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Articles by Gareth Thompson

LIVE REVIEWS

Vula Viel And Peter Zummo at Cafe Oto

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Vula Viel and Peter Zummo Cafe Oto London January 24, 2019 Peter Zummo could coax an agreeable tune from a garden hose, whistle through a straw-stuffed flute, and still engage listeners. He simply has a knack with tubes and noise. The avant-jazz trombonist, based in New York, keeps delighting and confounding critics with his sonic collages, wherein the genteel Zummo sprays notes like a graffiti sound artist. Zummo was in London for a ...

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Time Grove: More Than One Thing

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The titling of instrumental pieces might take any number of courses. Musicians can make them super deep, or use super obscure references. Dedications to a specific place or person are common, as is the use of instruments or genres. Many titles are just left open to the listener's interpretation. Tel Aviv band Time Grove offers all the above options on their debut record More Than One Thing. Based around the work of acclaimed pianist Nitai Hershkovits, the group ...

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Vula Viel: Do Not Be Afraid

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Having once wowed audiences at the London Jazz Festival, Vula Viel acquired a more unlikely fan in the shape of Iggy Pop. Maybe it's this trio's post- punk verve that grabbed the Stooges frontman, or Pop might have been seduced by hearing the gyil (Ghanaian xylophone) in such an original context. Bex Burch was training as a classical percussionist when she made a trek to Upper West Ghana. Whilst engaged in farming there, she studied with xylophone artist ...

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Greg Ward Presents Rogue Parade: Stomping Off From Greenwood

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After a stint in New York, saxophonist Greg Ward was lured home to Chicago in 2016 by a project based on Charles Mingus's The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady (Impulse! Records, 1963). Ward's new vision of this record was widely acclaimed, not least for its performance with a ballet company, as Mingus had desired. Around this time Ward began a jamming fellowship, aimed at “those who don't hate, but appreciate." Whether this hate/appreciate referred to race relations ...

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Matthew Golombisky's Cuentos: Volume 3

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At the tender age of four, Isabella Golombisky shows the promise of a young Kandinsky. Her artwork adorns this inspired release from her father, Matthew, wherein she uses colours not contained by lines, and gives priority to form over content. Or maybe it was a jolly good splash at the kitchen table. Either way, 'Izzi' is clearly a singular talent, but then so is her dad. Raised in North Carolina, Matthew Golombisky was doing a composition Master's in ...

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The Gravity Project: The Gravity Project

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Born in Osaka, Japan, the veteran costume designer Junko Koshino has thrived on opposing images. Be-tentacled alien women can be expected to appear next to Greek goddesses in her shows. Her philosophy has thus been described as taikyoku, the Japanese word for “extreme opposites." Here comes the relevant bit... Now consider Masaki Nakamura, a young star of the shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo-flute) who has performed at Koshino's fashion shows but also in castles, shrines and temples. More extreme opposites, ...

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Hanna Paulsberg Concept + Magnus Broo: Daughter Of The Sun

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Fourteen centuries before Cleopatra, queen Hatshepsut became one of the few women to rule Egypt. Artworks at the time portrayed her with masculine muscles and a Pharaonic beard, but these icons were smashed to smithereens in Hatshepsut's burial chamber. Clearly she upset the male hierarchy back then. Three and a half thousand years later, this fourth album from Norwegian artist Hanna Paulsberg is dedicated to Hatshepsut and all women who fight for recognition. Paulsberg's father was a jazz ...

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Bruno Raberg: Tailwind

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In a 2005 interview, double bassist Bruno Råberg discussed how Scandinavian music reflects the country's vast mountains and forests. “You can see very far and that calmness and meditative spirituality comes through," he says. Born in Sweden, but a longtime resident of Boston, you sense Råberg still carries his homeland close to the heart. For sure his acclaimed composing has touched base with many cultures. His previous range includes the lush Music For Strings & Soloists (Orbis Music, ...

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Ran Blake & Christine Correa: Streaming

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Back in 1946, Ran Blake watched The Spiral Staircase and was rather freaked. This classic chiller's opening scene shows a silent film flickering whilst a woman accompanies the visuals on piano. Blake later composed his own piano sketches for each character and wrote fan letters to the entire cast. His only reply came from Carlton, the housekeeper's sleepy bulldog, via a paw print autograph. Blake also claims a childhood interest in Irish ghost stories and church spirituals. Thus ...

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Fabled: Short Stories

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Anyone who has ever pulled pints for a living probably has some stories to tell. Sam Rapley, the leader of Fabled, used to work behind the bar in Manchester's renowned Band On The Wall club. A favoured site during World War II, its jazz acts often played on during air raids. Legend has it that twenty-four thousand beers were sold there one public holiday. Rapley wouldn't know such excess on his latterday shifts, but he surely found the ...

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Szun Waves: New Hymn To Freedom

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Pythagoras had this notion that the Sun, Moon and planets all emit their own unique hum. Put simply, as these orbs travel through space they produce certain sound waves. Ever wondered what that might actually sound like? Wonder no more, for this second album from vanguard jazz trio Szun Waves is surely what Pythagoras had in mind. That is, if he could have predicted the later inventions by Adolphe Sax and Robert Moog. Introducing them briefly, we have ...

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Gilad Hekselman: Ask For Chaos

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Be careful what you ask for if chaos is on the wish list. Israeli-born guitarist Gilad Hekselman invited disorder on this, his sixth outing, by employing two distinct backing bands. And there is fun to be had in spotting discrepancies between the combos. Representing the more avant elements are Zuperoctave, whilst a touch of trad comes via gHex Trio who were urged by Hekselman to keep him on his toes. The album's title draws on the political climate ...