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Articles by Karl Ackermann

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Winged Serpents: Six Encomiums for Cecil Taylor

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The link between the late Cecil Taylor and the members of the Winged Serpents collective is one driven by admiration and inspiration, from a distance, rather than through collaboration. Taylor, in fact, had only shared billing twice in his half-century of recording. The Mary Lou Williams duet Embraced (Pablo, 1977) and Max Roach's 1979 recording of Historic Concerts (Soul Note, 1984) constitute the entire library of his communal projects and date back at least a generation before any of the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lars Danielsson/Paolo Fresu: Summerwind

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ACT Music brings together a pair of virtuosos in Lars Danielsson and Paolo Fresu, for the duo outing Summerwind. Both are well-known for their melodic and expressive playing as well as an innate gift for spontaneity. Recorded in the Swedish seaport city of Gothenburg, in early 2018, the album incorporates elements of folk, classical and jazz music in a relaxed setting. Bassist and cellist Lars Danielsson has been a staple of the ACT label for more than ten ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Thelonious Monk: Mønk

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Closely following the release of John Coltrane's Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album (Impulse!, 2018), this year brings us another previously unreleased gem from the golden age of jazz. The status of Thelonius Monk in the early 1960s, is indisputable and this recently discovered session recorded at a live performance in Copenhagen's Old Fellow Palæet, in 1963 validates the pianist's standing. The engineers at the UK's Gearbox Records undertook a painstaking process to restore and master the original tapes, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Bailey: Oneiric Sounds

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English guitarist and composer John Bailey holds a Master's Degree in Jazz Performance but has a background that includes a fondness for everything from heavy metal to classical music. The latter of the two is in evidence throughout the two suites that comprise Oneiric Sounds, a study in the blending of jazz and classical influences. This is the third release from Bailey including Heart Horizons (Self-Produced, 2013) and Black Ship, Bright Sea (ASC Records, 2015) with a considerably smaller group. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Skydive Trio: Sun Sparkle

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Norwegian guitarist Thomas Dahl's primary project is the Skydive Trio with bassist Mats Eilertsen and drummer Olavi Louhivuouri. The trio is an off-shoot of a quintet of the same name that includes tenor saxophonist Tore Brunborg and pianist Alexi Tuomarila. Sun Sparkle is the second release from the smaller group whose sound, like the album title, reflects ideas from both familiar and eclectic musical worlds. Dahl has collected a number of honors in his native land, including Norway's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tom Abbs & Frequency Response: Hawthorne

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Bassist and multi-instrumentalist Tom Abbs began his Frequency Response series in 2003 with Conscription (CIMP Records). The group--then a quartet--included tenor saxophonist Brian Settles and drummer Chad Taylor. Alto saxophonist Jason Candler, violinists Jean Cook and Jenna Barvitski are later additions to Frequency Response. On their long-awaited fourth album Hawthorne, Abbs again stands in as a one-man orchestra, playing bass, cello, piano, and tuba. Abbs, primarily known as a free improvisational bassist is also an accomplished filmmaker, having ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Giuseppe Doronzo: Goya

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Italian baritone saxophonist Giuseppe Doronzo is the type of restless artist that continually looks for new resources from which to expand on the language of his instrument. In recent years he has utilized a variety of format platforms as launching points. With the self-titled debut of the quintet Falga (Self-Produced, 2016) and the subsequent AVA Trio release Music From An Imaginary Land (TryTone, 2017), Doronzo worked in formations that had distinct global influences (and personnel) that were reflected in the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Leap of Faith Orchestra: Cosmological Horizons

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David M. Peck's (PEK) Leap of Faith collective is brought together in its largest formation of twenty-four musicians for a marathon performance of the leader's Cosmological Horizons composition. This second of two annual performances of an orchestra culled from the Evil Clown label's various groups (String Theory, Mekaniks, Metal Chaos Ensemble, etc.) was held in Killian Hall on the Boston campus of MIT. As he often does, PEK composes a single, extended piece for the duration of the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Skuli Sverrisson with Bill Frisell: Strata

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On their two previous third-season releases, Andy Zimmerman's Half Light and Lionel Loueke's Close Your Eyes (both 2018), Newvelle Records pushed the envelope just a bit away from the deeply melodic formula that they have favored across seventeen albums to date. While those vinyl releases incorporated more elements of improvisational complexity, they were hardly foraying into the avant-garde. On Strata the duo of bassist Skúli Sverrisson and guitarist Bill Frisell bring us back to the purely melodic model.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Marcin Wasilewski Trio: Live

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It is timely, albeit in a melancholy way, that one-time Tomasz Stańko protégé Marcin Wasilewski and his trio would offer a retrospective live performance that closely coincides with the passing of the legendary Polish trumpeter. The pianist, still just in his early forties, first recorded with Stańko's octet while he was a teenager and quickly went on to release his first Simple Acoustic Trio album, Komeda (Not Two, 1995), at just twenty. From the outset bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer ...