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Jazz Articles

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andrew Cyrille & Bill McHenry: Proximity

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The story behind this duo setting by legendary drummer Andrew Cyrille and venerable tenor saxophonist Bill McHenry was initiated by Max Koslow who routinely attends New York City's fabled Village Vanguard venue on Thursday evenings. After hearing the twosome perform, he proposed they record a set in the studio for his nascent Brain Schism Productions. Indeed, the artists' synergy comes into full swing from the onset for a production that clocks in at 38-minutes. McHenry's full-bodied tenor sound ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Formanek - Tomas Fujiwara - Mary Halvorson: Convallaria

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Three hyper-progressive improvisational jazz and cross-genre artists push the envelope again on their 2nd album for Cuneiform Records. The musicians' busy schedules via numerous and largely prolific solo and group-based projects have rocketed their respective artistries into the limelight, especially ECM recording artist Michael Formanek (bass) who for the past several decades has become a household name within these circles. Nonetheless, it's an adventurous exploration, led by guitarist Mary Halvorson's signature phraseology, comprised of extended lines that vaporize into the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andreas Willers / Urs Leimgruber: Pale White Shout

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Guitarist Andreas Willers (Germany) and saxophonist Urs Leimgruber (Switzerland) are among Europe's most prominent improvisers and free-thinkers. On this outing their experimental metrics are quite rangy and focused, offering the antithesis to a madcap free-form blowing session. The duo alternates between controlled thematic buildups and subdued encounters with polytonal dialogues along with certain parts that elicit notions of exotic birds communicating in a tropical rain forest. Add some bizarre tirades and coiled flurries --abetted by Willers' wily electric guitar effects ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Slava Ganelin / Lenny Sendersky: Hotel Cinema

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Back when electronics instruments entered the vanguard of jazz, rock and other genres, the old adage, man vs. machine became a proverbial response due to excessive gyrations and overly hectic interplay between conventional instrumentalists and synth performers. Thankfully, things settled down and a maturation process evolved over time. Fast forwarding to the modern era, well-travelled Russians, saxophonist Lenny Sendersky and legendary free-jazz keyboardist Slava Ganelin spin an articulately crafted extended work into a hybrid jazz improvisational--symphonic opus forum. Recorded live ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jonas Cambien Trio: A Zoology of the Future

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Belgian-born pianist Jonas Cambien currently resides in Oslo and is supported by first-rate regional musicians on his debut outing as a leader. No doubt, this trio possesses a distinct personality as the artists seemingly concoct a horde of magic potions on a per-track basis. Here, free-form maneuvers evolve into tangible themes amid quirky advancements and spunky, off-kilter interplay. Each piece stands on its own. And from an avant-garde jazz perspective, the musicians often equalize the blustery improvisational segments with hummable ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nick Fraser Quartet: Starer

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Canadian drummer Nick Fraser follows up his trio CD Too Many Continents (Clean Feed, 2015) featuring pianist Kris Davis and saxophonist Tony Malaby with this quartet date also featuring Malaby, consummated by cellist Andrew Downing and bassist Rob Clutton. Hence, the leader imparts an atypical vista, contoured by his scrappy or terse drumming, where structural song-forms seamlessly intertwine with freedom of expression. It's like a loosely wrapped package framed on solid foundations that morph into liquefied digressions and gradually ascending ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Claudia Quintet: Super Petite

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For this widely acclaimed band's 8th album, drummer John Hollenbeck decided to compose concise pieces that get the job done in less time stating: “When the tunes are longer, there tend to be moments when not a whole lot is happening. If you have a really short tune, the whole thing has to be compelling." Hence, the drummer succeeds when abiding by that principle without sacrificing the quintet's famously tight rhythmic excursions, abetted by sinuous movements and buoyant dialogues. Hollenbeck's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tony Banks: A Curious Feeling

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UK-based Esoteric Recordings has compiled a treasure trove of prog rock gems from the past via top-notch remastering efforts, extensive liners, bonus tracks and / or DVDs that offer the same track list and film shorts processed in Surround Sound. Hence, an added benefit to this reissue by famed Genesis keyboard ace Tony Banks. Many consider him a stylist since he helped define Genesis' lifecycle, commencing with the late 60s, mid-70s Peter Gabriel era, through its more pop-ish sound of ...


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