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Jazz Articles


Henrik Jensen's Followed By Thirteen: Henrik Jensen's Followed by Thirteen: Blackwater

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What does it mean to be 'Followed by Thirteen'? It immediately conjures pictures of some cold war spy thriller--Orson Welles in Greene's “The Third Man," Matt Damon in the Bourne films maybe, as the protagonist is followed by shadowy agents through decaying European cities in defence of unspecified freedoms. Good though it is, it seems unlikely that Henrik Jensen's splendid new album of modern jazz could be construed by our governments as a threat to our comfortable western liberal democratic ...


Bill Frisell's "Guitar in the Space Age" at the Blue Note

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Bill FrisellBlue Note New York, NY October 4, 2016 It's one month before what is shaping up to be an epochal presidential election; the national mood is tense, nerves are fraying, anxiety is high. And just in the nick of time, here comes guitarist Bill Frisell to save our sanity! He's presenting the Blue Note (NYC) audiences with a week of coolly poignant interpretations of some of his favorite vintage pop tunes, most of which ...


Brian (Shankar) Adler: Binary & Mysteries of the Deep

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For those seeking a bit of metaphysical speculation with their jazz, one could benefit from giving these two new EPs from drummer Brian (Shankar) Adler a careful listen. A thoughtful, creative percussionist, Adler is eager to explore the big questions in his music, and his use of complex rhythmic structures and instrumentation from other traditions (particularly Indian carnatic music) lends an additional layer of interest to his work. The first of the two releases, Binary, is a project ...


Wadada Leo Smith: America's National Parks

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2016 marks the centennial anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service. In honor of this auspicious occasion, celebrated trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith composed a titular six-part suite for the Golden Quintet, an augmented version of his long-running flagship quartet. Rather than simply attempting to transpose scenic vistas and natural grandeur into pure sound, Smith explains in the liner notes that he is more interested in the parks as an idea--one with socio-political overtones--hence the inclusion of tributes to the city ...


Aziza: Aziza

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How do you define Aziza? Is it a collective-minded outfit? A supergroup? An offshoot or variant on previous gatherings? An archetype for musical synergy? A nod-in-name to African mythology and spiritual discovery? Yes, it's all of that. But why not avoid the traps and trappings involved with classification and just cut to the chase: Aziza is an artistically headstrong and muscular powerhouse, plain and not-so-simple. Would you expect anything less from the combination of bassist Dave Holland, saxophonist Chris Potter, ...


Mysteries Of The Deep and Binary from Brian (Shankar) Adler

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The compact disc probably won't disappear anytime soon, but the importance of the physical product is on the wane in the music world. Drummer Brian (Shankar) Adler works the “digital download only" mode of operation in his music-making sojourn, with two marvelous, mysterious, free-flowing EP sets, Mysteries of the Deep and Binary. Brian Shankar Adler Mysteries Of The Deep Circavision Productions 2016 Adler is one of those rare percussionists who takes the rhythmic ...


John Scofield's Country for Old Men at the Ardmore Music Hall

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John Scofield's Country for Old Men The Ardmore Music Hall Ardmore, PA September 24, 2016 There are probably only are a handful of guitarists with a catalog as deep and stylistically diverse as John Scofield's. One of the obvious perils that these artists encounter when touring is facing an audience with fans from different stages of their careers--with different expectations. Short of doing an exhaustive retrospective every time out, this can almost guarantee a certain ...


Jim Ridl: Door in a Field V2, Songs of the Green River

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This is pianist Jim Ridl's seventh album as a leader, and all revolve around specific motifs involving people, places, things, images, and words. For example, his debut CD, Five Minutes to Madness and Joy (Synergy Music, 1999), is based on a poem by Walt Whitman which Ridl then elaborated upon in a variety of musical expressions. On the one hand, Ridl is a solid, mainstream jazz pianist who has worked with a panoply of cohorts like Dave Liebman, Joe Locke, ...

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