Articles by John Chacona

Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

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Album Review

Miguel Zenón: Law Years: The Music of Ornette Coleman

Read "Law Years: The Music of Ornette Coleman" reviewed by John Chacona


How do you hear Ornette Coleman's music? As an unlikely but logical extension of bebop vocabulary? As “free" chaos untethered from harmony? As a tributary of the great stream of Texas saxophonists? As jazz's purest melodism? The music of Coleman, who would have turned 91 years on March 9 2021, was all of those things and many more. Why shouldn't a body of work that presents so many points of entry be as ubiquitous on record as that ...

5

Album Review

Theo Bleckmann & The Westerlies: This Land

Read "This Land" reviewed by John Chacona


Could This Land, from Theo Bleckmann & The Westerlies be the first great musical declaration of the Biden Era? If so, it's probably an accident. When they tracked This Land in August 2019, Bleckmann and the brass quartet entered the studio with a program of protest songs. But in degree and kind, they are worlds away from the howling fervor of Moor Mother or the rousing call to the barricades of Gordon Grdina's Resist (Irabbagast Records, 2020), to ...

4

Album Review

Camila Nebbia: Aura

Read "Aura" reviewed by John Chacona


No one knows what the landscape for live jazz will look like in the near future, but it is fair to assume that jny: New York and jny: London will continue as centers of gravity with jny: Johannesburg making a strong challenge. Here is a long-shot bet: don't sleep on jny: Buenos Aires. If your idea of Argentine jazz is limited to tango or Gato Barbieri, prepare to be startled at what Camila Nebbia and her nonet of young players ...

6

Album Review

Dayna Stephens: Right Now! Live At The Village Vanguard

Read "Right Now! Live At The Village Vanguard" reviewed by John Chacona


In his 2018 book, Playing Changes, Nate Chinen argues that the fundamental jazz dialectic of the 1980s and 90s, namely tradition vs. innovation, was ultimately a false choice. Two years later, Dayna Stephens' Right Now! Live at the Village Vanguard proves the point in the most eloquent way possible. In many ways, Right Now! is a traditional undertaking, from the classic horn-and-rhythm-section formation to the set list heavy with tunes taken at a mid-stroll tempo. And nothing cements ...

5

Year in Review

John Chacona's Best Releases Of 2020

Read "John Chacona's Best Releases Of 2020" reviewed by John Chacona


It's tempting to say that this was the year the music died, and for clubs, concert and festival stages, that might generally be true. Yet, in this most confounding and contrary of years it's thoroughly fitting that as live music grew silent, recordings roared with eloquence, fury and, yes, beauty. Here are the releases that most captivated, moved, consoled and inspired me. Tyshawn Sorey Unfiltered Self Produced Mary Halvorson's Code Girl ...

10

Album Review

Dafnis Prieto Sextet: Transparency

Read "Transparency" reviewed by John Chacona


In Cuban music, emotional grandeur and extravagant virtuosity is built on a foundation of inexhaustible rhythm. So, it's no surprise to find an abundance of juicy melodies and breathtaking drumming on Transparency from drummer and MacArthur “Genius" Fellow Dafnis Prieto. Yet for all the astonishing things he does behind the kit, what stands out on Transparency is the dazzling formal sophistication of Prieto's compositions. Eight of the nine composer credits are his and the outlier, an arrangement of ...


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