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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Trouble Kaze: June

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Avant-garde pianist/composer Satoko Fujii augments her quartet, Kaze, with an additional piano and another drummer, to create Trouble Kaze, for the release of June. In Fujii's eighty-plus CD discography, Kaze can be counted as one of her most adventurous modes of artistic expression. With trumpeters Natsuki Tamura and Christian Pruvost working an array of extended techniques to push the limits of their instruments to the maximum; with Fujii's prepared and inside-the-piano ministrations, and the often explosive drumming from ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Benedikt Jahnel Trio: The Invariant

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Sometimes there's no substitute for experience, as demonstrated by this trio as it celebrates its tenth anniversary as a working unit. Last heard on Equilibrium (ECM, 2012), it's an international group that met through a series of lucky coincidences: Berlin-based pianist/composer Benedikt Jahnel is joined by Spanish bassist Antonio Miguel and Canadian drummer Owen Howard. Jahnel has also appeared on ECM as a member of Cyminology, a jazz group with culturally and ethnically diverse influences which primarily performs with Persian ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Akua Dixon: Akua's Dance

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A visage of joyousness fills this album cover. Cellist Akua Dixon, with back arched and eyes closed, can't contain herself. A knowing smile washes over her face as she bathes in the light with cello in hand. It's a picture that perfectly illustrates the artist's place in the moment: Dixon has reached a point of supreme confidence, where percipience permeates her every move and guides her every turn. She doesn't miss a step on Akua's Dance. This ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Craig Taborn: Daylight Ghosts

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In addition to his copious sideman work (including multiple recordings with James Carter, Roscoe Mitchell, Tim Berne, Michael Formanek, and Chris Potter, among many others) pianist/keyboardist Craig Taborn has found time to record intermittently as a leader since 1994's Craig Taborn Trio (IDW). This is his third ECM album, following the solo Avenging Angel (2011) and the trio date Chants (2012). The music Taborn composed for Daylight Ghosts' quartet emphasizes group improvisation over sharply defined soloist/accompanist roles, facilitated ...

DVD/FILM REVIEWS

I Am Not Your Negro: History Revisited through a Personal Lens

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I Am Not Your Negro Narrator: Samuel L. Jackson Director: Raoul Peck Distributor: Velvet Films This electrifying docu-drama invoking the eloquent words and profound personal experience of the great writer James Baldwin brings to life the stormy and transformational period of the Civil Rights movement in a way that is far more vivid than the images many saw on their small TV screens in the 1960s. The images, sound track, Baldwin's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Microscopic Septet: Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me: The Micros Play the Blues

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Saxophonist Phillip Johnston founded The Microscopic Septet in 1980 when the group briefly counted John Zorn as one of its members. They recorded four albums and were a regular presence in New York's downtown scene before disbanding in 1992. In 2006 Cuneiform Records re-released the four albums leading to the reformation of the group and presently, to their new release Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me: The Micros Play the Blues.Johnston and pianist Joel ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Martin: The Hidden Notes - Spirit Of Adventure

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The Hidden Notes--Spirit Of Adventure by saxophonist John Martin and his quintet (Ralph Wyld on vibes, guitarist Rob Updegraff, drummer Tim Giles and Tim Fairhall on bass) (mentioned briefly here) is a project that has had a four-year gestation. Calling the naturally occurring harmonics that are produced over the fundamental by all instruments the “hidden notes," Martin has put enormous effort into bringing out and controlling the harmonic possibilities of the saxophone through multiphonics, controlling the overtone patterns through different ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tim Langedijk Trio: Up North

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One of the hallmarks of a truly creative jazz musician is that his or her musical vision is immediately identifiable, and guitarist Tim Langedijk is one of those players. His trio's latest album, Up North is a marvelous document of his elegance, intensity, surprising musical choices and understated technique. When combined with the equally subtle playing of bassist Udo Pannekeet and drummer Hans Van Oosterhout, the music on the album almost glows in the dark. Everything has been ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Harriet Tubman and Wadada Leo Smith: Araminta

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Things are urgent now. Actually, they have been critical for some time, but you might have chosen to ignore them. Politics, racism, sexism, war, inequality, and xenophobia are now issues that you must confront at home, work, in social media, and even within your bowling league. Everyone must have an opinion, and maybe that is the good news. This consciousness of social justice has long been the well that artists and musicians draw from. Half a century ago ...


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