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Articles by Troy Dostert

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Lotz Of Music: Live At JazzCase

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With an upbringing that involved living in Thailand, Germany and Uganda, it was perhaps inevitable that flautist Mark Alban Lotz would take a global approach to his craft as a musician. His substantial recorded output (over a dozen releases to his name, to date) bears ample witness to his restless quest for new forms of expression, while always remaining at least tangentially rooted in the jazz tradition. On his latest release, a live recording from JazzCase in Dommelhof, Belgium, Lotz ...

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Iro Haarla: Around Again: The Music Of Carla Bley

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Longstanding piano-bass tandem Iro Haarla and Ulf Krokfors team up with drummer Barry Altschul for Around Again, a reverent and eminently rewarding tribute to Carla Bley. All three musicians possess a deep familiarity with Bley's work. Haarla's dates from her earliest conservatory studies at Finland's Sibelius Academy in the 1970s, while Altschul played on Paul Bley's magnificent Closer (ESP, 1965), itself a record built around Carla's compositions. Krokfors actually came up with the idea for Around Again as he was ...

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Jentsch Group No Net: Topics in American History

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Don't let the album's title fool you. Guitarist/composer Chris Jentsch's Topics In American History isn't a disguised syllabus for a college seminar. Jentsch's liner notes reveal an abiding interest in American history, but his modus operandi is to use pivotal aspects of the nation's past as springboards for creative, immersive music. Although using just a nine-piece band, Jentsch's compositions feel designed for a larger unit, and they certainly do justice to the sweeping tableau of America's rich--and sometimes fraught--legacy.

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Tomasz Dabrowski Ad Hoc: Ninjazz

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Although he has built an impressive resume working with well-known avant-gardists like Evan Parker, Tyshawn Sorey, Kris Davis and Andrew Drury (with the latter two appearing on his 2014 release, Vermillion Tree ), Polish trumpeter Tomasz Dabrowski went in a different direction for his current project, Ninjazz. With the title a portmanteau of “Ninja" and “jazz," this release by Dabrowski's Ad Hoc quartet includes three leading Japanese musicians for a recording designed to be elusive, unpredictable, and crafty.

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Frank Macchia: Rhythm Kaleidoscope

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With a host of wide-ranging work not only as a musician but also as a producer and arranger for television and film projects, Frank Macchia has never been one to rest on his laurels. Even if you're not familiar with his recordings, chances are you've heard at least one of his many film orchestrations: from The Cable Guy to Mission Impossible III to Muppets Most Wanted, Macchia's resume covers virtually every movie genre imaginable. And his own recording projects have ...

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

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Although his iconic Out to Lunch! (Blue Note, 1964) is one of a handful of undisputed avant-garde jazz masterpieces, Eric Dolphy's stature has never quite risen fully to the level of the jazz titans. Some of this is probably due to his untimely death at age 36, just as he was reaching new creative peaks; and some of it is just unfair obscurity, as he never received the steady major-label support that would have allowed him the widest possible audience. ...

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Gordon Beeferman: Other Life Forms

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A keyboardist and composer with ambitious reach, Gordon Beeferman creates music designed to surprise and challenge. He specializes in avant-garde contexts, whether with his Organ Trio (alongside guitarist Anders Nilsson and drummer Ches Smith) or in a larger septet format, with Music for an Imaginary Band (Generate Records, 2009). And then there's his work writing operas with librettist Charlotte Jackson, the most recent of which is The Enchanted Organ: A Porn Opera. So it's not really a shock to encounter ...

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Mariel Austin: Runner in the Rain

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In case anyone is wondering whether big-band jazz continues to hold appeal for younger musicians, witness this debut five-track album from trombonist Mariel Austin. Despite (or perhaps because of) her youth, Austin possesses an ambitious and expansive vision. And on Runner in the Rain, she marshals a skilled ensemble, many of whom are friends from the New England Conservatory or the Berklee College of Music, to craft music that has one foot firmly planted in the jazz tradition, while the ...

YEAR IN REVIEW

Troy Dostert's Best Releases of 2018

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2018 was a terrific year for imaginative, well-executed recordings that cover the spectrum of instrumental configurations in creative jazz and freely improvised music. From Susana Santos Silva's mesmerizing solo trumpet to Ingrid Laubrock's formidable orchestra (and everything in between), the following choices are a cross-section of some of the best the year had to offer. Something worth noting, and celebrating, is the fact that so many of these fine releases are the work of women--continuing an encouraging trend that has ...

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Russ Johnson: The Headlands Suite

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One thing's certain when you listen to a Russ Johnson record: you're going to hear music made with care and craft. Johnson is a discerning composer and trumpeter, and he has a special talent for producing thoughtful compositions that possess enough fluidity and creativity to remain fresh even after repeated encounters. He's also adept at drawing from the pool of the larger artistic community of which he's part. Back when he was a vital contributor to the New York scene, ...

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Jasna Jovicevic Sextet: Flow Vertical

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Serbian multi-instrumentalist Jasna Jovicevic seeks to bridge the worlds of chamber jazz and free improvisation on her latest release, Flow Vertical. But she's not content to stop there, as the album is animated by a heady concept drawing on Jovicevic's background in yoga to create music that is, as she puts it, “divided according to psychic centers in the human body." To be sure, the ambitious music on hand delves into a variety of emotional and stylistic registers, and much ...

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Dave Allen: The Sky Above Her

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Guitarist Dave Allen's satiny-smooth tone and precise technique belie an intrepid sensibility that is eager to rise to the surface. So unsuspecting listeners who cue up the title track of The Sky Above Her, Allen's third album as a leader, might at first be tricked into thinking they'll be listening to something easy on the ears, as the track possesses an ingratiating, comfortable feel; Allen's melodicism definitely contributes to that impression. But by the album's second cut, Allen's adventurous side ...