up a string of luminous tone poems, the reality of trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith's magisterial collection goes far beyond that. In fact Smith's notion of a national park encompasses not only the iconic landscapes, but also literary and cultural features. In any case as he explains, he draws his inspiration from the spiritual and psychological dimensions of a specific event or a place, rather than taking a straightforward programmatic approach. The result is Smith's most ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wadada Leo Smith: America's National Parks

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The U.S. National Park Service celebrates its centennial in 2016 (it was created in 1916 when Congress passed the Organic Act). There are many celebrations planned, but few are likely to match the power and individuality of Wadada Leo Smith's epic six-part suite. Over the two discs (a bit over 90 minutes total playing time) Smith explores the spiritual and psychological aspects of setting aside reserves for common property for the use of American citizens--and the political dynamics involved. The ...


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