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Rich Halley: Terra Incognita

Read "Terra Incognita" reviewed by Troy Dostert

In a musical career that stretches back to the 1980s, tenor saxophonist Rich Halley has stoutly maintained his independent path in creating jazz that is inspired by the freedom of the '60s avant-garde but which also draws liberally from the language of bop. You can hear both Albert Ayler and Sonny Rollins in his playing. But it's not just his distinctive voice on his instrument that stands out; it's also the effort he's devoted to maintaining a steady cadre of ...

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Rich Halley with Matthew Shipp, Michael Bisio and Newman Taylor Baker: Terra Incognita

Read "Terra Incognita" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Rich Halley's leader debut Multnomah Rhythms (Avocet, 1983) featured a large ensemble, a formation that the saxophonist favored for the better part of two decades. When he pared back personnel, he was equally committed to his quartet, recording six albums with trombonist Michael Vlatkovich, bassist Clyde Reed and son, Carson Halley on drums. The Outlier (Pine Eagle, 2016) expanded the quartet to a quintet with the addition of Vinny Golia on baritone sax and bass clarinet. The saxophonist downsized further, ...

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Rich Halley: Terra Incognita

Read "Terra Incognita" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Saxophonist Rich Halley usually sticks with his steady crowd. Indeed, when tallying Halley's collaborative compadres over the past couple of decades, his list of “recorded with" players comes down to a handful of names: drummer Carson Halley, trombonist Michael Vlatkovich and bassist Clyde Reed. Add cornetist Bobby Bradford on a couple of outings. The same for reedman Vinny Golia. And then there was the collaborator from the earliest days, drummer Dave Storrs, in the beginning of the new millennium.

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Rich Halley 3: The Literature

Read "The Literature" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

Before now saxophonist Rich Halley has chosen only to play original music on all his recordings as a leader. Now, on his twenty-first disc, he changes up and goes back to what he calls “the literature," the music and musicians that influenced his career path. Most of what he covers here is by iconic jazz figures like Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Ornette Coleman but he also reveals a few surprise influences. The music is played by a ...

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Rich Halley 3: The Literature

Read "The Literature" reviewed by Jim Trageser

Tenor saxophonist Rich Halley decided, according to the liner notes, to make his twenty-first recording an all-covers collection. The title of the recording, he writes, comes from his thought that if “literature" connotes a body of work in classical music, then why not in jazz as well--and so he's collected a dozen of the songs that shaped his musical horizons. It's a pretty broad set of compositions, too, not just expected contributors Miles, Mingus and Monk, but Ornette ...

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Rich Halley 3: The Literature

Read "The Literature" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

A native of Oregon, saxophonist Rich Halley spent enough time in Chicago to absorb the ethos of the AACM and intermingle the influences of Thelonius Monk, Charles Mingus, and Ornette Coleman, to name a few of his inspirations. Over his thirty-five year recording career he has worked with Michael Bisio, Bobby Bradford, Nels Cline, Vinny Golia, Julius Hemphill, Andrew Hill, Oliver Lake, Tony Malaby and many other top names. He has recorded nearly two-dozen albums as a leader, almost half ...

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Rich Halley 3: The Literature

Read "The Literature" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

After spending a few formative musical years in Chicago--where the winds blow the blues around--saxophonist Rich Halley made his way back to Portland, Oregon. Halley's recording career made its leap to the top shelf when he joined forces with drummer/record label honcho Dave Storrs at Louie Records. Four excellent recordings under Halley's name saw release on Louie Records between 2001 and 2005, including an early new millennium highlight, Objects (2002). In terms of style, Halley intersperses wild-eyed, fire ...

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Rich Halley/Carson Halley: The Wild

Read "The Wild" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Saxophonist Rich Halley has released twenty recordings as a leader, many of them with his son Carson Halley on drums. The two have been playing as a duo for almost twenty years, working on totally improvised music together. Halley's ensemble approach is characterized by a seamless blend of composition and improvisation, but here the pair spontaneously improvised the entire set, documenting the approach they have worked on for so long. From the start that lifetime of rapport is ...

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Rich Halley/Carson Halley: The Wild

Read "The Wild" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Saxophonist Rich Halley's duo outing and his son drummer Carson Halley, The Wild, is in the same vein as the tenorist's previous releases on his own Pine Eagle label. On the current album, the Halleys' characteristic unbridled spontaneity and the provocative creative zeal is simultaneously crystalized and tempered by melodic contemplation.The wistful “Flat Plane of the Sky" for instance, is an abstractly impressionistic piece. Rich Halley lets loose a meandering pensive song over Carson Halley's sparse yet dynamic ...

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Rich Halley/Carson Halley: The Wild

Read "The Wild" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

Duet sessions are, at their best, something special, a one-to-one musical conversation that relies on a near-telepathic connection between the two players. You'd really expect that connection between tenor saxophonist Rich Halley and drummer Carson Halley since they are father and son and they deliver on this powerful disc.All the pieces on the CD are improvised. Rich Halley plays wood flute on one short interlude, “The Old Ways." On the rest he plays tenor with impressive skill. Several ...

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Rich Halley/Carson Halley: The Wild

Read "The Wild" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Saxophonist Rich Halley, home-based in Portland, Oregon, is a relentless creator of fine and oftimes fiery free jazz, averaging, since 2010, about two CD releases per year, including Creating Structure (2015); Eleven (2016); and Outlier, (2016), all on his Pine Eagle Records label. These were quartet outings, featuring like-minded free-jazzers--trombonist Michael Vlatkovich, bass man Clyde Reed and Carson Halley, Rich Halley's son, in the drum chair. Add saxophonist Vinny Golia to Outlier to make it a quintet. And it's all ...

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Rich Halley 5: The Outlier

Read "The Outlier" reviewed by Budd Kopman

The Outlier feels like the third part of a triptych which started with Creating Structure, followed by Eleven. The former recording demonstrated how structure can be created during improvisation, while the latter how more- or-less composed music with structure can be the foundational basis for improvisation. The record at hand mixes the two concepts thoroughly, so much so that, with help from the liner, one would be hard pressed to tell which tracks are composed and which are ...