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Articles by Geno Thackara

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Phronesis: We Are All

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You never know where Phronesis will turn next, but you can count on something inventive, surprising, and still true to the identity that's made them one of the premier piano trios on the world stage. They've racked up an impressive round of extracurriculars since their previous original outing Parallax (Edition, 2016): the left-field crossover The Behemoth (Edition, 2017) saw them reinventing past material with Julian Argüelles and the Radio Frankfurt Big Band. Bassist Jasper Hoiby and pianist Ivo Neame made ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Maria Baptist: Resonance

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Maria Baptist has several favorite contexts for her piano--trio, trio-plus-one, solo or with an orchestra--and yet there's always a certain throughline that comes through in any setting. It's a sophisticated voice that's highly emotional, evocative and vivid as life. Following on from a successful year of profile-building and highly visible gigs, Baptist goes small-scale here for her most cozy and intimate recording yet. It's themed around the practice of meditation, being fully present in one's surroundings and open ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paykuna: Raíces

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Looking at a title that means “Roots," one naturally thinks of an artist paying homage to their place of origin. It's not quite that simple in the case of Paykuna; the group's well-traveled leader Demian Coca has roots in both the folk of South America and the classy modern jazz of Europe, specifically his home of Switzerland. The combo isn't quite a big band, though the front line's dual horns have a little of that jaunty swing. Coca's piano playing ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Per Mathisen/Jan Gunnar Hoff/Horacio Hernandez: Barxeta II

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Per Mathisen and Jan Gunnar Hoff understandably look forward to their jaunts to Barxeta, Spain, as much as anyone else might look forward to favorite summer holidays. For them it's really a working vacation: of course the sunny surroundings are beautiful and the home cooking is doubtlessly excellent, but they're also there to play hard and create something exciting as best they can. It works: the second in their ongoing series shows them romping through an energetic fusion set in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Phil Haynes: My Favorite Things (1960-1969)

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For some reason, cover songs almost always seem to come across more jokey in folk/bluegrass mode than any other. There's just a certain innate good humor in upbeat romps with acoustic string instruments, especially so when the treatment is applied to formerly loud rock and roll songs. Perhaps it also feels that way because such pieces so often serve as cute one-off novelties in an otherwise straightfoward set. Drummer Phil Haynes and his “freewheeling jazz-grass string band" here, on the ...

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Cross Purposes

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He hasn't had quite such a visible solo profile as some of his past and future King Crimson colleagues, but that probably suits David Cross just fine. He's used to not being a noticeably out-front presence (normal for a violinist in the rock world, after all), but his electrified playing still has no shortage of juice and inspiration. His ever-restless and increasingly prolific explorations have largely flown under the radar--all the better to search out the more exotic hidden corners ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chance Hayden: Get Somethin'

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From first bikes to first apartments and beyond, there's nothing quite like that initial time stepping out on your own--a certain kind of excitement that comes with finally being in charge and able to set the rules. Chance Hayden's label debut comes years after an early self-released recording, several albums' worth of sideman service and a range of touring and production/arranging work. All those years of study and woodshedding are in evidence on the fast-cooking Get Somethin,' buoyed a little ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mike DeiCont: DeiCont | Philips Collective

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Mike DeiCont and Allison Philips are the kind of players who don't want to just give you something unusual to listen to, but hopefully take you on a trip as well. It's unclear exactly where--probably to them as well as you--since the results are in territory so abstract it's off the map. Sometimes it's not even about where they're going so much as the games they can play and noise they can make in getting there. The duo's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Noam Wiesenberg: Roads Diverge

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A title such as Roads Diverge probably isn't surprising from someone as well-traveled as Noam Wiesenberg. The sound largely sticks to one category--mostly-acoustic contemporary jazz with a high dose of rollicking cheer--and yet still reflects how much the young bassist has learned from his travels through life so far. The confident smoothness, eclectic writing-style and casting of excellent session-mates all show the lessons of his first decade as a working player, which subtly inform this debut as a leader.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Sylvian and Holger Czukay: Plight & Premonition / Flux & Mutability

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Names like Brian Eno or Steve Roach may most readily come to mind where classic ambient recordings are concerned, but there has never been a shortage of similarly fascinating material floating around under the radar, quietly and unobtrusively waiting to reach the right ears. The pair of late-80s LPs by David Sylvian and Holger Czukay make a defining if too-little-known example, a complementary yin and yang in immersive soundscapes. These are compelling pieces that flow and drift with the unexpected ...