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Whither Freedom? Avant-Garde Jazz in the '80s (1978 - 1990)

Read "Whither Freedom? Avant-Garde Jazz in the '80s (1978 - 1990)" reviewed by Russell Perry

In the 1980s, the avant-garde, although still home to many fine free jazz players, increasingly adopted an ecumenical approach to historical styles. Freedom came to include freedom to be “in the tradition." The broadly-influenced music of alto saxophonists Arthur Blythe and Henry Threadgill, clarinetist John Carter and pianist Don Pullen illustrate this trend--in this hour of Jazz at 100. Playlist Host Intro 0:00 Arthur Blythe Septet. “Down San Diego Way" from Lenox Avenue Breakdown (Columbia) 3:14 Host speaks ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Fat Kid Big Band: New Beginnings

Read "New Beginnings" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Note to Montreal's Fat Kid Big Band: If you really want to make a favorable first impression on your audience, move the opening track on New Beginnings, “Bustin' My Ass," and replace it with any of the album's five instrumental numbers. Nothing personal, and no disrespect meant to singer Othniel PF, but why would a big band introduce itself with a rather anemic vocal set to a quasi-rock beat when there are so many more enticing choices available?

ALBUM REVIEW

Don Pullen: Richard's Tune

Read "Richard's Tune" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Idiosyncratic pianist Don Pullen's debut as a leader, Richard's Tune (Sackville, 1974) already bore marks of his unique style and singular improvisational approach. Delmark reissued this superb solo outing in 2014 augmenting it with previously unreleased material from the same session making it all the more satisfying.Pullen peppers “KaDiJi," one of the bonus works on the CD, with his signature circular phrases. Edgy dissonance and dulcet spirituality coexist as the tightly woven harmonic lines flow towards the ringing, ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Don Pullen: Ode to the Life Lived

Read "Don Pullen: Ode to the Life Lived" reviewed by Raul d'Gama Rose

He is being carried on wings, a Black Icarus, further up, higher than the sun, so the wings will not fail this time. They carry him and the fingers of his left--and all those mad block chords from God knows where--and his right hand--running along the ebony and ivory keys drawing clusters of notes in elliptical swirls they call jazz, from knuckles and fingers into the rarefied atmosphere, where he hooks up for a gig in the sky. ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Don Pullen: Mosaic Select

Read "Mosaic Select" reviewed by George Harris

Don Pullen, with his heart firmly rooted in gospel, bop and blues, and with his hands grasping on to free-form dissonance, was one of the very last truly original jazz pianists. He found a musical soulmate in tenor George Adams, who was similarly blessed with a unique tone: one foot in with the Texas tenors and the other falling through an elevator shaft. The Don Pullen/George Adams Quartet of the '80s became one of the last great and original bands. ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Don Pullen: Don Pullen: Mosaic Select 13

Read "Don Pullen: Mosaic Select 13" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Hit play on just about any Don Pullen record and three things will strike you right away: his fierceness of spirit, deep respect for melody, and a barely-restrained urge to out-and-out make some noise. The late pianist's subversive tendencies come through most apparently in the form of punchy clusters and glissandi, exercised in giant sweeping swaths of sound that warp the focus of his music in unpredictable ways. But it's time to put the stale, superficial comparisons with Cecil Taylor ...


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