Articles by John Kelman

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Alex Cline's Flower Garland Orchestra: Oceans of Vows

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Despite being a key participant in the “Left Coast" scene of more avant-leaning music from the American west coast--in particular, part of the Cryptogramophone imprint that, while less active than in its “glory days" during the first years of the new millennium--Alex Cline releases so infrequently as a leader that any new music from the percussionist/composer is worthy of attention. That he has flown so far under the radar, in recent years, that his last Cryptogramophone release, 2013's For People ...

DVD/FILM REVIEWS

Bill Frisell: A Portrait

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Bill Frisell Bill Frisell: A Portrait A Film by Emma Franz2017 Not long after the film Bill Frisell: A Portrait begins to roll, Bonnie Raitt--one of the many high profile names that lend their thoughts about one of the most influential guitarists and composers of the past forty years to the film, in this guitarist/singer/songwriter's case, having enlisted him as a guest on her last two albums (2012's Grammy Award-winning Slipstream and 2016 follow-up ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Wingfield Reuter Stavi Sirkis: The Stone House

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At a 2009 ECM @ 40 celebration in Mannheim, Germany that was part of the ongoing Enjoy Jazz Festival, Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava spoke, in a public interview, about how free jazz, back in the day, wasn't really free. There were rules: no time and/or no changes, for example; with memorable melodies not impossible, but not encouraged. Rava continued on to enthuse that now, in the 21st Century, free jazz really is free: if you want to play time, you ...

INTERVIEWS

Tim Bowness: Ghost Lights and Life Sentences

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As much as it's something most would prefer to avoid, when a pair of musicians share a lengthy musical history together it's difficult not to compare and contrast the work they do when apart. Beyond contributing added clarity to their individual work, it helps to articulate what each of them bring to the table when they're collaborating. Singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Tim Bowness may have yet to achieve the same degree of commercial success that his partner in the currently ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Tim Bowness: Lost in the Ghostlight

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It's a somewhat hidden truth that a sizeable percentage of any musician's fan base believes that the music their favorite artists make is a direct reflection of their tastes. While an artist's music ought, indeed, be a reflection of what moves them, it's another truth that, more often than not, their listening habits run much farther afield. One way to develop a more thorough appreciation for an artist's tastes, touchstones and influences is to look at their entire ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Francois Couturier / Tarkovsky Quartet: Nuit Blanche

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Following their sublime duo outing, Moderato Cantabile (ECM, 2014), cellist Anja Lechner and François Couturier reunite in the pianist's quartet responsible for two-thirds of a recorded trilogy for ECM Records, all devoted to Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, whose name would ultimately become synonymous with the group: Tarkovsky Quartet. Bookending Couturier's second album of the trilogy, 2010's solo piano session Un jour si blanc, 2006's Nostalghia--Songs for Tarkovsky and 2011's Tarkovsky Quartet established Couturier's quartet--also featuring soprano saxophonist Jean-Marc ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Chicago II (Steven Wilson Remix)

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It's rare that an opportunity presents itself to directly compare a high resolution remaster with a high resolution remix, but with last year's Quadio (Rhino) box set containing Blu Ray Audio versions (at 24-bit/192KHz) of its first nine studio recordings (including, curiously, a completely superfluous, early Greatest Hits package) and the recent, single-disc reissue of Chicago II, featuring a brand new stereo mix by remix go-to-guy, Porcupine Tree founder and now-successful solo artist Steven Wilson, there's a chance to do ...

REDISCOVERY

Five Classic ECM Titles in High Res

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If ever there were a label that deserved to have its catalog released in a high resolution format, it's Munich's ECM Records. Since its inception in 1969, the multiple award-winning record label headed by producer Manfred Eicher has truly redefined how, initially, jazz and improvised music recordings could--and, at least for some, perhaps should--sound. Attention to the minutest detail and creating albums of such pristine clarity that every layer is clearly audible--from the loudest roar to the softest decay--has garnered ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Theo Bleckmann: Elegy

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While ECM is a label largely renowned for its subtlety, attention to space and detail, and overall understated, “less is more" aesthetic--an early sampler titled, even, The Most Beautiful Sound Next To Silence--it's hard to imagine a label debut as a leader that could be less about virtuosity and more about creating soft atmospheres and ambiences than singer Theo Bleckmann's delicately moving, aptly titled Elegy. Bleckmann is no newcomer to the label: he was an important guest on ...


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