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Articles by Karl Ackermann

ALBUM REVIEWS

Jason Palmer: Fair Weather

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Newvelle Records co-founder, the pianist Elan Mehler is familiar with one of Boston's few long-time, dedicated jazz clubs, Wally's. As he explains in the liner notes for Fair Weather, the club is where trumpeter and North Carolina native Jason Palmer was leading a band for nearly two decades. Palmer has played with leading talents such as Roy Haynes, Greg Osby, and Ravi Coltrane. A former student at the New England Conservatory, his debut on the vinyl-only Newvelle is his ninth ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Alister Spence / Satoko Fujii Orchestra Kobe: Imagine Meeting You Here

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On the heels of a monthly release year, celebrating her sixtieth birthday, Satoko Fujii takes no break as she dives into a new year. Imagine Meeting You Here is a five-part suite for Fujii's improvising Orchestra Kobe. The compositions are by pianist Alister Spence, who acts as producer and conductor of the fifteen-member ensemble. The suite premiered with Fujii's orchestra in Kobe, Nagoya and Tokyo in 2016 and was performed by the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra later that year. Orchestra Kobe ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Eric Dolphy: Musical Prophet:The Expanded 1963 New York Sessions

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Eric Dolphy's Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Sessions was released as a limited-edition vinyl recording in November 2018 and a CD and digital collection two months afterward. Flautist James Newton, Jason Moran and Resonance Records aided in procuring and restoring the original tapes for this box set. The multi-instrumentalist Dolphy enjoyed only a brief recording career but this collection demonstrates a wide range of interests. Free jazz, avant-garde, mainstream, and classical influences share space in this eclectic collection. ...

UNDER THE RADAR

Big in Japan, Part 3: Satoko Fujii’s Year of Living Dangerously

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In the first two parts of this series we looked at the origins of jazz in Japan and its adherence to the American style of composing, arranging and playing. Though jazz has been popular in Japan from the earliest days, it was--as in the United States--hardly met with unanimous approval in a country that prized classical and indigenous folk music. Yamada Kôsaku, Japan's best-known composer and conductor of the '20s through the '40s, disparaged jazz as “noisy and obscene." The ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo: Kikoeru - Tribute to Masaya Kimura

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Satoko Fujii closes out the celebration of her sixtieth birthday with her final monthly album of 2018, Kikoeru: Tribute to Masaya Kimura. This album is more than a celebration of one life; it's a cathartic, full-circle tribute to lives that have touched the composer and been integral to her music. This sixth recording from Fujii's Orchestra Tokyo is the most powerful and accessible entry from the collective. Except for two changes in the reed and brass sections, and the absence ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Tyshawn Sorey: Pillars

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Tyshawn Sorey's musical career has been steadily moving away from jazz and toward new music in several forms. Verisimilitude (Pi Recordings, 2017) is dominated by a series of textural motions that create a dark mood. That album followed another Pi release, The Inner Spectrum of Variables (2016); an album that featured classical composition and improvisation. Sorey's new album, Pillars, is yet another departure for the composer/multi-instrumentalist; a three-disc set that is beyond categorization. Stephen Haynes, Joe Morris and ...

UNDER THE RADAR

Big in Japan, Part 2: Osaka & the Eri Yamamoto Connection

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Part 1 | Part 2 In Part 1 of Big in Japan we looked at the early history of jazz music in that country--a history that dates back to the same time frame as the Jazz Age in the United States. The influence of American dance music was indisputable but it came to Japan through second-hand means. Sheet music and early recordings were enhanced by live performances--not from American musicians--but from Filipinos who learned from the occupying forces ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

10³²K: The Law of Vibration

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This is where the laws of physics meet the laws of the universe. The imaginative dynamism that marked 10³²K's debut That Which is Planted (Passin' Thru Records, 2014) is taken to another level on their new release The Law of Vibration. The trio of trombonist/trumpeter Frank Lacy, bassist Kevin Ray and percussionist Andrew Drury are joined on one track by the late Roswell Rudd. Lacy is at home in many sub-genres of jazz. He has played in Carla ...

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Charlie Parker: Now's The Time

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In the pantheon of jazz saxophonists, Charlie Parker has been among the most transformational of artists, despite not living nearly long enough to fulfill his potential. Parker's lifetime, as a principal architect of bebop, and a self-destructive force, has been documented ad nauseam but his music continues to significantly influence new generations. Since Parker's death in 1955, an unprecedented two-hundred albums of his music have been released, very few containing newly discovered material; it's a testament to his enduring legacy. ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Satoko Fujii / Yuko Yamaoka: Diary 2005-2015: Yuko Yamaoka Plays the Music of Satoko Fujii

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Diary 2005-2015: Yuko Yamaoka Plays the Music of Satoko Fujii is the eleventh of twelve releases to be issued as part of Satoko Fujii's year-long, sixtieth birthday celebration. The previous ten releases this year have shown us an exceptional artist as she works in a variety of musical modes, and in formations from solo to orchestra, with some very unusual collaborations in-between. This double album offers further insight into Fujii's creative process and her mindset, in general. To that end ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Orquesta Metafisica: Hipnotizados

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Argentinian Sebastian Volco is an avant-garde composer, pianist, guitarist, and electronics player with wildly eclectic tastes that course through the dance culture of his country to alternative rock, jazz, and beyond. He has recorded as a solo artist, in a duo formation and up through a variety of ensembles. He has led or co-led on more than a dozen releases and Hipnotizados is the second from his ensemble Orquesta Metafisicia. Like the small orchestra's previous release 7 Movimientos (Omrecords, 2011), ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Charles Mingus: Jazz In Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden

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With previously unreleased material from Dexter Gordon, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, and now, Charles Mingus, it may feel in 2018 like we are living fifty years in the past. Jazz In Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden captures a short-lived quintet that--given time--could have been Mingus' best. Drummer Roy Brooks and trumpeter Joe Gardner had been touring Europe with the bassist and returned to play a radio broadcast on WDET in Detroit in 1973. Their host was a ...