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Malachi Thompson: The Evolution of Jazz and the Survival of Our Democratic Society

Read "Malachi Thompson: The Evolution of Jazz and the Survival of Our Democratic Society" reviewed by AAJ Staff

By Malachi Thompson

I've written about jazz as a model for American democracy before, but only in passing. However, in light of voting rights issues that arose during the 2000 presidential election, the events surrounding the 9/11 attacks and what's most important - our government's response to those events - it dawned upon me that “Now's The Time" (Charlie Parker) for deeper reflection on the evolution of jazz as it mirrors the development of the American democratic process. Jazz forms, ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Malachi Thompson & Africa Brass: Blue Jazz

Read "Blue Jazz" reviewed by Jeff Stockton

Malachi Thompson's Africa Brass project embodies all the variety and complexity of his Chicago home base: the urban experience of African Americans transplanted from the rural south; the blending of blues and jazz as musicians stepped out of juke joints and onto the stages of supper clubs; the respect for tradition tempered by the desire for innovation and individuality; the value of work towards self-determination.

Africa Brass is a working group made up of Chicago players who make the case ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Malachi Thompson: Blue Jazz

Read "Blue Jazz" reviewed by Derek Taylor

As the eleventh Delmark album by Thompson and his third featuring the expanded Africa Brass horn section schematic, this disc suggests that the decades-deep relationship shared by the trumpeter and his label is in no danger of flagging. Regrettably, it also continues the track record of less than stellar musical results that has hounded the leader for the last several years. Thompson’s ambitious ideas often seem to just over-reach his skills of execution.

The session starts with ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Malachi Thompson: Talking Horns

Read "Talking Horns" reviewed by Derek Taylor

Malachi Thompson has long been a fixture on the Delmark label roster. This disc marks his tenth try with the label. The majority of his previous recordings have been hit and miss affairs and past problems are the probable product of single label stagnation alongside a sometimes-scattershot track record with material and supporting musicians. Arguably his strongest band and program to date, this latest entry is a step above earlier efforts, but still suffers from a certain unevenness.

Thompson is ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Malachi Thompson: Talking Horns

Read "Talking Horns" reviewed by AAJ Staff

The heresy lives! The jazz establishment (Dr. They) would have one believe that jazz music--a cadaver best appreciated with scalpel in hand while donning a coroner’s smock--died with the innovations of the ‘60s. On his latest Delmark release, trumpeter Malachi Thompson has as a not-so-ulterior motive illustrating that jazz, in its free manifestation, continues as a vibrant creative medium. He and World Saxophone Quartet alumni, Oliver Lake and Hamiet Bluiett, acquit themselves famously in this endeavor and offer a tasty ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Malachi Thompson: Talking Horns

Read "Talking Horns" reviewed by AAJ Staff

The heresy lives! The jazz establishment (Dr. They) would have one believe that jazz music--a cadaver best appreciated with scalpel in hand while donning a coroner’s smock--died with the innovations of the ‘60s. On his latest Delmark release, trumpeter Malachi Thompson has as a not-so-ulterior motive illustrating that jazz, in its free manifestation, continues as a vibrant creative medium. He and World Saxophone Quartet alumni, Oliver Lake and Hamiet Bluiett, acquit themselves famously in this endeavor and offer a tasty ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Malachi Thompson: Talking Horns

Read "Talking Horns" reviewed by Mark Corroto

The good news is trumpeter Malachi Thompson mixes multiple styles and approaches on his latest release. But that is also the bad news. Thompson packs a wealth of music into his discs. As with his earlier Delmark projects; New Standards (1993), Buddy Bolden’s Rag (1995), and Free-bop Now! (1999), Thompson’s eclecticism informs us of jazz history, but that also distracts from a singular message.

It’s not that there isn’t plenty to dig here. Guest frontline saxophonists Hamiet Bluiett and Oliver ...


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