Articles by Mark Sullivan

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

ALBUM REVIEW

Stephan Thelen: World Dialogue

Read "World Dialogue" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Stephan Thelen's compositions for his band Sonar have a minimalist groove that clearly relates to other groups in the experimental sphere like Swiss pianist and composer Nik Bärtsch's band Ronin. These works for string quartet are not stylistically far removed from Thelen's Sonar music, but the classical chamber music context establishes them in the world occupied by composers like Steve Reich. Thelen's desire to compose for the Kronos Quartet was the driver for this album. He composed the ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Guitarist Jack DeSalvo: While We Sleep & Quintrepid on Unseen Rain

Read "Guitarist Jack DeSalvo: While We Sleep & Quintrepid on Unseen Rain" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Guitarist/composer Jack DeSalvo has had a long, diverse career emphasizing fusion and free playing. His most visible gig was with Ronald Shannon Jackson's Decoding Society, but since co-founding the record label Unseen Rain Records he has played on or produced a wide variety of music. For example, his duet album Soldani Dieci Anni (Unseen Rain Records, 2016) with guitarist Dom Minasi contained both free improvisation and mainstream jazz playing, performed on various acoustic guitars. Two recent Unseen Rain releases showcase ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Diego Urcola Quartet: El Duelo

Read "El Duelo" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

The cover of this album shows Diego Urcola (trumpet, flugelhorn) and Paquito D'Rivera (alto saxophone, clarinet) back-to-back, as if about to engage in the titular duel. But the sound is that of two veteran players jointly taking a leap into the unknown. A quartet without piano is an unusual setting for both of them. D'Rivera's liner notes mention Gerry Mulligan's quartet with Chet Baker (represented by “ I Know, Don't Know How"), but Ornette Coleman's quartet is another, more surprising ...

ALBUM REVIEW

David Sills Double Guitar Quintet: Natural Lines

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Los Angeles-based reed player David Sills has usually led a quintet with guitar, piano, bass and drums. Most of his recent performances have taken place in venues lacking a piano, so he began adding a second guitar. The change in instrumentation had a side benefit, opening up new musical possibilities and colors. Having two guitars in the rhythm section is common in rock music, but unusual in jazz, so it offers a novel listening experience (especially for jazz guitar fans). ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Ray Russell: Fluid Architecture

Read "Fluid Architecture" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Veteran British guitarist and composer Ray Russell has been active in free jazz, fusion and as a session player. His whole range of experience finds a voice in the opener “Escaping The Six String Cage," as he and synthesist Eric Baldwin explore a wide range of guitar sounds. Slide guitar gives way to lyrical volume pedal swells, followed by rhythmic loops leading into free playing. Lyrical delay evolves into an abstract soundscape, finally returning to slide. Several tracks ...

BOOK REVIEW

Chasin' the Bird: Charlie Parker in California

Read "Chasin' the Bird: Charlie Parker in California" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Chasin' the Bird: Charlie Parker in California David Chisholm: writing drawing and lettering; Peter Markowski: colors 144 Pages ISBN: 978-1940878386 (13) Z2 Comics 2020 Bebop pioneer Charlie Parker came to California in December, 1945 to play alto saxophone in trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie's band at Billy Berg's Hollywood jazz club. Their reception was mixed, with many in the audience unable to embrace the bebop revolution. When the two month residency ended Parker stayed behind, ...

BOOK REVIEW

Instrumental by Dave Chisholm

Read "Instrumental by Dave Chisholm" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Instrumental Dave Chisholm 136 Pages ISBN: # 1940878152 Z2 Comics 2017 With Instrumental trumpeter/composer/cartoonist Dave Chisholm presents a black and white morality tale about a struggling young trumpeter and bandleader—with an accompanying soundtrack. There have been previous instances of visual/musical collaborations: I think of Alan Moore's The Birth Caul (and other “workings") that involved spoken word and music, in some cases later illustrated; more recently, songwriter Jonathan Coulton commissioned a graphic novel ...


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